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15 Best Things to Do in Corfu (Greece)

The second-largest Ionian Island has seen the Byzantines, Venetians, French and British come and go over the last 1,000 years, and all these cultures have left something behind.

If you need a place to begin, try the World Heritage Old Town of Corfu City, which is guarded by two mighty Venetian fortresses that withstood everything that the Ottoman Empire could throw at them.

Corfu’s coast is sprinkled with resorts, some more appealing than others.

But if you’re a free spirit you can get behind the wheel and set a course for secluded coves, sweeping sandy beaches and castles and monasteries stranded on rocky pedestals.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Corfu :

1. Corfu Old Town

Corfu Old Town

A city packed tight between two fortresses, Corfu’s Old Town is a knot of walkable streets and alleys between Venetian and Neoclassical houses painted pale yellow and orange.

Allow plenty of time to see every corner and little square, and check out the Archaeological Museum and Casa Parlante, a quirky 19th-century mansion with period interiors and animatronic figures.

Defended by insurmountable ramparts, both the New Fortress to the west and Old Fortress to the east deserve your time.

The latter goes back to the 6th century and is separated from the city by a ditch and canal crossed by a bridge.

In the complex you can see the temple-like Church of St George and the 19th-century British barracks housing Corfu’s library.

From the highest walls you’ll be wowed by vistas of the city, coastline, Straits of Corfu and mainland Greece.

Recommended tour : Corfu History and Culture Walking Tour

2. The Esplanade and Liston

The Esplanade and Liston

Between the Old Town and the old fortress is the esplanade, a long green square that is a remnant of the Venetian fortifications in the 17th century.

During the French occupation of Corfu at the turn of the 19th century the esplanade was planted with trees, while the cricket pitch is a holdover from the British period that followed.

Also dating to that time is the Maitland Monument, a Neoclassical peristyle, with 20 Ionic columns around a rotunda, commemorating the Lord High Commissioner Thomas Maitland.

The Liston, on the Esplanade’s western boundary is an elegant arcade, also from the French period and designed in the style of the Rue de Rivoli in Paris.

3. St Spyridon Church

St Spyridon Church, Corfu

Corfu’s foremost church is from 1580 and its Renaissance bell tower is the highest in the Ionian Islands.

Hosting the relics of St Spyridon, brought to Corfu City from Constantinople in the 15th century, the church moved to this location after its predecessor was demolished to make way for the citadel.

The marble iconostasis catches the eye for its classical lines, with a pediment and Corinthian columns bordering the paintings.

The ceiling is also stunning, with gilded stuccowork around paintings that were first composed by Panagiotis Doxaras in the 18th century, but had to be repainted after deterioration.

To the side of the iconostasis is the entrance to the crypt to where the saint’s remains are kept in a double sarcophagus plated with silver leaf.

4. Achilleion

Achilleion, Corfu

In 1888 Elisabeth of Bavaria, Empress of Austria, commissioned a summer residence at this elevated setting about 10 kilometres south of Corfu City.

This Neoclassical palace was designed by the Italian architect Raffaele Caritto with the hero Achilles as its central theme.

The illustrious German sculptor Ernst Herter produced statues inspired by Greek mythology for the grounds (the most famous shows Achilles in his death throes). You can tour the gardens, enriched with balustrades, a colonnade, fountains and Herter’s statues amid palms and trimmed cypress trees.

The interior is a museum full of memorabilia relating to Elisabeth of Bavaria, Franz Joseph II, as well as the next occupant, Kaiser Wilhelm II. Upstairs there’s a massive painting of Achilles dragging the body of Hector from his chariot by the Austrian artist Franz Matsch, and the dining hall is decorated with stucco cherubs on blue walls.

5. Mount Pantokrator

View from Mount Pantokrator

Corfu’s highest peak is in the north of the island, cresting at 906 metres and accessible by road.

At the summit is a cafe, telecommunications station and a monastery dating from the end of the 17th century.

You get up here on mini-bus tours from many of the coastal resorts on Corfu, or drive yourself.

Now, the road and its drop-offs and countless hairpin turns is not for the faint hearted, but the views are incredible if you can relax for long enough to enjoy them.

When you do arrive at the mountaintop you can see the Ionian Islands, the Greek Mainland, Albania, but also Puglia at the heel of Italy’s boot 130 kilometres to the west.

Suggested tour : West Route Day Expedition

6. Paleokastritsa Monastery

Paleokastritsa Monastery

Topping a rugged headland on the northwest coast, Paleokastritsa Monastery dates to the 13th century and is on the site of a Medieval castle that has long since disappeared.

The monastery has a small brotherhood of eight monks who give masses and offer tours of the buildings and lush gardens.

Almost every surface of the building is cloaked with bougainvillea and geraniums, and if you’d like to enter the chapel there’s a dress code, and shoulders and legs have to be covered up.

The monastery has a small museum with vestments, icons and, strangely, the skeleton of a whale.

The monks also cultivate olives and press their own oil, which is sold at the shop.

Recommended tour : North Corfu: Full-Day Sightseeing Tour

7. Paleokastritsa Beach

Paleokastritsa Beach, Corfu

Nestling just east of the monastery is the exquisite Paleokastritsa Beach.

