Corfu island – epitomizes the Magic of the Greek Isles
The reason Corfu is one of the most beautiful islands in Greece is that it one of the greenest, with dense vegetation. The island is located in the Ionian island group, west of the Greek mainland.
Despite the island attracting a lot of visitors, it has retained its wild beauty, making it perfect for hikes along narrow mountain paths and trails. On these walks, you’ll experience the wondrous nature of the island as well as tiny villages, monasteries, monuments and splendid views of the Ionian Sea. The trails are marked by yellow signs and the walks are most times suitable for kids as well.
Corfu Island: Just so Much Variety
Much of Corfu is mountainous. In fact, it was during the Middle Ages that the island had the name Corypho which actually means ‘Place with peaks’. It is thought to have been named after the two peaks of the island’s highest mountain Pantokrator. Most places on the island are visible from the mountain peak.
The beauty of the island isn’t confined to just one part of the island either, and magnificent resorts are spread around the island. If you had to choose, you might opt for the north of the island as it is more hilly and there are lots of beautiful little bays.
You’ll be amazed at the crystal clear water and coves. The island has some 217 kilometers of coast, but if you’re not a beach lover, the interior has plenty to offer as well.
A Mix of Sightseeing, Nightlife and Shopping
If you want a taste of what Corfu is all about, there are many half- and full-day tours for those who want a taste of the place. Corfu is always a popular destination and you can also hire a minibus with driver and enjoy a magical day of sightseeing. A trip like this could include Aqualand, Achilleion Palace, the view of Mouse Island or the must-see monastery at Paleokastritsa, set on a hill about the beach.
A trip to the old town to explore the fortress and do some shopping has to be on your to-do list as well. Speaking of shopping, for those who want to make waves in Corfu and don’t mind bending their bank balances, there is a never-ending list of must-see and must-do activities.
Best Time to Visit Corfu
The beauty of visiting the Greek isles is that they are pretty much all-year-around holiday destinations. However, it also depends on what experience you’re looking for.
The climate on Corfu is generally mild with hot and dry Summers and mild winters. The winter may appeal to those who want to avoid the crowds as this is when the island is extremely quiet. Many of the restaurants and hotels actually close.
January is the coldest month on the island and July and August are the hottest months with temperatures being capable of soaring to 35°C(95°F), with some days becoming even hotter. With such high temperatures, you’ll want to be on the beach, but you’ll be sharing the sand with plenty of other beach visitors as July and August are the island’s peak tourist times.
Everything is expensive in Corfu over this peak holiday time. If you visit out of these peak times you can cut down a great deal on your flight and accommodation costs.
How to get to Corfu
It is one of the easiest islands to visit from the UK, with direct flights from many of the airports and all flying to Corfu International Airport. Incidentally, the Kanoni area offers excellent views of the airport and it can be quite entertaining watching the planes taking off and landing.
There are flights every day and all year from Athens to the airport at Corfu. During the island’s high season, there are also charter flights available from all over Europe.
Book you taxi in advance
Private airport pickup can be pre-arranged and this will save you all the hassle. You can Book Your Corfu Airport Taxi – to get you directly from the airport straight to your hotel and they usually have the same price of a taxi or a little bit more. The best thing is that even if your flight is delayed, you’ll have no problem as the driver will be monitoring the flight anyway. You will be met by the driver holding a name sign as soon as you come out at the arrivals with a bottle of water and city map.
To get you into the holiday mood, you can catch one of the open ferries or hydrofoils from various ports such as from Paxi, Brindisi, Trieste, Patras or Igoumenitsa.
Getting Around the Island
- If you’re a fitness fanatic, you may want to rent a bike on the island as it’s a great, affordable way to see Corfu. There are quite a few bicycle rentals but the one which comes to mind is Corfu Cycles.
You can rent one of their bikes or even join one of their cycling tours. When you hire a bike from them you get helmet, lock, repair kit, bottle holder and a safety vest plus roadside assistance which is included in the price. They will also deliver and pick up your bike if needed.
- Buses are another way to get around. The main bus terminal in Corfu is San Rocco Square. The green buses are long-distance and the blue buses are short-distance. Local blue buses depart from the local bus station in Corfu Old Town. Ticket prices are according to the journey length. Tickets can be bought on the bus. You’ll notice that bus services are somewhat reduced over the weekend.
