Corfu is the largest in Ionian island and among the most popular destinations in Greece. On this page you may find where is Corfu island, how to get there, things to do and see, what to do in Corfu, beaches and villages, where to stay, hotels and accommodation and more.
Corfu (also known as Kerkyra), the Grand Lady of the Ionian, is identified by a series of mythical images: Nausica, the daughter of King Alkinoos, the man who saved Odysseus when he was shipwrecked in the Country of Phaeacians (which many have identified as the island of Corfu); Sissi, the sad Empress of Austria; the Achilleion, the palace she built. Majestic images: Mon Repos, the 19th century summer residence built for the British High Commissioner; the Kaiser’s Observatory, where Wilhelm II looked out at the sea.
Where is Corfu Island
Corfu is the most northerly of the Ionian Islands. The southeast coast lies about 10km from mainland Greece, the northeast about 2km from Albania. Area: 641sq km. Highest point: Mount Pandokrator, at 906m. Length, north to south: 60km. Width, east to west: 4km to 30km. Length of coastline: 217km. Population: 114,000 approximately, of which about 41,000 live in Kerkura Town.
Information about Corfu island
About 65 per cent of the island is land is under cultivation. Of this, 55 per cent is devoted to olive trees, of which there are an estimated 3.5 million. The rest of the cultivated area is used for vineyards, citrus fruit, vegetables and grazing. About one million tourists visit the island annually and an estimated third of working population is involved in tourism and its related industries.
How to get to Corfu Island
Flights to Corfu
The airport of Corfu island Ioannis Kapodistrias is located very close to Corfu Town. It receives domestic flights from Athens and Thessaloniki. In summer it also receives direct flights and charters from abroad. In summer it may have air connection with other Greek islands, such as Kefalonia and Zakynthos, operated by the small air company Sky Express.
The airport of Corfu “Ioannis Kapodistrias” is located 3 km from Town, in the region of Perama. This airport receives regular flights from Athens and Thessaloniki. The flight time is about 1 hour. Also in summer, it receives charter flights from other Greek islands and many charters from abroad.
Ferries to Corfu
Ferries to Corfu depart from Igoumenitsa and Patra. Ferries from Igoumenitsa need 1h30 to reach Corfu and run from early in the morning until midnight, every 1-2 hours. Ferries to Corfu from Patra are usually overnight and need 7 hours. There are also hydrofoils, carrying only passengers not cars, from Corfu to Paxi island. Moreover, Corfu is reachable by ferry from Italy, particularly from the ports of Venice, Bari and Ancona. These ferries are very convenient for Italian and central European passengers who want to travel with their car.
Equally majestic are the iconic city mansions, the Liston Arcade and Spianada Square – the largest in the Balkans. Venetians, English, French, Russians, Greeks: all lived and flourished here, and left their traces on the island’s numerous sights and attractions. They sculpted a diverse culture that you will discover in every musical note of Corfu’s marching bands, in each glass of kumquat liqueur, in the labyrinthine alleyways of Campiello, in every love affair that ignites in the Canal d’Amour. Corfu – or Kerkyra as it is known in Greek – will seduce you.
Things to do and see in Corfu
Corfu’s historic centre: a scene out of a classic film
Unesco has declared the island’s historic centre a world heritage site. The stately buildings with neoclassical influences will dazzle you: The Palace of St Michael and St Georgiou, the Liston Arcade, the Reading Society, the Catholic cathedral, the Maitland rotunda, the Ionian Parliament, the Kapodistrias family mansion. In the famous alleyways of Campiello, with clotheslines hanging above you, and in the opulent hotels with their VIP guests, you will feel like a star in a period movie.
The city’s keepers
On the eastern side of the city, the rocky shore crowned by two low peaks gave the name Koryfo (Κορυφώ) – Corfu (meaning peak) to the island. You enter the Old Fort (Palaio Frourio), built in the 13th century, via a bridge over a seawater moat. It includes the Porta Sopranza, the British barracks, two winged lions of St Mark, the Madonna del Carmine, the Savorgnan bastion, the Tower of Sea and the Tower of the Land (Castel del Mar, Castel della Terra), and the British-built church of St George which resembles a Doric temple.
It’s an open-air museum, and each sight is a journey through time. Towering above the northwest border of the capital, the other guardian, the Neo Frourio (New Fort), is a masterpiece of military architecture built by the Venetians between 1572 and 1645. It is a fortress with planes and angles reminiscent of Picasso and Braque’s Cubist periods.
Photogenic attractions: Cannon and Mouse islands
The trademark of Corfu island are actually other islands: the diminutive Pontikonisi, which translates as Mouse Island, just large enough to hold the Pantokrator monastery. Right next to it, the famous islet Vlacherna, with its 17th century monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway. Mass is held here on Easter Monday.
A miracle of nature: the beaches of Sidari and Canal d’Amour
If you swim in the Canal d’Amour, the myth says you’ll find your soul mate. The natural passage created by the smooth rocks is like a tunnel. In Sidari you’ll enjoy two more spectacular sand beaches with sandstone formations.
