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8 TOP THINGS TO DO IN CORFU

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sponsored by Ikos Dassia

With so many unforgettable things to do in Corfu, one visit is never enough. But there are some highlights you simply can’t afford to miss.

Corfu is an island in the Ionian Sea that never fails to capture the hearts of visitors from around the world. The Venetians, French and English have all ruled over the island and their legacy can be seen in the island’s architecture, cultural attractions and gastronomy.

You can relax on sandy beaches, swim in gin-clear seas, stroll through the fascinating Old Town, admire historical sites, visit museums, hike across forested hills, walk around the traditional villages and indulge in hearty local dishes.

Families adore the island for the warm hospitality of locals, couples for its romantic capital, and solo travellers for its breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and activities on offer.

Fall in love with sandy beaches and blue-green seas

Blessed with hillsides thick with pine, cypress and eucalypt forests that tumble down to blue-green seas, Corfu is a beach and nature lover’s dream.

Corfu’s best beaches include unspoilt Agios Georgios Pagon, out-of-the-way Ermones, striking Paleokastritsa, Glyfada and remote Myrtiotissa on the west coast. In the east, choose from laidback Barbati, tiny Kouloura and Dassia, whose translucent waters and striking mountain views rank it among the island’s finest. In the south is wild Arkoudilas and bohemian kite-surfer magnet Halikounas. Sidari, in the northwest, is known for the Canal d’Amour and its impressive sandstone formations.

Meanwhile, flamingos and other migratory birds pass through the Alikes salt pans and Korission lagoon.

Star in your own movie in film-set perfect villages

On the verdant northeastern coast, seaside villages worth visiting include upscale Agios Stefanos, insider-secret Kaminaki and minuscule Kalami, where British author Gerald Durrell once resided and penned books inspired by his time there.

Afionas village, Corfu

In the north, the neighbouring traditional villages of Palia Perithea and Loutses offer spectacular views of fertile valleys and the sea.

Afionas, a traditional village on the west coast, is the perfect spot to stop for a coffee.

Get active … from water sports to paragliding

One of the best ways to explore the western and eastern coasts of Corfu is by motorboat. Rent a boat in Dassia in the east or Paleokastritsa in the west and spend the day motoring along the coastline and discoving small tranquil coves ideal for a refreshing dip.

A boat trip to Paradise beach in Corfu

Action aficionados can water ski in Gouvia Bay or try paragliding in Dassia. Divers head to Paleokastritsa, where Achilleon Diving Center offers diving in a sheltered bay with fascinating sea life. Apollo Dive Centre in Nissaki runs PADI courses for first-time divers.

Horse riding is available in Gouvia and Avlaki. among other locations. 

Take a day trip on a sailboat to swim and snorkel in secluded bays, or a tour of the nearby twin isles of Paxos and Antipaxos, whose aquamarine waters need to be seen to be believed.

With an excellent network of hiking trails, including the Corfu Trail, the Erimitis path and the route to Pantokrator Mountain, there’s no end of outdoor activities you can enjoy in Corfu.

Be charmed by the Venetian grace of Corfu Old Town

Next in your list of top things to do in Corfu, we explore the atmospheric Old Town, a Unesco World Heritage siteYou will feel as if you have been transported to another era, with kings, countesses and noblemen and noblewomen once walking these cobblestone streets.

The Venetians and British left their mark in the form of stately neoclassical mansions that have been well-preserved and are among the most intriguing places to visit in Corfu.

Lose yourself in the narrow alleyways of the Campiello neighbourhood, which is reminiscent of Naples’ sleepy back streets.

Take a walking tour of Corfu Old Town

The entire Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Browse the stores selling handcrafted items, traditional local products, footwear and fashion. The island’s delicate honey, olive oil and kumquat liqueur all make welcome gifts for family and friends.

Take a seat at one of the open-air cafes at elegant Liston Arcade, built by the French, and watch the world go by. You might even catch a game of cricket on Spianada Square, surely amongst the most unexpected things to do in Corfu’s Old Town.

Discover an island overflowing with history

Considered one of the Mediterranean’s major fortified port cities, Corfu town’s Old Fortress and New Fortress are must-sees and splendid locations to view the capital and Ionian Sea from above. Below the Old Fortress is Garitsa, one of the city’s two main ports in antiquity.

Hop across to the picturesque island of Pontikonissi and visit the Pantokrator monastery. Step into the royal shoes of Empress Elizabeth of Austria-Hungary, known as Sissi, at the majestic Achillion Palace.

Amble through the botanical gardens of Mon Repos, the summer residence that British High Commissioner Frederick Adam built for his wife. In Paleokastritsa, scale the steps up to the 13th-century Monastery of Panagias.

Take your pick of museums and other cultural attractions

The Corfu Museum of Asian Art, located within the Palace of St Michael and St Georgiou, hosts some excellent exhibitions. Situated nearby is the Garden of the People, where locals like to cool off beneath the trees.

