In the Ionian Sea, Corfu or Kérkyra is the second largest of the Ionian Islands. It is in the Northwest part of Greece and part of the Corfu regional unit which has Ereikoussa, Othoni and Mathraki. From the start of early mythology, its history is bound up in battles and wars. Kérkyra comes from the name of the nymph Korkyra, who was the daughter of Asopus, the river god.
Corfu was involved in the Peloponnesian War, which began with the Battle of Sybota. It strove to become one of the great naval entities, along with Corinth and Athens in the fifth Century BC. Strewn across the island are medieval castles that serve as reminders of its self-defense against pirates in the Middle Ages. Because of Corfu being surrounded by two of these medieval castles, it garnered the name Kastropolis, meaning “castle city”.
There were several onslaughts from the Ottoman Empire, but the island maintained its own independence for several centuries. Later, after the Napoleonic Wars, Corfu was overthrown and came under British rule. Finally, Corfu and several other Greek islands were unified and became part of the Greek State in 1864. Corfu’s oldest area was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2007.
Corfu is on the western edge of Greece in the northern Ionian Sea. The island is Southeast of three other islands, which together make up the Diapontian islands. Paxos and antiPaxos islands are to the south of Corfu.
The island is around seventy-five miles long, with most of its mountains lying on the north side. Its highest elevation is Mount Pantokrator, reaching 2,972 feet high. There are more mountains, although lower in altitude in the middle of the island, with an inactive volcano. The southern side of Corfu has mostly flat lands with some hills around the villages.
Like most of the Greek Islands, the best time to visit is during the summer months. Springtime is beautiful with lots of sunshine, but summer is exceptional with blue skies and bright sunny weather. An occasional frost is possible coming from the Balkan Peninsula, with most Corfu residents never really seeing snow more than two or three times in their entire lives.
The spring temperatures are mild, ranging from the mid forties to the mid fifties. In summer, when it almost never rains, the temperatures can reach into the high eighties. Mediterranean weather patterns prevail in Corfu, making it wet and rainy in the fall and winter months, where the bulk of the rainfall totals around thirty-three inches per year.
Corfu is an island, so there are your typical sunbathing, walking, hiking, swimming and biking activities to enjoy, but it doesn’t disappoint the history buff. Museums, monuments and cultural exhibitions dot the landscape offering a look into Corfu’s past influencers, one of them being the Venetians. Corfu town, is considered a version of Venice without the water.
There are places like the Achilleion palace, the Liston, and Esplanade square where you can see the history mixed with the modernity of the island. There are lush green forests in which to wander and beautiful sandy beaches to walk. For an island, Corfu offers continental size culture, history and beauty.