With the passage of time the island may have changed, but we can still feel the spirit of a distant glorious past. Its rich multi-cultural heritage, its historic monuments, its stunning natural landscape, its crystal clear seas, and its excellent weather all year round explain why Corfu is one of the most cosmopolitan Mediterranean destinations weaving a powerful spell on its visitors.
In the beautifully preserved Old Town of Corfu, a UNESCO world heritage site, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical “repertoire” came to be successfully applied to local artistic traditions. Palaces, fortresses, austere public buildings of the Venetian rule uniquely blend with lines of drying washing in tiny alleyways and small secluded squares. Strolling through a complex of narrow cobbled streets with stairways and vaulted passages, the so-called “kantounia”, will make you feel as if you’ve travelled to Genoa or Naples.
Tour 1 : Kanoni - Mon Repos Palace & Corfu Town
By guided air-conditioned coach we depart from Corfu’s Port for Kanoni, a beauty spot situated three kilometers south from Corfu Town center.
Here participants will stop to admire the lovely views and take pictures of the famous Mouse Island & the small islet with the nunnery of The Holy Virgin of Vlacherena.
Afterwards, we continue to Mon Repos where we will walk 7 to 10 minutes to reach the palace. The palace was built by the second British Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, Sir Frederic Adam in 1828 when he married a Corfiot lady Mrs. Palatianou. It was used as the Summer Residence of the High Commissioners, while their official residence was the Palace of St. Michael and St. George in Corfu town itself. It was designed by an English engineer named Harper who was at the time employed by the Corfu technical department. It is a circular building of the English style with a large basement and one floor with wide verandas reached by a wooden staircase. On this first floor were the sleeping quarters and the reception halls. Of course the main beauty of the villa is its setting. It has a garden with trees and other exotic plants brought by lord Adam from England and the Commonwealth. The Empress Elizabeth of Austria accepted the hospitality of the last High Commissioner, Storks in 1861. Many other important personalities stayed in the villa after the Ionian Islands were ceded to Greece in 1864 whereupon it was donated to the Greek Royal family. In fact, the second son of King George I, George II, was born here in 1869. The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, the British Queen’s husband, was born (1921) and baptized here. The Greek Royal family spent their summer holidays at Mon Repos, hosting their guests (Tito of Jugoslavia, Haile Selasie of Ethiopia, Nasser of Egypt etc.), until the last King Constantine, after a referendum in 1974, went into exile in England. Today Mon Repos belongs to the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Corfu Town and the Palace operates as a Neo-Classical Museum and as Archaeological Museum with mainly local findings from ancient Corfu.
After the visit participants will be driven to Corfu Town, which is now a member of the World Heritage List (UNESCO) to enjoy a guided walk around the picturesque ‘kandounia’ (the old narrow Venetian streets).We visit the historical center of Corfu Town and the church of St. Spyridon in which lies the holy body of the patron saint of the island. We walk to the Town Hall, once a Venetian theater and by the arcades of the Liston, built by the French of Napoleon Bonaparte and where once only the elite of Corfu were allowed to meet for drinks. We have a look at the impressive Georgian building, once the palace of the British High Commissioner and later that of the King of Greece, the square where cricket is still played and the majestic Venetian fortress.
There will be free time for shopping and at leisure before returning to the pier.
- Corfu Greece, Corfu, Greece
Tour 2 : Palaces of Corfu
By guided air-conditioned coach we depart from Corfu’s Port for the Achilleion Palace, to visit the museum and gardens. Built 100 years ago, the villa contains mementos of its former owners, the Empress Elisabeth of Austria and Kaiser Wilhelm II. The gardens are adorned with statues including the famous dying Achilles, the Triumphant and the views over the densely wooded countryside are magnificent.
Afterwards, we drive through the coastal road of Perama to Mon Repos where we will walk through the gardens for 7 to 10 minutes to reach the Palace. It was built in 1828 for the second British Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, Sir Frederic Adam, in 1828. It was then utilized as the summer residence of the High Commissioners, while their official residence was the Palace of St. Michael and St. George in Corfu itself. Many other important personalities stayed in the Palace after the Ionian Islands were ceded to Greece after 1864 whereupon it was donated to the Greek Royal family. In fact, the second son of King George I, George II was born here in 1869. In 1900, the wedding of Princess Maria, daughter of King George I and Olga took place here when she married the Archduke Georgio Mihailovic of Russia. The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, the British Queen’s husband, was born (1921) and baptised here. The Greek Royal family spent their summer holidays at Mon Repos, hosting their guests (Tito of Jugoslavia, Haile Selasie of Eithiopia, Nasser of Egypt, etc.) until the last King Constantine, after a referendum in 1974, went into exile in England.
After the visit participants will be driven to Corfu Town, which is now a member of the World Heritage List (UNESCO) for a brief (20 minutes) guided tour. Once the tour has ended we will return to the pier.
- Mon Repos, Dairpfela, Corfu, Greece