50 Fun Facts and Curiosities about the Corfu Island (Greece)

Vista a partir do Palácio da Sissi em Corfu.
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2024-05-23

If you’re considering traveling to the Island of Corfu, Greece, then stick around as I’ve gathered a collection of 50 interesting facts and curiosities about this island in the Ionian Sea.

The idea is to provide a fun list of things that are relevant to those wanting to learn about the history and culture of the region.

These aren’t exactly suggestions of what to see and do, but rather information that typically isn’t found in travel guides and that, I believe, will enrich your stay.

I’ve also included some fun facts because traveling is also about getting to know the places and funny stories of the people who live there.

Furthermore, at the end of this article, I mention some posts to help you organize your trip, including the best places to visit and information about Corfu Airport.

50 Fun Facts and Interesting Tidbits about the Island of Corfu, Greece

Visitar Corfu, na Grécia.
Visiting Corfu, Greece.

1. It is the 7th Largest Greek Island

Corfu is the seventh largest island in Greece, with an area of approximately 592 km².

2. The Island of Corfu was Never Conquered by the Ottoman Turks

Corfu is one of the few Greek islands that was never conquered by the Ottoman Empire, thanks to the fortifications built by the Venetians during centuries of rule.

3. It has a Strong Venetian Heritage

Venetian presence in Corfu lasted for about four centuries (1386-1797), leaving a significant legacy in the island’s architecture, culture, and gastronomy. The Old Town of Corfu, with its narrow streets and historic buildings, is an excellent example of this influence.

4. The British Left Their Mark

After the Venetian rule and before the unification with Greece, Corfu was governed by the British (1815-1864). As a result, many British people moved to this Greek island to enjoy the lower cost of living while taking advantage of the good weather.

5. Cricket Tradition

You may not associate the Island of Corfu with the practice of cricket. However, this is one of the few regions in Greece where cricket is popular! It is a legacy left by the British, and there are several cricket clubs scattered across the island.

6. Franco-Italian Architecture

Foreign influences have not ended yet. Corfu’s architecture also reflects French (1797-1799) and Italian (1941-1943) occupations. The result? A unique blend of architectural styles that enhances Corfu’s charm.

Escadaria no Palácio da Sissi, com pintura de Aquiles vitorioso.
Staircase at the Palace of Sissi, featuring a painting of Victorious Achilles.

7. Achilleion Palace is one of the most visited sites on the island

Achilleion Palace was built by Empress Elisabeth of Austria, also known as Sissi, in 1890, so tourists flock to this palace to see the statues and gardens dedicated to the Greek hero Achilles.

8. Corfu is a Location for Famous Films

Corfu was one of the main filming locations for the James Bond film, “For Your Eyes Only” (1981), with the island featuring in several iconic scenes from the movie.

9. Durrell’s House

Corfu gained literary fame thanks to the books of Gerald Durrell, especially “My Family and Other Animals.” In fact, the house where Durrell lived with his family can still be visited in Kalami. Moreover, there was also a popular TV series.

10. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List

The Old Town of Corfu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, in recognition of its well-preserved architecture and the blend of cultural influences over the centuries. So, when visiting the center of Corfu, don’t forget to admire the beautiful buildings.

Old Corfu.
Old Corfu.

11. Corfu Has Unique Traditional Festivals

During Easter, Corfu has the unique tradition of throwing ceramic pots from windows, a custom known as “Pot Throwing.” This event attracts many visitors and symbolizes the expulsion of evil and renewal. However, when participating in this event, be careful not to get hit by a pot and end up in the hospital.

12. Europe’s Largest Water Park is in Corfu (Aqua Land)

I’m not a fan of water parks, but my kids certainly are! So, if you enjoy spending a day splashing in pools or riding slides, flumes, or water slides, note that Corfu is home to one of Europe’s largest water parks, Aqualand. As you might have guessed, this park is a very popular attraction for families.

13. Classical Music Festival

The Corfu Music Festival, held annually, attracts musicians and classical music lovers from around the world. Therefore, it’s an excellent time to travel to Corfu if you enjoy listening to this type of music.

