Mouse island and Vlaherna

Last updated on April 18th, 2022 at 08:48 am

On this magical island, you will be fascinated by the plethora of Corfu sights and monuments as well as the natural beauty scattered around and particularly inside the old town.

There is always something for everyone that will certainly not disappoint you here. On the contrary, there is a fear of winning you over forever, there is no doubt and we are not the only ones saying that!

Here is our list of the more famous Corfu sightseeing that you must see and visit.

Be sure that we searched a lot and we are certain that our list will definitely help you. After all, we live permanently on the island and we know better than anyone what can make your trip to Corfu most enjoyable.

Let’s start then.

Corfu Sightseeing in the old town of Kerkyra

Kerkyra is the historical center of the island and the first view of Corfu for those who reach the island from the sea by ferry.

Without a doubt, the old medieval city of Corfu, where the Venetian influences dominate, is the biggest attraction of the island as it is a UNESCO heritage site as a whole.

Even if you stay in another tourist resort you should get the time to visit the town at least for a day.

Here you will find the most important sights and monuments on the island. And you will get lost inside the narrow streets of the old city. Time will pass quickly before you realize it.

Some of the Sights to see here are the following:

1. The Awe-Inspiring Old Fortress

Old fortress in Corfu town from Faliraki
Old fortress in Corfu town from Faliraki

One of the most important monuments of Corfu.

This was originally a natural promontory offering in its rocks protection for the residents of the 5th century AD when the ancient city of Corfu was moved here after the destruction of the ancient city by the Visigoths.

Converted into a fortress by the Byzantines in the 8th century AD and contained all buildings of the small medieval town. But now many buildings inside the fortress have been demolished.

You can still find thought the buildings of the old English hospital, the Doric style church of Saint George, and several buildings that house government services, such as the ephorate of antiquities of Corfu.

There is also a coffee bar.

The rock was always further reinforced to protect the city from the numerous invasions of the Middle Ages, and gradually the town grew around it.

The old fortress is open all day and is the ideal place to explore the old bastions and imagine their history.

It is a masterpiece of architecture and fortification art while offering visitors the best views of the city, the harbor, and over the sea to the mountains of Epirus.

How did the Venetians strengthen their fortifications, how they dug the moat known as the kontra fossa, the buildings in the fortress and the bastions, the Venetian prison extended by the English, what buildings were in, and what buildings are left and used today in the Old Fortress?

Find all the answers on the page about Corfu old fortress

2. The Majestic New fortress

Corfu Sightseeing - Corfu new fortress
Corfu new fortress

Another example of the high capacity of Venetians in fortification, and an architectural marvel of art built by the Venetians and with the physical labor of the inhabitants from 1576 until 1645.

Venetians due to the permanent threat of the Turks felt that it was necessary to complete the fortifications of the city which meanwhile had been extended far beyond the old fortress.

They started the construction of the new fortress on the hill of San Marcos extended south with walls and ramparts reaching the sea at Garitsa bay…

Read about when and how the New Fortress was built, what was in there, and what still exists inside the fortress today.

The museum of ceramic art, photography exhibitions, ceramic art, sculpture, are all inside the fortress.

From time to time we have some happenings like concerts and other events here.

Do not forget the naval station of Corfu which is hosted in the fortress.

Find them all on the page about Corfu new fortress

3. The Palace of Saints Michael and George

Palace of St Michael and George in Corfu
Palace of St Michael and George in Corfu

During the era of British rule, High Commissioner Sir Frederick Adams in 1819 decided to build a house for him and his family.

So he created in Corfu a unique palace in the Georgian style.

The building was designed by an English engineer Colonel Sir George Whitmore (1775-1862) and despite its enormous size is elegant and beautiful.

It has been described as the best example of regency architecture outside Britain.

It is the largest palace in Greece except for the palace of King Otto in Athens, which today houses the Greek parliament.

The large line of Doric columns has two gates, the Gate of St. Michael and the gate of St. George.

In the garden is the statue of commissioner Frederick Adams made by Corfiot sculptor Pavlos Prosalendis.

Outside it has carved representations of the Ionian Islands and within two rows of Ionic columns surrounding the main hall, showing scenes from the Odyssey.

The first floor is decorated with Corinthian columns. There are three main halls: the ballroom, the throne room, and the symposium room.

The palace previously housed the Ionian Senate and is the home of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George.

For half of the century, it was also the summer residence of the former Greek royal family. Today it has been refurbished as a museum displaying classical antiquities.

A meeting at the summit of the European Union was held here in 1994.

The building looks over the north side of Spianada square on Iroon Politechniou street and also houses the Asian Art Museum and the Municipal Gallery.

