One of the biggest and most green islands off Greece’s northwest coast is Corfu. The Ionian island is a ravishing summer destination with a stunning landscape. High mountains, pristine beaches, and a rich history that reflects, in monuments and buildings, each of the different cultures that dominated the island.
Corfu became a part of Greece in 1864 and as time went by, it became one of the favorite destinations in the Ionian sea for vacations. Adored by Italians, French, and British alike, Corfu is the perfect spot for those who want to explore some of the most beautiful Greek islands.
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Where to Stay in Corfu
We have a full post on where to stay in Corfu Town here, but if you want our quick and easy top 3 picks, you can find them below.
Budget: Local Hostel & Suites
This brand new hostel (with private rooms available) is small, offering an intimate and personal experience with only 10 rooms. You can choose from a dormitory-type room or a private room with an ensuite bathroom.
Location is the name of the game here: it is very close to the port (great for doing day trips to other islands or even Albania!), yet it’s also located just 10 minutes from the heart of Old Town.
While it’s easy to walk to the Old Town, there is also a nearby bus stop that can get you back and forth from the town easily — great as taxis in Corfu are crazy overpriced, similar to many other touristic Greek islands. The facilities are all brand new because they just opened around August of this year, so you’ll enjoy comfortable and modern amenities.
All of their rooms have clean and crisp minimalist styles. They have a minibar that serves snacks during the day, and every morning, they offer coffee (with refills)! Past guests commended the cleanliness of the place – calling it squeaky clean! The only issue some guests found was that there can be some noise from the kitchen in the morning or at night.
Mid-Range: Corfu Mare Boutique Hotel
Despite being a short trip by bus or taxi to the heart of the Old Town from this hotel, it still gets plenty of guests for its phenomenal amenities. In fact, you should hurry if you see there’s a room available – virtually every past guest of this hotel says that it is 100% worth staying here!
Corfu Mare has multiple room types and configurations (with a total of 51 total rooms). For a more modern room, look to their junior suite for stylish vibes. Most of the rooms have simple, classic decor elements to make each room look elegantly fabulous. Their beds use Coco-mats for the mattresses: they’re made out of natural fibers, and they’re also very comfortable and sturdy.
All of their rooms and suites are fully equipped with all the best features you can expect for a mid-range priced hotel. Interconnected rooms are also available if you are a large group of travelers. The hotel is tucked away from the main streets of Corfu Town. You will love how enclosed and exclusive the entire property is, and the fact that there’s also free and secure parking.
Just be reminded that there’s not much in the way of shops and restaurants nearby, so you’ll have to head into the heart of the Old Town for more action. The main views of the hotel are its private pool, garden, and the sea nearby, so if you want Old Town vibes, other Corfu Town hotels may be a better fit. Still, it is a wonderful, classy, and affordable place to stay in Corfu Town — and that’s one reason of many that so many guests return.
Luxury: Bella Venezia
Bella Venezia is a luxury hotel in the Old Town of Corfu that showcases what a typical mansion looked like during the 18th century. It stands out from the other buildings in the town due to its peach-painted exterior. The location is also perfect, both nearby to the attractions in the Old Town plus easy access to a local beach.
It was recently renovated in just 2016, transforming it into the modern hotel is it now. It’s a cozy hotel, with just 30 rooms and 1 suite, so service is individualized and personal. In terms of style, the interiors are decorated with exquisite furniture and embellishments. The lobby showcases pure elegance and class with its style choices.
Their rooms have parquet floors, and some bed frames are made out of wood and others from iron. One thing’s for sure: the mattresses are soft and comfortable, and many of their past guests raved about it! The hotel mixes and matches different classic pieces to create that romantic and sophisticated style for all the rooms. Most of their rooms have a balcony and the views are mesmerizing!
Check out the fridge in the room for a complimentary bottle of wine or champagne, plus a bunch of gorgeous roses to welcome you on your first day! A/C and heating give you choice over the climate control to keep you comfortable regardless of the season.
You will love how they put tealight candles in the ensuite bathroom to make it even cozier, and toiletries and towels are for your disposal here as well. It also has an enclosed shower to keep the toilet area dry and comfortable.
Top Things to Do in Corfu, Greece
Located in the heart of the Ionian sea, right opposite the Eastern Mediterranean coast of Italy, the beautiful island of Corfu is one of the many top destinations in Greece where it’s possible to spend an unforgettable time.
The island is a favorite destination for locals as well as for tourists as there are so many things to do in Corfu that you wouldn’t know where to start from. Are you getting ready to discover Corfu? The choose some of these top ideas to enjoy your vacations on the island.
Explore the Old Town of Corfu
The capital of Corfu (locally known as Kerkyra) hosts a unique old town which is a pleasure to visit. The small town is a UNESCO World Heritage full of ancient aristocratic mansions dating from the Venetian period of the island.
Among the things to spot when walking the alleys of old Kerkyra, check the magnificent walls of the Old Fortress, the Statue of Georgios Theotokis, and the church of Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of the city.
