In the heart of the Ionian Sea, this Greek island boasts over 115 crystal-clear beaches, a Mouse Island and over 300 species of birds. We are talking about Corfu, the border island with the homonymous capital Corfu Town, seaside villages such as Kavos and rural municipalities hidden in the Mediterranean scrub such as Paleokastritsa. There is also the Angelokastro Fortress, packed with stories and breathtaking views from the cliff. Then there is the evocative Canal D’Amour beach, whose name needs no further explanation.
In short, the list that includes places to visit in Corfu is rather long and can include entire pages of footnotes. But don’t worry! That’s why there is our guide dedicated to this island of 610.9 square kilometres. But who’s counting? It includes all the beauty of this Greek destination. The sea and its history. And that’s without neglecting all the food and excursions to do while spending a few days or a week in Corfu, such as the island of Paxos.
Are you ready to discover all the places to visit in Corfu?
Beaches to visit in Corfu
One can’t refer to Greece and its islands without mentioning the sea, right? With golden sandy beaches and headlands with rocks and cliffs, there is no shortage of options. One that definitely should not be missed is the Blue Lagoon, a postcard-perfect lagoon. When you dream of a Mediterranean paradise with sapphire-coloured waters, forests of rosemary bushes and boats moored offshore, you are imagining this bay on the desert island of Mourtos. This is an easy one-day excursion from Corfu, with boats following the coastline of cliffs and sea caves.
Returning to the island of Corfu you will find the beach Canal d’Amour in the northern municipality of Sidari. Made up of time-strewn coves and fine golden sands. This destination is perfect for anyone who wants to spend a week in Corfu, exploring the coast from north to south. What makes it romantic? Its natural and unique colours, sinuous coves and lush vegetation. What can I say, it absolutely needs to be included in any respectful list of the places to visit in Corfu!
Issos Beach, Glyphada and Cape Drastis
If you prefer long sandy beaches with all the amenities of beach resorts, then you will love Issos Beach. With umbrellas for rent and small bars by the sea, this beach is ideal for a day of pure relaxation. The beach of Glyphada, near the capital Corfu Town, is rather similar. Cape Drastis is far less traditional, on the northernmost tip of this Greek island. It is another perfect excursion for all travellers, both by boat and by car. This headland has sinuous cliffs and small sandy beaches that hide in the inlets. If you don’t fancy swimming, you can always enjoy the view from the summit.
The Kanoni Peninsula is different, with its airport and some less crowded beaches. The promenade is the ideal place to bar-hop and visit the famous Vlacherna Monastery. The island has numerous other beaches, divided into several municipalities, where you can both swim in the crystal clear sea and discover the local culture.
Places to visit in Corfu: beyond the sea
As we have seen, one of these municipalities is Sidari, where Canal d’Amour beach is located. However, this is not the only attraction in the north of Corfu. Sidari itself is a small seaside village, with a lively nightlife and the possibility of water sports. If you are an adrenaline junkie, there is also the water park inside a hotel surrounded by nature.
Paleokastritsa and Kavos
Equally fascinating is the Paleokastritsa area, home to Angelokastro Castle, Panagia Monastery (dating back to 1200) and the traditional Lakones village. In fact, among all the excursions to do in Corfu, you shouldn’t miss the typical seaside villages, small yet full of charm. Then there is Kavos, the southernmost village on this island. It’s a typical vacation spot with swimwear shops, beach-view bars, and karaoke clubs. With cocktails under your sun umbrella and the historic monastery, Kavos is the destination where opposites attract.
Agios Gordios and Pelekas
Among the best Corfu attractions for snorkellers is the Agios Gordios area, where there are sandy beaches and typical Greek villages such as Kato Garouna, Pentati and Sinarades. The first is close to a slope, while the second overlooks the sea. Last – but not least for attractiveness – is Sinarades, a village characterised by narrow alleys and cobblestone streets. In the middle of the island (but overlooking the coast) is Pelekas, definitely one of the many places to visit in Corfu. In addition to the beaches, a village is an ideal place for an evening stroll, after a day spent swimming and relaxing at the water’s edge.
The Achilleion Palace
Not far from Corfu Town, there is a rural village that conceals an unexpected jewel. Near the village of Benitses, shouldn’t miss the Achilleion Palace. Built between 1889 and 1891, this palace was born at the wish of Princess Sissi. The Italian architect Raffaele Caritto is the creator of this villa surrounded by Mediterranean woods and paths leading to the sea. With fresco-adorned ceilings, sculptures in the lush gardens and epochal furniture, the Achilleion Palace is a real treat, definitely an attraction not to be missed among the things to see in Corfu in a week.
