Ultimate Travel Guide to the Island of Corfu

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The Corfu island is often termed as the best island in the entire Greece for a reason. While it offers a lot in terms of attractions and tourist destinations, a lot of it is still in a purely natural state, which makes it all the more beautiful.

It’s also known as Kerkyra, and located in the Ionian Sea along with the other Ionian islands. We can’t wait to tell you everything there is to know about this nature’s paradise, so let us jump right in.

A Detailed Introduction

The beauty of this island is hard to find anywhere else. From the changing colors of the seas to the dense inland evergreens, everything is so unique about the Corfu. The buildings look like they are changing colors too and look even more beautiful as the sunset approaches.

The beauty of this island is spread across all its parts, so you will always find something that will amaze you no matter where you go. There are also resorts in every part of the island.

However, things become a little different as you go up north, as that part of the island presents you with hills and crags, and a lot of tiny bays that add their own charm to the surroundings. The stretch between Nissaki and Kassiopi is not only pretty long but also very popular, thanks to the discrete, luxurious villas they feature that are owned by wealthy Russians and Brits.

The sandy beaches make for a perfect spot for families on a holiday to the island, well complemented by cheap but cheerful resorts that are available in plenty across the entire coast from the Corfu town.

There’s a lot to see in the island, but its key strategic position that’s conveniently located to the Adriatic Sea stands out with its rich and colorful history. You can find the signs of struggle everywhere of the Ottoman–Venetian wars the island witnessed centuries ago, that are still well alive today in Byzantine fortresses there.

We can go on and on with just the introduction, and we know we have to stop somewhere, so let us move on to the other things you need to know when visiting Corfu.

Corfu Town

The Corfu Town is home to the streets that have become a UNESCO World Heritage, while also being one of the most unique parts of Greece. This town was once known as Kastropolis, which means the city of castles. And this is precisely what this historic city still is, reminding you more of the fortified towns on the Italian and Croatian coasts than anything about the islands of Greece.

The vibe of the town is not very Greece-ish either. In fact, it makes tourists feel like they are in a small cosmopolitan city, than being in the ancient part of a culturally-rich Greece. Some of the popular places here include the Venetian Old Fortress, the Palace of Saint George and Saint Michael, as well as the Spiniada and the French-inspired Liston right next to it.

Staying in the Island

If you think your search doesn’t have to go beyond the Corfu Town when it comes to a place to stay in, you will end up disappointed. It’s not easy to find a good, affordable place to stay in the town, and the big resorts on the outskirts of the town are usually outrageously expensive. The fact that the town is an easy day trip from most resorts in the island makes it a very popular destination for tourists – and coupled with the limited resort options – the prices and availability are often a concern.

However, if you still do have to choose something in the town, Siora Vittoria and Bella Venezia make for some of the better options. But to your surprise, you also have a pretty decent option in Airbnb if these don’t work out for you.

If you’re a fan of beach hotels, some of your options include MarBella, Mayor La Grotta Verde Grande (Agios Gordios), Corfu Imperial Grecotel (Kontokali), and Ikos Dassia.

As you head north of the island though, the scenes will change as the tiny upmarket villages approach, and you will see sights of speedboats as well as the luxurious villas up the hills.

As far as the west is concerned, the Paleokastritsa doesn’t fail to live up to its hype. Some of the popular attractions there include the exceptional coastal beauty, small and uniquely designed resorts, and the Sun Rock in Pelekas that you will find on the way as you climb up the coast. The Lovely Liapades that’s located nearby is not a bad option either for spending some quality time, especially if you’re visiting with your family.

The west is also home to some attractive resort towns of Agios Gordios, Kassiopi and the Paleokastritsa too; they are few of the places that have managed to retain their natural beauty over time and didn’t gave up to the country’s developmental endeavors.

The more affordable yet family-friendly options there include Sidari, Acharavi, Ipsos and Barbati. The latter two are your best bet if you’re looking to stay close to the Corfu Town.

A Look at the Best Beaches of Corfu

If you’re a beach lover, Corfu is where you would want to be than any other place in Greece. There seem to be almost an endless variety of beaches on the island, ranging from the white sandy ones to the ones featuring some of the most bizarre rock formations as well as idyllic coves.

But to get a little specific, here are few of the most popular choices.

Paleokastritsa

As we mentioned above, the Paleokastritsa is one of the most attractive resort towns of Corfu. However, it also has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, with the Agios Spyridon turning out to be the sandiest and the rocky La Grotta being your most unique option.

Liapades and Rovinia

These two pebbly beaches are not far from Paleokastritsa, but visiting them is an amazing experience. There are many more beaches and bays on the area of Paleokastritsa’s coast, but they are kind of hidden and not easy to get to.

Agios Gordios

While the sandiest beach in the island, there’s a lot more than sand here. With a long 2km area that features amazing blue waters and lots and lots of soft sand, the unusually attractive cliffs and breathtaking sunsets make for a complete beach experience.