Labelled on some maps as Agios Syridon Beach, this lies at the end of a long inlet with high walls of rock on both sides.

The water could hardly be calmer or clearer and is a snorkeller’s dream and just right for families with smaller children.

The beach, though narrow, has soft golden sand as opposed to the shingle coves nearby.

The limestone coastline around Paleokastritsa is perforated with sea caves, and there’s a jetty on the beach where you can catch boats for a tour.

8. Angelokastro

Angelokastro, Corfu

On a narrow rocky spur more than 300 metres above the sea, this castle was built in the 13th century as a far-reaching lookout over the sea, mainland Greece and inland across big swathes of Corfu.

The approach to Angelokastro is very dramatic, winding up through scrub and cypress trees to this unconquerable fortification which filling its small rocky podium.

Under the Venetians from the 14th century, Angelokastro was Corfu’s official capital and held strong against three sieges between the 16th and 18th century.

Beyond the walls, not a great deal of the fortress survives, save for the tiny Church of Archangel Michael, which has frescoes from the 1700s.

You can view seven sarcophagi hewn from the rock, peer into the castle’s vaulted cistern and gaze in awe at the sea, coast and mountains.

9. Vlacherna Monastery

Vlacherna Monastery

One of Corfu’s signature images, the Vlacherna Monastery is on an islet at the end of a narrow jetty off the southern end of the Kanoni Peninsula.

The chapel, which you enter beneath a typical campanile, dates to 1685 and has tomb monuments going back to the middle of the 18th century.

You can combine a visit with a boat trip to nearby Mouse Island, which we’ll talk about below.

Vlacherna and Mouse Island make up a scene to behold from afar, and there’s a pair of hilltop cafeterias on high ground at end of Kanoni where you can take it all in.

10. Pontikonisi (Mouse Island)


For €2.5 you can catch a boat to this small island where a 12th-century Byzantine monastery is crowded by pine and cypress trees.

According to legend Pontokonisi is Ulysses’ ship after it was turned to stone by Poseidon.

The island is protected but you can disembark, climb the stairway to visit the bite-sized monastery, which has a cafe and a souvenir shop.

You may detect a strong similarity to the Swiss Symbolist Arnold Böcklin’s famous painting, Isle of the Dead, which could have been inspired by Pontokinisi.

11. Kassiopi

Kassiopi, Corfu

In the northeast of the island, looking across the straits of Corfu to Albania, Kassiopi is a traditional fishing village that has grown into a low-key resort.

The built-up area sits at the base of a small peninsula which is etched with little pebble coves and has a charming fishing harbour on its east side.

Rising at the centre of the peninsula is Kassiopi Castle, which has Byzantine origins and could be as old as the 6th century.

It was one of three strongholds that defended Corfu before the Venetians arrived in the 14th century.

A partial ruin, the castle is still an imposing presence, with more than a kilometre of walls and 19 towers around a rectangular plan.

12. Canal d’Amour Beach

Canal d'Amour, Corfu

The party resort of Sidari may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but what does make it unique is its otherworldly rock formations.

At Canal d’Amour there’s a long, almost rectangular creek with layered, sand-coloured walls.

The sea has weathered the rock, and near the entrance to the creek is a tunnel.

Pick a day when the sea is calm (which is most days in summer) and you can swim through the tunnel.

The local custom says that any couples who swim through together will soon get married, so swim at your own risk.

Further out the water is a little deeper, and you can watch brave divers jumping off the cliffs.

13. Old Perithia

Old Perithia, Corfu

A “Designated Area of Natural Beauty” to the northeast of Corfu, Old Perithia is a mostly abandoned upland village under Mount Pantokrator.

Once home to as many as 1,200 people the village sits at an elevation of 650 metres and dates back at least as far as the 1300s.

Most of the 130 remaining houses are in various picturesque states of disrepair though some have been turned into accommodation.

You could give yourself a while to amble around Old Perithea’s stone paths, tracking down its eight churches and basking in the distant views to the sea over oaks, vines and cypress trees.

14. Mirtiotissa Beach

Mirtiotissa Beach, Corfu

At the bottom of the green cliffs beneath the Mirtiotissa Monastery is a heavenly little beach.

Mirtiotissa has a small ribbon of fine sand with perfectly clear waters, protected by a sequence of rocks a few metres from the shore.

Partly down to its isolated and secluded location, Mirtiotissa Beach has become the choice of naturists on Corfu, although everyone else is free to use the beach as well.

The unspoken rule is that naturists will bathe at the more private ends of the beach, screened by rocks, while non-nude bathers can stick to the middle.

15. Issos Beach

Issos Beach, Corfu

In contrast to Corfu’s rocky coves, the Blue Flag Issos Beach is an open bay bordering Lake Korission to the south of the island.

Traced by dunes, the golden sand at Issos seems to go on forever.

If you want a bit more life and amenities close at hand you can stay close to the resort village of Agios Georgios on the east end.

But you can also walk west and within a few minutes you’ll have broken away from the crowds.

Further from civilisation, Issos Beach is also popular with naturists, while the reliable winds attract windsurfers and kite-surfers.

