Corfu

Transportation and Accommodations

Getting There

Corfu is one of the many Greek islands, and specifically is part of the Ioanian island group. Other islands in this group which may be of interest include Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and Lefkes. The group of islands are located between the southeastern coast of Italy and the northwest of Greece. Corfu is the furthest north and is actually also quite close to the southwestern side of Albania. The island is actually known for being one of Greece's greenest islands. Having visited 7 other Greek islands, I can attest to this as well.

 

Corfu is one of the larger Greek islands and has its own airport. It serves numerous direct flights from different cities in the UK including London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham and more. There are also direct flights from Athens and other European cities, but best to check your route. Note sometimes there may be direct flights only a few days a week so consider this when starting to plan your holiday to enable flexibility.

 

Corfu's airport, Ioannis Kapodistrias, is located very close to Corfu town on the eastern side of the island. In fact, if so inclined, you could walk to the old town. That being said, it is very easy to grab a taxi to this area to avoid a walk.

 

For those traveling from other Greek islands, or even the southwestern coast of Italy, taking a ferry may be your best way to reach Corfu. Check directferries or ferryhopper to find out when and where ferries depart from. 


Getting Around

The island of Corfu is larger than many of the other Greek islands, but very drivable. You can drive the whole island in a few hours, but due to the mountains, it would not be recommended to try to tackle the whole island in a day. You'd also spend a lot of time in the car rather than enjoying the scenery and (hopefully) nice sunny, weather.

 

Depending on where you pick to base yourself will impact how you can visit other parts of the island. My recommendation would be to rent a car in Corfu, enabling flexibility to travel around the island and visiting different beaches and points of interest. Many of the major car rental companies (i.e. Hertz, Enterprise, National, Avis, Budget, Sixt) have car rental offices right at the airport making it easy to pick-up your rental upon arrival and drop-off when your holiday has concluded. Rentals are quite cheap so recommended to rent a car for your trip.

 

A few things to keep in mind when booking a rental car:

  • Insurance incase of damage
  • Check rental car closing times incase your flight gets in later; we experienced a 3 hour delay and the rental we selected closed at 10pm so we just missed the rental and had to come back the next morning
  • Automatic vs manual car
  • Size of vehicle - as the roads can be quite narrow and windy, I'd recommend a small vehicle to provide comfort in these tighter situations

 

If you do not feel you need a car for your visit, there are local buses which you can use to access different points on the island. We used the bus when we did not yet have the car, and it is very easy, but note they are less frequent so you will be bound by the bus scheduled and of course will take longer due to the stops. That being said, it is cheap and easy to use as you can purchase tickets on the bus with cash.

 

Some visitors will look to rent ATVs or scooters as well when on Corfu. The roads are pretty good across the island, so I personally would prefer a car to an ATV, but an ATV provides a single day flexibility if you want to use it for a specific adventure.

 

From our experience, as noted above, the roads were pretty good, even in the mountains. The northern part of the island is very mountainous. Sometimes this means narrower roads and tighter turns, but for the most part, the roads are in good condition. You do need to be careful driving in this area though. Additionally, we found most drivers to be relaxed in these areas, but there were the exceptions where you saw locals driving far too quickly for the road so drive cautiously. As a whole, it felt like a very drivable location and it was definitely a destination where I found it beneficial to have a car for the duration of the visit.

 

Taxis - there are taxis across the island. It will be more costly, but can be helpful for specific journeys and a good option when required. 


Accommodations

Corfu Town

The main town in Corfu, and located very close to the airport, this is a good option for those who are not keen on having a car. There are plenty of restaurants in the area which provides ease for meals. However, it will also be a busier location. Corfu is known for being the starting point or a stop on cruises, so many cruise lines will depart from around here. This may mean the city is busier with day visitors. The town is sizable compared to other towns on the island, but would not say it has the same charm as the old towns on some other Greek islands. All in all, this can be still be a safe bet for picking a homebase.

 

Ipsos or Dassia

These two towns are next to each other and located about 20km north of the airport, meaning only about a 25- 30 minute drive. Ipsos is known for being a bit livilier with more night life, while Dasia is a bit quieter. Both are excellent options as a place to stay and location for your home base. As noted, they are close enough to the airport, but also have restaurant options and offer good accessibility to other parts of the island which are nice to explore. I would easily stay in this area again if visiting Corfu.

 

Kavos

If you're coming to Corfu to party, this is your spot. Although it may lack charm, there's a group that will be seeking this out as Corfu has a reputation of being a late night party island. With this in mind, pick this spot if this is what you're aiming to enjoy in Corfu.


