Corfu is one of the most popular and beautiful islands in Greece. With a wealth of natural beauty and a rich culture that spans centuries, it is blessed with a gentle, magnetic appeal that draws visitors back to the island year after year. Its diverse and stunning coastline offers everything from glorious golden beaches to enchanting white-pebbled coves. Inland, the scenery is equally as spectacular with an abundance of charming, traditional mountain villages where you may still encounter local people in traditional costume and even donkeys, reflecting a much slower, more relaxed way of life that Greece is so famous for.
Corfu has an immensely long and chequered history. Renowned as a place of beauty, culture and hospitality since ancient times, the island plays its part in many ancient myths and legends. Ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Venetian powers have all held fort on Corfu's shores and although excavations are relatively few there are many traces of these great powers to be found all across the island and in the main town itself.
Corfu Town, the capital of the island, is dominated by two hugely impressive Venetian fortresses and is surrounded by the azure Ionian sea. Graced with the inspired architecture of several different cultures the old town is a delight to explore with a maze of elegant, narrow streets, tiny avenues and numerous Byzantine churches. These streets lead you to the beautiful, sophisticated arcades and cafes of the Liston, a perfect area for watching the world go by. Shopping here is excellent and provides for all tastes. From chic little boutiques and hand crafted jewellery shops to leather and art studios, Corfu has it all.
Corfu, a place for everyone!
Although a relatively small island Corfu has plenty to offer all members of the family, from the very young to the more elderly. Many beaches around the island offer various kinds of water sports and boat hire is available as well as car hire to explore the island from top to bottom at your leisure. Across the island there are many activities to be found, including excellent water parks, an 18 hole golf course, horse riding, cycling and tennis, amongst many other things. Likewise, for evening entertainment and eating out there is something for everyone. Whether your tastes are traditional or modern, all resorts offer an excellent variety of tavernas, restaurants, cafes and bars.
Things To Do and See in Corfu
Corfu Town is a very elegant and charming capital and a delight for the visitor. For avid shoppers there are numerous charming stores selling everything from cheap trinkets and souvenirs to expensive designer goods, leather products and sparkling jewellery. Many boutiques line the streets selling all the latest fashions, as well as shoes and accessories. If your preference is sightseeing you will find plenty to keep you interested. As well as museums, you can admire the beautiful architecture of the Liston and surrounding buildings and visit the famous church of St. Spiridon. You will need a map of the town to find these places but Corfu is fairly small and quaint and it is doubtful that you will lose your way.
The beautiful Achilleion Palace is an historical building which was built by the Empress Elisabeth of Austria back in 1890. Situated south of Corfu Town the gardens of this impressive building offer superb panoramic views of the city of Corfu and there are wonderful statues, many inspired by Greek mythology. The most famous statue is of the Greek warrior Achilles and takes pride of place in the wonderful surroundings. During World War One the palace was used as a military hospital and some years later also housed an orphanage. After the second World War, during which it was used as military headquarters, it was used for functions such as political meetings and then for some years it was turned into a casino. It was also used as a film location for the famous Bond movie "For Your Eyes Only" but in recent years it has remained a museum and popular tourist attraction.
Once used as a summer residence by the Greek royal family, Mon Repos is most famously known as the birthplace of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip in 1921. Later royal births included Princess Alexia and Princess Sophie of Greece before King Constantine fled the country into exile in 1967. Located a short distance from Corfu Town tourists are able to walk through the grounds if they wish to.
Paleokastritsa is well known for being one of the most beautiful parts of Corfu and is surrounded by a mountainous and verdant landscape. The stunning 13th century monastery sits on one of the peaks overlooking the famous beach and dominates the whole town. It is well worth a visit to walk round the monastery and the pretty grounds and to take in the most amazing views. There is a small museum housing religious objects from the Byzantine era and a small gift shop for souvenir hunters.
This is one of the most familiar and photographed areas of Corfu. Kanoni is a small hilly area a short distance from the main town and is known for its luxury hotels, fabulous views of Mouse Island (Pontikonissi) and the church of Panagia Vlacherna which is situated on a tiny island connected to the main island via a narrow walkway. Amazingly, it is situated just a few metres from the end of the main airport runway and attracts scores of people and aircraft enthusiasts waiting for unrivalled and thrilling views of aircraft landing and taking off. The tiny Mouse Island is a 5 minute boat ride from here and also has a small church in the centre.
Old Perithia is located in stunning countryside high up on the north eastern slopes of Corfu and is a wonderful example of an original mountain village, giving a glimpse of how the way of life was back in the days before tourism arrived on the island. Sitting below Mount Pantokrator, the highest point on the island, this tiny village is made up of around 130 houses and several churches, most of which are now just ruins but centuries ago were very well hidden from the threat of attacks by pirates. For this reason land by the sea back then was fairly worthless and the most sought after land was found inland. Some of the houses are in the process of being restored and there are several which have been turned into small traditional tavernas. Many visitors make their way up to Old Perithia by car or by moped and it is perfect for walkers and nature lovers.
