Located in the northwest off the coast of Albania lies the beautiful island of Corfu, Greece. Corfu is one of the furthest north islands in the entire country and belongs to the network of islands in this area called the Ionian islands. This network of islands includes other stunning destinations like Lefkada, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Paxos and Antipaxos.
I spent almost a week in Corfu enjoying its beautiful beaches, landscapes, and also to take my RYA powerboat level 2 course so I could drive a real motor boat with confidence!
Having visited Kefalonia and Zakynthos the year prior, I was a huge fan of the Ionian islands specifically for their stunning natural beauty and iconic beaches. Corfu was actually the last of the Ionian islands that I visited.
In addition, make sure to read my Ionian islands travel itinerary if you want to see how I structured my trip to see these beautiful islands.
Greece is my favorite country in Europe and I traveled extensively through the country. If you need inspiration for other parts of Greece, make sure to read my Ultimate Greece Travel Guide that details everything yo need to know about Greece and the places I’ve been to.
Corfu is my least favorite Ionian Island
Overall, I think Corfu is probably the least impressive of the Ionian islands. It is the most developed and touristy of the islands as there are multiple daily flights from Germany and the UK that bring in swarms of tourists into the island. Aside from the larger crowds, I just think the natural beauty when it comes to landscapes and beaches are more dramatic on the other islands.
I will explain my reasoning below!
Compared to the other islands I visited, I just didn’t find Corfu as impressive and I didn’t see anything that really stood out.
- Zakynthos: Has the ultra famous Shipwreck beach and beautiful rock cove landscapes all over the island. The towns are not very impressive.
- Kefalonia: Has very dramatic mountain landscapes and stunning beaches. Also, Kefalonia has very quaint villages like Assos and Fiskardo.
- Lefkada: Best beaches in the Ionian islands
- Paxos: Ionian island feel with a Cyclades island size. Very beautiful beaches and charming just because of how small and compact it is. Antipaxos is an even smaller island nearby with stunning beaches
So while I still found Corfu to be a beautiful island, I just didn’t find anything that really stood out compared to the others. However, I must say that the main town of Kerkira on Corfu is quite beautiful. It reminds me of being in Italy than in Greece but the town is beautiful overall.
How to get to Corfu, Greece
Corfu is easily accessible by flights from an array of different airports around Europe. It is the most popular island in the Ionian islands and is probably not too far behind places like Santorini or Mykonos in terms of name recognition.
How to reach Corfu by ferry
Corfu is easily reachable by ferry from all over the area. To mainland Greece, you can take a ferry to Igoumenitsa port. The Igoumenitsa-Corfu ferry routes are frequent all year round with a ferry trip duration between 1 hr and 1.5 hr.
From Albania, there are direct ferries from Sarande which I spent time road tripping through as well. Corfu is actually extremely close to Albania and from the northeast of the island, you can see Albania clear as day.
As well, if you are a hardcore road tripper and find yourself in Italy, there are direct ferries from the port of Bari to Corfu on a very regular basis.
When is the best time to visit Corfu, Greece?
Like most of the rest of the Greek islands, the best time to visit is in the shoulder seasons. This is late April to early June, and mid September to the end of October. Avoid July and August like the plague.
The crowds can become very overbearing during the peak summer months because all of Europe comes to Corfu. Expect crowds in Corfu even in the shoulder seasons.
I visited in early October and you definitely noticed a reduction in the tourist numbers. However, the weather can be volatile in October and while the first few days were picture perfect, I had almost a week of off and on rainy and cloudy weather. It’s hit or miss and you just have to hope for the best!
How to get around Corfu?
Without a doubt, you’ll want to rent a car to travel around Corfu. There isn’t much public transportation to speak of and as soon as you leave Corfu town, you won’t see any life until small villages.
In addition, the beaches are located quite a distance away from the main roads. Even if there were buses to drop you off on the side of the road, you’ll need to walk many kilometers to get to the beach. Don’t do anything else but rent a car for exploring Corfu.
If you’re planning to just stay at a resort and have no interest in seeing the rest of the island, a simple taxi ride is all you’ll need. A car is really only necessary if you want to see the other sights on the island.
The roads are like in many other Greek islands. The roads are in decent condition but expect a lot of windy and scary mountain roads.
Where to stay in Corfu?
Corfu is pretty beautiful all around. The Ionian islands are characterized by beautiful turquoise beaches and towering mountainous terrain with plenty of green vegetation.
I only stayed in one part of the island and that was in the northeast of the island. From my conversations with people, it seemed that the north of the island was where all the main sights were and the spot to be. The north is characterized by mountain terrains, and quintessential beaches.
Corfu town is actually extremely beautiful as well. As far as main cities go, it’s definitely the most picturesque in the entire Ionian islands.
I was told that the southern half of Corfu is not so beautiful and not worth visiting. I heeded the advice and didn’t venture south but who knows, everyone could be wrong!
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Where are the must see sights in Corfu?
I spent almost a week traveling around Corfu visiting all the main sights.
Kassiopi is a small village in the northeast of Corfu. I find this area to be the most visually pleasing in Corfu and Kassiopi is one of the main towns in the area.
The cobblestone streets with the numerous tavernas overlooking the port makes it one of the best places to stay in Corfu. I had my powerboat course from Kassiopi so I ended up spending a lot of time in this village.
The Channel of Love is a natural masterpiece, perhaps the only one in the Mediterranean. It is an opening created by the corrosive effect of the water and the air above the cliff made of sandstone.
With each year that passes, the continuous effects of the elements of nature change the natural environment of the Channel of Love creating in some parts canals with turquoise waters and in other parts small caves and bights.