Spending an afternoon sightseeing the old town offers a great opportunity to learn about the history of the island, to have a deeper insight, it’s a great idea to join a tour with a local guide like this one, who will be able to tell you about every secret of Corfu’s past.
Visit Corfu’s Old Fortress
Known as the Old Fortress of Corfu, this Venetian castle stands overlooking the sea, on top of a promontory belonging to the Byzantine times of the island.
When the Venetians took hold of Corfu, the original Byzantine fortifications were replaced with more solid walls. The Venetians also separated the promontory from the rest of the city by means of the Contrafossa, a long wall perimeter which in a way turned the citadel into an artificial island.
The Venetian Fortress of Corfu gained its well-known fame as it managed to protect the city from three important sieges from the Ottoman Empire.
Check the Church of Saint George inside the Fortress of Corfu
Within the walls of the Old Fortress, remember to look for the beautiful church of Agios Giorgos, which resembles more a Doric temple than a chapel. A visit in the early hours of the morning can offer unique contrasts of color between the blue sea and the temple as the sun rises on the horizon.
The church was built during the period when the British dominated the island. It dates back to the 19th century and it stands on a privileged position inside the fortress, offering spectacular views of the sea.
Pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Corfu
One of the most modern museums in town, the Archaeological Museum of Corfu first opened its doors to the public in 1965.
Although it was originally built to exhibit the findings coming from the local Temple of Artemis, the museum was later on enlarged in order to house two more exhibition areas dedicated to the objects and findings unearthed in the nearby ancient citadel of Corfu.
Enjoy a visit to the Banknote Museum
One of the most original museums you can visit in Corfu is the Banknote Museum of Alpha Bank, considered one of the best museums of this kind in the whole world.
Inside the building, it’s possible to check one of the most complete collections of Greek currency, including the first treasury bonds issued by the newly liberated country in 1822.
Kassiopi Castle is probably the best-preserved castle on the island. It’s located on the northeastern coast of Corfu and, together with Angelokastro Fortress and Gardiki castle, these were the most important defensive structures on the island.
Kassiopi oversees the Corfu Channel, a strait that separates the island from the mainland. The castle, together with Angelokastro, can be considered one of the most impressive Byzantine fortifications in the Ionian sea.
Marvel at the Outstanding Royal Achilleion
This magnificent palace in Gastoruis was originally built to host the Austrian Royals who once lived on Corfu. It’s a unique classic building with incredible touches of elegance and style.
The Royal Achilleon is open to the public and paying a visit both to the Palace and its gardens is among the best things you can do in Corfu. Join this private tour to enjoy an educational and entertaining visit.
Explore Mount Pantokrator
Located in the northeastern area of the island, the imposing mountain is the highest peak in Corfu (906 m). It’s a great place for explorers to get a postcard-like view of the whole island and the nearby coast of Albania.
Once you reach the top, you can have a moment of rest enjoying a cup of coffee in the touristic café or you can also pay a visit to the church and Monastery dedicated to the transfiguration of Christ.
To reach the peak of Mount Pantokrator you can either drive the winding mountain path or hike starting from the oldest village of Corfu, Old Perithia. The hike is about 2 hours.
Visit the Museum of Asian Art
Hosted inside the impressive Palace of St. Michael and St. George, the Museum of Sino-Japanese Art first opened its doors to the public in 1927.
The main collection includes pieces of Japanese and Korean art, originally a donation from the Greek ambassador to Austria, Gregorios Manos an important authority on Far East art.
There is also a second collection with artifacts from India, Pakistan, Tibet, Siam, and Northeast Asia. Upon the arrival of this important series of artifacts to the museum, its name changed into Museum of Asian Art.
Admire Angelokastro Byzantine Castle
Angelokastro is an imposing Byzantine castle near the coastal area of Paleokastritsa. The fortress stands on an impressive steep cliff surrounded by a particularly harsh, rocky terrain.
Considered one of the most important fortified castles in the Ionian, it originally was the acropolis from which it was possible to control the whole region, as far as the southern Adriatic sea.
Together with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle to defend the island against pirate sieges and attacks. Due to its strategic position, the castle never fell in the hands of the enemy during its long history.
Spend Time in the Pretty Beaches of Corfu
Being such a big island, the long coast of Corfu is dotted by beautiful shores and fantastic beaches.
Anything from the soft sand beach, to imposing white cliffs, unique coves, and pristine sea caves, there are several shores to explore in Corfu. These are the ones that you should definitely include in your Corfu adventure!
Often considered the most beautiful beach in Corfu, Paleokastritsa is on the northern area of the island.
The small village of Paleokastritsa is a traditional settlement where it’s also possible to rent a villa and enjoy a stay just steps away from the unique Paleokastritsa coast.
