With the glorious crystal-clear Ionian waters surrounding it, Corfu is one of the most lusciously green Greek islands and one of the most bewitching ones. An inseparable part of Greek heritage and culture, it has been inhabited since the Paleolithic times. Nowadays, Corfu is one of the most beloved destinations for both Greek tourists and visitors alike and not just for the summertime. Here are the best things to do in Corfu if you decide to visit the second-largest Ionian island and you want to make the most out of your time in it!
Table of Contents
1. Visit Corfu’s most significant sites
Corfu fortress - credits: Petroos/Shutterstock.com
Wherever you decide to stay in Corfu, the island’s rich culture and heritage will be hard to miss. We know that it is tempting to completely ignore the cultural stimuli in your eagerness to enjoy your time in the sun, nonetheless, it would be a shame to skip the must-see monuments of the island.
The Archaeological Museum of Corfu, built between 1962 and 1965, offers an array of artifacts and archaeological finds from the Temple of Artemis in Corfu, while its expansion in 1994 has put on display the more recent finds of the ancient city.
The Solomos Museum, on the other hand, provides people with a more contemporary insight into the culture of the island, being a museum dedicated to the life and work of the national poet and creator of the lyrics of the national anthem of Greece, Dionysios Solomos. Located in the house the poet spent the later part of his life, the residence also houses the Society of Corfiot Studies. Achilleion Palace is one of the most popular attractions on the island, being built as a vacation home for the Empress Elisabeth of Austria, following the tragic loss of her only son.
Its impressive architectural style resembles an ancient Greek palace, while it was designed with Greek mythology and especially Achilles, a hero of the Trojan war, as the core theme. The Church of St. Spyridon, is Corfu’s most well-known church. Built in the 1580s, it is home of the relics of Saint Spyridon.
Apart from its religious significance, the church is of great architectural value as well, with its bell tower being the highest in the Ionian complex of islands. Last but not least, Corfu’s Town Hall is a sight not to be missed. Housed in one of the most important buildings of Corfu constructed across a 30-year span, from 1663 to 1693, it was originally designed for the officers of the Venetian navy.
In 1720 this building of Renaissance aesthetic was transformed into one of the most renowned theaters in Greece, ‘San Giacomo’, before being established as the island’s town hall in 1903.
2. Taste the local cuisine
A group of people eating meze and drinking ouzo - credits: Nadir Keklik/Shutterstock.com
You couldn’t possibly believe we would leave you without tips and suggestions for trying Corfu’s local cuisine? The whole Greeking.me team clutched their pearls at the mere thought of it! Corfu’s cuisine is full of scrumptious offerings, following the secrets of the Mediterranean diet Greece is known for.
Don’t miss out on the island’s local flavors and get insight into the local gastronomic culture. Bourdeto, -fish cooked in a spicy tomato sauce with onion, garlic and pepper- sofrito, - beef cooked with garlic and vinegar- pastitsada - red sauce pasta dish featuring veal, beef or poultry – and tzaletia – pastry dough made from maize and wheat flour, fried in olive oil and served with powdered sugar and cinnamon, are only few of the mouthwatering local dishes you’ll have the opportunity to try in Corfu.
If you’re a seafood-lover, we suggest you visit Archontiko, for fresh fish dishes that are incomparable in flavor. For meat-lovers, George & Elena's Taverna is the place to be. Known for its delectable traditional dishes, its authentically Greek cuisine will sweep you off your feet!
On the occasion that you want to treat yourself to a luxurious Greek meal, Venetian Well offers gourmet choices, beautiful presentation, high quality and impeccable service. To make the most out of your time in Corfu, as well as more bang for your buck, you can also join us on a Corfu food walking tour, where you can indulge in every local flavor there is, in a fun and stress-free way!
3. Organize a short sailing excursion
Sailing adventure - credits: DisobeyArt/Shutterstock.com
Corfu neighbors with the islands of Paxoi, Othonoi, Pontikonissi, Ereikoussa, Mathraki and its northeast coast being in very close proximity to Albania, which offers the perfect opportunity for a sailing adventure that will introduce you to less-known Greek islands of unmatched beauty.
With a Corfu sailing trip, you will get to get on a luxurious, traditional wooden boat from the port of Corfu and explore the magical Ionian sea and the striking islands nearby. And because an empty belly bears nobody, you will even get to try some delicious local dishes at Agios Stefanos accompanied by delectable, local wine.
Despite being an incredibly romantic setting a Corfu sailing trip is ideal not only for couples but for families and groups of friends as well, as the incredible landscapes will leave no one unmoved; just make sure no one suffers from seasickness and you’re good to go!
