Get prepared for a lifetime experience in the island of Corfu!
The capital of the Ionian islands, the Lady of the Ionian sea, the Emerald island. All of these describe the same place; the enchanting city of Corfu town. A place steeped in history that exudes mystery, a place that hides rustic, urban treasures everywhere you turn. If you haven’t yet visited Corfu town, then here are the top experiences to be had in a… week, that will fill your mind with images to cherish for a lifetime.
Settle in and enjoy the ambiance of our discretely luxurious surroundings. Our adults only, Mayor Mon Repos Palace “Art Hotel” is located in a prime location just outside the famously protruding old town of Corfu. Due to this superb location, lovely sea views are generously offered not only from the balconies and terraces of our rooms and suites, but from various points on the ground level as well. With elegantly white and welcoming exteriors, the interiors have been designed in a colonial theme paired up with minimal grandeur that incorporate intricate wooden surfaces and 18th century antiques, taking you on a journey through time. On day one, check in to your room, and unwind with some sparkling wine and fruit, and settle into our welcoming surroundings. Feel at home away from home, and for your first taste at Corfiot cuisine, then simply go downstairs for a sensational buffet dinner at our Main restaurant or try our a la carte menu, filled with all the local scents, flavours and treats Corfu is known for.
Begin your day the proper way, by digging into our energy packed, wholesome buffet breakfast prepared fresh daily, with an array of sweet and savoury options. Once you’re set, you can begin to explore the close-by landmarks accessed by foot, from Mon Repos Hotel. A relaxed, leisurely northbound stroll towards the Old Town of Corfu will help you get your bearings, and enjoy the scenic sea views of the promenade as you make your way to the old Venetian fortress. An architectural marvel, it offers brilliant 360 degree views and in doing so justifies its purpose as an impressive military stronghold. The Venetians essentially built on the earlier Byzantine era fortifications, redesigning it to a proper citadel with bastions and a moat between 1545 and 1555, transforming the fortress into an island. Now it is accessed via a drawbridge, and visitors can feel the strong presence of the past come alive in the present. Next, you can continue your stroll around the immediate areas of Liston and the Spianada or Esplanade, two wonderfully relaxed areas which are ideal for people watching and for admiring the green fields of the large park. Visit the New Fortress after that, built between 1576 - 1645. Although it comes second best to the old one in terms of charm, nevertheless, it still boasts great views of Corfu too, from a different vantage point albeit, making it definitely worth a visit.
Let’s go south of our hotel today, and towards Paleopolis and its ancient ruins site. Paleopolis, means old city, and is essentially an ancient site surrounded by ancient walls, almost preserving the confines of Corfu’s oldest dating settlement. Sources reveal that the oldest Agora, or market was probably located there, as well as many sanctuaries, workshops, residences and consuls. Saunter around the ancient ruins of temples and monuments, pass by the remnants of old pillars and ancient columns and feel the sense of awe take over you! If you want to get to grips with the ancient history of Paleopolis, you can visit the archaeological museum that houses all the ancient artefacts and you will be able to experience another landmark at the same time: Mon Repos Palace. The Palace was built in 1828 and intended as a summer residence for the Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian islands at the time, Sir Frederic Adam, although it was only used for a couple of years for that purpose before playing host to many different occasions and royal guests. The gardens of Mon Repos Palace are also home to the 7th-4th century Heraeum (temple dedicated to Ancient goddess Hera), so a walk around the exteriors of Mon Repos will also lead you to another, less expected journey back in time.
Need a break from filling your mind with even more images of stunning structures and impressive remnants of history? Corfu also has a very relaxed and calming side, that entails relaxing on the beach at the side of our hotel or at our fountain pool. Never underestimate the power of Vitamin D and so don’t be reluctant to soak in the Greek sun rays (of course, always responsibly with appropriate sunscreen for your skin type). Since swimming will tend to work up an appetite in you, try our snacks and light lunch options at the Passagio Bistrot, All day Cafe bar or quench your thirst with a freshly squeezed smoothie or take the edge off with a zingy cocktail. For continuing at the same leisurely pace, you can venture out into the town centre for a lovely afternoon walk and sample the local goods at the local shops and market. Explore local delicacies, and buy souvenirs for your loved ones back home. Whilst out, you can also have some dinner and later go for a drink, or you can return to base after your stroll, and combine dinner at Mayor Mon Repos with the occasional live music event (please ask for the full program) and combine a nightcap at the comfort of your balcony or terrace, in absolute privacy.
Another fantastic day awaits for you to seize it! Exploring slightly farther than Day 3, we head towards Paleopolis but continue on, towards the Pontikonisi and Kanoni area. The Mouse island, as it is called in Greek, does not in fact resemble a mouse rather it is named like that due to its miniscule size. Mythological legend has it that Poseidon turned Ulysses’ ship to stone where the island now stands. In either case, it is definitely worth taking a boat ride up to its shore and visit the Byzantine chapel of Pantokrator dating back to the 12th century as the cute and quaint little island provides for beautiful scenic views. The greater Kanoni area boasts perhaps the most well known landmark of Corfu: the striking Panagia Vlacherna monastery. POssibly the most photographed spot on the island too, don’t miss a chance to see this 17th century church, nunnery and cemetery. Achilleion Palace, Austrian Princess Sisi’s summer residence, is also not far from Kanoni, located in Gastouri around another 20 to 25 mins away.
Vacations are not just about exploring and inundating your mind with new images until it reaches full capacity! Vacations are about finding that subtle balance between stimuli and relaxants. Corfu has the perfect blend of both, with each guests being able to make their independent choices about how to spend the day. Do you want it to be a lazy, leisurely one strolling around the centre? A history packed day full of landmarks and sites? A quiet day admiring art, or a relaxed day full of pampering and spa services? Take your pick. Since the last 5 days were full of exciting visuals,why not devote one day to being pampered. Allow our trained therapists to work their spa magic and give you a deeply relaxing massage with a discount if you pre-book! Our gift to you is a free 15 minutes massage to give you an idea of how to unwind, and you can then select your desired treatment from a comprehensive list of therapies. Feel what it’s like to completely de-stress and be rejuvenated under the attention of our professionals.
Day 7 + :
And you still haven’t seen half of Corfu town yet! There are at least a dozen more museums to check out, the most interesting of which: Asian Art in the Palace of At. Michael & St. George, and the Solomos museum (Greece’s national poet), the Byzantine museum and the archaeological museums all in Corfu town. There are also some striking mansions with beautiful courtyards to be discovered, hidden all around the streets of the town, revealing themselves as you walk past. Corfu town is also the starting point for many interesting excursions to other locations in Corfu that are worth visiting. There are over 300 gorgeous beaches from which you can pick your favourite, plus the enchanting and almost tropical islets of Paxos and Antipaxos which can only be accessed by boat hire are simply magical.