Palace of Saint Michael and George

4. Corfu Town Hall

Corfu town hall San Giacomo
Corfu town hall San Giacomo

In 1663 the construction of the gallery of noble “loggia nobili” was begun, and took almost 30 years to complete.

This beautiful building housed the famous San Giacomo theatre. Later, Nicholaos Mantzaros composer of our national anthem was the director of the orchestra.

Today the building has retained its beauty and has become the home of the Town Hall. It is located at the intersection of Eugene M. Voulgareos and M.Theotoki streets.

5. The Ionian Parliament building

Corfu - Ionian parliament
Corfu – Ionian parliament

At the intersection of Napoleon Zabeli and Moustoxidi streets is the building of the Ionian Parliament.

Here the representatives of the people of the Ionian Islands voted for union with Greece which was eventually ratified by a resolution of the Ionian Isles on 23rd September 1863.

The building was designed by Ioannis Chronis in 1855 in a neoclassical style with a distinctive entrance of Doric columns.

It was restored in 1978 and since then has been the home of the Museum devoted to the struggle of the people of heptanisa (Ionian Islands) for freedom.

We hope that it will be restored to its previous glory and officially become the Ionian Parliament.

6. Ionian Academy

Ionian Academy in Corfu
Ionian Academy in Corfu

The intersection of Akadimias and Kapodistriou streets at Southwest Upper Square of Spianada was one of the entrances to the city during the era of Venetian rule.

There the General Provveditore of the city (as he was called then) Grimani Correr started to build a building to be used as a barracks.

In 1823 following a resolution of the Ionian parliament with the help of Lord Frederick Guilford the Ionian Academy was founded, the first Greek university, which until 1841 was hosted in a government building in the old fortress.

In 1841 the university moved to the former Grimani Correr barracks which from then on was named the Ionian Academy, the schools of philosophy, law, and medicine, and later the polytechnic, obstetrics, and pharmacology were housed there.

In 1865, following the Union of Ionian Islands with Greece, the Greek kingdom immediately rewarded the fervent desire of the Corfiot people for union with Greece by closing our university.

They also removed the electricity factory already operating in Corfu and took all its machinery to Piraeus, leaving Corfu in a state of spiritual and economic stagnation.

The Greek state denied Corfu’s spiritual and cultural leadership by removing a century of progress.

After the university was closed its building housed the Public Library, but during the Second World War, the building was bombed by the Germans in September 1943. It was restored in 1994.

7. Annunziata, a monument of pan-European significance

Corfu Sightseeing - Annunziata in Corfu
Annunziata in Corfu

At the intersection of Evgeniou Voulgareos, Vrahliotis, and Montsenigou streets in Corfu, is the Annunziata, a church devoted to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary as well as to Santa Luccia, it was the Catholic Church of Lontsiada as the Corfiots knew it.

Today, only the characteristic bell tower of Annunziata remains stand, which is a monument of pan-European significance, this is due to its relationship with one of the most important events of world history.

One of the greatest naval battles of all times, the naval battle of Nafpaktos in 1571 among the fleets of the Holy Alliance, ie the fleets of Venice, Spain, Naples, Sicily, Genoa, and Malta against the Ottoman`s (undefeated until then) Turkish fleet.
Annunziata in Corfu

8. The vast Esplanade square and Liston

Esplanade square from google earth
Esplanade square from google earth

The Esplanade is the central square of Corfu and a meeting place for residents and visitors, surrounded by the streets of Iroon Politecniou at the east and north, Eleftherias and Kapodistriou to the West and Akadimias Street in the South, and crossed in the middle by Dousmanis street.

Built in the style of the Royal Gardens of Europe it is the largest square in the Balkans and one of the largest in Europe.

In the square`s bandstand, there are often concerts and other events, especially during the summer.

Cricket matches are also frequently played there.
Cricket is a purely British sport that has been enthusiastically adopted by the Corfiots since the period of English domination of the island.

There are 12 cricket clubs and two other pitches on the island.

Corfu Cricket team is the only cricket team in Greece and so is the Greek National Cricket team also.

To one side of the square is the popular pedestrian area of The Liston with its French architectural buildings (modeled on the Rue de Rivoli in Paris) and numerous cafes.

The construction of The Liston began in 1807 by Napoleon, the sole purpose of the construction of the building was to house the French army.

It was completed in 1814. The buildings were designed by French architect Lesseps and implemented with the assistance of the Greek engineer Ioannis Parmezan.

Corfu Liston is a complex of buildings facing the Esplanade, with arched ground-floor galleries which the locals call “Volta”

The name was given by the word “list” which arrives from the Greek word “lista” that was used for the list of the Nobles (Libro d `Oro) as in the old days only the nobility were able to walk in this part in the city.