Things to do and see

Corfu Old Town

The Old town has a variety of points of interest. Consider spending a morning or evening exploring the old town. Pop into some shops and wander around the streets. A few points of interest include Spianada Square, the Liston promenade, the viewpoint at Kanoni, the Old and New Fortress, and the Vlacherna Monastery.

 

Paleokastritsa

Area on the northwestern side of the island. The area is known for having picturesque villages, a variety of different beaches, beautiful viewpoints, and sea caves to explore. If you choose to spend time on a beach here, for those interested, you can rent paddle boards or kayaks to explore the caves and crystal blue water.

 

Monastery of Paleokastritsa

One of the focal points in Paleokastritsa, and also a bit touristy (especially with ferry tour buses), the monastery is located up at the top of a hill. I would recommend parking at the base at Agios Spiridon beach and walking the remaining 10 - 15 minutes uphill as parking is limited at the top. You can visit the monastery if you please, or simply enjoy the view from up here.

 

There's a nice restaurant, Monastre, up here where you can grab a snack or a drink to enjoy the view.

 

Beaches around Paleokastritsa:

Agios Petros Beach

Pretty cove beach, which you can see as you start to walk up to the monastery for a nice view

 

Agios Spiridon Beach

The largest beach in the area, but also the busiest and most touristy. It does have proper area to lay down a towel and sunbathe, and very inviting water

 

Spiros Beach Paleokastritsa

Another beach in Paleokastritsa, but not one I ended up checking out. There's a restaurant overlooking the beach called Dolphin which seemed like a nice spot to grab a bite.

 

Agia Triada Beach

 

Akrotiri beach

 

Sidari

Located about 1 hour from Corfu town and found on the northern part of the island. Many come up to Sidari and also visit Canal d'Amour, Cape Drastis, and Porto Timoni. Sidari is a town on the coast offering a variety of spots to grab a bite to eat and then head to the beach.

 

Canal d'Amour

On the northern part of the island, this is a cove where the water has carved out quite a section. Many visit to see this, but one of the highlights for me here is the view out into the ocean of the mountains across the sea.

 

Stop here, but do not plan to stay here as there are not good spots to sit and relax. It also is touristy and may draw a crowd

 

Cape Drastis

Also located on the north side of the island, about a 15 minute drive from Canal d'Amour and Sidari, Cape Drastis is a beautiful rock formation. There are some walks or hikes around here which some may look to do as well as some beautiful viewpoints out onto cliffs.

 

We parked the car near the Cape Drastis viewpoint and then took a 10 - 15 minute walk downhill to Gravas Cove. On the walk down, we stopped at the Cape Drastis viewpoint. For me this was the prettiest view. We kept going down to Gravas Cove, which is also nice, but more a cove to take a quick swim in. There's not much excess space to lay down and relax after a dip in the cove. Thus, we opted to just walk out and back and then get back into the car and continue onto another beach (Porto Timoni).

 

Note that we did wear gym shoes to make the walk down to Gravas Cove. Although you can do this in sandles, it was nice to have gym shoes on the sandy and rocky pathway.

 

Porto Timoni

Found on the Northwest coast of Corfu, this beach requires some work to get to. In order to reach the beach, first you'll drive to the cute and quiet town of Anemos. There are a few restaurants and cafes in this town if looking for a snack. Note that once you start your walk down to Porto Timoni, you will not have food options at the beach.

 

There are a few small parking lots in Anemos, but I can imagine these fill up quickly in the high season. Be sure to have some cash on you as you'll likely have to pay 5 euros to park in the parking lot. Once you've parked, head towards Porto Timoni. It's about 1.2 - 1.5km walk (depending on where you park) to reach the beach, but it is a downhill hike. I highly recommend wearing good walking shoes for the hike down as you will want a good grip on the path.

 

As the beach requires more effort to get to than others, and can only be accessed on foot, you would expect the beach is not as busy. Although this may be the case, we still were surprised how many people had made the journey down to visit this beach. The beach ultimately sits between two coves and has sandy areas on both sides. On your walk down, you'll eventually see both beaches and also have a spectacular view of the crystal blue water. It is a beautiful spot to spend a few hours and go for a swim. Make sure to bring water and a snack if you plan to spend some time down here.

 

Bella Vista Viewpoint

If driving down the west coast, this is a beautiful viewpoint over the ocean and would be a good spot to catch a sunset. There's a restaurant up here as well called Restaurant Bellavista. Although we did not go here, it looked like a great option for a drink and sunset view.