14. Corfu Wine

Although not well-known, the Island of Corfu produces unique wines, such as Kakotrigis wine, a local grape variety. You also have the opportunity to take tours of the vineyards.

15. Mountains and Trails of Corfu

Mount Pantokrator is the highest point on the island of Corfu. For sports enthusiasts, the Corfu Trail is a long-distance route that crosses the island, perfect for hikers and nature lovers.

16. Corfu Island is Entwined in Greek Mythology

Corfu is mentioned in Greek mythology as the place where the hero Odysseus found refuge and received help from Princess Nausicaa before returning to Ithaca.

O que fazer em Corfu: explorar a antiga fortaleza.
What to Do in Corfu: Explore the Ancient Fortress.

17. Corfu Island has two fortresses: the Old Fortress and the New Fortress.

Corfu boasts not one, but two impressive fortifications: the Old Fortress, built by the Venetians in the 15th century, and the New Fortress, constructed in the 16th century to defend the city against the Ottomans.

18. The Mythical Island of the Phaeacians

According to Greek mythology, Corfu is the island of the Phaeacians, mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, where Odysseus was found by Princess Nausicaa and taken to King Alcinous.

19. The Monument of Menekratis

An ancient tomb dating back to the 7th century BC, located in Garitsa, is one of the oldest pieces of evidence of Greek presence in Corfu.

20. Corfu has a patron saint and his temple is the Church of Saint Spyridon

The most important church in Corfu, dedicated to the island’s patron saint, Saint Spyridon. His relics are kept there, and it is believed that the saint protects the island.

21. The Coffee Culture on the Island of Corfu

Corfu has a strong coffee culture, with numerous charming cafes where locals and tourists gather to socialize and relax, especially at the Liston Promenade. So, take note and stop by there on a late afternoon after the beach.

Descansar à sombra nas praças gregas.
Relaxing in the shade in Greek squares.

22. 3% of the world’s olive oil comes from the Island of Corfu

Corfu is covered by vast olive groves, many of which are centuries old. Olive oil production is a significant part of the local economy; in fact, about 3% of the world’s virgin olive oil is produced on the Island of Corfu.

23. Paleokastritsa Resort

It is one of the most picturesque areas of Corfu, known for its turquoise waters, crystal-clear beaches, and the Paleokastritsa Monastery perched atop a cliff. Absolutely stunning!

24. Canal d’Amour

Located in Sidari, the Canal d’Amour is a famous natural rock formation. Legend has it that couples who swim through it will stay together forever. So, lace up your shoes and take a dip with your significant other.

25. Glyfada Beach

One of Corfu’s most popular beaches, Glyfada is known for its golden sand, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. It’s ideal for young groups looking to have fun!

Fazer compras na Rua Kapodistriou.
Shopping on Kapodistriou Street.

26. Corfu Town Trail

This is a self-guided historical path through the Old Town, where visitors can explore the main points of interest and learn about the city’s history and architecture. Stop by the Tourist Office to request a map and embark on your adventure!

27. Corfu Festival

Held every summer, this festival celebrates music, theater, and dance, attracting artists from around the world. It’s well worth it for its diverse cultural programming!

28. Kerkyra, the Ancient Name of the Island of Corfu

Corfu is also known by its Greek name, Kerkyra, which originates from mythology, deriving from the name of the nymph Korkyra.

Entrada para o antigo castelo.
Entrance to the ancient castle.

29. Arillas Wine Festival

Held annually in the village of Arillas, this festival celebrates local wine production with tastings, music, and traditional dance. Take note, as this event usually takes place on the first Saturday of September.

30. Kassiopi Resort

A popular destination in the northern part of the island, Kassiopi combines paradise beaches with a Byzantine castle and lively nightlife. Indeed, what more could you ask for in a dream vacation?

31. The Blue Cave

The Blue Cave, located in Paleokastritsa, is a spectacular spot to explore by boat, as its deep blue waters and impressive rock formations captivate even the most skeptical visitors.