15 Best Things to Do in Corfu (Greece):

  • Corfu Old Town
  • The Esplanade and Liston
  • St Spyridon Church
  • Mount Pantokrator
  • Paleokastritsa Monastery
  • Paleokastritsa Beach
  • Angelokastro
  • Vlacherna Monastery
  • Pontikonisi (Mouse Island)
  • Canal d'Amour Beach
  • Old Perithia
  • Mirtiotissa Beach
  • Issos Beach

Corfu   Travel Guide

Courtesy of Alexander Spatari | Getty Images

corfu greece places to visit

8 Best Things To Do in Corfu

Updated Feb. 12, 2021

Most of the attractions in Corfu are perfect for relaxation seekers. The biggest draw is the abundance of beaches on the island, but you can head to Corfu Town on the eastern coast to explore historical attractions, such as the Church of Saint

  • All Things To Do

corfu greece places to visit

Corfu Beaches Corfu Beaches free

With more than 130 miles of coastline, Corfu offers a bounty of beaches for travelers to choose from. These shores range from sandy to pebbly and quiet to rowdy. All beaches offer the gorgeous backdrop of aquamarine waters and stunning cliffs and rock formations.

The most popular village for beachgoers is Paleokastritsa. Located on the western side of the island about 20 miles from Corfu Town, the village is home to six individual beaches that offer a variety of amenities, such as restaurants and water sports rentals. Some beaches include umbrella and sun bed rentals as well as marinas for docking boats.

corfu greece places to visit

Achillion Palace & Museum Achillion Palace & Museum

The Achillion Palace is just one example of famous figures falling in love with Corfu. Originally built in 1890 for a former Empress of Austria, the palace was also home to the last German Emperor, Wilhelm II, before World War I. The majestic palace sat empty until after World War II.

Now fully restored, the palace and grounds feature statues of famous Greek mythological figures like Zeus, Hera and Achilles – which the palace is named after. Inside, you'll find ceiling frescos and artwork that dates back to the palace's construction. The property and grounds now function as a museum, telling the history of the property and its famous owners.

corfu greece places to visit

Paleokastritsa Monastery Paleokastritsa Monastery free

For sweeping views of the ocean and prime photo ops, travelers recommend visiting the Paleokastritsa Monastery. Located on a remote cliff peninsula in the village of Paleokastritsa, the Byzantine monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the site dates back to the early 1200s.

The grounds of the monastery are surrounded by lush olive and cypress trees. Inside, you'll find a small museum of Byzantine icons, books, relics and a traditional olive oil press.

corfu greece places to visit

Palaio Frourio (Old Fortress) Palaio Frourio (Old Fortress)

At one point in time, all of the residents of Corfu lived inside the walls of the Palaio Frourio, or Old Fortress. Built in the 14th century by Venetians, Palaio Frourio lies at the eastern end of Corfu Town, separated by a moat. Some sections of the fortress offer breathtaking views of Corfu and its surroundings. Another major highlight of the fortress is the Church of St. George which was built by Venetians and utlitized by the British during their occupation of the island in the 1800s. 

Recent travelers say a visit to the Old Fortress is a must-do for first time visitors, but there isn't much signage to guide visitors around. 

corfu greece places to visit

Corfu Donkey Rescue Corfu Donkey Rescue free

Animal lovers will want to take time to visit the Corfu Donkey Rescue. Established in 2004, this refuge is home to more than 500 donkeys that were abandoned or mistreated.

The sanctuary offers former working donkeys a peaceful retirement with comfortable barns, plenty of food and medical treatment. When you visit the rescue, you'll have the opportunity to take one of the donkeys for a walk (unless it's feeding time).

corfu greece places to visit

Church of Saint Spyridon Church of Saint Spyridon free

This church is named for the patron saint of Corfu, St. Spyridon, who is said to have saved the island on more than one occasion. In fact, a large segment of the male population in Corfu is named "Spyros" in his honor. His remains are housed in a crypt inside the church. The structure dates back to the 1580s, and still functions as a Greek Orthodox Church. 

Recent visitors said they were more impressed with the church's interior than its exterior, and recommend stopping by to snap a few photos of the church's red domed bell tower – the highest point in Corfu Town. 

corfu greece places to visit

Corfu Museum of Asian Art Corfu Museum of Asian Art

The Corfu Museum of Asian Art is a favorite among visitors and locals alike. Founded in 1928, the museum is the only in Greece to be solely dedicated to Asian art. The collection includes about 15,000 pieces of art from throughout the continent. You'll find Chinese pottery, Japanese anitquities, Buddhist sculptures, Central Asian textiles and more. Recent visitors said the museum offers an impressive collection that you wouldn't expect to find on the European island. 

The museum resides in the Palace of St. Michael and St. George, a British structure built in the early 1800s. Throughout its history, the structure has been home to the British High Commissioner, the Ionian Senate and the Ionian Parliament. The museum is located in the Old Town, northwest of the Old Fortress . The Museum of Asian Art is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with some exhibits closing at 1:30 p.m. Admission costs 6 euros (around $7.50). If you're visiting between Nov. 1 and March 31, you can enjoy a discount admission of 3 euros (about $3.75). The museum also offers free admission during special Greek holidays; check the website for more details. If you don't have your own set of wheels, you can reach the museum via the No. 2 blue city bus.

corfu greece places to visit

Aqualand Aqualand

If you tire of visiting the beaches and ruins on the island, check out Aqualand. This waterpark boasts over 800,000 square feet of pools, slides, games and facilities. The park is split into areas for children (ages 4 to 8), families (ages 8 and older) and extreme slides for visitors ages 12 and older. Children's areas include splash pools and water games, while families can enjoy a lazy river, kayaking and a wave pool. Adrenaline seekers have their choice of slides that twist and turn, as well as a free fall slide that drops visitors 78 feet.

