Still today, despite the changes caused by time, on Corfu you can feel the spirit of a distant glorious past. The stunning landscapes, the multi-cultural heritage, the historic monuments, the crystal-clear sea and the warm, pleasant climate explain why Corfu is one of the most cosmopolitan Mediterranean travel destinations.
Top 10 things to do in Corfu
- Explore Corfu Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site
- Visit the landmark of Corfu, Pontikonisi Islet
- Spend a day at the bluegreen waters and beautiful coves of Palaiokastritsa
- Visit Corfu town during the Easter festivities
- Taste Sofrito, Pastitsada and Bourdeto and the local liquer Kumquat
- Visit the Achilleion Palace
- Enjoy Spianada Square in the evening when the local are hanging out
- Visit the famous Canal D’Amour between Peroulades and Sidari
- Go on a daytrip to the nearby islands of Paxoi and Antipaxoi
- Visit the village of Kavos and enjoy the lively nightlife
Corfu (Kérkyra) is a Greek island situated in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the edge of the northwestern frontier of Greece.
Map of Corfu and the Ionian Sea
The north-eastern coastline of Corfu lies off the coast of Albania, from which it is separated by straits varying in width from 3 to 23 km, while the south-east side of the island lies off the coast of Thesprotia, Greece.
Two high and well-defined mountain ranges divide the island into three districts, of which the northern is mountainous, the central undulating, and the southern low-lying. The more important of the two ranges, that of Pantokrator stretches east and west from Cape Falacro to Cape Psaromita, and attains its greatest elevation in the summit of the same name.
The second range culminates in the mountain of Santi Jeca, or Santa Decca, or the Ten Saints. The whole island, composed as it is of various limestone formations, presents great diversity of surface, and views from more elevated spots are magnificent.
Beaches in Corfu
Go exploring the stunning coastline of Corfu, where beautiful beaches are nestled in sandy coves – some wide and some quite small. Some of the best beaches are in Paleokastritsa, Dassia, Kontokali, Glyfada, and Kavos, surrounded by mountains and green forests.
The coastline of Corfu spans 217 km including capes. The full extent of capes and promentories take in Agia Aikaterini, Drastis to the north, Lefkimmi and Asprokavos to the southeast, and Megachoro to the south. Two islands are also to be found at a middle point of Gouvia and Corfu Bay, which extends across much of the eastern shore of the island; are known as Lazareto and Ptychia (or Vido). Camping areas can be found in Palaiokastritsa, Agrillia, with four in the northern part, Pyrgi, Roda, Gouvia and Messonghi.
- Paleokastritsa beach – Sandy, family friendly, diving club, water sports – 23 km north west of Corfu Town
- Agios Gordios beach – Sandy, family friendly – 16 km south west of Corfu Town
- Bataria Kassiopi beach – Sandy, family friendly – 37 km north of Corfu Town
- Kavos beach – Sandy, party, water sports – 47 km south of Corfu Town
- Arillas beach – Sandy, family friendly, water sports – 35,5 km west of Corfu Town
- Barbati beach – Pebbled – 19 km north of Corfu Town
- Marathias beach – Sandy, family friendly – 37 km south west of Corfu Town
- Kerasia beach – Pebbled, family friendly – 37 km north of Corfu Town
- Pelekas beach – Sandy, family friendly, water sports – 13 km west of Corfu Town
- Kalami beach – Pebbled, family friendly, water sports – 30 km north of Corfu Town
- Sidari Canal d’Amour beach – Pebbled – 38 km north west of Corfu Town