There’s no shortage of water sports either. However, it can sometimes get too crowded in the peak season, but you do have decent alternatives in Pelekas and Glyfada in that case.

Paradise Beach

The other name for this beach is Chomi. The only way to visit this beach at the south of Liapades is via water taxis, but if you have some time on your hands you would probably thank yourself for getting there.

You would also have the option of visiting the small pebble beach at the Paradise Beach by climbing down the steep white cliffs. You can also head south if you want to visit another similar beach known as Stelari.

Halikounas

If you would like to experience some “raw”, natural beauty, then Halikounas would be right up your alley. It’s a large beach but unorganized and wildly natural.

Loggas

This beach is similar to Halikounas, except that reaching it is a bit of an adventure in itself thanks to the steep steps you have to climb when getting there.

Cape Drastis

The Cape Drastis – also known as Drasti – is located at the northmost point of Corfu. It’s mainly nothing but unique white rocks. You can either take a boat ride from Sidari or even just hike there.

There’s also a small beach there that’s a picturesque relaxing point and a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Porto Timoni

Known by many Greeks as Afionas, the Porto Timoni is one of the more unique beach options you have in Corfu. It’s basically a narrow strip of land, but the two beaches surrounding it offer some great views while also being hikeable from the Agios Georgios bay.

Sidari

This isn’t your typical beach, but it’s a beach resort that features some amazing rock formations of the Canal d’Amour. Tourists love taking pictures and selfies here.

Bataria and Pipitou

If you’re going to visit Kassiopi, these two are going to be your top beach choices.

Things to Do in Corfu

First things first, make a note of the fact that if you’re visiting Corfu on a Monday, you may not be able to visit the religious sites, museums and galleries, as they usually remain shut on Mondays.

With that said, here are some of the most popular things tourists like to do in Corfu Town.

Old Fortress

The Old Fortress is one of the biggest attractions of the town, and it makes you feel like you have entered a completely different, ancient world, while the surrounding waters and the mountains you can see from the fortress offer some of the most breathtaking views you will see on your visit to Greece.

Mon Repos

This is another place with a lot of history to it, particularly that it’s the birthplace of Prince Philip. It’s located on the Corfu Town’s outskirts, and you can also quickly visit the ancient site of Paleopolis once you’re there.

What’s more, there’s an archaeological museum that perfectly complements the overall feel and appeal of this place.

Byzantine Museum

Museums are some of the most popular attractions in the Corfu Town, and the Byzantine Museum ranks among the best ones. It features some of the most ancient religious artwork, but is based in a small church in the town.

Serbian Museum

This museum is dedicated to the 150,000 Serbian troops and refugees that lost their lives during the First World War. There’s also a tiny island called Vido right opposite the Corfu Town, which used to be a hospital and a cemetery in those times.

It’s now a remote island featuring a mausoleum and a taverna and can be reached via a local ferry.

Corfu Museum of Asian Art

It’s one of the most popular and ancient British buildings you will find in the Corfu Town, located in the Palace of Saint George and Saint Michael.

Museum of Banknotes

If you’re into currency stuff, you will love visiting this museum with a lot of interesting things to know and learn about the Greek currency and its history. It’s located near to Liston.

Vlacherna

The tiny monastery of Vlacherna and the small island of Pontikonisi complementing it would pave the way for another super unique experience you will have while in the country. It’s surrounded by beautiful blue waters and you will love spending some time there.

Couples visiting it fancy walking all the way from the Corfu Town to this monastery, which actually only takes about 45 minutes or so. It’s also very close to the Corfu Airport and you can literally see the planes going up and landing down as the sun sets.

Corfu Walking Tours

If you’re looking for a more unique experience, these themed walking tours would give you exactly that, while allowing you to explore the Corfu Town on foot.

Aqualand

If you’re visiting with your family and kids, the Aqualand waterpark right in the middle of the town would be a fascinating experience as well.

Things to Do Outside the Corfu Town

While there’s a lot to do in the Corfu Town like we saw above, there’s a fair few things you can do outside the town as well. Let’s go through them below.

Angelokastro

The Corfu island has no shortage of breathtaking views, and the hilltop Byzantine castle near Paleokastritsa offers some of the best ones.

Monastery of Paleokastritsa

If you’re visiting Angelokastro, there’s no reason to not visit the Monastery of Paleokastritsa. You get to see some amazing views of the village from the top as well as the remains of a large whale.

However, if you’re visiting it in the summer it can get unusually busy especially as there are a lot of tour buses visiting it too.

Kassiopi Castle

This small rocky castle offers some amazing views of the beautiful village it overseas, as well as the abundance of greenery on the other side.

Speedboat Ride

The thrill of exploring the north east coast of the island on a speedboat is hard to beat. You will find jetties at many beaches and even tavernas located in the area.