Other facilties include complimentary daybeds and umbrellas, a selection of quick service restaurants, an arcade, a souvenir shop, two bars for adult beverages and plenty of parking and locker rooms. Recent guests to the park said the huge selection of slides were perfect for kids and adults of all ages, and lines were rarely long. 

corfu greece places to visit

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12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions on Corfu Island

Written by Jane Foster and Carri Wilbanks Updated Dec 28, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Beautiful Corfu, the most northerly of the Ionian Islands, is easy on the eyes. Filled with natural beauty, the island boasts rolling green hills in its south, and rugged limestone rock formations in its north. It also has a mild climate, lush Mediterranean vegetation, and some stunning beaches and underwater caves and tunnels. As such, Corfu is a popular tourist destination with many things to do – tourism is the main source of revenue here.

The island also comes with its share of history. From 1386 to 1797, a period that gave it much of its most beautiful architecture, Corfu was held by the Venetians. Then, along with the rest of the Ionian Islands, it was under the British from 1815 to 1864. Corfu Airport lies five kilometers south of Corfu Town .

Plan your trip and discover the best places to visit with our list of the top attractions on Corfu Island.

1. Corfu Town

2. the achilleion, 3. kassiopi, 4. paleokastritsa beaches, 6. canal d'amour, 7. la grotta beach, 8. mount pantokrator, 9. corfu donkey rescue, 10. corfu golf club, 11. angelokastro, 12. corfu museum of asian art, where to stay for sightseeing in corfu, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to corfu, map of tourist attractions on corfu island, corfu - climate chart.

Corfu Town

The island's lovely capital, Corfu Town , is a warren of cobbled alleys and elegant Venetian-era buildings, many of which now host informal seafood tavernas and souvenir shops at ground level. Centering on the Esplanade , an expansive green square, the UNESCO-listed old town is guarded by two imposing 16th-century fortresses and also includes a number of churches, like the Church of St. Spyridon, which is easily recognized by its red-domed bell tower. The waterfront incorporates a port, with regular ferries to Igoumenitsa on the Greek mainland, and daily excursion boats to neighboring Albania .

The Achilleion

Just outside the village of Gastouri, 10 kilometers southwest of Corfu Town, this white Neoclassical villa was the summer escape of Sisi, Empress Elisabeth of Austria (1837-1898). A lover of beauty, Sisi immersed herself in Greece's mythical history and lush nature. You can see inside the grandiose villa and explore the gardens, which are filled with towering palm trees and Neoclassical statues to give you some idea of the idyllic world Sisi was seeking.


In the northeast of the island, 36 kilometers north of Corfu Town , this traditional fishing village has retained its character despite its popularity. Overlooking a pretty harbor filled with wooden fishing boats, it offers a choice of seafood tavernas and cafés, which are popular with affluent Brits and Italians, some of whom have villas here. Calm and unhurried, it is especially noted for its numerous small coves with white pebble beaches and amazing turquoise blue sea.

The best way to explore this stretch of coast is to hire a small boat. For amazing views hike up to the ruined Byzantine castle on the hillside behind the village.


On the west coast, 25 kilometers northwest of Corfu Town , Paleokastritsa encompasses a glorious stretch of indented coast, with six deep, curving bays sheltering lovely beaches, both of sand and pebble, extending to a crystal-clear, blue sea. It's popular with day trippers, so it does get busy in peak season. In the hills rising above the coast, you'll find another attraction – a 13th-century monastery with a courtyard garden, church, and small museum.

Glyfada Beach

Considered by many to be the very best beach on the island, Glyfada also lies on Corfu's west coast, 26 kilometers west of Corfu Town and two kilometers south of the village of Pelekas . A blissful, long stretch of fine golden sand beach, it's lined with sunbeds and umbrellas and backed by hillsides covered with pine woods and olive groves. A couple of big hotels and apartments are in the area, and tourists will also find tavernas, cafés, and water sports facilities, including jet skis, pedal boats, and banana boat rides. Facing west, it has amazing sunsets but does get very busy in summer, especially in August.

Aerial view of Canal d'Amour

On Corfu's northwestern tip, about a 20-minute walk from the equally intriguing small village of Sidari , the Canal d'Amour is one of Corfu's top natural wonders. It boasts impressive sandstone rock formations that create a natural passage from its small beach into the Ionian Sea's sparkling blue waters. You can jump off rocks into the warm, salty sea and then swim through tunnels and caves for awesome, fishy underwater explorations - snorkeling equipment can be rented at the beach where there are also sun-loungers and umbrellas for hire.