Discovering Corfu Town
The island’s capital is definitely a must for all travellers. An example of integrity and authenticity, the old town is also one of the UNESCO-protected sites, awarded for the historic architecture of Corfu Town. The historic centre is steeped in history and reflects Greece’s past, from its origins in the 8th century to the Byzantine period. Other influences include Venetian, starting from the fifteenth century and, throughout the centuries, French, English and (lastly) Greek again. The island’s history is visible in the fortress downtown and the neoclassical palaces.
In short, the capital is a destination not to be missed.
The top places to visit in Corfu Town
The citadel with its Venetian fortresses is not the only thing to visit in the capital. Other must-see places include:
- The Esplanade is a long row of historic palaces with a large square surrounded by city parks. It dates back to 1800 and represents France’s influence on Corfu. It is the ideal destination for an afternoon coffee break or to have fun with street artists during the summer.
- The Church of St. Spyridon was built in 1589. The bell tower is visible from various corners of the capital, while inside you can enjoy original frescoes and a silver sarcophagus of the patron saint.
- Mon Repos Park dates back to 1800, so it is another historic destination in Corfu Town. You can visit the palace and the garden, in case you need a spell away from the beach.
- The Church of Saints Jason and Sosipater is an example of Byzantine architecture and art, with interiors covered in frescoes and historical icons.
- Like all respectable capitals, there is no shortage of museums in Corfu Town. One of the most appreciated is dedicated to Asian art, the Museum of Asian Art. The palace that houses the museum is something to see itself since it has English inspiration and was built in 1800. It is a neoclassical mansion that houses collections of Indian art, Chinese porcelain and ancient Japanese art. With over 15,000 artefacts, this museum is the perfect destination for any art aficionados.
In Corfu, there is no shortage of things to do. Both in the city and its surroundings. Mouse Island is particularly interesting, also known by the Greek name Pontikonísi. This is a small islet in the southern part of Kanóni, which houses a Byzantine chapel and patches of Mediterranean trees. With a quick boat trip, you can reach Pontikonísi, where you can visit historic churches such as Pantokrator and enjoy the view of the coast. The name of this islet is a mystery, but legend has it that it derives from the small size of Mouse Island.
After a full day of exploring, you need a delicious dinner, better if traditional.
What to eat in Corfu
You can try the best of local cuisine all over the island, from Sidari to Corfu Town. And it’s not just fish. There is no shortage of meat dishes and vegetarian proposals. Here are some of the delicacies you can’t miss:
- Sofrito, made of thin slices of beef fried and cooked with béchamel sauce, garlic, pepper, white wine, vinegar and parsley. It is always served with a side of vegetables.
- Pastetsada is a dish where meat is initially cooked with oil, spices, onion, garlic and red wine. Then, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaf, fresh tomato, tomato concentrate and sugar are added. It is served with pasta and grated cheese.
- The bourdeto reflects the traditional fish cuisine. It can be made with different types of fish, but the recipe remains the same. The fish is cooked with onion, chilli peppers and lemon juice.
- Aubergine pastrokio is a mix of fried and baked. At the centre of the recipe are fried aubergines, seasoned with layers of cheese, salami, sliced hard-boiled egg and bacon. Topped with a tomato and basil sauce, poured on top before baking the dish. The aubergine pastrokio is a substantial and full-bodied recipe, perfect with a glass of local red wine.
- For dessert lovers, the fogatsa is the ideal choice, a sweet brioche produced especially during the Easter period. It is usually round, soft and has an incredible scent.
In short, Corfu cuisine reflects the island’s past, composed of different administrations, invaders and multicultural roots.
When to visit Corfu
This is a summer destination, particularly popular between June and the end of August. Like all Mediterranean destinations, these months are warm and sunny. Despite the typical summer thunderstorms, most of the time the summer weather on the island is ideal for a beach holiday. However, temperatures can be prohibitive (especially in the hot hours of the day such as noon). What’s more, the most famous sites, such as the island of Paxos and the Blue Lagoon are often crowded.
If you are looking for a quieter season yet still with mild temperatures, then consider visiting Corfu after mid-May or in September. You won’t get scorched in the summer sun, but famous spots like Canal d’Amour Beach are more accessible. Lastly, Corfu comes alive and celebrates during Easter, when religious processions depart from the main monasteries and the scent of freshly baked cakes wafts from the pastry shops of Corfu Town.
Autumn and winter are risky seasons for anyone who wants to spend days on the beach. But they are the right months for those who want to visit the historical and artistic places of Corfu, enjoy traditional food and an “alternative” New Year’s Eve.
Whichever season you prefer, there is one fail-safe best way to not miss anything on the island: our tour. This itinerary includes the best of the island. Thus, you will spend a week on the sea with delicious food and unforgettable sunsets, without losing any of the most beautiful places to visit in Corfu!
Do you want to learn more about places to visit in Greece? Don’t miss our article!