According to the legend, this place is considered to be the Greek mythological site of Scheria, the last place that Odysseus visited before making it back home. The area can easily be visited in the afternoon, so it’s also a possibility to combine some hours in Paleokastritsa with a morning spent in the Old Town. This tour combines both activities offering great value for money!
When you visit Paleokastritsa, don’t forget to climb all the way up to the Paleokastritsa Monastery from where you can enjoy the magnificent views of the beach and taste a delicious extra virgin olive oil produced by the monks.
One of the most famous beaches in Corfu is the popular Sidari, home of the beautiful and romantic Canal d’Amour.
The tiny shore is surrounded by imposing white cliffs creating a breathtaking landscape that has put this beach among the most famous seaside areas of Greece.
According to the local legend, the couples that swim through the channel are bound to get marry soon and spend a life of bliss and harmony together… Sound about the right spot for a honeymoon, right?
This is what makes the place one of the most romantic spots in Corfu as well as the most unique place for those enjoying a romantic escape on the island.
Another wonderful beach in Corfu is Porto Timoni, a must-visit spot on the island. Home to a picture-perfect coastline, with incredibly beautiful shades of blu and turquoise, Porto Timoni is among the best beaches in Greece.
Due to its unique shape, the place is a perfect place to find a relaxing cove to isolate and enjoy without being surrounded by lots of tourists.
Agios Spyridon Beach
Although it tends to be quite crowded, the beautiful shore of Agios Spyridon is worth a visit when spending some time in Corfu.
Surrounded by a beautiful landscape and with crystal clear waters, the beach is in an amazing location for some quality time swimming, sunbathing, or simply chilling under the Greek sun.
The sea, often colder than in other beaches in Corfu, is full of colorful fish which makes it an ideal area for snorkeling, immersions, and other water-sports too.
Kerasia Beach is a heavenly pebble beach with exotic vegetation and with crystal clear waters. There is very basic organization, and there a few local tavernas in the area.
The beach is close to the coast of Albania, and it’s not usually overcrowded, which makes it a perfect place for those looking for some authentic relaxation.
Take a Boat Trip to Mathraki Beach
The small island of Mathraki off the coast of Corfu belongs to the group of the Diapontia Islands. After a 45-minute boat ride, travelers reach the magnificent island with unique turquoise beaches, and just a few shops and tavernas.
There are a few rooms and studios to spend the night but not much more. As a matter of fact, Mathraki is a perfect place where to hide from those massive hordes of tourists that populate Corfu in the high season.
5 Things to Bring with You to Corfu
If you’re planning a trip to Greece, you’ll want to pack all the normal essentials, but here are a few things we strongly recommend bringing that may not have crossed your mind. For more packing tips, check out our complete Greece packing list.
– A physical guidebook, in paper or on Kindle. We own and love Lonely Planet Greece for this region and strongly recommend it to supplement blogs. Blogs are great, but a combination of a blog and a guidebook is key to having the best access to information easily at your fingertips.
– A water bottle with a filter. While generally, the tap water in most of Greece is drinkable, we generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any funny-tasting water on your stomach that could make your trip unpleasant! There are places in Greece, especially on the islands, where the water tastes like minerals or have been desalinated and have a funky taste.
We recommend the GRAYL water bottle – it filters water perfectly in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc.
– Motion sickness pills. Often, Greek roads are winding, especially around the coast. If you have a weak stomach as we do, save yourself and bring some non-drowsy motion sickness pills.
– Travel safety items. We think Greece is safe to travel, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Some people like to carry money belts, but neither Stephanie or I use these. Instead, we both carry the same PacSafe anti-theft backpack (the small bag pictured above).
It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also strongly recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.
More Greece Travel Resources
First read our guide to planning a trip to Greece, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more. We also have a separate guide to tipping in Greece so you know what to give to different servers and staff while you’re here.
Next, you’ll want to read our all-season Greece packing list.
We have more Corfu content on the way, but for now, check our guide to accommodations in Corfu Town.
If you know you’ll be spending time in Athens, check out our Athens Instagram guide, the best Athens day trips, and our complete Athens hotel guide. We also have a guide to the best things to do in Athens in winter.
We also have Athens safety tips so your trip can be hassle-free. We are currently working on our mega-post of things to do in Athens as well as our itineraries, so stay tuned!
We publish new content about the Balkans almost every day! For more information about traveling to Greece and the Balkans, bookmark our Greece and Balkan travel pages so you can find out what’s new before your trip.
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a good idea to have travel insurance for traveling in Greece, the Balkans, or anywhere in the world!
Stephanie and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.
While Greece is safe, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel like theft or injury, so it’s better to play it safe.
Pin this Guide to the Best Things to Do in Corfu For your Next Adventure in Greece!
Gabi Ancarola is a translator and travel journalist living in Crete. She regularly writes about the island for several magazines about travel, gastronomy, and hospitality. She has published several travel guides about Greece and runs a local gastronomy tour in Chania. She loves cooking local dishes, taking photos, and driving on the mountain roads of Crete.