- Dassia beach – Sandy, family friendly, water sports, diving club – 13 km west of Corfu Town
- Glydada beach – Sandy, family friendly, party, water sports – 15,5 km west of Corfu Town
- Agios Georgios Pagon beach – Sandy, family friendly – 30 km north west of Corfu Town
- Liapades beach – Pebbled, family friendly – 21 km north west of Corfu Town
- Ipsos beach – Pebbled, family friendly, party – 15 km north west of Corfu Town
- Agios Stefanos Avliotes beach – Sandy, family friendly, water sports – 38 km north west of Corfu Town
- Imerolias Kassiopi beach – Pebbled, family friendly – 35 km north of Corfu Town
- Ermones beach – Sandy, family friendly – 16 km west of Corfu Town
- Roda beach – Sandy, family friendly – 35 km north west of Corfu Town
- Kalamionas Kassiopi beach – Pebbled, family friendly – 35 km north of Corfu Town
- Agios Georgios Argyradon beach – Sandy, family friendly, water sports – 30 km south of Corfu Town
- Agios Ioannis Peristeron beach – Pebbled, family friendly, water sports – 16 km south of Corfu Town
- Danilia beach – Pebbled, water sports – 11 km north of Corfu Town
- Konto Gialos beach – Sandy, family friendly – 13 km west of Corfu Town
- Kouloura beach – Pebbled, family friendly – 30 km north east of Corfu Town
- Krouzeri beach – Pebbled, family friendly – 25 km north of Corfu Town
- Messongi beach – Pebbled – 21 km south of Corfu Town
- Pipitos Kassiopi beach – Pebbled, family friendly – 36 km north of Corfu Town
- Rovinia beach – Pebbled, secluded – 20 km west of Corfu Town
- Gialiskari beach – Sandy, family friendly, secluded – 15 km west of Corfu Town
- Peroulades beach – Pebbled – 36 km north west of Corfu Town
- Agios Spiridon beach – Sandy, secluded, nudism friendly – 25 km north of Corfu Town
- Agios Iliodoros beach – Pebbled, secluded – 17 km north west of Corfu Town
- Agni beach – Pebbled, secluded – 30 km north east of Corfu Town
- Almyros beach – Sandy, secluded, nudism friendly – 45 km north of Corfu Town
- Alonaki beach – Pebbled, secluded – 28 km south west of Corfu Town
- Astrakeri beach – Sandy, secluded – 40 km north of Corfu Town
- Boukari beach – Pebbled – 25 km south of Corfu Town
- Gialou beach – Pebbled, secluded – 36 km north west of Corfu Town
- Glyko beach – Pebbled, secluded – 18 km north west of Corfu Town
- Kanouli beach – Sandy, secluded – 22 km west of Corfu Town
- Limanaki beach – Pebbled – next to Corfu Town (beneath the old fortress)
Partly organized beaches
- Myrtiotissa beach – Sandy, nudism friendly – 17 km west of Corfu Town
- Issos beach – Sandy, family friendly, windsurfing, secluded – 28,5 km south of Corfu Town
- Halikounas beach – Sandy, family frinedly, windsurfing, secluded – 25 km south of Corfu Town
- Nissaki beach – Pebbled, family friendly, diving club – 21 km north of Corfu Town
- Avlaki beach – Pebbled, family friendly – 37 km north of Corfu Town
- Acharavi beach – Pebbled, family friendly, diving club – 37 km west of Corfu Town
- Kanoni Kassiopi beach – Pebbled – 35 km north of Corfu Town
- Prasoudi beach – Sandy – 27 km south west of Corfu Town
- Gardeno beach – Sandy, family friendly, secluded – 40 km south of Corfu Town
- Agios Stefanos beach – Pebbled – 37 km north east of Corfu Town
- Kalamaki beach – Sandy, family friendly, secluded – 37 km north of Corfu Town
- Paramonas beach – Sandy, family friendly – 25 km south west of Corfu Town
- Perama beach – Pebbled – 7,5 km south of Corfu Town
- Santa Barbara beach – Sandy, family friendly, diving club, secluded – 40 km south west of Corfu Town
How to get to Corfu?