There is also a Day Ticket which costs roughly 5,50 € and which is valid for a day, offering unlimited rides for all destinations.
- Car- and scooter rentals are also available. To hire these transport-modes, you have to be 21 years of age. Both cars and bikes can be delivered to where you are staying.
Shopping in Corfu:
Shops open for business between 8-9 am to 2:30 pm. They close for siesta time, opening doors again at 5:30 pm until 8:30 – 9:00pm. Most shops are closed on Sunday.
Main town in Corfu:
Corfu Town is the capital of the Greek island of Corfu. The Old Town of Corfu city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is absolutely beautiful and you’ll love the Venetian architecture found alongside the quaint, winding cobblestone streets. Here are some of the highlights which you should definitely put on your list of places to see:
St. Spyridon Church
The Saint Spyridon Church is one of the most important landmarks on Corfu. Dedicated to the patron saint of the island, Saint Spyridon, it was built in the 1580s and houses his relics. The beautiful single-nave basilica with its imposing bell tower is visible from various parts of Corfu Old Town.
The Old Fortress of Corfu
This imposing Venetian fortress is hard to miss. As it dominates the front part of the Corfu Old Town, this massive fortification plays a crucial role in the history of Corfu.
The entrance to the Old Fortress is located just a short walk from Liston Square and to reach the grounds you must cross a small wooden bridge. From here you can enjoy wonderful views of Corfu’s Old Town. There is also a fabulous lighthouse known as the Sea-Town which offers spectacular views.
This large square in front of the Corfu Old Town set across from the Old Fortress, is one of the largest squares in Greece. Liston which was build by the French is part of the Spianada square and houses numerous cafes and bars.
Cricket matches used to be played on the Esplanade, the only place in Greece where this sport was played.
Museum of Asian Art
Located right in the heart of Corfu’s Old Town inside the Palace of St. Michael and St. George it is the only museum in Greece which is dedicated to the art of Asia and features a remarkable collection of Chinese, Japanese and India art among others. In the summer there are several concerts taking place at the outdoor premises of the museum.
The New Fortress of Corfu
The New Fortress is a Venetian fortification built on the hill of St. Mark in Corfu in several stages.The original structure was completed in the 16th century by a military engineer Ferrante Vitelli and is located across from the Old Fortress. What is visible today inside the fortress are works which were built by the British during their ruling in Corfu.
Mon Repos Palace
A neoclassical building set at the east side of Paleopolis, which was Corfu’s ancient city. It was built in 1830 by the British Commissioner Sir Frederick Adam right at the beginning of the Kanoni peninsula opposite the ruins of Paleopolis. It is not as glorious as the Achilleion palace yet it overs spectacular sea views extending all the way to the eastern coast of Corfu island.
Nightlife in Corfu:
Corfu is one of the most cosmopolitan of the Greek Islands with a vibrant nightlife. The island is geared towards tourism and it presents its visitors and locals with an excellent line-up of trendy restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Most of the pubs and bars open early in the morning and remain so past midnight into the early hours of the morning. The nightlife is offered at lots of different venues, from restaurants to disco clubs to lap dance clubs and pool halls.
The most popular night-life destinations are Kavos, Ipsos, Sidari, Dassia, Glyfada and Paleokastritsa. If loud music, dancing and exotic cocktails are your thing, then Corfu won’t disappoint.
Fun & Unique Things to Do in Corfu
Governor Olive Oil
The Dafnis family has revived the olive oil production on Corfu. The family olive grove is located in Agios Mathaios, where three generations have been cultivating the aged Lianolia variety olive trees in the family grove. Producing a high quality, award winning olive oil, the Governor has quickly gained world recognition as one of the premium olive oil brands in the world.
The passion for what they do is evident from the moment you step foot on their family olive grove, and when meeting the Dafnis brothers I was instantly impressed by their dedication, — it is truly inspiring. This is definitely one of the top experiences on Corfu, which you absolutely shouldn’t miss.
Like all resort islands, Corfu offers tourists and locals unlimited activities to enjoy whether you’re single, a couple, a family or a group. Located on the main road, Aqualand is a must. It is equipped with thrilling slides and pools and is surrounded by beautiful green forests.
