Corfu, Greece by Cruise Ship
Corfu was our first stop in Greece. It greeted us with a beautiful city ripe for walking around and exploring. Our MSC cruise was in Corfu from 2pm to 8pm. The late arrival did not take advantage of our kids’ best hours, but we made it work by exploring on our own and arriving back on the ship in time for dinner and a normal bed time. There is no need to book a shore excursion here as the town offers plenty on its own.
My parents opted for the “Best of Corfu” bus tour offered through MSC. They certainly covered the most ground using this tour and got plenty of information. Meanwhile we wandered, somewhat aimlessly around Corfu finding kid-friendly places to explore.
The boat docked relatively close to the city. There is a free bus run by the port authority from the cruise ship to the Port Authority building. We could have easily walked. After exiting the port building we hopped on the city bus and paid our €1.20 to get into the city (pay the driver). We should have just walked. The bus took us a few kilometers and then dropped us off in a parking lot. This was a bit unexpected.
There was a big playground there though so we let the kids run around while we got our bearings. From the playground the New Fortress was visible up on the hill. The New Fortress was closed to visitors on the day we arrived. We were able to peek in the gate at the current military facility, but we were not able to enter.
When the kids were a bit tired out we headed by foot into the old town city center. There is a cute downtown with streets that were all lit up for Christmas. Lots of touristy shops. We poked into Saint Spyridon church. Despite confusing signage we found the Corfu Banknotes Museum open. It is free and it felt like we were the only visitors to pop in, despite the ship being in port. The docent in the museum went out of his way to explain Greek history through the lens of paper money. It was fascinating and well worth our visit.
From Old Town it’s a quick walk to the Old Fortress. We walked along the shoreline which provided us with stunning views of the fort and coastline.
We also found another lovely little playground in the park adjacent to the Old Fortress. The park also had a koi pond and a series of statues with manicured gardens. It was a bit breezy, but still lovely. I’m sure in the summer it’s crowded and likely has ice cream vendors galore.
You cross over a bridge to the Old Fortress. Entrance to the fort is free. It is now home to things like the Corfu Public Library (in the old British Barracks) and plays hosts to Corfu’s cultural events.
The boys found plenty to explore here. The Middle Little set to work “fixing” the walls. He found small stones and tried to plug holes wherever he found them.
The Big Little set to “restoring” statues and other missing artifacts by pretending to be these missing objects.
The Little Little just enjoyed the ride! The Church of St. George looms in the background here. It looks like it is from ancient Greece but is in fact a more modern building built by the British. (Those tricksters!)
The views from here really are stunning. They capture the essence of Greece as a country that loves and lives by the water.
We opted to walk back to the boat a different way. This led us down this twisting narrow road with wide steps running adjacent to terraces. It is precisely what you think of when you think of Greece and was my favorite part of the visit to Corfu.
Like so much of Europe I’m always taken by the beauty of the old buildings. There are plenty in this city to pique your curiosity.
We opted to walk all the way back to the boat. The walk took us down the dock line which ranged from more established harbor to local boats and boat remnants. It was a lovely walk and we enjoyed seeing boats moving in and out of the port.
We headed back to the boat before our 6:30pm dinner, despite the boat being in dock till 8pm. There seemed to be quite a few little restaurants perfect for grabbing a meal or drink before boarding the boat, but we preferred the ease of child care and dinner on board.
At the end of the day Corfu was a perfect cruise stop. There was plenty to do and explore to fill our time, but we wouldn’t have wanted to be there much longer than our boat was docked there.