Leaping off the diving board at La Grotta Beach

La Grotta Beach in Paleokastrttsa is on Corfu's west coast and is another one of the island's most stunning beaches. The beach itself is small and rocky, but head into the clear blue waters, and you'll find an underwater world filled with colorful fish. The beach also boasts a diving board and a jump rock from which you can leap into the sea below. The beach gets crowded in the summer, but there are some rocks you can also stretch out on in the vicinity.

Mount Pantokrator

In the north of Corfu, the highest point on the island, Mount Pantokrator rises 906 meters. A road leads all the way to the top, so you can drive up, though some people prefer to hike from the village of Perithia (the walking time is approximately two hours).

At the top, the Pantokrator Monastery dates back to the 14th century, though its present appearance is mainly from the 19th century. The views from the summit are stunning, with Albania to the east, the Diapontia islands (Mathraki, Erracusa, and Othondi) to the north, and the islands of Paxos and Anti Paxos to the south. On a clear day, you can even see the southern tip of Italy some 130 kilometers away.

Feeding a donkey at Corfu Donkey Rescue

The Corfu Donkey Rescue in Paleokastrttsa is well worth a visit for animal lovers. One of the top things to do on this part of the island, it offers refuge to homeless donkeys that have been abandoned or need a safe place to live out their retirement years (donkey's used to be an integral means of transport and work aid in Corfu). The sanctuary is located on a beautiful piece of land filled with olive trees and a mountainous backdrop, and visitors can hang out with the donkeys daily between 10am and 5pm. There is no entrance fee, but a donation is greatly appreciated as this is a charity organization.

Official Site:

Aerial view of Corfu Golf Club

In the Ropa Valley, 17 kilometers from Corfu Town , this beautifully landscaped 18-hole golf course was designed by Swiss architect Donald Harradine. It incorporates natural elements such as the River Nafsika, as well as several lakes and meandering streams and is popular with both beginner and advanced players. From March to November, it enjoys warm sunshine and blue skies, plus a cool sea breeze. It is open daily and has golf clubs for hire.

Address: Ropa Valley, Corfu 49100

Official site:


Located on the side of a steep cliff on Corfu's highest peak, Angelokastro is a 13th-century Byzantine castle. On the island's northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa, it was constructed on rocky and hard-to-access terrain as a protection measure.

Along with Kassiopi and Gardiki castles, it served as a defensive triangle that provided occupants views in all directions. During the centuries in which it was in operation, it played a key role in defending Corfu against pirate attacks, as well as during three Ottoman sieges, and it never fell.

Today only ruins remain, including a small church, an underground chapel, and the original walls. It is worth hiking up to Angelokastro for the views of Corfu Town, the sea, and the Greek mainland to the southeast. There is a 3 euro entrance fee.

Note that to reach the castle, it is a steep and rocky climb from the parking lot, so you will need to be in decent shape.

Palace of St. Michael and St. George, housing Corfu's Museum of Asian Art

In the Palace of St. Michael and St. George, Corfu's Museum of Asian Art is also worth exploring. It is the only museum in Greece devoted solely to art and antiquities from around the Asian continent.

Founded in 1928 as the Museum of Sino-Japanese Art, it has evolved to host collections comprising of around 15,000 works of art from across Asia. There are works from India, Pakistan, Thailand, and Tibet among other countries. It has a number of rare pieces and is also known for its international and rotating exhibits.

Address: Palace of St. Michael & George, Corfu 49100

Official site:

Corfu has numerous hotel options around the island, and where you choose to stay will be partially determined by what you want to see or do most - be that one of the beautiful beaches around Palaiokastritsa or checking out the history in Corfu Old Town. Many of the beach resorts are seasonal, and in the summertime there is often a minimum night stay requirement. Here are our top places to stay for sightseeing around the island:

Luxury Hotels :

  • Delfino Blu Boutique Hotel & Spa is one of the top properties in Corfu. On a hill overlooking the sea with beach access, the hotel offers excellent service, and rates include a wonderful hot breakfast. In the summer, it has a minimum night stay requirement.
  • Other luxury options include MarBella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas , which is an adults-only five-star property overlooking the Strait of Corfu.
  • And Domes Miramare , which is also adults-only. It is set on a private stretch of white-sand beach and features stylish rooms, suites, and villas.

Mid-Range & Budget Hotels:

  • In the mid-range price bracket the Art Hotel Debono is a good-value four-star hotel in Gouvia. This boutique property has clean and comfortable rooms and is nestled amid olive groves and woodland. There is also a lovely swimming pool and hot tub.
  • Another excellent choice in this price-range is the Philoxenia Hotel , which is a family-friendly property not far from Corfu town and by Ermones beach.
  • Also popular with families, especially those in search of more space, is Matoula Apartments , which is also by a beach and very good value.
  • Small Group Tour of Corfu : If you don't have a lot of time to explore Corfu and want to make sure you don't miss anything around the island check out this Small-Group Tour of Corfu . It hits all of the island's must-see attractions in a full day of sightseeing by coach. You'll explore Corfu Old Town, Palaiokastritsa and its beaches, and other attractions. Along the way, you'll also learn about Corfu's culture and history.
  • All about Corfu's History : Another tour option in Corfu is to dig deep into history with this Achilleion Palace and Corfu Old Town Tour . This guided tour takes you to the Achilleion Palace, a Neoclassical palace inspired by Greek mythology that once served as an imperial residence. After touring the palace, you'll head to Corfu's Old Town for an in-depth walking tour.