There are free sunbeds and umbrellas and lots of restaurants and cafes to keep visitors fed. Qualified lifeguards make sure everyone has a safe, happy time. For all it offers, it is small wonder it’s known as one of the best waterparks in Europe.
Greek cuisine is so decadently delicious so that many visitors who have tried it want to know more. Food lovers can get the chance to experience fantastic Greek restaurants and learn to cook at the same time. Ambelonas is more than just a restaurant and vineyard. The owner transformed a small artisan food business into a vineyard, restaurant and a venue for light-hearted, casual cooking classes.
Cooking classes take place outdoors, under the tree arches where you participate as a cook or you can just watch. You’ll learn how to make Zucchini pie and Sofrito cooked with white wine and lots of garlic. The Ambelonas restaurant is rated as one of the best in Corfu.
You can also attend pasta making classes, visit a vineyard for wine tasting or visit an olive oil farm where high quality olive oils are produced.
Did you know that you can hire a boat and cruise around Corfu’s coastline? Check out Agni Boats as they offer a big selection of boats for hire with all the mandatory safety equipment in place.
You can stop over at any of the quiet, beautiful bays and coves along the coast. You get support throughout the rental period and it’s a super, cool way to see some of the island from this fun activity.
Festivals and Markets
Corfu is a vibrant cosmopolitan island and there are always celebrations, festivals, concerts and markets happening. Quite frankly it is beyond the scope of this guide to include all the events planned in Corfu.
The variety of the island is such that a person needs to spend a year just to get an idea of all that takes place. The Paleokastrítsa’s Varkarola Festival for instance in August commemorates the Ottoman siege of 1716 and there are mock naval battles and plenty of fireworks.
There is also a sardine festival in August as well The Agiotfest soul, rock and folk festival in August.
Best Beaches on Corfu
This most beautiful beach is found about 18 km west of Corfu. It’s a quiet beach, while being busy enough for those who like to take in everything from behind dark sunglasses.
Water sports lovers will be pleased to know that there is a diving center that operates at the beach as the water is super clear for snorkeling and diving. There are plenty of taverns and cafes along the beach as well as beach umbrellas and deck-chairs to ensure you can spend the entire day at the beach.
Paleokastritsa Beach is postcard-beautiful with its turquoise sea, golden sands and harbors. Many people go on boat trips to other beaches along the coast. The village of Paleokastritsa offers beachgoers plenty of taverns overlooking the bay. The main beach of Paleokastritsa is attractively small and is thought to be one of the finest beaches in the Greek islands.
If you’re particularly looking for child-friendly beaches, the west beaches of Glyfada and Pelekas might be worth a visit.
Where to Stay in Corfu
There is no shortage of hotels and other forms of accommodation in Corfu that offer unbelievable value if you find the right one. There are a number of credible tourism partners in Greece that can offer you quality hotel breaks in the Greek isles.
Between the hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and guesthouses, you can find amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, gyms, health spas and more.
This is a magnificent 5-star, air conditioned hotel with the most magnificent views and featuring lots of luxurious features. The hotel also has a water park on-site complete with restaurant and bar. It offers other luxury facilities such as kids play area, wifi, flat-screen TV, nightly entertainment, private bathrooms, free toiletries and 24-hour front desk. Read our hotel review here.
Corfu Villa Rainbow:
Beautifully set amongst olive tree groves, Villa Rainbow rooms & Apartments is excellent, affordable self-catering accommodation. It is made up of clean, comfortable, stylish rooms and apartments offering a host of features to ensure a comfortable stay. It is also well situated to Glyfada- and Kontogialos Beach among others.
The Greek isles are one of the most visited places in the world, and Corfu is one of the popular islands with its white sandy beaches, clear turquoise seawater, active nightlife, amazing nature and unlimited activities.
Your holiday on the island can be as quiet or as active as you like. It’s always crowded in the Summer months with a vibrant atmosphere. Dance and music lovers will be enraptured with the live venues while the many bars and nightclubs attract their own jubilant crowds.
The activities on Corfu are endless, the accommodation vast and varied, with everything being laid on with visitors in mind. It’s no wonder that when you tell people where you’re headed they’re jealous, because Corfu is filled with all the ingredients to ensure that visitors have the time of their lives.