Corfu Old Town has preserved the fine architecture of Venetian, French and British occupation; a stroll through the maze of narrow streets will enamour both the historian and the romantic sightseer: tall Venetian houses with flaking pastel plaster; a maze of cobbled shopping streets; fruit and fish markets; simple and sophisticated restaurants; the people-watching bars of the Liston beside the cricket pitch and an exciting hustle & bustle.
A pleasant 2 kilometre coastal walk from the central Liston takes you along a stone-flagged esplanade, lined with purple blossoming Judas trees, skirting the sea and passing grand, Venetian waterfront houses, to the seaside windmill of Anemomilos. Here there is a wooden pontoon, used by fishermen and bathers and a small beach used by the locals of Garitsa.
Garitsa is a peaceful escape from Corfu town and has a good selection of tavernas and cafebars, all with dramatic views across the bay to the Venetian fortress.
100 metres from Anemomilos is the Royal Baths – a delightful beach, bar and restaurant retreat at the foot of Analypsis Hill, forested by pine and cypress trees.
At the top of this hill is the Mon Repos Palace, surrounded by 250 acres of colourful gardens and a series of pathways leading to the remains of the 7th Century Hera’s Temple and 6th Century Kardaki Temple, just above a small beach. This is believed to be Corfu’s ancient city centre.
The Palace was built in 1826 by the British Commissioner, Frederic Adams, as a gift to his Corfiot wife, Nina Palatianou. The Palace then became the summer residence of the British Governors of Corfu and when the Ionian Islands were united to Greece in 1864, it was gifted to King George I of Greece.
Prince Philip was born here in 1921. During the Italian occupation of Corfu, in the Second World War, the Palace became the residence of Parini, the Italian Governor of the Ionian Islands.
On 13 December 1967, King Constantine was forced to flee the country, following an unsuccessful countercoup against the military junta. He remained the head of state in exile until the junta conducted the 1973 Greek republic referendum, which abolished the monarchy.
Legal battles about the Palace’s ownership lasted for almost 30 years, during which time it fell into disrepair. Restored in the 1990’s, the Palace became State owned and is now looked after by the Municipality of Corfu. It houses the Palaeopoli Museum, displaying works of art, furniture and historical documents about the estate.
The Royal Baths was once the private bathing beach for the Greek Royal family and friends residing at Mon Repos Palace on the hill above. It is now a little-known seaside escape from the world outside. Hidden by high walls, there is an open-air restaurant, a beachfront bar, lawned areas shaded by tall jacaranda trees and bordered by well-kept, Victorian changing huts (and outside showers), a wooden pontoon and sunloungers beside a sandy beach.
Highly recommended as a relaxing break for those staying in Corfu Town Liston View Apartment, the Liston View Apartment has a special, central location. Or for those with a few hours to kill in between leaving for or arriving from Paxos – Corfu airport is just a 5-minute taxi ride away.