Corfu is known as the greenest island of Greece. Its mild Mediterranean climate combines with high rainfall during winter. Olive groves are mixed in with the thick and abundant vegetation, and wildflowers carpet the island in spring. Corfu is mountainous with its highest peak reaching 914 metres. A few flat areas, two lakes, plains, and a couple of rivers complete the varied landscape of Corfu.
Corfu is a relatively large island. It has a total area of 592 sq km, with a coastline of 216 km. In area size, Corfu can be compared to the Isle of Man, Ibiza, or Bornholm.
Travelling to Corfu
It’s location on the west coast of Greece, in the Ionian Sea, means that Corfu has views of Albania, the Greek mainland, and some neighbouring islands. Corfu can be reached by ferry from Igoumenitsa, although most visitors choose to fly into Corfu. There are direct flights to Corfu with carriers like Wizz Air, Ryanair, Transavia, Eurowings, Easyjet, and Vueling. The flight time to Corfu is about 3.5 hours from the UK and 2.5 hours from Germany.
Getting around the island
The preferred way of getting around on Corfu is by hire car. You can rent a car in most resort towns, as well as in the capital, Corfu Town. Roads are windy and in questionable conditions, so getting from one place to the next can take a long time! However, if you use a GPS navigator to move around, you will get a more or less accurate time estimate of your journey.
Hiring a scooter is also possible, but not advisable if you have little experience riding one. Public transport is limited to buses. The green buses cover the short distances within and around Corfu Town, while the blue buses connect the other towns on the island.
Where to stay
For those who like to visit as many attractions as possible, it is advisable to find accommodation at a central spot on the island. Gouvia and Benitses are obvious choices, but perhaps not as picturesque as Palaiokastritsa, which is a little farther to the north. If, however, you’re happy to stay in roughly the same area, you are spoilt for choice as there are many beautiful tourist resorts to choose from.
What to see and do
Corfu was the first Greek island to open its doors to tourism. And since it had had a history as a British Protectorate, it became popular as a tourist destination for Brits in the second half of the 20th century. But contrary to other tourist resorts in the Mediterranean area, you will not find any high-rise hotels or theme parks here. In Corfu, sights and experiences are based around nature and culture.
There are lots of sights to see and adventures to be had on Corfu. Exploring the old centre of Corfu Town is a very wholesome experience. This city is built on a promontory and offers an eclectic mix of architecture styles: Venetian, French, English, and Sicilian. Its narrow alleys are host to shops, art galleries, and tavernas.
Near Corfu Town is Vlacherna monastery, a tiny building on an islet in the middle of the bay near Corfu Town. You’ll have great views of the city from here and, since you are in the flight path, can do some up-close plane spotting.
Old Perithia, high up in the mountains, is a hidden gem. In this village full of ruins, some locals have taken to restoring the buildings. A handful of tavernas make this a great base for hikes in the area.
Corfu Donkey Rescue is a place set up by volunteers who are committed to offering old work donkeys a happy retirement. Over the years, almost 500 donkeys have called this place home.
Porto Timoni is a twin beach that is well worth the 30-minute hike to get there. You park in Afionas village and then hike down over rocks and through bushes, to find two little coves separated by a small strip of land. On both sides, there is a lovely little beach. Choose one of both or jump in on both sides!
La Grotta is a wonderful chill-out spot. From one of the terraces built on the rocks, you can watch others jump in the water. Great music and world-class cocktails make this the perfect spot for your last afternoon on Corfu.
Just 8 nautical miles south of Corfu is the island of Paxos. Since Paxos can only be reached by sea, this is a relatively quiet and unspoiled island. Some visitors to Corfu take a day cruise to Paxos to see its sea caves and cute fishing villages. A cruise to Paxos is often combined with an excursion to neighbouring island Antipaxos, with its Caribbean-looking waters.
However, Paxos is equally suitable for a multiple-day stay. The tranquil rhythm of life on this island has enamoured several visitors, who keep coming back year after year. For your stay on Paxos, Glyfada Beach Villas & Restaurant is a solid choice. In your own self-catering house, you set your own times, all the while having access to the resort’s facilities. A tennis court, two swimming pools, a restaurant, and a taverna complement the real attractions here: two lovely, white pebbly beaches. Lined by pine trees, these beaches slowly disappear into the deep blue Ionian Sea.
Paxos is a great island for those who wish to relax. The beaches and coves are relatively quiet, you can walk through the island’s olive groves on donkey trails, there are some interesting coastal features, and the general atmosphere is one of bliss. Be sure not to miss Paxos on your next trip to Corfu!