Corfu is one of the original sun, sea and sand locations. It’s also the most popular of Greece’s Ionian Islands. Buzzing resorts such as Gouvia, Ipsos and even Corfu Town are jammed with home comforts including bars with generous happy hours, showing the latest premiership games, plus dazzling sunshine and spectacular sandy beaches.
The island is also big enough to have numerous quiet, unspoilt areas with verdant countryside, rolling hillsides and enchanting bays where fishing boats bob gently on the gentle waves. The west and particularly the south west have remote, near-deserted beaches to get away from the crowds.
Getting there and around in Corfu
The international airport is served with direct daily flights from the UK and taxis to nearby resorts are easy to find.
If you want to venture out of your resort you can easily hire a car or get on one of the local buses that wend their way around the windy streets. There are two bus companies to choose from; Blue Bus serving capital Corfu Town and surrounds, and KTEL (Green Bus) the national firm with routes criss-crossing the island. Alternatively, you can hire a motor boat and enjoy exploring the numerous coves and beaches that aren’t easy to access by road.
Beaches in Corfu
As is often the case, many of the best stretches of beach have been over developed and are jammed with wall-to-wall bars, clubs, cafes, restaurants, apartments and hotels. If you are looking for a dance-all-night, sleep-all-day kind of holiday the popular resorts of Kavos and Ipsos provide all the action for the former, plus beautiful stretches of sandy beach for the latter. Gouves isn’t as lively nor is the beach as good but it still attracts a young crowd.
Families seeking a quieter resort with safe beaches should enjoy Acharavi, which has a Blue Flag award for its beach; Aghios Gordios, which has a lovely, uncrowded beach and nearby water park and Messonghi. More remote, less touristy beaches include Paramona near Agios Matthaios, Prasoudi and Skidi.
Sightseeing in Corfu
Corfu is a verdant isle dotted with olive groves and ancient sites. Start your sight-seeing in the pretty cobbled streets of Corfu Town touring the renovated Palace of St Michael and St George, the impressive Old Fortress, dating back to Byzantine times and the Esplanade where you may catch a game of cricket.
Corfu Town also has several museums and the ornate church of St Spyridon is gorgeous. The old town was built by the Venetians and is absurdly picturesque. For a break, enjoy a cool drink at the French-inspired Liston, an arcade of cafes and restaurants modelled on Paris’s Rue de Rivoli.
Step back in time with a visit to the pretty village of Lefkimi where donkeys are still the main form of transport and the locals enjoy a traditional way of life.
You can’t avoid the tourists at Paleokastritsa but it’s worth you visiting the resort’s 13th century monastery which sits on a rocky promontory overlooking the beautiful bay. Keen walkers can ascend Mount Pantokratoras which offers spectacular views to neighbouring countries.
Family attractions in Corfu
Aqualand is one of two water parks in Corfu, and it’s found in the centre of the island near Glyfada. It has water slides, rides and various pools. It gets incredibly busy in the summer months especially on weekends but that doesn’t seem to put anyone off. Hydropolis at Acharavi in the north of the island is the newest of the two, and includes nine slides and a series of mini slides for younger children in its facilities.
Alternative activities include more traditional sports such as horse riding and the numerous water sports that are available in coastal resorts such as snorkelling, pedaloes, dinghy sailing and water skiing.
Day trips in Corfu
There are a number of operators offering relaxing day trips taking in ancient ruins, traditional villages and local markets where you can pick up all your souvenirs. If you fancy island hopping, the closest islands to Corfu include Paxi, Lefkada, Ithaki, Kefalonia and Zakynthos – all in the Ionian group.
Eating out in Corfu
No matter where you stay you’ll be able to find a traditional taverna offering a range of local dishes such as meat and fish casseroles, and dishes you may consider to be more Italian, like pasta and veal.
Greek dishes that have been adopted by Corfiots include cheese pie, spinach pie, stuffed vine leaves, tzatziki, taramasalata, feta and olives.
In tourist resorts you’ll also get plenty of English favourites if the cravings get too bad.
Nightlife in Corfu
Corfu is well known as a party island with a lively, varied nightlife depending on the resort you stay in. The 18-30s crowd heads towards all-night resorts such as Kavos and Ipsos, as well as Roda, Gouvia and Dassia which are jammed with loud bars and huge nightclubs aimed at young foreigners.
Corfu Town has a massive choice of bars and cafes with music to suit locals and tourists alike. If you prefer to enjoy a quiet night out dining in a quaint, al fresco taverna and sharing a bottle of local plonk, you’ll find plenty of choice too.
Shopping in Corfu
Corfu Town is where you’ll find the best selection of clothes shops as well as one-off stores offering a range of quality locally produced goods such as olive wood carvings, pottery, lace, olive oil and honey. Find out what day the market takes place in your resort for a chance to see locals bartering for the colourful displays of fruit and veg piled up and fresh fish that’s just come off the fishing boats.