Corfu is a Greek island located in the North West of Greece, in front of Albania. The island is 58 km long and 27 km large at its widest point. Its highest point is Mount Pantokrator, at an altitude of 906 meters. But you shouldn’t rely too much on distances as transport times can be long within the island due to the somewhat winding roads. And even longer on the coast, because of the traffic.
The airport is located next to the main town, also known as Corfu town, roughly in the center of the island. From the airport, it takes about an hour to reach the north of the island or the south of the island. So you have to choose carefully where you will stay !
My favorite places in Corfu
The most beautiful places to visit in Corfu are located in the north of the island. But obviously Corfu Town will be the first place you will see when you land. Or when you disembark if you come by boat. And it deserves a visit, ideally on the day of your arrival or of your departure. We therefore start our top 8 of places to see in Corfu with Corfu Town.
Best places to see in Corfu around Corfu Town
The cultural heritage of Corfu Town witnesses to all the years spent under Venetian, French and British rule, before its attachment to Greece in 1864.
The town of Corfu is dominated by two imposing Venetian fortresses. But its charm lies above all in the winding streets. You can also have a coffee under the French-inspired arcades and visit the grand palace of St. Michael and St. George.
The Easter period is particularly festive with fanfare parades and religious processions.
Very close to Corfu Town you can visit the Achilleion. Achilleion or more commonly, Sissi’s Palace, is a neoclassical palace built at the end of the nineteenth century by Empress Sissi in honor of the Greek hero Achilles. The whole palace has a certain old-fashioned charm and is worth a visit. There are 128 rooms but today only the ground floor can be visited. The gardens are also very romantic and offer a very nice view of the sea. A timeless break that allows a cultural break between two beaches !
Best beaches to see in Corfu
Porto Timoni is clearly in the top 3 of places to see in Corfu. This double cove, located in Afionas is a rather incredible place, accessible after about twenty minutes of walk by a small path which goes down the cliff. You can also pay for the donkey descent for a few euros …
Or take a boat from Agios Georgios, opposite. The place is very peaceful and the landscapes are magnificent ! You can choose your beach and your cove. Plan to bring an umbrella and especially water because the ascent is tough.
Paleokastritsa, or Palaiokastritsa, is also one of my favorite places to see in Corfu. It is a small port located about 25 kilometers west of Corfu town. The relative proximity to the city also explains why there are so many people …
A good option is to rent a small boat to go around the beaches, especially Paradise Beach where you will be very quiet. But where it is better to bring your picnic because there is nothing there. You can also go to La Grotta which is a kind of quiet beach club in the morning but packed in the afternoon. And be sure to visit the monastery above the port where you can buy olive oil.
You can also visit not very far, on top of a hill dominating Palaiokastritsa bay, an old byzantine castle called Angelokastro.
Kassiopi is a very charming little port located about 35 kilometers northeast of Corfu town. In Roman times Kassiopi was the second most important city on the island. Cicero would have stayed there, as well as Nero!
The fortress which dominates the port dates from the fourteenth century. Today its many restaurants and small, well-protected beaches make it a popular destination for tourists. It is also possible to rent boats without a license for the day to reach the nearby small deserted coves.
Kassiopi beaches are nice and you will also find, very close to Kassiopi, San Stefano and Avlaki beaches.
The village of Peroulades is practically abandoned but the place is especially famous for the impressive view of the cliffs which fall steeply. The sunsets are magnificent there. Or you can simply come and have a drink or a meal at the little restaurant that bears its name well: the 7th heaven! There is a very small beach below and swimming at the foot of this immense cliff is an experience in itself …
Best places to see in Corfu, in the mountain
Old Perithia is also definitely in the top 3 of places to see in Corfu. It is the oldest village in Corfu. This village is located in a protected heritage area, just below Mount Pantokrator. The remains of the village date back to the middle of the 14th century, but the village was probably inhabited many centuries before.
About 130 houses have been built, completely by hand, many of which are being restored. The village, once inhabited by some 1,200 people, was one of the richest on the island, surrounded by vineyards, oaks and thousands of sheep. Surrounded by eight churches and nestled under the island’s highest mountains, Old Perithia was once a haven from pirate attacks. Now only a few houses are inhabited and apart from the tavernas it looks like a ghost village.
The most comprehensive guide to hikes to do in Corfu lists nearly a hundred hikes, including 15 in the Mount Pantokrator massif. You start the hike from Old Perithia, the oldest village in Corfu. The path starts to the right of the main church of Old Perithia which can be seen arriving by road. Just outside the village, after passing a concrete cube which serves as a reservoir, a small, barely traced path starts off to the left. Two orange and yellow markings are hardly visible so you have to be particularly careful, except to continue on the main path which is also a beautiful walk!
The view over Old Perithia and the sea on one side, and the other part of the coast on the other are very beautiful. By taking a dirt road to the right you will arrive after another half an hour at an asphalt road which will bring you to the top of Mount Pantokrator after about twenty minutes. You can visit the monastery there, refresh yourself and have a bite to eat before starting the descent which is faster. Stunning scenery and incredible views throughout the hike will be your best reward !
What to do in Corfu
There are a lot of activities to do in Corfu.
- Discover the amazing beaches of the Northern Coast
- Nautical sports : sailing, waterskiing, scuba diving or simply rent a small boat with licence and discover hidden creaks
- Hiking. Mount Pantokrator offers many hiking opportunities
- Visit Corfu Town, Achileon, Museum of Asian Art, the old and the new fortress
- Simply rest around a nice pool in a great villa and enjoy Corfiot food
- there is also a night life around Sidari, in Kassiopi, in Ipsos and in the south of the island.