Fun Facts about Corfu

These fun facts about Corfu include how the island got its name, who wrote the Greek National Anthem, and the eccentric Englishman, the Earl of Guilford.

Raising a toast in Greece with ouzo glassesYammas!

The Name Game

It seems unbelievable but no-one knows for sure where the English name Corfu, or the Greek name for the island, Kerkyra, actually comes from.

‘Corfu’ probably derives from a Greek word, korifai, which means ‘peaks’ and refers to the two rocky hills on which the Old Fortress was built in the 6th century.

Kerkyra is a complete mystery, though. The Greek word kerkos means ‘handle’, and may refer to the shape of the island. Legend also has it that a nymph named either Kerkyra or Korkyra was brought to the island by the sea god Poseidon, and her name was given to the island.

Greek National Anthem

The renowned Greek poet Dionysios Solomos (1798-1857) lived in Corfu Town for much of his life and the house in which he died has been turned into a museum in his honour. Part of his poem, Hymn to Freedom, was set to music as the Greek National Anthem. It was first translated into English by the British author Rudyard Kipling in 1918.

Raising a Glass

When raising a toast on Corfu, like everywhere else in Greece, avoid clinking the bottom of your glass against the other person’s. This is seen as an attempt to put a curse on them! By the way, the Greek version of 'cheers' is 'yammas'.

A Tale of Two Places

As well as being called both Corfu and Kerkyra, the island has also been referred to as Scheria. This is the island Odysseus is washed onto when returning home from Troy to Ithaca, south of Corfu, in Homer’s epic tale, The Odyssey.

Guilford

Near the entrance to the Old Fortress in Corfu Town is a small park that leads round to the Palace of St Michael and St George. Here you will see the statue of a seated man, the 5th Earl of Guilford (1766-1827), an Englishman who lived on Corfu in the early 19th century.

Guilford was an eccentric character who converted to the Greek Orthodox faith, dressed in purple robes, and wore golden laurel wreaths in his hair. He also re-opened the Ionian Academy in Corfu Town, which went on to become modern Greece’s first university. Guilford Street, which runs due south from the Town Hall Square, is named after him.

Where to Stay on Corfu



Other Corfu pages

  • Benitses is a popular resort town south of Corfu Town with its own marina, remains of a Roman Baths, an old town, and plenty of walks inland.

    Benítses

    Benitses is a popular resort town south of Corfu Town with its own marina, remains of a Roman Baths, an old town, and plenty of walks inland.

  • Corfu’s wildlife includes rare and colourful birds, snakes, lizards, fireflies, and insects, with plenty of places to watch the wildlife like lakes and lagoons.

    Corfu Wildlife

    Corfu’s wildlife includes rare and colourful birds, snakes, lizards, fireflies, and insects, with plenty of places to watch the wildlife like lakes and lagoons.

  • The First Corfu Beer Festival took place in Arillas in North West Corfu and celebrated the beer of Bavaria and of Corfu, in the Ionian islands of Greece.

    Corfu Beer Festival

    The First Corfu Beer Festival took place in Arillas in North West Corfu and celebrated the beer of Bavaria and of Corfu, in the Ionian islands of Greece.

  • Mount Pantokrator is the highest mountain on Corfu and it’s easy to drive to the top for spectacular views of Albania, Corfu, and even sometimes to Italy.

    Mount Pantokrátor

    Mount Pantokrator is the highest mountain on Corfu and it’s easy to drive to the top for spectacular views of Albania, Corfu, and even sometimes to Italy.

  • Donna Dailey of Greece Travel Secrets visits Albania by boat from Corfu Town, staying overnight and seeing archaeological sites with Sipa Tours.

    Visiting Albania from Corfu

    Donna Dailey of Greece Travel Secrets visits Albania by boat from Corfu Town, staying overnight and seeing archaeological sites with Sipa Tours.

  • Kalami in north-west Corfu is a hidden gem which many people know about because writer Lawrence Durrell once lived here in The White House.

    Kalámi

    Kalami in north-west Corfu is a hidden gem which many people know about because writer Lawrence Durrell once lived here in The White House.

  • This Mount Pantokrator drive takes you to the top of Corfu’s highest mountain with wonderful views to Albania, mainland Greece, and around Corfu.

    Mount Pantokrator Drive

    This Mount Pantokrator drive takes you to the top of Corfu’s highest mountain with wonderful views to Albania, mainland Greece, and around Corfu.

  • The Achilleion Palace is one of the most visited sights on Corfu and contains a museum and impressive gardens with wonderful views over the coast.

    The Achilleion Palace

    The Achilleion Palace is one of the most visited sights on Corfu and contains a museum and impressive gardens with wonderful views over the coast.

  • The Corfu Trail runs from the southernmost point of Corfu at Cape Asprokavos and winds for 220km (137 miles) to the northernmost point near Andinioti Lagoon.

    The Corfu Trail

    The Corfu Trail runs from the southernmost point of Corfu at Cape Asprokavos and winds for 220km (137 miles) to the northernmost point near Andinioti Lagoon.