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Corfu - Floor plan map

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Greece Travel Guide

A first-timer's guide to Corfu, Greece

Jun 11, 2024 • 6 min read

corfu greece places to visit

Plan your trip to Corfu with our guide for first-time visitors © SCStock / Getty Images

Corfu was one of the first mainstream Greek vacation destinations , and it remains one of the most popular.

Surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Ionian sea, the island has a long and rich history and boasts impeccable architecture – with Venetian, French, and British influences – lush greenery, a versatile coastline with world-class beaches, delectable cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and kind-hearted, music-loving locals.

Plan your visit with our first-timer's guide to Corfu.

When should I travel to Corfu?

The Mediterranean climate makes Corfu a year-round destination, with each season offering a unique mix of relaxation, adventure and cultural interests.

The high season (June to September) is hot and busy, and the island’s tourist machine runs at full speed, with holidaymakers flocking to Corfu in the hundreds of thousands. Spring and autumn are quieter, the weather is pleasantly warm, and prices are reasonable. While winters can be rainy, a visitor can experience the island’s true colors, interact with the locals, and enjoy a truly authentic Greek experience.

Easter, in particular, is the best time to visit for an extraordinary cultural experience. A week of sanctity and devoutness is followed by the triumphant mayhem of church bells and clay pots thrown from balconies and breaking on the alleys’ cobblestones below. A thunderous cannonade from the fort is mixed with the sublime music of the island’s 18 – no less – philharmonic orchestras, creating an overwhelming atmosphere and celebrating the triumph of life over death.

The local carnival celebrations in February resemble those of Venice, attracting large crowds, and are a perfect opportunity for partying and all-out reveling.

The rooftops of a tightly packed city near the seaside

How much time should I spend on Corfu?

Visitors are guaranteed a rewarding stay, whether it is for a long weekend or a full two-week vacation. The Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the perfect base if your time is limited. Here, you can lose yourself in the spectacular alleyways and piazzas, admire the unique architectural blend, visit the numerous museums, savor local fare in small, elegant restaurants, and join the fun of the vibrant nightlife.

For a longer stay, the island's lush nature and world-class beaches offer a variety of different things to do, ranging from outright relaxation to highly charged adventure.

Is it easy to get to and around Corfu?

Ioannis Kapodistrias is Corfu’s international airport (named after the first governor of Greece who was born on the island), and there are many daily flights to and from Athens , all year round. During the tourist season, a continuous stream of chartered flights makes the airport one of the busiest in the country.

There are daily ferry connections between Corfu and Igoumenitsa on the mainland and, during the summer months, the Italian cities of Brindisi, Bari and Angona. There are multiple daily connections to the other Ionian islands and Saranda , Albania .

The public transport is excellent. City buses (blue) and intercity KTEL (green) reach even the most remote villages and beaches of the island, with extra services during the peak months.

Plenty of taxis offer a more flexible and comfortable, but pricey, means of transport. However, as in many large island destinations, the best way to experience Corfu is to hire a car; plenty of quality rental companies operate on the island.

A white mansion-like building stands in the center of landscaped gardens with statues

Top things to do on Corfu

There are a few unmissable sights, even if you plan to stay on Corfu for a few days.

  • Even on the shortest stay on the island, make time for a stroll in the labyrinthine kantounia (alleys) of the Old Town. Stop for a leisurely coffee or a delicious kumquat liquer, made with the celebrated local "golden orange," along the Liston, the magnificent pedestrian arcade located on Greece’s largest public square, the Spianada .
  • Achilleion Palace is a majestic building once home to Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sissy) and Kaiser Wilhelm II. Although the interior is undergoing restoration and is closed to the public, its marvelous gardens and panoramic views of the town and the island are well worth a visit.
  • Wander  the Old Fortress (Palaio Frourio) , a magnificent Venetian construction built on a rocky peninsula — the old Byzantine capital’s site — that dominates the eastern part of the Old Town.
  • For nature-loving and adventurous types, the Corfu Trail is a more than 200km (124-mile) route crossing the entire island from south to north. It passes through villages both inland and on the coast, where intrepid trekkers wishing to complete the trail can refuel and rest overnight. For those with less time or stamina, though, any part of the trail is a rewarding acquaintance with the island’s pristine nature.
  • Corfu’s 217km (135-mile) coastline boasts countless stunning beaches, and it is impossible to visit them all during a single stay. There is a perfect match for every taste and preference, ranging from long sandy stretches to tiny pebbly bays and overcrowded cosmopolitan spots to deserted coves. The beaches nearby Palaiokastritsa, Benitses, Sidari and Porto Timoni, Agios Georgios Pagon, and Ipsos are just some of the island's best beaches.
  • Romantic souls will absolutely adore the Canal d'amour, a psammite fjord with a wonderful, tiny beach. Legend has it that couples who swim in the canal stay in love forever. Bring a diving mask with a snorkel and arrive early in the morning to secure a spot on the beach.

A few small boats anchored in a bay with turquoise waters

My favorite thing to do on Corfu

The highlight of my Corfu vacation is taking a cruise to some of the island's most beautiful and remote corners. Especially during the summer, the island’s superb beaches can get extremely busy, so hiring a private small boat (no need for a professional license) is the ultimate escape from the crowds.

