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Corfu, Greece travel guide

To be honest with you, Corfu has never been on our ultimate bucket list but we have found very convenient flights so we told ourselves … why not?!

Just because Corfu isn’t as “instagram famous” as for example Santorini or Mykonos, we didn’t know what to expect from it as we haven’t found many proper pictures, videos and blog posts showcasing true beauty of this island.

But we decided to take a leap of faith and find out what the island really looks like without pretty much seeing any valid videos or pictures of it!

In the end our trip turned out to be epic and there is SO MUCH TO DO in this beautiful and very diverse Greek island!

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT CORFU AND ITS HISTORY

Corfu (in Greek Kerkyra) is a mountainous island off Greece’s northwest coast in the Ionian Sea. It is the 7th largest Greek island and 2nd largest Ionian island (after largest Kefalonia). It has a total of 115 beaches which makes it one of the most popular Greek islands for beach holiday seekers.

The history of Corfu goes back to thousands of years, with the first mentions of the island coming as far back as 1300 BC in ancient Greek manuscripts and writings. As a result, the island has been inhabited by humans for almost 3,000 years and therefore it is one of the oldest places in Europe!

Its cultural heritage reflects years spent under Venetian, French and British rule before it was united with Greece in 1864.

From medieval times and into the 17th century, the island was recognised as a bulwark of the European States against the Ottoman Empire and became one of the most fortified places in Europe. 

Centuries long Venetian rule preserved them from becoming part of the Ottoman Empire and the island remains one of the only places in Greece that successfully fended off the Ottoman invasion!

HOW TO GET TO CORFU

Corfu has an international airport with dozens of daily flights from most of the European destinations. If you can’t get the direct flight, have a look on the connections. It really isn’t hard to fly out there.

If you are in for a major adventure, you can also come here by car. There are many ferries coming to Corfu from mainland Greece (Patra, Igoumenitsa, Sagiada), from some other Greek islands (Ereikoussa, Mathraki, Paxi), from Italy (Bari, Brindisi, Ancona, Venice), and from Albania (Saranda, Himare).

Corfu also takes part on the itineraries of many Mediterranean cruises, but this way you will most likely visit it only for a day and stay only in the area of the old town.

HOW TO GET AROUND CORFU

To make the most out of your trip, we highly recommend you to hire a car. The scooter could be an option too but the island is pretty big and if you want to see it all, you will be doing some distances.

Another reason why we wouldn’t recommend to hire a scooter is that there are some beaches that have only dusty roads leading to them and you won’t be able to drive there with a scooter (only with a proper motorbike).

You can hire a car directly at the airport or actually anywhere around the island (it might be cheaper to rent it outside the airport).

If you don’t feel like renting a car or it’s simply not in your budget, don’t be sad! We found the bus connection around Corfu to be pretty good considering that it’s an island!

In the beginning it might be a little confusing to understand the connections and the difference between the green and blue line buses but if you do your research or ask someone (there are also bus info points around the old town Corfu) you can easily get around with a bus!

The line no. 15 (blue bus) connects the airport with the port of Corfu passing through the Intercity Bus Station of the island (starting point for green line buses) and then through the city centre of Corfu old town (San Rocco Square) where there is also an information kiosk.

Click here to see the timetable of all the lines of Green buses that depart from the Intercity Bus Station and go around the island.

WHERE TO STAY

The island is beautiful and pretty big and in our opinion there is not only one “right” place to stay at and of course it very much depends on you and the kind of holidays you like.

For families with children we would recommend to find a hotel near Paralia Agios Georgios. It’s a very long golden sand bay with shallow and calm water. Another option for a long sandy beach is the Glyfada beach.

If you are looking for a perfect holiday resort area and don’t mind rocky beaches, book your stay in Benitses. It’s an old fishing village only 14km from Corfu old town (easily reachable even by bus) that offers plenty of seaside hotels, restaurants, bars and attractions. A tip from us for an amazing luxury hotel is the new Angsana Corfu resort.

For youngsters that would like to explore the island, we would recommend to either stay in the old town of Corfu which is very lively day and night or if you want to stay directly on the beach and explore from there, our favourite area was Paleokastritsa. However if you don’t have a car, we suggest you to stay in the old town as all the buses that take you around the island start from there.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The high season in Corfu starts in the beginning of June and last until the end of September. The hottest and most touristy months are July and August. If you would like to escape crowds but still enjoy some good weather, you can visit Corfu during the shoulder season like at the end of May or beginning of October. The prices during shoulder season months are also much lower.

BEST THINGS TO DO IN CORFU

CORFU TOWN

We know that if you are coming to Corfu you most likely just want to enjoy the beach but hear us out. The Corfu town is very beautiful and definitely deserves your attention. It is also the best place to base yourself if you don’t want to rent a car but still want to explore the entire island by bus.

CORFU OLD TOWN

The Old Town of Corfu is a certified UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its abundant history and beautiful architecture. The old city’s architectural character is strongly influenced by the Venetian style, coming as it did under Venetian rule for a long period. Walking the streets of Corfu Old Town definitely feels more like walking around Italy rather than Greece.