This tiny, quiet island is located a short distance from Corfu Town just across the narrow channel from the Old Port and is very popular with people on small motor boats. There is a tiny harbour for mooring the boats and nowadays it is mainly a wildlife sanctuary for birds and people enjoying a stroll through the wooded areas. There are a couple of small beaches on the northern shore and are within walking distance. Boats run regularly from the port to make the 10 minute crossing. There is a small taverna there with a local and traditional menu and beautiful views of Corfu Town.
This ancient Byzantine castle, thought to date back to the 13th century, is built on very rocky terrain on one of the highest peaks on the island's northwest shoreline and looks out over the waters of the Ionian Sea. Located north of Paleokastritsa, in ancient times this imposing castle played a huge role in defending the island against pirates and the Ottomans whilst protecting and sheltering the local population. Today, there are ruins of some of the fortifications, a small chapel and some unusual rock carved graves. Visitors can walk up to the castle, reflect on the astounding history of the place and enjoy some amazing views.
Situated towards the northwestern area of the island next to the bustling resort of Sidari, is one of Corfu's natural wonders, the famous Canal D'Amour, translated to The Channel of Love. Due to the natural, corrosive effects of the sea, rain and high winds, it has become a unique area filled with stunning and very unusual rock formations, layered in varying shades of yellow, which have created a wonderful series of coves and canals. Steps and pathways allow visitors to explore the area and legend has it that if couples swim through the narrow channel together they will get married and stay in love forever.
Popular Resorts of Corfu
Kassiopi has blossomed from it origins as a quiet little fishing village into a small, beautiful and bustling resort which has something for everyone, from families to couples and groups. There are several shingle beaches within an easy five to ten minute stroll of the village. The pretty harbour is a centre for day trips and is lined with smart cafes, restaurants and bars, making it a perfect spot for relaxing and watching the world go by. Kassiopi also boasts a wide range of gift shops with something to cater for every taste. There are many more excellent tavernas and bars scattered throughout this small village striking a perfect balance for both those who wish for a quiet, more traditional atmosphere and those who enjoy some lively nights with music and dancing.
Avlaki is a beautiful, sweeping bay located between Agios Stephanos and Kassiopi. Backed by just a few villas and two excellent tavernas, this beach is a favourite with locals and tourists alike as it tends to be very quiet with crystal clear water, perfect for swimming and snorkelling. This beach is stoney and shingly and sunbeds and parasols can be hired for a small fee. Visitors to this stunning beach are guaranteed a peaceful time relaxing in the sun and watching boats come and go in the bay. Avlaki can easily be reached by car or on foot. From Kassiopi a relaxed stroll will take approximately half hour. Likewise, it is possible to walk to Agios Stefanos and the beach at Kerasia which will take approximately one hour, enjoying stunning views and perfect photo opportunities along the way.
Known by regular visitors as St. Stefanos, this tiny bay is renowned as being one of the most attractive places to stay on the upmarket north-east coast of Corfu. This picturesque little village has a charming, traditional and wonderfully peaceful feel to it and many people return for their holidays time and time again. An excellent collection of tavernas and cafes huddle side by side along the pretty harbour front, together with several gift shops and mini markets. St. Stefanos has its own shingly beach for sunbathing, relaxing and watching pleasure cruisers and smart boats going in and out of the bay. This area is beautifully surrounded by verdant landscapes, has wonderful views from every angle and it is a perfect spot for walkers. Stunning beaches can be found in every direction from here and motor boats are available for hire to reach more secluded bays.
Sitting side by side on the beautiful east coast these are two of Corfu's prettiest and most photographed resorts and the emphasis is on relaxation and tranquility. Dramatic and stunning coves are found all along this area overlooked by lush green landscapes of olive trees and cypresses. Kalami has become a well known resort by its association with the famous Durrell family, some of whom once occupied the beautiful White House. This is now an excellent and very popular taverna, sitting in a superb position on the shoreline with the waves virtually lapping its sides. This tiny, upmarket resort has several bars and tavernas spread along the beach front and is a well known area for water sports and motor boat hire. Its neighbour, Kouloura is a stunning horseshoe-shaped little bay, with a quiet taverna and bar overlooking the beautiful harbour and is within walking distance around the bay from Kalami.
A stunning little place on the northeast coast of Corfu, Nissaki has a glorious collection of white pebbled coves and is ideal for those who wish for peace and relaxation. There are plenty of walks and hiking trails in the area with Mount Pantokrator as an amazing backdrop. Motor boat hire is available to explore secluded bays or there are many areas for snorkelling and swimming in the crystal clear waters. Several tavernas and shops can be found here and other resorts are close by if you wish for more in the way of nightlife, one of them being Kassiopi which is approximately a 20 minute drive away. Nissaki has many picturesque bays with scenic coastal walks. Kaminaki, Krouzeri and Agni are close by as well as Kalami and Kouloura.
