The views from the Monastery of Paleokatrista are one of the best things to do in Paleokatrista

The Top 12 Things To Do In Captivating Corfu

Corfu, in the Ionian Sea off the northwest coast of Greece, is a captivating destination full of fascinating landscapes and rich history. Sometimes referred to as the “Emerald Isle”, it’s Greece’s greenest island. It’s full of natural beauty from its ancient olive groves, citrus and cypress trees, spectacular coastlines, and azure blue waters. It’s also steeped in history from its Venetian, French, and British rule. From the UNESCO Heritage listed Old Town Corfu, to the fascinating limestone cliff formations in its rugged northwest, its many beautiful bays around the island, sunset spots on the west coast, and sandy beaches in the south, there are many things to see and do in Corfu. 

You can explore ancient fortresses with amazing panoramic views, relax on quiet, sandy beaches, swim around rugged cliffs (and jump from them), discover intimate caves, coves, and grottos, savor sunsets, and enjoy cozy cafes and traditional Greek tavernas, all while discovering which spots are your personal favorites.

Whether you’re looking for relaxation, exploration, or a taste of authentic Greek life, Corfu has something to offer everyone. This post covers the best things to do in Corfu.

Explore Old Town Corfu

UNESCO listed Old Town Corfu showcases Corfu’s diverse cultural history. With the multi-storied Venetian architecture and spacious squares from 400 years of Venetian rule, Parisian influences from French rule, and austere Greek-revival style from its British rule, Old Town Corfu has a very European flair. Plus, it’s one of the few Ionian islands not leveled by the 1953 earthquake, so its beautiful historic buildings still stand proud.

Liston street is a highlight of old town Corfu

Beyond its grand streets lined with tall, pastel buildings, lively cafes and tavernas, and winding cobblestoned backstreets, one of the top things to do in Old Town Corfu is to visit the Old Venetian Fortress overlooking the sea.

This fortress was built by Venice’s best architects centuries ago and once housed the citizens of the town, keeping them safe from Ottoman invasion. It was so successful, Corfu is the only Greek island never conquered by the Turkish.

Today the ruins of this fortress are renowned for their panoramic views. Especially near sunset. There are also many sites to explore within the fortress.

Old town Corfu Venetian fortress view one of the best things to do in Corfu
View From The Venetian Fortress

There is also the elegant Palace of Saint Michael and Saint George. Once the residence of the British High Commissioner of the Ionian islands, it now houses the Museum of Asian Art.

Saint Michael and Saint George Palace old town Corfu is one of the best things to do in Corfu
Palace of Saint Michael and Saint George

Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral is another highlight. It’s one of the most important cathedrals in Corfu as it houses the remains of Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of Corfu. Plus there are parks, a treasure trove of shops to explore, cafes to people watch at, and some local beaches (like Faliraki).

Whether you use Corfu Town as a base and visit other cities as day trips, or just stay here for a few days, Corfu Town should be a part of your visit. To learn more details, see my post on the Best Things To Do In Corfu Old Town.

Visit Achilleion Palace

Achilleion Palace, located a short drive south of Corfu Town in Gastouri, was built for the former Empress of Austria, Elizabeth (also known as Sisi) as her summer residence.

Day trip to Achilleion Palace is one of top things to do in old town Corfu
Achilleion Palace

She named the palace after her favorite Greek hero Achilles, with several artworks and sculptures of him throughout the property. On top of the elegance of the architecture itself, and the gardens, the palace sits in a stunning location on a hill overlooking the Ionian Sea.

Although the palace is currently closed for restoration, the gardens remain open. Plans are to reopen later in 2024 season. Until then, the palace is still worth a visit for Imperial Gardens and outdoor open spaces.

To learn more about this palace and how to get here, see my post of the Best Things To Do In Corfu Old Town.

Take A Boat Tour In Paleokastrista

Paleokastrista, one of the prettiest bays in Corfu, is located on the west side of the island. It has several beautiful sandy beaches, many coves and caves, and clear, turquoise-blue waters surrounded by lush mountains and craggily cliffs. It’s quite stunning, so you really shouldn’t miss it.

The views are one of the best things to do in Paleokastritsa and one of the best things to do in Corfu
Paleokastrista

Some of its most popular beaches include Paleokastrista Beach, formally known as Spiridon Beach, Petros Beach, and Ampelaki Beach. They’re all clustered together below the Monastery of Paleokastrista.