There are dozens of otherwise inaccessible bays and secluded small beaches, especially along the northeastern coast between Kalami and Kasiopi, and a day out there in the vast blueness with the bright sky above and the crystalline Ionian sea beneath is a treat for the senses.

What local foods should I try?

Corfu cuisine boasts several mouthwatering recipes that visitors can savor exclusively on the island. Top among them are sofrito , a garlicky veal dish cooked in wine; pastitsadha , local pasta with chicken or beef seasoned with myriad spices; and bourdeto , fish cooked in a red spicy sauce.

What's the best day trip from Corfu?

Unspoiled by tourism may sound like a meaningless cliché, but the three remote Diapontia islands of Othoni, Erikousa and Mathraki on the northernmost corner of Greece have been unduly overlooked by travel guides and visitors. Serene sandy beaches, small villages and tranquil footpaths render the islands the perfect getaway from the bustling crowds. There are regular daily connections by ferry, caïque and private mini-cruise.

How much money do I need for Corfu?

As in every other hugely popular destination, accommodations and service prices tend to peak during the busy months. However, Corfu offers choices for every budget, from backpackers to high-end travelers.

Public transport is very affordable, and there are plenty of casual local tavernas that won’t break the budget. Of course, the sky is the limit for those who want and can enjoy a luxurious stay with every possible desire catered for. Here is a guideline to daily costs in Corfu.

  • Hostel dorm €25–40
  • Basic room for two €60–100
  • Self-catering apartment (including Airbnb): €90–150
  • Intercity public transport ticket €2–5 (depending on distance)
  • Coffee €3–5
  • Sandwich €5–8
  • Dinner for two: €50–80
  • Beer at the bar: €5–8
  • Self-drive boats (half day): €80–120 low season €100–150 high season
  • Private mini-cruises with a skipper: €100–150 per hour.

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Love Canal

The 16 best things to do on Corfu

From a pedestrian-only old town to stunning beaches and ornate palaces, these are the best things to do on Corfu

Photograph: Shutterstock

Heidi Fuller-Love

Corfu is a little different to the other beloved Greek islands (geography plays its part), but this slice of paradise is inundated with annual visitors for good reason. The landscape is luxurious and leafy, brimming with olive trees and fruit groves, giving Corfu a verdant feel that is easy to get lost in.  What are the best things to do on Corfu? Well, be on Corfu for a start, but there is plenty to get your teeth into on this beautiful island. Gorgeous architecture, stunning walks, idyllic beaches and ornate palaces headline, but the beauty of Corfu arguably lies in the spaces. You’re going to love this place. Greece at its absolute finest.

RECOMMENDED: 🧿 The best places to visit in Greece 🏝️  The most  beautiful Greek islands 🏨 The best  hotels in Greece 🏛 The best   things to do in Athens

Heidi Fuller-Love and Marissa Tejada  are travel writers based in Greece. At Time Out, all of our  travel guides  are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our  editorial guidelines . 

Been there, done that? Think again, my friend.

Best things to do on Corfu

1.  the old town.

The Old Town

What is it? A Unesco-listed old town with some of the most photogenic corners on the Greek islands. 

Why go? What makes Corfu so beautiful is its confluence of world influences. Admire the Italian architecture, peaceful squares, towering spires and sturdy stone medieval walls that seem to paint a movie set like a backdrop – all ready for exploring. The architectural styles seem to span from all corners of Europe, including the very British town square called The Spianada. The cricket field here is the only one in Greece. A row of cafes lined along The Liston resembles Paris’ Rue de Rivoli. Meanwhile, the Venetian influences are tangled in a web of tiny walkable lanes where colourful bougainvillaea hangs over painted walls and tumbles off terracotta roofs.

2.  Achillion Palace

Achillion Palace

What is it?  Designed in the nineteenth century to be over-the-top and as palatial as Viennese palaces could be, this palace has held just as many glamorous roles since.

Why go?  Located near Gouvia, this palace – now a museum – has several claims to fame. If you are a James Bond fan, you’ll recognize it as the casino in ‘For Your Eyes Only’. It has royal connections too. It’s the birthplace of Prince Phillip, but before that, it was constructed as a royal retreat for Empress Elisabeth of Austria. 

3.  Corfu Trail

Corfu Trail

What is it?  A long hiking trail that meanders 220km from one end of Corfu to the other.

Why go?  If you want to really get to know Corfu’s gorgeous landscape, studded with mountains and lined with beaches and lagoons, this trail has you covered. Traversing the whole thing will take a bit of time – at least eight days – however, the stunning and diverse topography makes it well worth the walk.

4.  Church of Saint Spyridon

Church of Saint Spyridon

What is it?  With a red-painted bell tower and a spectacular interior, this church is one of Corfu’s most colourful landmarks.

Why go?  The red-domed belltower will pique your curiosity from afar. Inside you can admire the final resting place of St Spyridon, the island’s patron saint. His mummified remains lie in an ornate sarcophagus. According to local legend, the saint’s slippers are down to threads because he walks into town in the middle of the night.  

5.  Old Fortress and New Fortress

Old Fortress and New Fortress

What is it?  The Old Fortress and New Fortress seem to watch over the Old Town, each a fascinating piece of the island’s history. 