  •  Information for travelers on Corfu Food and Drink including restaurants and tavernas, Corfiot specialties, desserts, wine and other Greek drinks like ouzo.

    Corfu Food and Drink

    Information for travelers on Corfu Food and Drink including restaurants and tavernas, Corfiot specialties, desserts, wine and other Greek drinks like ouzo.

  • Kassiopi is a popular tourist resort on the northeast coast of Corfu with a sandy beach, Byzantine fortress, old church, and lots of places to stay and to eat.

    Kassiopi

    Kassiopi is a popular tourist resort on the northeast coast of Corfu with a sandy beach, Byzantine fortress, old church, and lots of places to stay and to eat.

  • Corfu Town’s Old Fortress is the town’s most striking landmark, standing east of the Old Town on top of a rocky promontory.

    Corfu Town’s Old Fortress

    Corfu Town’s Old Fortress is the town’s most striking landmark, standing east of the Old Town on top of a rocky promontory.

  • Corfu’s marine life includes dolphins, loggerhead turtles, and rare Mediterranean monk seals.

    Corfu’s Marine Life

    Corfu’s marine life includes dolphins, loggerhead turtles, and rare Mediterranean monk seals.

  • North-West Corfu’s beaches and villages include busy resorts, quiet beaches, hill villages, and places ideal for watching the sunset,

    North-West Corfu Beaches and Villages

    North-West Corfu’s beaches and villages include busy resorts, quiet beaches, hill villages, and places ideal for watching the sunset,

  • The main two Corfu saints are Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of Corfu who saved the island four times from disaster, and Saint Theodora Augusta.

    Two Corfu Saints

    The main two Corfu saints are Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of Corfu who saved the island four times from disaster, and Saint Theodora Augusta.

  • This guide to southern Corfu’s beaches and villages includes busy resorts, quiet beach, hill villages and the southernmost tip of Corfu at Cape Asprókavos.

    Southern Corfu Beaches and Villages

    This guide to southern Corfu’s beaches and villages includes busy resorts, quiet beach, hill villages and the southernmost tip of Corfu at Cape Asprókavos.

  • Corfu writers and artists inspired by the island include both residents and visitors, like Gerald and Lawrence Durrell, Edward Lear, and Henry Miller.

    Corfu Writers and Artists

    Corfu writers and artists inspired by the island include both residents and visitors, like Gerald and Lawrence Durrell, Edward Lear, and Henry Miller.

  • Angelokastro is a 13th-century hilltop fortress with breath-taking views near Paleokastritsa on the Greek island of Corfu in the Ionian Islands.

    Angelokastro

    Angelokastro is a 13th-century hilltop fortress with breath-taking views near Paleokastritsa on the Greek island of Corfu in the Ionian Islands.

  • Sidari is a popular holiday resort on the north coast of Corfu with beaches and unusual rock formations as well as plenty of places to eat and to stay.

    Sidari

    Sidari is a popular holiday resort on the north coast of Corfu with beaches and unusual rock formations as well as plenty of places to eat and to stay.

  • Southern Corfu has busy beach resorts like Benitses, historical buildings like the Achilleion Palace and Gardiki Castle, and wildlife at the Korision Lagoon.

    Southern Corfu

    Southern Corfu has busy beach resorts like Benitses, historical buildings like the Achilleion Palace and Gardiki Castle, and wildlife at the Korision Lagoon.

  • The Corfu Climate page describes the hours of sun, the rain, the winds, to help you plan the best time to visit this Ionian island.

    Corfu Climate: Sun, Rain, Winds

    The Corfu Climate page describes the hours of sun, the rain, the winds, to help you plan the best time to visit this Ionian island.

  • This drive to Palaiokastritsa starts at Corfu airport and takes you across the Ropa Plan and through hill villages before returning to Corfu Town.

    Drive to Palaiokastrítsa

    This drive to Palaiokastritsa starts at Corfu airport and takes you across the Ropa Plan and through hill villages before returning to Corfu Town.

  • These Corfu shopping tips include advice on buying souvenirs like ceramics, jewelry, gold, silver, wood carvings, and food and drink, with tips on haggling.

    Corfu Shopping Tips

    These Corfu shopping tips include advice on buying souvenirs like ceramics, jewelry, gold, silver, wood carvings, and food and drink, with tips on haggling.

  • Greece Travel Secrets picks where to stay in northern Corfu with budget and luxury hotels in Sidari, Daphnila Bay, Kontokali, Ipsos, Barbati and more.

    Where to Stay in Northern Corfu

    Greece Travel Secrets picks where to stay in northern Corfu with budget and luxury hotels in Sidari, Daphnila Bay, Kontokali, Ipsos, Barbati and more.

  • The best things to do on Corfu include visiting Palaiokastritsa, a day trip to Albania, seeing the Achilleion Palace, and the museums in Corfu Town.

    Best Things to Do on Corfu

    The best things to do on Corfu include visiting Palaiokastritsa, a day trip to Albania, seeing the Achilleion Palace, and the museums in Corfu Town.

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