Exploring the streets of Corfu Town is one of the best things to do in Corfu
Paleokastrista Beach

There’s also a cool little cove called Grotta Beach hidden below the cliffs. You can access it by walking down 140 steps or arrive at the small jetty by boat. There’s also a popular restaurant and bar here called La Grotta where you can watch people climb up and jump off the cliffs (or the diving board here), as well as people sunning and swimming while you have food or a cocktail. It’s a magical, but small, must-visit grotto.

Swimming in La Grotta is one of the best things to do in Paleokastritsa, Corfu
La Grotta

There are also many beaches along the coast to explore, most of which are small and best reached by boat. In fact, the best thing to do in Paleokastrista is to hire a guided boat to see them, then hire your own boat to discover them up close (in Greece, you do not need a license to hire a boat if it’s under 30hp).

There’s the Blue Eye Cave, Liapades Beach, Glyko Beach, Limni Beach, The Cave of Love, Paradise Beach, and many, many more.

In addition to all this, you must head up the big hill to the Monastery of Paleokastrista to see stunning, panoramic views of the Paleokastrista Beaches and the Ionian Sea.

To learn more details, see my post on the Top Things To Do In Pretty Paleokastrista.

Swim in Canal d’ Amour

Sidari, in northwestern Corfu, offers one of Corfu’s most famous coastlines with the unique sandstone rock formation of Canal d’ Amour. The Canal d’ Amour means the Channel of Love in English. Its name derives from the legend that you can strengthen your bond with your partner or find your true love by swimming here.

Swimming in Canal d’ Amour is one of the top things to do in Sidari, Corfu
Canal d’ Amour

It’s also beautiful and fun to swim along the channel created by wind and water erosion, explore the caves and cliffs and do some cliff jumping.

With its popularity, Sidari had become a small resort town so there are many seaside restaurants and several other beach areas for swimming, sunning, and watersports.

One of the most iconic restaurants here is the D’ Amour Restaurant and Bar, nestled in the formations of Canal d’ Amour. It’s perfect for selfies and instagram, with daybeds, swings, and sunbeds overlooking the sea and cliffs. Plus it serves great Moussaka!

To learn more details, and how to get here, see my post on Things To Do In Sidari: Must-See Canal d’ Amour and More.

See Enchanting Cape Drastis

West of Sidari, in the remote northwest corner of Corfu is another enchanting rock formation called Cape Drastis. It’s in the village of Peroulades.

Cape Drastis is a little remote, but definitely worth the effort to get here as its remoteness only adds to its beauty. There is almost no commercialization here, which is rare for a beauty like this.

Cape Drastis Viewpoint is one of the best things to do In Corfu
Cape Drastis

This stunning rock formation is best viewed from the clifftop above it. There are also other stunning clifftop views from this area that you can see if you wander around…but be very careful, there are no fences here!

You can also walk down to a sea cove called Gravas Cove. From here, if you’re a good swimmer, you can swim to the formations and explore them up close.

There is usually a small boat down here taking people on tours around the cliffs for a reasonable price. They also offer a combined tour of Canal d’ Amour from the sea or drop you off at Sidari Beach.

The ultimate, however, is to arrive in your own boat, so you can stop and climb the cliffs at your own pace.

Keep in mind that in conditions with high waves, which usually means high winds, Gravas Cove may be closed and it may not be safe for swimming or boating. It’s best to pick a sunny, calm day to visit this site.

To learn more details, and how to get here, see my post on Enchanting Cape Drastis, How To Get There And What To Expect.

Watch The Sunset At Loggas Beach

Loggas Beach is a small strip of beach at the base of a dramatic cliff south of Cape Drastis. This is also in the village of Peroulades. Loggas Beach is also called Sunset Beach as it’s known for its stunning sunset views.

To get to the beach, you need to be able navigate the steep cement steps down the massive cliff face. I did not get a chance to visit here, but have read that as the beach is small, you need to check the weather before visiting. If it’s windy, the waves can get so high the beach actually disappears below them. It also is best to visit at low tide.

What it’s best know for, however, are its sunsets from above the cliffs. There are a few restaurants/bars that are perfect for watching the sun sink into the sea from their terrace.

7th Heaven is one of these places and highly recommended. They even have a glass skywalk for a more unobstructed view of the sea below.

This area is only about 2.5 miles (4 km) from Sidari, so easy to get to if you have a car.

Take A Day Trip To Kassiopi

Kassiopi, on the northeastern side of Corfu, is a former fishing village that’s now lined with luxury villas. It’s a popular day trip option with a picturesque harbor lined with tavernas, bars, and nightclubs, and several lovely beaches like Avlaki, Kanoni, and Mpataria.