Scuba Diving

We just talked about the thrill of speedboat rides being hard to beat, but we will probably have to take our words back if you’re into scuba diving. It’s because if you are, then you will have an exciting experience at one of the many dive centers located at the north of the Corfu island.

The Colovri and the Hole of Ha are the most popular options among experience scuba divers.

Boat Trips

It’s hard to beat the scenery you get to see from a boat, making boat trips one of the best ways to experience what the island has to offer. While the mainland honeypot Parga isn’t too far at all, the Ionian islands of Paxi and Antipaxi are pretty near as well.

A day trip to Albania would allow you to get the best of the gorgeous beaches of Ksamil as well, and if you’re willing to spend a bit more, you would also be able to visit Butrint as part of your itinerary, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Road Less Traveled of the Corfu Island

While we covered all the popular attractions above of both the Corfu Town and outside the town of the Corfu island, there’s quite a bit to Corfu that it doesn’t divulge easily.

But if you’re willing to take the road less traveled and experience pure nature less any kind of crowds, there are beautiful Corfiot villages with a lot of life, and quiet, offbeat cultural attractions waiting for you. Read on as we let you in on some secrets about this beautiful island.

The Corfu Trail Hike

Hiking the Corfu Trail is far from easy, especially given that it stretches over almost the entire length of the island itself, which is about 220km. The waymarking isn’t always easy to spot, and the accommodation options are sparse and far between.

That said, it allows you to explore the depth of the island, and get to areas usually not within the reach of most tourists. However, if that’s too much for you, the sections near Koulouri and Paleokastritsa allow for a much shorter hike too.

Corfu’s Secret Islands

While Paxi and Antipaxi are two of the more popular islands you can visit from Corfu, there are some other less popular islands that offer a lot of quiet and unexploited beauty. This is why we call them “secret” islands.

The Diapondia islands definitely stand out from the popular, crowded islands of Greece, and include the Othoni, Erikoussa and Mathraki islands. In fact, if you’re in an adventurous mood, you can also consider visiting some of the many uninhabited islets.

While these islands aren’t very easy to reach all round the year, in summer there are some boats that can take you to these islands from the Corfu Town and even some other popular places like Agios Stefanos and Sidari.

Korission Lagoon

If you love pure nature, you’re going to love the Korission Lagoon. Sailing, horse riding, and birdwatching are some of the things you can do here.

Traditional Villages

If you want to get a feel of the traditional villages and life of Greeks, a visit to the southern inland town of Lefkimmi is a no-brainer for you. The villages located on the hills above the beach – including Lakones, Vatos, Argyrades, Chlomas and Peleas – are going to offer some beautiful sights to those that love to experience traditions and history. The Afionas village has a special charm of its own too.

Venetian Shipyard

Again, if history and ancient sites interest you, visiting the 18th century remains of this shipyard is going to be a mesmerizing experience for you. It’s not too far from the village of Gouvia.

Corfu Donkey Sanctuary

This donkey sanctuary is open throughout the year, and adopts and cares for old, injured and abandoned donkeys that need treatment or a place to live with dignity. The surroundings are beautiful, and spending some time with these donkeys that found a new life is refreshing.

You can also make a donation here.

Traveling To and Around

The Corfu Town is well connected with a fair few transportation options. Let us walk you through them below.

Airport

The Corfu International Airport – as the name suggests – is connected to both domestic and international airports. It’s just 3km from the Corfu Town.

The views that you get when you’re about to land here are hard to describe in words. It’s recommended to book a window seat if you can. However, the airport and the area around it doesn’t have much to offer except overpriced cafes, so you would want to get away from there quick.

Bus

For traveling to and around the Corfu Town, you can take a Line 15 bus. It takes you from the airport to both the bus terminal in the city as well as the main stop at San Rocco Square. Once you’re there, you can catch any of the many city buses to move around in the Corfu Town.

As far as visiting the destinations around the island is concerned, Green Buses are your best bet.

Car

Hiring a car allows you to explore the island better, but you need to note the fact that the roads can be steep with some potholes. There are also many large tour buses coming from the opposite side, so the driving can be a bit difficult.

Ferries

There’s a large ferry ship port in Corfu that connects you to both domestic and international destinations. You can take a ferry to Bari, Brindisi in Italy, as well as reach Sarande in Albania. Sometimes you also have ferries going from Corfu to Ancona and Venice in Italy, and even Durres in Albania.

Coming to the domestic connections, the most popular destinations include the Patras and Igoumenitsa on the Greek mainland. The unique islands of Paxos and Antipaxos are easily reachable as well.

Igoumenitsa is a popular destination and you will also have boats taking you there from Lefkimmi as well. If you want to visit the Diapondia islands, the ferries departing from the Agios Stefanos (NW) are the most popular option.

When it comes to the Ionian islands except the Paxos and Antipaxos, the ferry connections are too infrequent or even nonexistent, and only leave you with the option of visiting them via the mainland.

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