The Old Fortress of Corfu: The Old Fortress is one of the most impressive fortification works in Greece. It is the first thing visitors encounter 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), which was also built to protect the town from enemies and pirates.
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The fortifications were constructed over a period of about 15 centuries. During this time frame, three phases stand out regarding the works - the Byzantine, the Early Venetian and the Late Venetian period. It was during the latter that the buildings in front of the fortress were leveled and the marvelous Spianada Square was built.
The town was under Venetian rule until 1797 when Napoleon conquered the Venetian Republic. From 1807 to 1814, the island was ruled by the French. The English succeeded them, remaining in Corfu until 1864 when the island became a part of the Greek state.
This Corfu sightseeing tour offers the perfect way to take in the top attractions. Ride a double-decker bus and hop off and back on at any of the stops on the route. With your headphones you’ll hear about Corfu’s history and the city’s landmarks.
Visit the 13th-century Byzantine monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the beautiful village of Paleokastritsa, and then take a walk along the narrow lanes of Corfu's Old Town on a tour exclusive to your group.
The fortress has undergone numerous alterations from its original form. Modifications to the original Byzantine works were made by the Venetians to defend the area against the attacks of the Turks. The Venetians also attempted to open trenches around the fortress and to make the rocks slippery for climbing to be impossible.
The area is separated from Corfu Town via a fosse called Contrafossa, created to provide more protection to the area. To enter the citadel, one needs to cross a bridge that links the town to the peninsula. Its location is perfect as it allows direct access to the sea and full control of the coastline, while artificial moat and high fortifications make it impossible for any raider to gain access.
Inside the fortress lie various buildings, including a prison, a chapel, two barracks and a former military hospital which is now a music school. In addition, of great significance is the church of St. George, a building reminiscent of an ancient Doric temple decorated with icons from the church of Saint Spyridon.
Near the main gate, guests can find the historical archive that brings together more than 600 years of history and an exhibition space where the Byzantine collection is hosted.
Except for the historical significance it holds, the Old Fortress is the ideal place for any visitor who appreciates a good view, as it offers a splendid vista of Corfu Town and the cerulean Ionian Sea. Finally, various types of events take place in its open spaces.
How to get there
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 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 693 484 3704, or 0030 694 726 6811, or booking your taxi online.
Car rental: Τhere’s the option of renting a car and picking it up directly from the airport, port, or your hotel. Using a rental car allows visitors to discover the Old Fortress and many other points of interest in Corfu at their own pace.
Public transfers: The central bus station of the island is located at Corfu Town. There are bus connections between this bus station and 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 at 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.