At either end of the town of Corfu, above the bustling, crowded streets packed with shoppers and pilgrims heading to see the relics in the dark and glorious Orthodox churches, are the old and new fortresses.
Although one holds the name ‘new’ this is really just to distinguish it from the other, older, fortress, which holds guard opposite. Both were built during the control of the Venetians, which lasted until 1797 when the French took over. The old fortress is particularly noteworthy for its bastions, which are considered as evidence of military genius (the history of fortifications is fascinating – check out this site).
If you’re ever in Corfu, a visit to these two fortresses is a must. The cost to get into the old fortress is minimal, and the new fortress is completely free. No excuses then!
Even if you are not a fan of history, it is worth making the climb up to the top to get the fantastic views across Corfu. On a clear day, you can also spot Albania and mainland Greece.
The old fortress is a particularly imposing structure, and I rather liked the higgledy-piggledy additions made by later visitors. There is a street that feels as though it has been transported straight from 19th Century London; neat terraced house line the path while empty street lamps stand to attention. The buildings were erected as barracks during British occupation, now they are used as a music school.
We made the mistake of going to visit on the hottest day EVER. Make sure if you do the same, you take a few gallons of water with you. I’d also advise grippy shoes – the path up the old fortress is lined with stones that have been polished smooth by tramping feet. As a result, they are slippery even when dry, so if there is any moisture on the ground, they will be lethal.