Get lost in its narrow streets, discover its beautiful corners, do some shopping in the local stores, grab some traditional snack or dinner and finish it off with gelato. That’s a tip from us on how to spend one of your evenings in the old town ๐Ÿ™‚

OLD FORTRESS OF CORFU

The Old Fortress of Corfu is a Venetian fortress in the city of Corfu. The fortress covers the promontory which initially contained the old town of Corfu that had emerged during Byzantine times.

The entry fee to the Old Fortress is 6 EUR and it’s open from 8AM – 8PM (last entrance 7.30PM). In our opinion the best time to visit it it’s during sunset hours when it’s not so hot and the views of the town turn golden.

AIRPLANE WATCHING PIER

This might be a very unusual activity for you, but for us, flight attendants (yes that’s right, we both work full time as flight attendants), it was a MUST. We really enjoyed watching sunset while airplanes were landing literally over the top of our heads! The runway of the airport is very close to the pier that’s why the airplanes get so close to you :-).

There is a very big parking next to the pier so you can easily get here with your rental vehicle. We have also seen green buses that run between the old town and Benitses to stop here so that’s another option how to get there.

VLACHERNA MONASTERY OF PANAYIA

If you are not so much into airplanes, right next to the airplane watching pier, you can find The Holy Monastery of Vlacherna. This beautiful monastery located on a little island connected to the mainland with a pedestrian bridge was built in 17th. century and for years functioned as a nunnery. Nowadays it’s one of the most famous tourist attractions of Corfu and also a favourite place to celebrate special occasions like weddings, baptisms etc. In fact when we visited, there was a wedding held so we didn’t want to get too close. What a special place to get married :-).

Near the Monastery you can also see the famous Pontikonisi – “Mouse Island” which is also home to the Byzantine chapel of Pantokrator from the 11th century and only open to visitors each year on August 6th.

People in the neighborhood believe that the “Mouse island” was formed at the site of the shipwreck that transported Odysseus to Ithaca, which is where many myth stories begin.

ANEMOLINOS WINDMILL

Beautiful windmills are to be found not only in Mykonos and Santorini but also in Corfu. At least one – the Anemolinos windmill ๐Ÿ™‚

We went to a restaurant close by and wanted to go for a short walk to the windmill after dinner but it was already too dark so unfortunately we were not able to see it ourselves …but you can go and let us know if you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

MUSEUMS

If you’ve read this blog post until here, you’ve probably understood that Corfu has a very rich history which naturally nowadays is a home to many amazing museums. Unfortunately we had a very little time in Corfu and didn’t have the time to visit any, but if you are a history enthusiast, here are some of the best museums of Corfu: Corfu Museum of Asian Art, Casa Parlante, Music Museum, Archeological Museum of Corfu, Corfu Gallery, Byzantine museum of Antivouniotissa and many many more!

RESTAURANTS AND BARS IN CORFU TOWN

Greek cuisine is one of our favourite and we love to try all of their best traditional meals. Our favourite local restaurant in Corfu town was “Ta Psarakia Tsi Garitsas” (close to Anemolinos windmill). Fresh and delicious food and great service! On this street (“Alkiviadou Dari”) we have seen many restaurants that seemed to be good. Let’s be honest, in Greece you can hardly go wrong with the restaurant choice ๐Ÿ™‚

If you are looking for a beach bar directly in Corfu town, head to Imabari. This all day Seaside Lounge Bar and Restaurant located on Faliraki beach is a great place to relax, have some drinks and spend some time at.

For sunset lovers we highly recommend you to go to Swan Cocktail bar which gives you the best sunset views!

AFIONAS

Afionas is most likely the most beautiful little village in all Corfu. It seriously gave us some Cyclades islands vibes! Tiny narrow streets, beautiful houses decorated with colourful flowers, cute cats roaming around and very kind locals make this place very fairytale-like. It is very small and you can walk it all in less than 5 min so you might think it’s not worth it, but as it’s the starting point for your next adventure, you can’t miss it! Read on… ๐Ÿ™‚

PORTO TIMONI

So your next adventure from Afionas is Porto Timoni. The famous mirrored/double bay that you see on all the billboards advertising Corfu ๐Ÿ™‚

Park your car in Afionas town, have a little stroll through its picturesque streets and head towards the hiking trial. Wear a proper pair of shoes and bring some drinks and snacks as this beach is completely untouched with no amenities. The hike down to the beach takes around 25 min. To the viewpoint where you can see the double bay is around 15 min.

Even though there is a hike required to go to this beach, it still receives many tourists as it’s probably the most famous beach on the island. So come very early (7-8am) so you can enjoy it until midday and head back when the mass of tourists start to arrive.

If you don’t want to hike but would still like to visit this beach, there is a boat taxi service offered from Paralia Agios Georgios that will take you there. Or you can rent your own boat and come here at your own pace.

