The Old Fortress of Corfu Ionian: The Old Fortress of Corfu is one of the most impressive fortifications works in Europe. It is the first thing to see as the ferry approaches Corfu. It stands on the eastern side of the town, on a rocky peninsula that gets into the sea. This fortress is called Old in contrast to the New Fortress (of Saint Mark), that was also built to protect the town from enemies and pirates.
This fortress was constructed by the Venetians in the 15th century on the site of a former Byzantine castle. To make it more secure, they made an artificial fosse and thus they separated the fortress from the mainland. The fortress was connected to the land by a movable, wooden bridge. In 1819, the British replaced this bridge with the present stable pathway, which is 60 m long and stands 15 m above the fosse, locally known as contafossa.
The entrance to the fortress is available through Spianada, the famous square of Corfu, which is, in fact, the second largest square in Europe. The entrance is arched and has a Venetian symbol above it, carved in marble. After the entrance, there are two rooms on both sides that now host the Byzantine Collection of Corfu and a gift shop. A few steps away, there is another fosse of 22m, arid today, that was used as an additional protection measure.
After the entrance, on the right, there is the small chapel of Madonna del Carmine, where the sentenced to death were transferred in chains. The huge building in front was constructed by the British in the 18th century to host the barracks, but now it houses the Public Library of Corfu, which hosts rare manuscripts and editions.
Two stone stairs lead to a high spot, where there is a beautiful polygonal well of 1732. The highest point of the fortress needs about 20 minutes walking up to a tall clock tower. Historians believe that there used to be an ancient temple there. Also, some accounts of the Medieval times inform us that this peak, named Citadella, was inhabited and had some houses, churches, water cisterns and storehouses for gunpowder.
In fact, in 1499, 1800 people were living in Citadella. Unfortunately, an explosion in 1718 destroyed a large part of it and the church of Agioi Apostoli. The view from there is incredible, as you can see the whole town and the immense Ionian Sea in front of you.
On the eastern side of the fortress, there is a flatland, used today for cultural events in summer. In this flat square, there is the church of Saint George, built by the Venetians as an ancient temple. This is actually the only church in Greece that has been constructed according to the Doric style. Above this square, there is a cafeteria. For more than four centuries, this fortress had been the symbol of the Venetian occupation in the Ionian islands and today it is one of the most impressive sights on Corfu.
Discover Corfu Town with a tour
Discover some of the most popular tours of Corfu Town:
See the UNESCO World Heritage sights of Corfu on a tour of the Old Town. Visit the 19th-century Achilleion Palace, built for the Empress of Austria, Elisabeth of Bavaria. Get great views of Mouse Island and the Church of Panagia Vlacherna from Kanoni.
Get to know Corfu Town on a walking tour with an English-speaking guide. Stroll the charming alleyways and interact with the locals as you stop to taste their food. End with a seated lunch of 2 typical dishes from Corfu at a restaurant.
The Old Fortress is located in Corfu Town just a 15-minute walk away from the central bus station and a 20-minute walk from a parking lot.
Private transfers: We recommend using an online pre-booked Corfu transfer service, which provides transfer by taxi, minibus or private VIP car and arranging a pickup directly from the airport, port or your hotel. Alternatively, there’s the option of arranging a pickup by a local driver directly at the following numbers: 0030 26610 39911, 0030 694 5452 338, 0030 697 3372 289 or book your taxi online.
Car rental: Τhere’s the option of renting a car in Corfu with as little as 12 euros per day and pick it up directly from the airport, port or your hotel. Using a car rental allows visitors to discover the Old Fortress and many other places of interest in Corfu at their own pace.
By Public transfers: The central bus station of the island is located at Corfu Town. There are bus connections between this bus station and the most areas of the island. Consider that time schedules might change according to the season. Check the official timetables here. Tip: Since buses don’t always stop in every scheduled stop of their itinerary, our advice to visitors is to inform the driver about their final destination, so that he makes a stop there.
✔ How to organize your holidays in Corfu
Ferry to Corfu : Book your ferry to Corfu from Patra, Igoumenitsa and Italy. Hotels: Discover our selection with the best hotels and accommodation in Corfu. Tours and Activities: Explore Corfu with some amazing tours and activities. Sports Activities: Discover sports activities in Corfu. Car rentals: Discover the region on your own by booking your car. Tailor-made trip: Do you want to customize your trip according to your needs? Contact us!