Housed in a 15th-century church, the Antivouniotissa Museum features religious works representing six centuries of Ionian artistic expression.

The Solomos Museum, Kapodistrias Museum, Reading Society, Banknote Museum, Ionian Parliament and the Museum of the Philharmonic Society of Corfu are amongst the best places to visit in Corfu for culture vultures.

And in the Casa Parlante museum, you get to peek into the daily life of an aristocratic family in the 19th century.

If you happen to visit Corfu during Orthodox Easter, you might be lucky enough to witness the Philharmonic Society of Corfu’s solemn Good Friday performance and locals ceremoniously throwing clay pots from windows and balconies onto Spianada Square on Easter Saturday

Sample Corfu’s delicious culinary heritage

Locals are fiercely proud of their culinary culture (especially Venetian) so enjoying the local products and traditional dishes is definitely one of the top things to do in Corfu.

In the inland village of Doukades, Elizabeth’s taverna dishes out heart-warming local fare such as sofrito (pan-fried veal in a wine-based sauce).

In Corfu town, elegant Rex on central Kapodistriou St has been honouring home-style pastitsada (beef or rooster casserole with pasta) and other classic Corfiot recipes since 1932.

Klimataria taverna, in Benitses, is known for its succulent bianco, a fish-based dish, and other specialities.

Karydis taverna in Boukari, a fishing village in the south of the island, draws slipper lobster devotees.

Iliovasilema taverna in Paramonas, two kilometres from Agios Mattheos village in southwest Corfu, serves a delectably spicy bourdeto with scorpion fish.

In Agios Georgios Pagon, the taverna Fishermen serves superb fish and seafood meze accompanied by wild greens.

Taverna Agni, a family-run beachside taverna at Agni Bay on the northeastern coast, grills the catch of the day to perfection.

For simple, quality dishes, Karydia in Dassia is a cosy taverna with a dedicated clientele.

Local olive oil, wine, olives and cheese

In Corfu town, foodies can sample creative Greek cuisine crafted with local ingredients at Pomo d’Oro on Skaramaga Square and Salto Wine Bar Bistro at the old port, while The Venetian Well in Campiello is infinitely romantic.

Vido Island restaurant, situated on an islet 15 minutes by boat from Dassia, offers a unique seaside dining experience.  

In the Old Town, pop into the old school Papagiorgis patisserie for divine pistachio ice cream whipped up in-house.

Wine connoisseurs should plan a visit to Ambelonas Estate to sample Corfiot wine produced with the skopelitiko and kakotrigis varietals, as well as inspect the on-site olive oil and wine museum.

Drink up the coffee and bar culture, day and night

Step out first thing in the morning for an espresso and soak up the history and ambience of the Old Town at one of the cafes at Liston Arcade.

In the late afternoon, head to one of the chic beach bars, such as Pazuzu in Glyfada or Imabari in Corfu Town, where you can relax on a sun lounger and witness a glorious sunset with a cocktail in hand.

Post-dinner, the tiny, hip bars in Corfu’s old town, among them Kourdisto Portokali, Café Bristol and Piccolo, is where the action is, with music ranging from jazz to rock and house grooves.

FAQs about Corfu, Greece

When is the best time to visit Corfu?

Corfu is especially popular in July and August, but there is plenty of accommodation around the island so you can find quieter spots. However, it is worth coming in the months either side of peak summer when the weather is still great for swimming but there are fewer people on the island. Corfu is also a very green and hilly island, perfect for nature activities, especially in spring and autumn. Easter is a very special time to visit Corfu.

What are the top sites in Corfu?

The entire Old Town of Corfu is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, filled with monuments (Venetian, British, French) and museums, such as the Archaeological Museum, Mon Repos & Achilleion Palace, Casa Parlante and the Museum of Asian Art (inside the Palace of St Michael and St George). The Old and New Fortresses are landmarks of Corfu, but the entire Old Town is like an open-air museum, with churches, squares and Venetian-era buildings. The focal point of the Old Town is Liston and Spianada Square.

What are the best beaches in Corfu?

There is an incredible choice of beaches all around Corfu, some long and sandy with facilities (tavernas, sunbeds & umbrellas) and some more remote and not as organised. There are more than 100 excellent swimming spots, but among the best-known beaches of Corfu are Palaiokastritsa and Glyfada beach as well as the Canal d’Amour (where legend says you will find your true love).

What makes Easter in Corfu different?

Corfu has a special way of celebrating Easter, making it one of the best times of the year to visit. The Church services are beautiful and the parading of Christ’s funerary bier on Good Friday is unique in that both the island’s Orthodox and Catholic Churches have processions on the same day, despite Catholic Easter having taken place at least a week earlier. The highlight is the dropping of the colourful botides (clay pots) from balconies in the Old Town on Saturday morning, a tradition that happens nowhere else. But most of all, it’s about the unique atmosphere over the entire Easter week.
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