The Ioannis Kapodistrias International Airport is located around three kilometres south of Kerkyra, just half a kilometre north of Pontikonisi. The approach and landing, in a northeasterly direction, afford passengers spectacular aerial views of Pontikonisi and Vlaheraina Monastery, also taking in the hills of Kanoni, as the runway employed for landing lies a few hundred metres from these spectacular local landmarks. The airport offers domestic flights from Olympic Airlines, and Aegean Airlines. Seaplanes, Air Sea Lines, a Greek seaplane operator, offers scheduled flights from Corfu to Paxoi, Lefkada, Ithaki, Kefalonia, Ioannina, Patras and Brindisi in Italy.
The buses to the main places on the island run about six times a day between the city and Glyfada, Sidari, Pleokastritsa, Roda and Acharavi, Lefkimmi, Lefkimmi and Piri. Other coaches drive up to twice a day to Athens and Thessaloniki. City buses run through the city to the Achilleon, Gouvia, Afra, Pelekas and some other places of interest. There are no public buses to the airport.
Ferry services and Flying Dolphins
The island is linked by two motorways, GR-24 in the northwest and GR-25 in the south.
Corfu has ferry services both by traditional ferries to Gaios in the island of Paxoi and as far as Patras and both traditional ferries and advanced high-speed ferries called Flying Dolphins to Igoumenitsa and Sarandë in neighbouring Albania. The small port of Lefkimmi is also to be found at the southernmost tip of the island on Cape Kavos, offering a ferry service to the mainland.
Angelokastro ( “Castle of the Angel[s]” or “Angelos’s castle”) is one of the most important Byzantine castles in Greece. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island’s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 1,000 ft (305 m) on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Things to do on Corfu
Corfu offers great opportunities for a load of activities like diving, horseback riding, hiking, biking, windsurfing and sailing.
Caving in Corfu
Sea and land caves are abundant in Corfu and well worth exploring. Myths and legends accompany a number of these caves and locals will gladly regale you with action-packed stories about pirate raids that forced fleeing villagers to seek refuge in the island’s caves.
Klimatia Cave (also called Anthropograva Cave) located close to Klimatia village in the northern part of the island just a few metres off the road that leads to Agia Triada Monastery.
Grava Loutson cave which you’ll find at the foot of Mount Pantokrator in the north, close to Loutses and Old (Kato) Perithea villages near Kassiopi.
Sea Caves dot the coast of Corfu so when you’re in Paleokastritsa on the north-west coast take the opportunity to rent a small boat and explore these underwater masterpieces. Water taxis abound in this area so rely on the locals to take you to the most impressive caves and isolated coves.
Diving around Corfu
Begin your underwater excursions in June – it’s the ideal time for this sport as the sea starts to warm up. If you’re a beginner, take advantage of your time in Corfu to get trained and licensed. There are diving centres as well as PADI resorts located in all the popular areas, including Agios Gordios, Paleokastritsa, Kassiopi and Ermones. If you’re already licensed, ask the local diving teachers for advice on which areas are off-limits to scuba divers and where you should be wary of strong currents. Some areas are best explored with a local diver who’s familiar with any potential dangers.
Wildlife in Corfu
Corfu’s protected habitats are the best places to see a variety of animals in their natural environments. Lake Korission and Antinioti Lagoon offer opportunities for nature-lovers to observe a variety of birds, turtles and terrapins. Vido Islet is home to pheasants, hares, partridges and rabbits. Also, a number of lizard species inhabit Corfu’s mountains.
Volunteering in Corfu: If you’re looking for a more hands-on and rewarding experience, there are volunteer organisations on the island that provide visitors and locals a chance to help abandoned or abused animals heal.
Corfu Donkey Rescue in Liapades is a safehaven for abused and abandoned Corfiot donkeys that not only welcomes visitors throughout the year but also trains volunteers in the everyday care of the donkeys.
The Silva Project in Kanoni, also a charity, helps shelter and heal Skyrian horses in need and runs a riding centre that provides therapeutic riding lessons for children as well as regular classes. Tel.:+30 26610 30280
Bicycling in Corfu
Corfu is a popular destination for cyclists, attracting over 6000 enthusiasts each year who roam the island’s sprawling road network as a way of getting a taste of authentic Corfu. Bike paths leading to ancient olive groves, sleepy villages and intriguing monasteries offer another view of this beautiful island that is often overshadowed by the busier tourist attractions and destinations.