 

Other Beaches:

Glyfada Beach

Long sandy beach on the west side of the island. This is a good spot for spending an afternoon when looking to relax or go for a swim. There are plenty of restaurants and beach bars in the area, making it a good option for a relaxed beach day

 

Agios Gordios Beach

Another nice beach to visit known for crystal clear water

 

Paxos and Antipaxos

Depending on how much time you have when visiting Corfu, consider a day trip to the islands of Paxos and Antipaxos

 

Boat day

Get out on a boat to explore some of the many beautiful sea caves around Corfu and enjoy a fun day on the water, swimming in the stunning Mediterranean


Food and Drinks

Lunch

Mythos and Grill

Corfu Town

Greek fast food spot where you can grab a tasty pita gyro to takeaway and enjoy. We grabbed ours to go and sat in the Spianada Square located nearby

 

Monastre

Paleokastritsa

Found in Paleokastritsa next to the Monastery of Paleokastritsa, this is a good spot for a snack or drink and a view

Canal D'Amour Taverna

Sidari

Sitting right along Sidari beach in the north, this is a great spot for an afternoon snack or lunch. We sat outside here and enjoyed a pita gyro for lunch before heading onto visiting Cape Drastis and Porto Timoni

Tasty Fast Food Crepes Ipsos Corfu

Ipsos

Serves a great and quick Gyro when looking for an easy, but tasty lunch 

Cafes

Delicious

Ipsos

Simple café, perfect for grabbing a morning coffee post run or before heading out for the day. They also have delicious gelato worth indulging in to close out your day with something sweet

Dinner

Vitaminas Taverna

Nisaki

Located on the northeast side of the island near Nisaki, this restaurant has a lovely view over the water and surrounding area. Book a table here for a traditional Greek dinner and enjoy your favorite dishes or try some of the local specialities

 

Sunset Taverna

Krini

On the west coast, evident by its name, this taverna is a great place to catch a sunset. It is found in a tiny town, Krini, but has a beautiful view of an evening sunset.

 

Restaurant Bella Vista

Bella Vista

Cannot attest to the food here, but the viewpoint from here looked spectacular and would be an incredibly place to catch a sunset

 

Salto

Corfu Town

Did not make it here, but food looked phenomenal. We tried to get a booking but we were unable to last minute so consider booking in advance if this spot looks good to you.

 

Other Notes

Duration

2 - 4 days is perfect for a trip to Corfu. I visited for 2.5 full days and felt like I got to enjoy Corfu, but could've also spent more time. We spent most of our time in the north part of the island, as the greenery and mountains enthralled us. The beaches and coves up here were also very appealing. With more time, I would've wanted to do a partial day boat tour, checked out some more beaches (you can always relax more!), looked into some hikes, and / or visited the neighboring islands of Antipaxos or Paxos.

 

That being said, I do feel like a long weekend getaway to Corfu is well worth it and very enjoyable. It was lovely to get some sun and enjoy nice weather, have a chance to relax on the beach and go for a swim in the beautiful waters. With a full week here, I would have wanted to be based in the northern part of the island, at least for part of it, and had a villa here with a nice pool too.

 

Time of year

Corfu is a well known Greek island, especially for Europeans. We noticed a lot of British and Dutch on the island. The Brits are known for visiting here, and especially those looking for a party. It is definitely a busier island than some others and welcomes cruise ships. In fact, many cruises will commence in Corfu so you may notice a specific type of crowd arriving.

 

With the above in mind, shoulder season would be my recommended time to visit. We visited at the beginning of May and had excellent weather, but did notice not all restaurants were open yet as the season starts a bit later. This was a bit of a risk, but we had mainly sunshine and 70 degree temps. As it is a greener island, there is more rain than on some of the other islands so booking in shoulder season is not without a risk. Late May and early June should be quite a safe option, and generally can be nice to avoid the high season of July and August. If visiting in high season, consider booking rental cars, accommodations and restaurants in advance to avoid competing with all the other holiday goers.

 

Finally, check the calendar before you go! We (accidentally) visited on Greek Easter. This meant some places were closed and the island as a whole was busier. It did not pose to be a large problem, but it was definitely something to consider when booking

 

Weather

July and August are known for having the best weather, consistently warm and sunny. June can also be very nice, and sometimes May and September are even warm enough to hit up the beach. It's hard to know how nice it will be in shoulder season

 

Other Greek Islands

Having been to other Greek Islands, I would recommend Corfu. The mountains in the north and vast amount of green on the island made it truly beautiful. There are less beaches than some of its neighbors, and it carries a mixed influence of both Greece and Italy due to its location.

 

Within the Ionian islands, I have visited Kefalonia, Corfu and Zakynthos. Of the three, I would rank Corfu second. Kefalonia was my favorite as it has a mix of nice beaches, gorgeous water, nice boat day adventures, unique spots to visit, good food, and quaint villages. I felt Corfu lacked some of the variety that Kefalonia offered, but think it is much prettier than the island of Zakythnos and comes with more charm than Zakynthos.

 

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Transportation and Accommodations

Things to do and see

Food and Drinks

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