RENT A BOAT

One of the best thing you can do when travelling to any island is to rent your own boat. With a boat you can visit some very remote beaches that are accessible only by boat. For example in Corfu there are Stelari beach, Chomi beach (also called Paradise beach) and many more. Plus a day spent on the boat is always our favourite. We didn’t unfortunately have the time to do it here in Corfu but we often rent boats when we travel and it always ends up being our favourite activity of the trip ๐Ÿ™‚

LA GROTTA

La Grotta is actually a beach/cliff bar in Paleokastritsa which I was dying to visit! I have seen so many videos and pictures from this place that it was on top of my “things to do in Corfu” list. And it surely should be on yours too!

We have spent here the entire day. To be honest we are not big fans of beach clubs because we simply think it’s a bit boring to stay all day basically doing nothing but at La Grotta it felt different. We had so much fun jumping in the water from the trampoline or from the cliffs and watching the others do the same!

Highly recommend you to come very early to catch your spot because it’s very small. On Google it says that they open at 11AM but actually they already opened a little after 10AM so we suggest you to come between 10-11AM to get yourselves sun beds. We payed 7,50 EUR per sun bed which I think is very reasonable. Especially considering there are only like 10 sun beds in total.

ROVINIA BEACH

Rovinia beach in Paleokastritsa is located very close to La Grotta beach bar so you can combine it into one day trip just like we did. You also need to hike a little bit to this beach but it’s nothing scary. It’s more of a walk through the woods than a hike. The problem is the parking. There are 2 parkings in the woods from where it takes around 5-10 min to arrive to the beach but the access to these parkings is not the best and we wouldn’t recommend you to go there with a low car as you might damage it. We parked on the side of the street near the “Vergina Coffee & Bar & Snacks” from where it took us 15 min to arrive to the beach. Come early in the morning as there are almost no parking spots available.

Also there is no bar or a restaurant on this beach so bring your own drinks and snacks.

Next to Rovinia beach there is Liapades beach which also looked very beautiful and had an easier access than Rovinia.

GIALLI BEACH

Sitting here, writing this blog post and I can’t find the words to describe this place. It is ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACHES WE HAVE EVER SEEN! An ultimate paradise on Earth!

I am not going to lie, it is very hard to get to this beach but my God…Is it worth it?!

It actually reminded us of the beaches in Thailand. Like for example Phi Phi islands and it was totally empty! Throughout the whole day. Another option to visit this beach is with a boat, which to be honest I would recommend you to do so, but you will miss out on the amazing view of the beach from the top so I am very happy we did the hike! ๐Ÿ™‚

Bring plenty of water and snacks and don’t forget your goggles and snorkel! ๐Ÿ™‚ … YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE IT HERE!

We shared our experience on instagram and many of our followers messaged us that they went there because of our videos and pictures and thanking us for the tip so we are not lying when we say it’s paradise on Earth ๐Ÿ™‚

ACHILLEION PALACE

The Achillion Palace located in the picturesque village of Gastouri was built in 1890 exclusively for Elizabeth (Sissy), the former Empress of Austria. The palace used to serve as her summer retreat. After her tragical death the palace was bought by the last German emperor Wilhelm II.

During the First and Second World War the palace was abandoned but after years of rebuilding and restoration, the palace was finally restored to its former beauty which nowadays you can see with your own eyes.

CANAL D’AMOUR

Canal D’Amour or “the Channel of Love” is one of the most famous places on the island. This little beach surrounded by clay rock cliffs and formations is situated in the north of the island in the town of Sidari. Legend has it that if you swim the length of the canal with your loved one, you will find the eternal love. So hurry up! ๐Ÿ™‚

OTHER BEACHES WORTH THE MENTION

As we previously mentioned, Corfu has a total of 115 amazing beaches which is a lot to choose from but some other beaches that we would have loved to visit but unfortunately didn’t have the time are: Bataria Beach in Kassiopi, Beaches in Paleokastritsa (Ampelaki, Agios Spiridon, Agia Triada, Alipa, Agios Petros, Platakia), Glyfada beach, Kalami beach, Kaminaki beach, Nisaki beach, Benitses, Paralia Agios Georgios, Lipiades beach.

GO ON A TOUR

Tours are sometimes overlooked but we love going on special tours everywhere we travel because we always learn a lot and have fun too! Here are some of the tours you can go on in Corfu:

TRAVEL INSURANCE

We recommend to book a travel insurance for every trip as you never know what could happen. It’s not easy to deal with any kind of problems when you are abroad, so it’s definitely worth it to be covered and travel with peace in mind.

We use IATI travel insurance and you can book yours through our link and receive 5% discount.

Book here if you are from EU: https://www.iatitravelinsurance.com/en-eu/?r=96181493877707

Book here if you are from outside EU (rest of the world): https://www.iatitravelinsurance.com/en/?r=96181493877707

If you are looking into visiting some other Greek islands, read our blog posts about Santorini and Paros

We hope this blog post was helpful to you and you are gonna have a great time while exploring the beautiful Corfu island. For more pictures and videos check out our IG story highlight (Corfu) and our reels/feed posts. If you have any questions, please donโ€™t hesitate to comment bellow or contact us via email or even better via Instagram @borntotraveldiaries. Thank you for your time and stay tuned for our next diary page ๐Ÿ™‚.

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