Why Kato Korakiana?

Because it’s beautiful, verdant, has lovely beaches, famous sea resorts and culture. Moreover, it’s very close to the Corfu town, hospital, health care center and has lots of things to do  in summer and winter too. It’s a place that offers seclusion but no isolation.

Kato Korakiana is on the north-east side of the island of Corfu. It covers a large area, including Ipsos, Kommeno, Dassia, Agia Eleni, Dafnilla, Analipsi, Tzavros, Gazatika, Agios Vashilios etc.  Its coastline extends from Kommeno to Ipsos and forms lovely picturesque beaches and bays. The center of the area  is Katomeri. Kato Korakiana is named after the nearby mountain  Korakio.

Kato Korakiana in the past

Kato (Lower) Korakiana was first inhabited in the pre-Christian era but the largest part of it was mainly inhabited between 15th and 16th century. Unfortunately, its population had to move to Ano (Upper) Korakiana because of the continuous pirate raids. In 1537 Barbarossa landed an army of 25000, destroyed and enslaved nearly all its population. Once more, in 1716, Kato Korakiana was devastated by the Ottoman army.

The first school in Kato Korakiana was established by the Greek poet Yerasimos Markoras who also became its first teacher. Another Greek lyric poet Lorenzo Mavilli, also lived and wrote here.

British botanist Sydney Merlin chose Dassia in Kato Korakiana to introduce for the first time the “Washington Navel” orange variety which is known in Greece as “Merlin”, as well as the kumquat tree, which only thrives in Corfu and some other Ionian islands. The Corfiots are the only ones in Greece who cultivate the kumquat tree and make the famous kumquat liquor and sweet, one of the specialties of their cuisine. Merlin’s estate still exists in Dassia.

Kato Korakiana’s history is still evident in the remnants of the byzantine port of Ipsos, deserted old houses, medieval buildings, byzantine churches, monasteries and the medieval  Polylas Tower. The tower which is surrounded by magnificent and rare trees was renovated in 1890 after the original Venetian plans and was renamed villa Mibelli. In the 1950s it became Castello Hotel. This beautiful medieval tower has attracted many famous people and royalty such as Emperor Franz Josef, the emperor of Germany Keiser Willelm, Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, the Greek kings George I and II who lived here for years, Lord Carrington, Maria Callas, Aristotle Onassis, Butros Ghali etc. A part of the Castello now operates as a branch of the Greek National Art Gallery and houses several famous Greek paintings.

Other famous landmarks are the Bridge of Oras, the remains of the old knight’s medieval tower of Garoufa in Aghia Eleni which the French and Serbian army used as an observatory, and where Dionyssios Solomos, the National poet of Greece, used to visit in order to relax and write. Very close to Garoufas’ Tower in Agia Eleni is the villa of the world famous Greek singer Nana Mouskouri (one of the top selling female artists of all time).  Last but not least are the Theotokis mansion (ex-Greek prime minister, where many famous personalities have stayed) and the Agios Nikolaos (15th century) church in Dassia.

Another very interesting landmark is the Grava tou Menigou. It’s about a very interesting geological phenomenon, where the water falls into a tunnel and disappears. More than 70 years ago, King George II who loved to walk around in Kato Korakiana, was very interested in this phenomenon and put a large amount of red dyes into the tunnel  to investigate whether the water goes back into another body of water. Some days later, far from Corfu, in the mainland of Greece, Preveza, the villagers were terrified when they discovered “blood” coming out of a spring.

Club Med in Dassia, Kato Korakiana

The Club Med has its own history in Corfu. Club Med is famous for its exotic locations. It’s not surprising that its owners chose the idyllic beachfront of Dassia to open the first famous straw-hut village in 1952. The complex was the first that the Club Med chain opened outside France and one of the first in Greece to open under an international brand name. Modern tourism began with the opening of the Club Med in Corfu, followed by the arrival of the first charters from overseas in 1972.

Club Med is now owned by the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovitch, the owner of Chelsea FC. The business plan provides for an investment of 60 million euros. A grand resort with more than ten villages and two luxury hotels is planned to be build. The aim is to attract not only Russian tycoons but the international jet set also.

Kato Korakiana today

Today Kato Korakiana is a great place for people who love nature, lovely beaches and beautiful cuisine. It just offers everything. There are five luxury hotels in the region (2 Chandris Hotels in Dassia, and the Grecotel Hotels Dafnilla Bay, Eva Palace and Imperial Palace) and many other hotels and apartments, plenty of Greek tavernas or restaurants with international cuisine, water sports, car, bike and bicycle rentals, campsites, horse riding school and all year round  market. Even if you can’t go to Ipsos in the morning to get some fresh fish straight from the boats,  you can buy it from the van that is driving all around Korakiana and sells it.

Have you ever heard of Etrusco? Etrusco in Katomeri, Kato Korakiana, is one of the best restaurants in Greece. It was once included among the top 100 restaurants in the world. It’s owner is Ettore Botrini a Greek-Italian, multi-awarded famous chef.

Kato Korakiana is connected to Corfu Town by  modern air-conditioned green and blue (local) buses (every 10-20 minutes). The local bus leaves from San Rocco in Corfu Town and ends its route in Dassia.  Dassia is the final stop of the local bus. If you’d like to go on on the north side, you have to get the green bus.

Kato Korakiana is a place for everyone. Apart from its amazing natural beauty, the green and the blue of the Ionian sea, it’s a place that blends wonderfully together old with new, past and present, without losing its traditions and cultural heritage. No wonder why so many people (mainly foreigners) choose Kato Korakiana to make it their home and live their dream!