Magnificent, verdant Corfu, or Kerkyra (ker-kih-rah) in Greek, was Homer’s ‘beautiful and rich land’. Mountains dominate the northern half where the coastlines can be steep and dramatic and where the island’s interior is a rolling expanse of peaceful countryside. Stately cypresses, used for masts by the Venetians, rise from shimmering olive groves (also a Venetian inspiration). South of Corfu Town the island narrows and flattens.
Beaches with sometimes oppressively thick development punctuate the entire coastline. Development is most intensive north of Corfu Town and along the northernmost coast.
Corfu was a seat of European learning in the early days of modern Greece. While the rest of the nation struggled simply to get by, the Corfiots established cultural institutions such as libraries and centres of learning, and many major Greek figures like Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first head of independent Greece, hailed from Corfu. To this day, Corfiots remain proud of their intellectual and artistic roots. This legacy is visible from its fine museums and cultural life to its high-calibre, Italian-influenced cuisine.
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Charming, cosmopolitan Corfu Town (also known as Kerkyra) takes hold of you and never lets go. If you approach by sea, you will be met by the majesty of the famous Palaio Frourio (Old Fortress). Take a wander after the day-trippers leave to discover enchanting pastel-hued Venetian-era mansions, top museums and artistic life, and a buoyant year-round cosmopolitan spirit.
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