Why go?  Both offer panoramic sea views, so be ready to snap photos. The Old Fortress sits on a rocky islet built during the Byzantine era. Don’t be fooled by the name, as the New Fort also happens to be very old. It dates back to the sixteenth century, built by the Venetians.

6.  Love Canal in Sidari

Love Canal in Sidari

What is it? This swimmable picturesque canal (and its beach) is one of the most romantic places on the island.

Why go? This wave-worn rocky corner of Corfu attracts the romantics visiting the island. That’s because legend has it that couples who swim between the sea walls here stay together forever. For even more romance, hold hands with your significant other as you take in Sidari’s legendary sunset.

7.  Dancing Tree Farm

What is it? A rustic haven where you can chill and enjoy a range of holistic programmes. Why go? Lush and green for most of the year-round, Corfu is the ideal spot for a healing retreat. At the heart of Arillas, one of the island’s remoter villages, this healing haven offers a plethora of programmes and workshops, ranging from dance and yoga to chanting asanas and learning about healing plants, designed to help you connect with nature whilst reconnecting with your inner self.

8.  Diapontia Islands

Diapontia Islands

What is it? A trio of idyllic islands within easy reach of Agios Stefanos on Corfu’s northwest coast. Why go? With clear-as-glass seas and endless dune-studded beaches, the three Diapontia islands - Erikoussa, Othoni and Mathraki - are the perfect place to live out those Robinson Crusoe fantasies. With only three fish tavernas and a handful of hotels, the smallest island Mathraki is best for getting off the beaten track, whilst Othonoi (the largest island at just six kilometres long) has shops, hotels, and even a police station.

9.  Paleokastritsa Monastery

Paleokastritsa Monastery

What is it?  A thirteenth-century pastel-painted monastery set on a clifftop overlooking the sea.

Why go?  The stunning views over the entire island are just one reason to check out this religious site. At the museum, significant icons are on display. It still runs as a monastery. You can see monks go about their daily business while you hang around here.

10.  Asian Art Museum

Asian Art Museum

What is it?  The Asian Art Museum houses a vast collection of Asian art and artefacts collected by two Greek diplomats.

Why go?  If you love art, this unique Greek island museum (housed in a former palace) is definitely worth visiting. You’ll find eclectic exhibits from China, Japan, Tibet, the Gandhara Kingdom (now Eastern Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan), Cambodia and Thailand.

11.  Durrell Day Tour

Durrell Day Tour

What is it? A full-day tour of sites associated with the hit TV series, The Durrells. Why go? Fans of animal-loving Gerry, literary-minded Larry and other eccentric members of the Durrell family (who lived in Corfu from 1936 until the outbreak of WWII in 1939) will love this tour. Highlights include wandering the kantounia alleys of Corfu’s Old Town seeking out the spots where the hit series was filmed, and visiting the White House - now a fascinating museum - where Lawrence Durrell once lived with his wife, Nancy.

12.  Pontikonisi


What is it?  Pontikonisi islet is one of the most peaceful spots in Corfu, featuring a small monastery and chapel.

Why go?  If the tourist crowds are getting to you, head to Pontikonisi at the southern tip of Kanoni. The tiny islet’s name means ‘Mouse Island’ in Greek. Here you’ll find the seventeenth-century Venetian Monastery of Vlacherna – it’s a beacon of calm amongst a quiet landscape of trees. It’s an iconic spot that you might recognise from postcards.

13.  Ambelonas Estate

What is it? A sprawling country estate where they make some of the island’s best wines. Why go? Already praised by Homer in The Odyssey, Corfu has been producing wine for centuries. One of a new generation of vintners that are using the island’s skopelitiko and kakotrigis grapes to produce crisp whites and full-bodied reds, Ambelonas Estate has its own wine museum where you can learn more about the art of making the island’s grape juice, before sampling some in the estate’s cosy restaurant.

14.  Mon Repos

Mon Repos

What is it? This stately nineteenth-century home was built for the British High Commissioner Sir Frederick Adam. It was also where author Lawrence Durrell lived in the 1930s.

Why go? To see the British influence on the island. The Duke of Edinburgh was born at Mon Repos.

15.  Korission Lagoon

Korission Lagoon

What is it? Dubbed Korission Lake by locals, this five-kilometre-long stretch of wetland on Corfu’s rugged southwest coast is an ecological treasure. Why go? Covering 6,000 acres of dunes, cedar forests and golden sand beaches, this vast wetland is a prime nesting site for rare flora and fauna. Come here to spot pretty pink flamingos, cormorants and Mediterranean turtles, or just sunbathe in the shadow of skyscraper-sized sand dunes overlooking the pristine golden sands of Issos Beach.

16.  Agios Gordios

Agios Gordios

What is it? Agios Gordios is a coastal village on the west coast of Corfu known for its views and charm.

Why go? A combination of Corfu’s lush mountains, olive groves, sandy beaches and pastel-hued buildings can all be found in this quaint, quiet and traditional village which connects to three smaller villages (Kato Garouna, Pentati and Siaredes) at the foot of Panteleimonas Mountain. Best for walks with a view and watching local life pass by.

More great things to do on Corfu

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