Today, the arcades of Liston are the busiest part of Corfu, it is filled with cafes, restaurants, and craft shops in general, and one that is busy all year round.

The walk-in front of Liston`s arches is something that every Corfiot does and taking coffee in one of Liston`s cafes is a daily habit for many Corfiots…
Esplanade and Liston

9. See St. George’s Church inside Old fortress

Church of St George at Old Fortress
Church of St George at Old Fortress

This building is an imitation of an ancient Greek temple and was built by the English between 1815-and 1860 inside the old fortress of Corfu.

It is a Christian church, dedicated to Saint George.

The columns on the front side are of Doric rhythm.

Visiting the courtyard is free anytime, but you can enter only when the temple church is open.

10. The old district of Kampielo

Kampielo is the name of the northern district of the old town.

Almost the most characteristic part of the city in terms of its Venetian character with the very narrow streets called kantounia and the very tall buildings.

Small openings reveal some small squares jumping out between the buildings.

If you sit in the middle of a street and open your arms you will touch the walls of the opposite buildings.

The District exudes an air of other times and is worth getting to know it.

11. Corfiot history is alive at the Casa Parlante Museum

Casa Parlante Museum
Casa Parlante Museum

The Casa Parlante Museum opened in March 2014.

Its name, of course, comes from the strong Italian cultural influence in Corfu.

Located in an old building in the center of the old town of Corfu. It is essentially a copy of the interior of a typical old mansion of the 18th-19th century in Corfu, to represent the daily life of the nobles of the 19th century.

There are moving figures and sounds of that time, to create an authentic and exciting experience.

Casa Parlante has won the Greek Entrepreneurship Award in 2013, under the name “Corfu Living History”.

Sightseeing on the rest of Corfu island

12. Achilleion(Achillion) Palace

Achilles statue in Achilleion
Achilles statue in Achilleion

10 km south of the city and three km north of the village of Benitses on the edge of the village of Gastouri sits the beautiful Achilleion(Achillion) Palace.

It was built by Empress Elizabeth of Austria who became known as the sad queen Sissy.

Elizabeth was the younger daughter of the Duke of Bavaria, and the Emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph, was told by his mother to marry her elder sister, but he fell in love with her instead.

She felt stifled by the very strict protocol, dominating mother-in-law, and the regimented life in Vienna, and appears to have suffered minor breakdowns and depression frequently.

Achilleion Palace

13. Remnants of the Byzantine castle in Gardiki

Remnants of Gardiki fortress Corfu
Remnants of Gardiki fortress Corfu

The castle in Gardiki was built by Angelos Komninos at the same time as Angelokastro.

It is located in the area of Halikounas in southwestern Corfu and is located at a strategic point, from where it controls the western side of the island and is in visual contact with Angelokastro.

Concerts and other events take place in the ruins of the castle, visit it.

14. Vlacherna and Mouse island in Corfu

Mouse Island and Vlacherna monastery
Mouse Island and Vlacherna

Everybody knows the picturesque Mouse island at the entrance of Gulf of Halikiopoulos – it is the trademark of Corfu.

On this tiny islet is the Byzantine Church of Pantokrator surrounded by dense vegetation.

Pontikonisi was named so perhaps because of its shape that resembles a small mouse (mouse is pontiki in Greek).

It used to be inhabited by Pontian monks who lived in the monastery of the Pantocrator, so, another theory says that the name comes from those monks, as a corruption of the word Pontius to Pontikos.

It is easy to visit as from the beach below Kanoni several small boats sail there regularly.

The other small island Vlacherna is joined with Kanoni by a short bridge and took its name from the Virgin of Vlacherna in Constantinople.

Learn how Mouse island took its name, read how Odysseus, yes the man from Homer`s Odyssey, is involved in this matter, see more photos and much more on the page…About Mouse island

15. Kanoni

Corfu Mouse island and Kanoni
Corfu Mouse island and Kanoni

One of the most famous attractions in Corfu, located south of the town in the peninsula next to the airport, is named by a French cannon battery-type which is left there.

From Kanoni there is a fantastic view of the Mouse island and the Monastery of Panagia Vlahernas next to it, also to the airport on the side and Perama and Benitses towards.

Kanoni peninsula

16. Mon Repos Palace

Museum of Paleopolis in Mon Repos Corfu
Museum of Paleopolis in Mon Repos Corfu

This palace was built at the start of the peninsula of Kanoni opposite the ruins of Paleopolis and has well-laid out gardens and spectacular sea views.

After the union with Greece in 1864 was granted to the former royal family and was used as their summer residence.

Today it belongs to the Municipality of Corfu and has been transformed into a museum and a historic place which can be visited by all, It is open on weekdays from 8 am to 7 pm.