Sidari is a highly popular destination on the north west coast of Corfu, with visitors returning year after year. Stretching across a wide area, one of its main attractions is the long sandy beach as well as its nightlife. The resort has a vast array of cafes, bars and restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisine from Greek to British, Italian, Chinese and International. There is plenty of entertainment and many bars offer karaoke, quizzes, tribute acts and dancing. Nearby is the famous Canal D'Amour, with its unusual rock formations, tiny coves and channels which are ideal for sunbathing and swimming. Located close to the village of Peroulades and the stunning Logas Beach, also known as Sunset Beach, Sidari is highly recommended for families and groups hoping for a fairly lively holiday.
Situated on the northern coast between the sea and the rolling hills, Roda is approximately 20 minutes drive from Kassiopi. It is renowned for its long stretch of fabulous sandy and pebbly beach which it shares with the neighbouring resort of Acharavi. The Roda coast road runs parallel to the beach and is lined with an array of shops, bars, tavernas and restaurants. Visitors can enjoy Greek and international cuisine at its finest and many bars offer evening entertainment such as karaoke, quizzes, singers and the fun and enjoyable Greek dancing. This charming, small town makes a perfect getaway for people of all ages and nationalities and everyone is certain to enjoy Greek hospitality at its best. Just outside Roda are miles and miles of unspoilt countryside – perfect terrain for hikes and horse treks. The seafront route to Acharavi is around 25 minutes’ walk and will lead you past some tucked-away restaurants. For a more demanding trail, you can go up to Episkepi, in the foothills of Mount Pantokrator, where you’ll get immense views and a glass of wine when you arrive.
Paleokastritsa is one of the most photographed places on the island of Corfu, if not in the whole of Greece. Its dramatic coastline, absolutely stunning scenery and the lush green landscape that surrounds it is unrivalled. Located on the north west part of the island there are many little sandy and pebbly beaches with turquoise waters dotted along the bay and excellent bars and tavernas are spread around them. Sunbeds and parasols are available for hire on the beaches and if you wish to visit a more secluded bay you will find a water taxi at your service. A beautiful 18th century monastery sits on the hilltop overlooking the town and visitors can visit and take in the fabulous views. The main town of Corfu is approximately a half hour journey away. Paleokastritsa is a must see for all visitors.
Gouvia, on the east coast of the island is in close proximity to the main town and the airport, approximately 9km. Once a small fishing village and built on the site of an ancient Venetian harbour it now hosts the main marina on the island where many yachts and smart boats moor during the summer season and from where visitors can try their hand at sailing activities. Several sandy, shingle and pebbly beaches are located in the area with watersports and fun activities all catering for the many visitors that arrive during the season. Gouvia village has many things to offer the tourist such as gift shops, bars, cafes, tavernas and restaurants which cater for all ages and tastes. An excellent bus and taxi service allows quick access to the main town and all its sights. Gouvia is close to other resorts in the near vicinity such as Kommeno, Kontokali and Dassia. An ideal destination for visitors of all ages and nationalities.
Connected to the nearby resort of Gouvia by a coastal road, Kontokali is also in close proximity to Corfu's main town and conveniently located in easy reach of the airport about a 20 minute drive away. Excellent cuisine can be found at several very good tavernas and for those who prefer the quieter pace of life the nightlife here is much more low key than in other resorts. Being so close to Gouvia the two resorts almost converge into one and are within walking distance of each other. Visitors can easily pop along to Gouvia for livelier evenings and more restaurants and bars. The main shopping area here is also in Gouvia and a small supermarket can be found at the marina. Kontokali is ideal for people who want rest and relaxation in a quieter setting but can reach other areas and resorts easily.
Kommeno Bay is a stunning and very tranquil area, surprisingly located very close to Corfu Town and nearby busier resorts. Quiet, winding roads lead to smart hotels and villas in this exclusive part of the island and beautiful, scattered beaches and little coves of sand and shingle are dotted below the hotels and along the bay. The more bustling resorts of Dassia and Gouvia, with its marina, are within a short distance and easily reached. A stunning little church is located in a picture perfect position, jutting out in the bay and allowing for fabulous holiday photographs. Parasailing and water skiing are available here and the superb waterpark at Aqualand is a short drive away. Conveniently located about 20-25 minutes from the town and the main airport.
Kavos is at the southern tip of Corfu and is one of the most heavily commercialised and busy resorts on the island. Known as the clubbing capital of Corfu it is mainly aimed at young people and in keeping with its party reputation it is heaving with music bars and nightclubs that keep holidaymakers going all night long. There is a vast array of tavernas and restaurants serving all types of cuisine from Greek to Italian, Chinese and Mexican as well as many fast food outlets located throughout the resort. Kavos is a very large resort and has a long sandy beach for relaxing and sleeping off a heav