Porto Timoni is located in the northwest of Corfu and is well worth a visit. The famous viewpoint with the two beaches is actually a 20 minute walk from the small village of Porto Timoni. It can get quite busy here during the high season so keep that in mind when looking for parking.
The hike is mostly easy and straight forward and you’ll be greeted with these fantastic views.
Walk another 10 minutes from the viewpoint and you can be on the beach itself. It was very busy in early October so I can only imagine what this place must look like during the peak summer months.
The Holy Theotokos Monastery, oherwise known as Palaiokastritsa monastery is located in the town of Palaiokastritsa and one of its main attractions. It’s a very historic monastery dating back to the 13th century. It’s been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times of the years.
Nowadays, it’s an active monastery with monks living here full time. It’s perched up at the top of the hill and offers stunning views of the nearby areas. The gardens are also quite beautiful.
Angelokastro Castle located in the northwest of Corfu is home to the most picturesque castle in the Ionian islands. It’s perched 300 meters above sea level and offers drop dead gorgeous view of the bay.
This Byzantine era castle is located at the highest point of Corfu and is an absolute must visit. Best pictures are of course by drone here!
Located in the northwest corner of Corfu, Cape Drastis is a stunning beach surrounded by towering rock cliffs. It’s a bit of a hike to reach the beach area (about 20 minutes from the small parking lot) but is well worth the visit for those looking to get to a less busy beach!
Corfu town deserves it’s own section. Corfu’s main town, also called Kerkira is probably the most beautiful city in all of the Ionian islands.
At first glance, it seems busy and crowded but once you venture into the old town, its oozing history, charm, and beauty. Corfu, like the other Ionian islands were all part of the Venetian empire hundreds of years ago. Fortresses, cathedrals, and traditional Italian style streets were constructed during those years.
As you walk through Kerkira, it feels like you’ve been transported to Italy all of a sudden. The streets and buildings remind me a lot of the towns I saw in during my Puglia road trip. This makes sense since Puglia is just across the sea from Corfu and the other Ionian islands. In fact, there are direct ferries from Brindisi to Corfu during the summer months.
The old town is quite big and there are numerous streets and alleyways chalk full of cute tavernas, cafes, gelaterias, shops, and more. As Corfu is one of the most populous islands in Greece at over 100,000 people, Kerkira gets quite lively during the day with the mix of tourists and locals flooding into the streets.
Simply walk around the old town and admire the buildings, cobblestone streets, statues, parks, and cafes. I could easily spend a few days in Corfu’s main town if it weren’t for the amazing beaches and hillside views in the rest of the island!
Old Fortress of Corfu
No trip to Kerkira is complete without a visit to the grand old fortress. Located in its own little peninsula to the east of the main town, you’ll see a huge rocky structure with a fortress built at the top.
There is also an Orthodox church built in a traditional Greek fashion adjacent to the fortress which looks very cool.
The views from the top of the fortress is stunning as you can see all of Kerkira and the outline of the rest of Corfu island. The entrance fee is 6 Euros per person.
Eat at Taverna Ninos
I only spent a day in Corfu town so I only was able to eat lunch in town. I went to Taverna Ninos at the recommendation of my Airbnb owner.
They have the typical Greek street foods like gyros and souvlaki but also make delicious pastifada and other typical dishes of the area. The gyros were also incredibly delicious and at 2.50 Euros, well worth it.
For coffee, look no further than the incredibly charming Mikro cafe in the old town center. They make great coffees and have a large stepped outdoor terrace with a nice view of the old town streets. Perfect for people watching.
Where to eat in Corfu
Like everywhere else in Greece, expect to have delicious Greek food with locally sourced ingredients. There are no shortage of amazing tavernas scattered across the island.
As I stayed out of the main town, most of the tavernas I went to were just by themselves on the side of the road with an amazing view or in a cute little village. Here are some of the ones I can recommend. Again, Corfu is very big and there are hundreds of restaurants. It’s likely the tavernas near where you’re staying at will be top quality. This is just to give you an idea of what to expect and to be excited!
Located near Katavolos, this little taverna is in front of the ocean with spectacular panoramic views. There are quite a few places like this in Corfu and Greece in general but they never cease to amaze me.
The owners were very friendly and we got wine, lamb chops, greek salad, and the ever so delicious phyllo wrapped feta with honey.
The prices are great as well.
Limeria Grill House
Located on the western side of the island, this taverna also had great views of the ocean. The owners were very friendly and the food was absolutely delicious.
Located near to the town of Palaiokastritsa, this restaurant is located up in the mountains. The town is quite charming and while there’s not much to do here, the restaurants are divine. I had the local Veal pastifada which is a typical dish of Corfu that involves slow cooked veal and fresh made pasta.
Absolutely delicious and a must try here!
Located near to Palaiokastritsa, the Dolce cafe is set high up in the mountains and has some of the best views you can find in Corfu. The restaurant itself is also very chic and they have couches that overlook the cape. This is a picture perfect place to come during the sunset.
Nearby are many other restaurants and bars for you to consider.
Also located in the northwest side of Corfu, 7th heaven is the perfect place to watch the sunset. You can grab swing chairs here directly in front of the ocean while enjoying a delicious drink.
Get out of Corfu
From Corfu, it is possible to continue your Greek island hopping trip around the Ionian Islands. The logical destination to explore next is Paxos and Antipaxos. Paxos can be done as a day trip but I think it’s well worth it to stay a few nights as it is such a beautiful island.
The other main Ionian islands like Kefalonia or Lefkada are not directly accessible from Corfu given the long distances between the islands. You’ll have to take a ferry, bus, ferry combo to get to the other islands unfortunately. There are no flights between the islands either. You’d have to fly to Athens and then back to the other islands.
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