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.

Some Cool Corfu Souvenirs

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Paleokastritsa Luggage Tag

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Corfu Cypresses Capri Leggings

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Corfu T-shirt

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Corfu Tote Bag

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'.

Our Pick of Greek Islands Guides

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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.

Other Corfu Pages

  • 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 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.

  • Greece Travel Secrets has its list of favourite places where you can eat in north-west Corfu, including in Paleokastritsa, Pelekas, and Ayios Stefanos.

    Where to Eat in North-West Corfu

    Greece Travel Secrets has its list of favourite places where you can eat in north-west Corfu, including in Paleokastritsa, Pelekas, and Ayios Stefanos.

  • Corfu olives are an important part of this Greek island's economy, with an estimated 3-4 million trees producing olive oil of exceptional quality.

    Corfu Olives

    Corfu olives are an important part of this Greek island's economy, with an estimated 3-4 million trees producing olive oil of exceptional quality.

  • Corfu Town is the capital of Corfu and of the Ionian Islands and has museums, two forts, several museums, churches, and many other attractions.

    Corfu Town

    Corfu Town is the capital of Corfu and of the Ionian Islands and has museums, two forts, several museums, churches, and many other attractions.

  • Corfu’s special cuisine includes dishes like sofrito and pastitsade and the chance to try ginger beer and kumquats.

    Corfu’s Special Cuisine

    Corfu’s special cuisine includes dishes like sofrito and pastitsade and the chance to try ginger beer and kumquats.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • This Southern Corfu drive starts and ends in Moraïtika, taking in hill villages, secluded beaches, lovely views, and a visit to Gardiki Castle.

    Southern Corfu Drive

    This Southern Corfu drive starts and ends in Moraïtika, taking in hill villages, secluded beaches, lovely views, and a visit to Gardiki Castle.

  • This Lawrence Durrell walk takes you from Kaminaki Beach in northern Corfu to the White House in Kalami where the writer Lawrence Durrell lived for four year.

    A Lawrence Durrell Walk

    This Lawrence Durrell walk takes you from Kaminaki Beach in northern Corfu to the White House in Kalami where the writer Lawrence Durrell lived for four year.

  • 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.

  • The Korission Lagoon on the west coast of Corfu is also called Lake Korission and has abundant wildlife, especially birds, and one of the best beaches on Corfu.

    Korission Lagoon

    The Korission Lagoon on the west coast of Corfu is also called Lake Korission and has abundant wildlife, especially birds, and one of the best beaches on Corfu.

  • 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.

  • Northern Corfu is the most diverse part of the island, with Corfu's highest point, Mt Pantokrator, and beach resorts like Sidari and Palaiokastritsa.

    Northern Corfu

    Northern Corfu is the most diverse part of the island, with Corfu's highest point, Mt Pantokrator, and beach resorts like Sidari and Palaiokastritsa.

  • 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.

  • There are three islands off the northwest coast of Corfu, Erikouusa, Othoni and Mathraki, popular with day-trippers from resorts like Sidari.

    Corfu Offshore Islands

    There are three islands off the northwest coast of Corfu, Erikouusa, Othoni and Mathraki, popular with day-trippers from resorts like Sidari.

  • 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.

  •  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.

  • 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.

  • Information for travellers to Greece on Corfu festivals and events including Easter, the Feast of St Spiridhon, Carnival and Name Days.

    Corfu Festivals and Events

    Information for travellers to Greece on Corfu festivals and events including Easter, the Feast of St Spiridhon, Carnival and Name Days.

  • Corfu or Kerkyra is the main island in the Greek Ionian islands with Corfu Town being one of the most attractive of Greek island capitals.

    Corfu

    Corfu or Kerkyra is the main island in the Greek Ionian islands with Corfu Town being one of the most attractive of Greek island capitals.

  • 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.

  • This is the Greece Travel Secrets selection of where to eat in northern Corfu, from classy restaurants and traditional tavernas to beachside fish tavernas.

    Where to Eat in Northern Corfu

    This is the Greece Travel Secrets selection of where to eat in northern Corfu, from classy restaurants and traditional tavernas to beachside fish tavernas.

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