This elegant Greek island capital is worth leaving the beach for, finds Laura French.

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Star attraction… Old Fortress

Perched atop a rocky peninsula jutting over the sea, this Byzantine-meets-Venetian fortress offers an intriguing glimpse into the region’s history, with the remains of an old prison and military hospital inside its crumbling walls, alongside a church and museum housing Byzantine sculptures. But it’s the views that really draw people here, with the Old Town’s colourful Venetian architecture set against a backdrop of opal ocean and mountain skyline (entry €6).

Corfu2

We love… The Old Town

Glossy cobbled lanes lined with lemon-yellow architecture and pretty souvenir shops characterise the city’s Old Town, a testament to the island’s 400-year history under Venetian rule. At its heart is the Liston, a 19th-century arcade built by the French and inspired by the Parisian Rue de Rivoli, with cafes, restaurants and shops housed in elegant neoclassical buildings, drawing locals as well as visitors.

“At its heart is the Liston, a 19th-century arcade built by the French and inspired by the Parisian Rue de Rivoli, with cafes, restaurants and shops.”

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Make time for… Palace of St Michael and St George

Built in the early 19th century to house British commissioners and later used as a summer residence by Greek royals, this Regency-style palace is well worth a visit, with the Corfu Museum of Asian Art, two municipal art galleries and a manicured garden among its draws for anyone seeking a peaceful retreat from the buzzier parts of the city (entry €6).

“This Regency-style palace is well worth a visit, with the Corfu Museum of Asian Art, two municipal art galleries and a manicured garden.”

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Eat at… To Alatopipero

Food is at the heart of Corfiot culture and its capital is no exception, with cafes spilling onto alfresco plazas and traditional tavernas lining narrow alleys. For one of the best, try To Alatopipero, set on a cobbled backstreet and serving hearty Greek meze and island specialities such as sofrito (tender, garlic-infused veal) and pastitsada (pasta topped with meat in a cinnamon-infused tomato sauce), along with the type of welcome you’d expect from a long-lost family member.

“Try To Alatopipero, set on a cobbled backstreet and serving hearty Greek meze and island specialities such as sofrito and pastitsada.”

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Stay at… Mayor Mon Repos Palace Art Hotel

Tucked away in a quiet bay a five-minute drive from the Old Town, this adult-only hotel makes for an atmospheric base, with rooms overlooking the Old Fortress and decor incorporating 18th-century antiques from the historic Achillion Palace. There’s an à la carte restaurant, spa and pool as well as beach space, plus live music and other cultural events on certain evenings.
mayormonrepospalace.com

“This adult-only hotel makes for an atmospheric base, with rooms overlooking the Old Fortress and decor incorporating 18th-century antiques.”

Book it

Sunvil offers a twin-centre combining three nights’ B&B at the Mayor Mon Repos Palace Art Hotel with seven nights’ self-catering in an apartment at Kalami Bay (on Corfu’s northeast coast) from £1,097 per person. Price includes transfers and easyJet flights from Gatwick, departing June 4.
sunvil.co.uk


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