4. Explore the island on ATV
Exploring a Greek island on an ATV - credits: Kazmierczak/Shutterstock.com
If you’re more of an adrenaline junkie and you’re looking to explore the majestic island of Corfu in an unconventional, cutting-edge way, look no further than from the local rental shop. Yeap, you heard that right! Rent an ATV, or several depending on your company, and set on an ATV adventure across the whole island.
This way, you can scout all the beaches and choose the one you like best for a dive, climb up the luscious green mountains and admire the breathtaking view from the edge of a cliff, and drive through the stunning villages at your own pace, making up an itinerary as you go, solely depending on your mood.
5. Visit the village of Paleokastritsa
Paleokastritsa beach - credits: Balate Dorin/Shutterstock.com
On the northwestern side of Corfu, lies the historical village of Paleokastritsa. The shoreline of Paleokastritsa is believed to be the place where Odysseus disembarked and met Nausicaa for the first time, according to the Odyssey. Today, Paleokastritsa is a well-known beauty spot of Greece, known for its beautiful beaches and historic monastery, the monastery of Theotokos, built in 1225.
Even if you’re not religious, it is still worth paying a visit to the monastery, to admire its impeccable construction, with the interior of the building being a prime example of Greek monastic architecture. The monastery of Theotokos additionally consists of a courtyard, as well as a museum, where you can find on display Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons.
On the village, you can come across seven beaches, all of exquisite beauty. The biggest and most beautiful one, but at the same time the busiest, is the beach of Agios Spyridon, attracting a large crowd of visitors and locals. At the other end of the spectrum, Ampelaki beach is the quietest beach of the region, accessible only on foot.
Its secluded nature makes it even more idyllic, while it offers the perfect setting for diving, located right next to the diving center of the island.
6. Explore Corfu Old Town
While you’re in Corfu you should take full advantage of the island’s Old Town, a culture-heavy region that has a lot more to offer than its museums. The town’s cobbled alleys and squares combine an old-time charm with a modern elegance. Filled with historic monuments, traditional taverns and galleries, this part of the island covers all needs and tastes.
Another point of interest of Corfu Old Town is its impressive architecture that combines Greek, French, Italian and British influences, leaving visitors enthralled by its beauty. One of the most well-known landmarks of the island, located in the Old Town, is the Old Fortress of Corfu.
Built in the 16th century, the fort was used as a protection from the invasions of enemies. The fort’s interior has been restored to hold cultural events year-round. At the base of the fort you can find the church of Saint George, built in 1840 for the British soldiers who served in Corfu during the English Protection.
In the Old Town you can also find the neighborhood of Liston, built by the French in the early 1800s to faithfully replicate Rue de Rivoli, one of the most famous streets found in the center of Paris. In those times, Liston was accessible only to the island’s aristocracy, while today it’s one of the most popular spots of the island, filled with cafes, bars and taverns for locals and visitors alike.
7. Swim in the best beaches of Corfu
Canal del'amour beach, Corfu - credits: https://greece.terrabook.com
It is argued that the Ionian Sea offers the best beaches found in Greece, with Corfu’s beaches certainly reinforcing this belief. Sidari beach is the best choice for those looking to relax in a fully-organized setting, where you can find umbrellas, sunbeds, bars, restaurants, cafes and tourist shops.
Sidari beach is known for its long sandy shore, cold, shallow waters and impressive offering of watersports, making it an ideal destination for not only families with kids, but also adventurous travelers. Our personal favorite, Glyfada beach, is by far the most popular beach in Corfu and for good reason.
This striking, long, sandy beach, only 16km away from Corfu’s town center, has been awarded the Blue Flag due to the unmatched clarity of its deep blue waters. The landscape surrounding it is just as magical, with lush greenery and magnificent rocky hills painting a picture of Greek excellence.
At the other end of the spectrum, Kassiopi beach is one of the most secluded beaches of the island and the only one with a rocky shore, ideal for fun dives. Due to it being more isolated and quieter than the rest of Corfu’s beaches, it is a local favorite and therefore, a definite must-see.
Finally, the beach of Canal del’ amour is, as its name suggests, the most romantic beach of Corfu, famous for hosting hundreds of marriage proposals annually. This true masterwork of nature, located on the north coast of Corfu, attracts many visitors daily, making the early morning the best time to visit it. If you’re up for a fun activity, seek out the caves along the Canal, where you can take on a snorkeling adventure!
Corfu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is full of fascinating sites, riveting places and delicious delicacies that will make any visitor happy. Maybe not one of the first destinations that come to mind when someone thinks of Greece, Corfu is worth your time as in it you will get to see, experience and taste an authentic Greek island that has survived the test of time!