Mythical resorts: Paleokastritsa and Angelokastro
In island’s most famous tourist resort, the lush greenery blankets six rocky coves. Some scholars maintain that this was the site of the mythical palace of King Alkinoos, where Odysseus stayed. The Monastery of Panagias was founded in 1225. It reaches as far as the famous Angelokastro, built early in the 12th century, with its church of Agia Kyriaki hidden in a small cave.
Easter in Corfu: one of the most beautiful in Greece
A popular destination in Greece, Corfu gives you so many reasons to visit it. One of these is its very special, and world-famous, Easter celebration. The Philharmonic Society of Corfu accompanies the procession of the mummified body of the island’s patron, St Spyridon, as it is carried around the city on Good Friday. On Holy Saturday it rains botides – clay jars thrown in the streets from people’s balconies. Don’t get too close! Easter in Corfu is something you should experience at least once in your lifetime.
Achillion Palace: the consolation of an empress
The island’s imperial past could be the reason that it is considered one of the most glamorous and luxurious destinations in Greece. Empress Elizabeth of Austria-Hungary, the legendary Sissi, chose Corfu to build her palace, a place where she found consolation after her son Rudolph’s suicide. It is an elegant Pompeian-style building with luxurious, neoclassical living rooms. In the beautiful gardens you’ll admire the famous statue of Dying Achilles.
Mon Repos: the dream of an aristocrat
British High Commissioner Frederick Adam built this summer residence for his Corfiot wife, Nina Palatianou. Situated in a landscape of rare beauty, it occupies the site of ancient Corcyra, as the city was then called. The villa houses the Palaiopolis museum and botanical gardens with more than 2,000 rare kinds of plants that came all the way from the British colonies.
What to do in Corfu island
Sail away … to the Diapontia islands
A favourite destination for mariners, the Diapontia islands north of Corfu are ideal for diving and fishing.
Pastitsada, sofrito, bourdeto: you can enjoy these regional delicacies in home kitchens, traditional tavernas and restaurants. They will enrich your holidays with the aromas and flavours of the Ionian Sea.
The footpaths of Corfu
Get to know the island’s rich flora and fauna and old settlements by foot or bicycle. Among the hidden gems are: Pantokratoras, the southern part the island next to the saltwater lake of Korission, the area of Palaiokastritsas, and the northern side of the island towards the saltwater lake Antinioti – all wonderful routes that will fill your holidays with unique moments.
Villages of Corfu Island
Corfu Town is the most famous settlement on the island, with impressive sightseeing and nice view to the sea. However, Corfu has many smaller villages in the inland and along the coastline. Some of these villages have developed in tourism, while others remain totally untouched.
Discover our guide to 22 Corfu villages. They are all presented with a detailed description, photos and their location on a map of Corfu. For the most popular ones, we also provide information about sightseeing in the area, a selection of hotels and reviews.
Beaches of Corfu Island
With clean water and surrounded by lush greenery, beaches in Corfu attract many visitors every summer. Paleokastritsa is the most famous beach resort, while other nice Corfu beaches include Agios Gordis, Pelekas and Glyfada. Many Corfu beaches are organized and lined up with hotels, seaside restaurants, water sports centers, and beach bars. You will find below a list with the best beaches in Corfu island.
Discover our guide to 57 beautiful Corfu beaches. They are all presented with a detailed description, photos and their location on a map of Corfu. For the most popular spots, we also provide information about sightseeing in the area, a selection of hotels and reviews.
Glyfada, Dasia, Ermones, Paleokastritsa, Sidari, Kavos (famous for loud parties), Kontokali, Benitses, Halikounas. The list of beaches is endless. Isolated picturesque coves or large and crowded beaches with beach bars, tavernas, shops and watersports. Many beaches boast luxury hotels as well.
Restaurants and Tavernas in Corfu
Most Corfu Town restaurants operate all year – though in the countryside and at coastal resorts, only those pitched at locals work in winter, and often just Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.
Greeks traditionally don’t observe courses – mezédes (starters) and main dishes typically arrive together at less posh tavernas, to be passed around and shared. If you want your starters first, tell the waiter. They will often ask if you actually want bread – which must be paid for, and is often nearly inedible.
Where to stay in Corfu Island
Corfu has many convenient places to stay. Actually all tourist places of Corfu have bus connection with the Town and other places, so this makes it easy to move. In any case, we suggest you rent a car or bike for a couple of days to explore the island at your own pace.
The closest accommodations to Corfu Town can be found in Gouvia, Dassia, Ipsos, Perama and Benitses. On the northern side, the most popular places with many Corfu hotels are Paleokastritsa, Sidari, Acharavi, Roda and Agios Stefanos. On the southern side very popular are Agios Gordios, Agios Georgios Argyradon and Moraitika. Kavos is also popular and have many Corfu hotels, but it is more suitable for youth looking for nightlife and not for families.