32. The Phonograph, Gramophone, and Music Museum

A unique museum located in Lefkimmi that showcases phonographs, gramophones, and other ancient musical instruments, illustrating the evolution of recorded music.

33. The Island of Corfu was the birthplace of Prince Philip

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and consort to Queen Elizabeth II, was born on the island of Corfu on June 10, 1921, and passed away in Windsor on April 9, 2021.

Agios Georgios, a Capela de São Jorge na Antiga Fortaleza.
Agios Georgios, the Chapel of Saint George in the Old Fortress.

34. The Capital and the Island Share the Same Name

The capital of the island of Corfu is also called Corfu, or Kerkyra in Greek, reflecting the historical significance of the city.

35. Reunited with Greece in 1864

Corfu was reunited with Greece in 1864, after British rule, as part of the union of the Ionian Islands with modern Greece.

36. Greeks Don’t Call It Corfu

In Greece, Corfu is known as Kerkyra, a name with origins in Greek mythology.

Ilhota entre Corfu e Albânia.
Islet between Corfu and Albania.

37. Corfu Island is Only 3 Kilometers from Albania

The island is located just 3 km off the coast of Albania, making it one of the Greek islands closest to this country. In fact, from the center of Corfu, you can perfectly see the Albanian coast.

38. Aviation Enthusiasts Love Corfu Island

Corfu is a popular destination among plane spotters due to the spectacular approach to Corfu International Airport.

Aeroporto Internacional de Corfu-Ioannis Kapodistrias (CFU).
Corfu Ioannis Kapodistrias International Airport (CFU).

39. Corfu Island has been inhabited for at least 3000 years

Corfu has a history of continuous habitation dating back at least 3000 years, evidenced by numerous archaeological sites. Therefore, it’s a paradise for archaeology enthusiasts.

40. Kumquat is the Typical Fruit of the Island

Kumquat, a small citrus fruit, is the typical product of Corfu, with which they make liqueurs and sweets from this fruit.

41. First Governor of Greece Was Born on the Island of Corfu

Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first governor of the modern Greek state, was born in Corfu in 1776. This is a source of pride for the inhabitants of Corfu Island.

42. Mentioned in a Song by Drake

Rapper Drake mentions Corfu in his song “Diplomatic Immunity,” bringing a modern reference to the island. Bet you didn’t know that!

43. First University in Greece Was Founded Here

The Ionian Academy, the first university of modern Greece, was founded in Corfu in 1824.

44. First Modern Theater and Opera in Greece

The Theater of Saint Giacomo, founded in Corfu, was the first modern theater and opera house in Greece.

Vista a partir do Palácio da Sissi em Corfu.
Exploring Corfu Island, in Greece.

45. The Greenest Greek Island

Corfu is known as the greenest island in Greece because it has vast olive groves and abundant vegetation.

46. Island’s Greatest Catastrophe Occurred in 1718

In 1718, Corfu suffered a major fire that destroyed much of the Old Town.

47. Greece’s Highest Denomination Note is Displayed Here

The Money Museum in Corfu displays the highest denomination note ever issued in Greece, a historical rarity.

48. Pastitsada is the Island of Corfu’s Signature Dish

Honestly, I find it strange that the most popular dish on an island is a meat dish, but that’s the case in Corfu. So, while visiting the island, I recommend trying the traditional Pastitsada, which is a meat stew with tomato sauce and cheese. It’s usually served with pasta.

49. There’s a Word Used Only in Corfu: kandounia

In Corfu, there’s a unique word that reflects the uniqueness and charm of this Greek island: kandounia. This term is used by locals to describe the narrow streets of Corfu’s historic center.

50. Greece’s Largest Square is on the Island of Corfu

That’s right, Espianada, the largest square in Greece, is located on the Island of Corfu. It’s frequented by both locals and tourists and is surrounded by historic buildings. Additionally, Espianada is also the venue for various cultural and social events on the Island of Corfu.

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