MUSEUMS & CHURCHES
Corfu Town unsurprisingly has the largest selection. The Archaeological Museum is currently closed for renovations, but a visit to the icon museum in a church set on the sea front facing the islet of Vidos is extremely rewarding.
The Palace of St Michael and St George houses a permanent Sino-Japanese exhibition, but also has interesting guest exhibitions.
In St Spyridon’s Square is the banknote exhibition and just outside the town on the Canoni peninsula the palace of Mon Repos, where Prince Philip was born, is well worth visiting. Stroll through the extensive gardens to the ruined Greek temple excavated here and then wander around the surrounding area, which is studded with archaeological sites, including the 2500 year old harbour wall- now facing the departures terminal at the airport!
In the country there are a number of interesting village museums, showing life in the not so distant past, particularly good ones are at Sinarades and Acharavi. There is also a museum celebrating the life of the statesman Ioannis Kapodistrias at his summer home, Koukouritsa, near Corfu Town.
Driving south, the olive press at Vranganiotika is open all summer for visitors to learn how olives are pressed.
In the middle of Corfu the Theotoki wine estate has wine tastings (and is a fascinating glimpse into a feudal way of life which has almost disappeared), (www.theotoky.com), and Ambelonas winery (relcorfu.com/ambelonas) advertises their products, restaurant, and also concerts and other events which are hosted there.
The Shell Museum in Benitses displays an impressive collection, brought together by the museum’s owner during years of world travel.
The church of the island’s patron saint St Spyridon is of course a must- although unlike Margo in ‘My Family and Other Animals’ you may not feel compelled to kiss the saint’s slippers!
Pop into some of the other churches in Corfu Town for surprises like the marble rood screen in St Antony’s (behind the old port), the rood screen was bound for Italy but was shipwrecked on Corfu and stayed there.
In Garitsa a short stroll following the Byzantine Trail leads to the spectacular church of Saints Jason and Sosipatros, the two saints who converted Corfu. The church is the only one of Byzantine style to survive on the island and its walls are beautifully frescoed. If it is locked the keeper is usually working in his orchard next door and will happily open up for you.
Not exactly a church but the British cemetery is a delight, especially in Spring. Its caretaker was actually born there and loves showing his ‘home’ to visitors. It is full of wild orchids and tortoises amble around the grassy aisles between the graves. Other rare plants and shrubs also flourish in this peaceful haven in the midst of Corfu Town. Many of the graves date back to the British Protectorate but there is also a naval section, following the ‘Corfu Channel Incident’ which happened just after the 2nd World War when Albania mined the channel and blew up British ships, killing 44 sailors.