Corfu Mountainbike Shop (Dassia)The Corfu Mountainbike Shop has a long history of providing organised eco-friendly cycling and mountain biking holidays. Phone: +30 26610 93344
Hiking in Corfu
Hikers and walkers from all over the world head to Corfu as a way of exploring the island’s natural landscape, traditional village life and beautiful beaches.The Corfu Trail: This specially designed walking route is an ideal way to immerse yourself in Corfu’s authenticity while visiting a number of important natural and cultural sites. The Corfu Trail (www.thecorfutrail.com) began in 2001 and spans the length of the island from south to north.
Horseback riding in Corfu
If you love horses and long saunters through beautiful scenery, then Corfu will delight you. The island’s natural landscape with lush valleys, ancient olive groves, winding donkey paths and mountain trails is perfectly suited to exploring on horseback.
Trailriders Horse Trekking (Ano Korakiana) Run by Sally-Ann Lewis, a British expat, this riding school close to Mount Pantokrator caters to both beginners and experienced riders. Nearby woods and farms create a beautiful and varied backdrop for horse trekking.
Phone: +30 26630 23090
Sailing around Corfu
Corfu Sea School (Gouvia Marina): This RYA-approved training centre offers a range of excellent courses in an ideal environment and promises to explore the many natural wonders Corfu has to offer with its students.
Phone:+30 26610 97628
Mountaineering on Corfu
Advanced mountain climbers will enjoy trekking up Mount Pantokrator (1000 metres) in the north which rewards your efforts with stunning views of the island and the Albanian mainland across. At the summit you’ll also find a café and a 17th Century church. Begin your trek at Old Perithea village that dates back to the Middle Ages and is reportedly Corfu’s oldest Venetian-era settlement.
Before setting out, seek advice and safety tips from the Corfu Mountain Climbing Club Phone: +30 26610 39481
Windsurfing around Corfu
Corfu is a very popular windsurfing destination and kite surfing is gaining momentum amongst watersports fanatics. The west coast of the island offers the best wind conditions due to the landscape and rock formations.
If you’re a beginner, opt for a windsurfing or kite surfing holiday in May or July as winds in August can be quite strong. If you’re eager to start your training, there are schools in Issos beach.
Birdwatching on Corfu
Corfu is an interesting and rewarding destination year-round for bird watchers, where sightings of over 150 species of native and migrating birds delight both amateur and professional ornithologists. Fall and spring mark the peak of the birdwatching period, where over 90 species – many of them rare – pass through the island.
Things to see on Corfu
Ancient Site of Palaiopolis: Located approximately 2 km south of Corfu Town within the Mon Repos estate in the Kanoni area, Palaiopolis is the site of the ancient city of Corfu and includes the Ancient Agora (only a few sections are visible), the 6thC BC Doric Kardakio Temple dedicated to Poseidon or Askleipion, and Roman Baths built in the 1stC AD.
Monument of Menecrates: This 6thC BC grave monument features one of the oldest surviving Ancient Greek inscriptions. The 10-verse text dedicates the monument to Menecrates, a Corfiot statesman, in honour of his contribution to Corfu town. It is located in Garitsa.
Palaiopolis Museum (Mon Repos mansion): Visitors will find exhibits and artifacts found in Palaiopolis, including household, commercial and religious objects that reveal interesting aspects of the private and public lives led by the ancient Corfiots. Only 3 km from Corfu Town, the museum is easily accessible.
Weather and climate in Corfu
The climate of Corfu is unique, a bit different from the rest of the Greek islands. Corfu is the northernmost island in Greece, characterized by mild winters wih heavy rainfalls and summers cooler than in other parts of Greece. Temperatures in Corfu never exceed 39 degrees Celsius. Another characteristic of Corfu (common for the Ionian Islands) is the important level of humidity which gives the island it’s lush, green nature.