This elegant Greek island capital is worth leaving the beach for, finds Laura French
Star attraction… Old Fortress
Perched atop a rocky peninsula jutting into the sea, this Byzantine-meets Venetian fortress offers a 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 are the real draw, with the Old Town’s colourful Venetian architecture set against a backdrop of opal ocean and mountain skyline (entry €6).
CT loves… The Old Town
Glossy cobbled lanes lined with lemon-yellow architecture and pretty souvenir shops sum up 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 Paris’s Rue de Rivoli, with cafes, restaurants and shops housed in elegant neoclassical buildings, drawing locals as well as visitors
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. Home to the Corfu Museum of Asian Art, two art galleries and a manicured lawn, it provides a peaceful retreat from the buzzier parts of the city (entry €6).
Eat at… To Alatopipero
Food is at the heart of Corfiot culture. For one of the best tavernas, try To Alatopipero, which serves island specialities such as sofrito (garlic-infused veal) and pastitsada (pasta and meat in a cinnamon-infused tomato sauce – pictured), along with a warm welcome.
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 Achillion Palace. There’s an à la carte restaurant, spa and pool as well as beach space, plus live music and other cultural events. mayormonrepospalace.com