We had a full day to enjoy Corfu, a Greek island we’ve always wanted to visit! Unfortunately, to reach Corfu’s new port (Neo Limani), we had to hop on a tender. Of course priority was given to passengers who had booked official tours through Costa so we had to wait patiently for non-priority passengers to disembark. This essentially meant we were finally able to get off the cruise an hour later than the VIP passengers, but thankfully Corfu’s sights are centrally located in a relatively compact area. From the new port’s terminal, we walked to the public bus stop where we found out about the all day, unlimited rides bus pass for a mere 5 Euros each. Sign us up! We were dropped off at the square by the New Fortress.
Our first stop was a visit to Áyios Spyrídon (Saint Spyridon) Church, a Greek Orthodox Church in the old town. The bell tower served as a beacon and we easily found our way there. Next up was a brief stop to admire the exterior of the Old Royal Palace of St Michael & St George (today the Museum of Asian Art) on the Esplanade (Spianada). The Esplanade is the large park serving as a buffer between the Old Fortress and Corfu town. Apparently it’s the largest square in Greece! Next up was a visit to the Old Fortress. We had briefly debated which fortress we wanted to visit (old or new) because visiting both would definitely make us all “fortressed” out. The Old Fortress won, simply because we thought the sun was more ideally situated for us to take photos looking back into the Old Town, rather than shooting directly into the sun from the New Fortress. Entrance fee to the Old Fortress was 4 Euros each, and it was well worth it for the views alone. We had to cross a moat to get to the Fortress (it is separated from the rest of the town by moat), and we spent several hours here admiring the vistas, checking out the museum displays and hiking up to the lighthouse. We learned that the Old Fortress was built by the Venetians in 1546 on the site of an earlier Byzantine Castle. Corfu gets its name from the Old Fortresses’ two heights, or korypha (“peaks”). From these peaks, there are phenomenal views looking west over the town of Corfu. This is definitely one of Corfu’s “must see” attractions.
After the Old Fortress, we wandered around Corfu’s old town area, getting lost in the narrow streets while admiring the beautiful Venetian and Italian styled houses. We still had plenty of time to kill before the last tender back to the cruise, so we figured we’d take a quick detour out to see Pontikonisi Church. Taking the bus was pretty easy and we were there in no time. Unfortunately, we visited in the middle of the day, so the light was extremely harsh for photography but we were still quite happy to have made the trip out here. We had packed sandwiches from the cruise, and were eating them by Pontikonisi when a kitten decided to stalk Robby like a dog. Since we all know how much Robby loves cats, his reaction was quite comical. The kitten hopped on his lap, clawed his way up Robby’s leg, hopped in between his legs trying to trip him up, and couldn’t score a piece of salami! Making our way from Pontikonisi back to Corfu Old Town via bus was easy, especially since buses run every 20 minutes. Back in Old Corfu, we found a grocery store for some ice cold beverages which we drank on a bench in the Esplanade while watching a group of Corfu teenagers having a good time.
Since we had to tender back to our cruise, we didn’t wait until the last minute to leave, which was a good thing as the line of passengers waiting for the tenders was long. We definitely enjoyed the island of Corfu and could easily spend more time here.