Corfu International Airport, otherwise known as the Ioannis Kapodistrias airport (after Ioannis Kapodistrias, first Governor of Greece) serves the islands of Corfu and Pontikonisi. It is half a kilometre north of Pontikonisi, and 3km south of the city of Corfu (also known as Kerkyra) which is the capital city of Corfu island as well as the Ionian island region (one of Greece’s 13 regions). Known as a Kastropolis – or Castle City – because of its 2 castles, Corfu is today one of Greece’s top tourist destinations for its unique history and architecture (unlike the rest of Greece it was never under Ottoman oppression but was instead dominated by the Venetians, French and British at various points in history) and significance to Greece (it was the site where the first Greek University, Philharmonic Orchestra and School of Fine Arts were founded).
Corfu International Airport became operational in 1962, and today offers both domestic and international flights to a great many destinations in the world, the most popular being European cities such as London, Frankfurt and Paris. The airport is considered the gateway to the Ionian islands, and a popular starting point for tourists wanting to explore this particular region of Greece.
To get to Corfu city from Corfu International Airport, one can choose to drive, take a bus or grab a taxi, which can found at ranks outside the airport. With the city centre only 3km away, journeys are short and convenient; even local buses take only about 10 minutes to reach the city. Those opting to drive or take a taxi would be glad to know that the airport is near Route 25, a road that leads directly into Corfu City, making rides there extremely fast and cheap.
Within Corfu itself, transport is also very easy. The best and most convenient way of moving around would be on foot; the city is so small that most popular sights are within walking distance. For those not keen on walking, though, public buses as well as car and motorbike rentals are readily available throughout the city – do note that vehicles cannot access certain areas with narrow streets, though.
What to see and do
If you’re in Corfu, don’t miss the city’s beautifully preserved Old Town, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007. There, you can see Venetian-style architecture in the trademark arches of the old buildings and small sidestreets, reminiscent of when Corfu was under Venetian rule from the 14th century to the 17th. Have a look at the Saint Spyridon church, the final resting place of the Saints Spyridon and Theodora Augusta, and admire old palaces and fortresses as you walk amidst the narrow cobbled streets complete with stairways and vaulted passages.
Another ancient site not be missed is the Spianáda (Esplanade Square), located at the heart of the city. The largest square in the Balkans, the Spianáda sports French architectural works from the 19th century and – with its pretty flowerbeds, fountains and bandstand – is considered one of the most attractive town squares in Greece. Originally meant as a parade ground for the Venetian army, the Spianáda eventually became the site on which all sorts of communal activities were held, from cricket games to musical concerts.
All in all Corfu is a magical town where old and new meet, and one of the rare places where history makes its influence most visible through the lasting marks on a town’s architecture. With its past heavily celebrated in its many museums, old fortresses, castles and walls, you’ll feel like you went back in time in Corfu, to a place where the grandeur and decadence of the past still reigns supreme.
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