Mon Repos

17. The Kaizer`s Bridge

Benitses - Kaizer bridge
Benitses – Kaizer bridge

The Kaizer’s bridge was built at the beginning of the 20th century and was used by Kaiser Wilhelm the second to moor his yacht, and also to go from the Achilleion Palace to the sea and enjoy swimming away from prying eyes.

It lies 2 km north of Benitses and was blown up during World War 2 as the German troops needed to get their tanks through the low arch.

So the Germans destroyed something made by another German.

18. Ruins of Kassiopi fortress

Kassiopi Castle is located on the northeast coast of Corfu above Kassiopi.

It was one of the three castles of the Byzantine period that defended the island before the Venetian era.

There was a defensive triangle, with the cliff at Gardiki guarding the south of the island, Kassiopi to the northeast, and Angelokastro to the northwest.

Its location on the northeast coast of Corfu, which controls the Corfu canal that separates the island from the mainland, therefore it has a significant advantage and increased strategic importance.

Kassiopi fortress is definitely one of the most important defensives remains in the Ionian Islands

19. The Impressive Angelokastro

Angelokastro in Paleokastritsa Corfu
Angelokastro in Paleokastritsa Corfu

This was the westernmost outpost of the Byzantine Empire and the Despotate of Epirus to which Corfu belonged until 1267 AD, it is near the village of Krini north of Paleokastritsa next to a monastery.

Built in the early 12th century AD by the Despot of Epirus Duke Michael-Angelos Komnenos the second, and in its prime, in an emergency, it could protect the entire population of the region, about 4000 people.

Inside the castle, two large water tanks and the churches of the Holy Archangels and Agia Kiriaki are preserved.

The church of the Archangels was built in 1784 on the site of an older church.

Agia Kiriaki was built inside a small cave and has 18th-century paintings.

Angelokastro(Angel`s castle) saw many sieges but never fell except once to the Venetians after a six-month siege in 1386.

In 1537 only 8 soldiers of his guard with the help of the residents were needed in order to repel the attack of Barbarossa.

The Turks tried again and failed to conquer the Castle in 1571.

The villages around got their names from the soldiers who took pieces of land to settle on when they retired.

Examples are: Makris-Makrades, Vistonas-Vistonas, Doukas-Doukades, Aspiotis-Aspiotades, Kavadias-Kavadades etc.

Angelokastro

20. The abandoned Old Peritheaa village

The old ruined school in Peritheea
The old ruined school in Peritheea

This is an abandoned medieval village located just below the majestic peak of Pantocrator on a plateau at an altitude of 400 meters.

The village is visible from nowhere except the top of the mountain and is a typical example of how inhabitants built their villages in the Middle Ages to avoid the attacks and depredations by pirates.

It’s full of old stone houses that reveal a rich past, so it has gained archaeological value and in recent years buildings have been restored.

There are several restaurants offering local specialties and it is full of people especially at the weekend.,

Curious Corfiots and other tourists come to stroll along the narrow streets of the village which is being brought back to life.

21. Monasteries

In Corfu additionally to the many churches there are many famous monasteries also worth visiting.

Monastery of Paleokastritsa

Among the most important monasteries in Corfu, it is on a rock above the sea, one of the most beautiful of monasteries you have ever visited and because of the breathtaking view it provides, but also because of the exhibits there.

Among other exhibits of religious interest, there are the bones of a whale that had washed up dead by sea on the beach below the monastery.

Monastery of Myrtiotissa

It lays between Pelekas and Vatos villages, on a small hill just meters away from the small but famous Mitriotissa beach.

Monastery of Pantokrator-Kamarelas

It is in the village of Nymfes, at Northwest Corfu, with 5 very friendly hospitable nuns always willing to show you around.

Some more interesting sights around the island:

  • Throne of Kaizer

The “Kaiser’s Throne” at the top of the hill above Pelekas village,  is an observatory, a platform hewn from rock, with stunning views, and used at the beginning of the 20th century by Kaiser Wilhelm as a viewpoint over the entire island.

  • Aqualand

A water park with fantastic slides and games for young and older children is in the middle of the island in the so-called Ropa valley at the location of Agios Ioannis and is one of the largest of this kind of parks in Europe.

  • Pantokrator mountain

The highest peak in Corfu, attitude is 1000 meters and if visibility and the weather is good you can see as far as the Italian coasts.

  • Venetian shipyards at Gouvia
Venetian shipyards at Gouvia
Venetian shipyards at Gouvia

The remnants of the Venetian medieval Shipyards

Conclusion

Surely these are some of the most important monuments and sights that exist on the island. There are many more which can be found almost in every village, left behind by the Corfu’s many conquerors.

We wish that you will enjoy all on this list of Corfu sightseeing.

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