Kassiopi dates back to Byzantine times on the island and contains the ruins of a former castle, Kassiopi Castle. There’s not much left of the castle, and the path up here is rocky, but those who hike up to it say the fantastic view of the harbor is worth it.

Kassiopi is about an hour drive north of Corfu Town and about 30-minutes east of Sidari. You can also travel via the green bus from both Sidari and Corfu Town.

Visit Agios Stefanos Beach

Agios Stefanos Beach is a large, quiet beach on the lovely bay of a former fishing village. It’s located about a 15-minute drive southwest of Sidari and provides a large, pretty beach with soft, fluffy sand.

Agios Stefanos Beach
Agios Stefanos

This area is for the serious beach enthusiast as it’s not very commercialized. There’s a charming old church near the port that’s worth a visit, the Chapel of Saint Stefanos, as well as a few restaurants and some convenience stores. Other than that, it’s wide open views of the sea.

Agios Stefanos Port
Agios Stefanos

To learn more details, and how to get here, see my post on Things To Do In Sidari: Must-See Canal d’ Amour and More.

See Porto Timoni

Porto Timoni is another one of the most beautiful beaches in Corfu. This is a very scenic, double-sided beach on a narrow part of the peninsula below a hill on north end of Agios Georgios. Unfortunately, I did not make it here, but I’ve seen photos that look spectacular with the lush green hills over the aqua-blue water and sandy beach areas.

If you arrive by boat, you can walk the 20-minutes up the rocky path to the hilltop for a beautiful view. Or, if you arrive by car you’ll be at the top of the hill and can walk down.

The beach here is a wild beach, with no organized sun beds, umbrellas, or refreshments, so you need to bring everything you need. If you plan to walk up and down the hill, make sure to wear proper shoes as the ground is very uneven.

Agios Georgios itself is a large, quiet sandy bay that’s popular with those that want a relaxing, quiet beach getaway. It’s located just south of Agios Stefanos. The drive to Agios Georgios from Corfu town is about a hour. You can also travel via the green bus from Corfu Town.

Visit Agios Gordios

Agios Gordios is another beautiful, quiet, large sandy bay with lush greens hills and some cool rocky areas on the west side of Corfu. This is where Freddy Mercury, the rocker from Queen, used to hang out. He stayed at the Pink Palace, which he also supposedly named.

The Pink Palace was once known for its wild parties, and still has pink toga parties on Saturday nights at its Palladium Nightclub, although I think it’s a bit quieter these days. Today, they also attract guests with yoga and pilates retreats.

If you do decide to experience its pink toga night, you do not need to be a guest of the Pink Palace.

Agios Gordios is located about a 40-minute drive southwest of Corfu Town. You can also travel via the green bus from Corfu Town.

Party In Kavos (If You’re Young)

Kavos, in southern Corfu, is the hot party spot for the young.

How young is young? They say Kavos is best for those under 25. The age to drink in a bar in Greece is 18, although at home, Greek citizens can drink much earlier. I’m not really sure if this is true or not, but I’ve read that it’s rare for bars here to actually card people here, so chances are high that there are many younger than 18. Of course you still need to make sure to bring your ID!

Being a party hot spot, the top things to do in Kavos include pool parties, booze cruises, and exploring the bars on the Kavos strip until morning.

There are, however, other things to do than partying in Kavos. And if you’re not into the party scene, you can stay a bit away from the strip for some quiet time.

There’s Kavos Beach, a long stretch of coarse sand near the strip. It has sun beds and umbrellas for rent and offers a variety of watersports like jetski, parasailing, fly boarding, and more.

There’s also Arkoudilas Beach which is a nature preserve surrounded by cliffs on the southwestern tip of Corfu, making it worth the 30-minute walk from Kavos. You can also drive, but they say the roads require good off-road driving skills so you don’t damage your car.

If you’re into horseback riding, there’s also Horseland Kavos. This riding club offers trips to Arkoudilas Beach, Arkoudilas Monastery, Lake Tsilaria, and sunset rides.

The drive to,Kavos from Corfu Town is a little over an hour. You can also travel via the green bus from Corfu Town.

Take A Day Trip To Albania

Taking a day trip to Albania from Corfu Town is another one of the top things to do in Corfu. Really. The ferry ride is only about an hour and a half. I did not have enough time to get this in, but heard great things about it.

You can swim at Agios Saranda Beach near the port, or, if you want some history and culture, take an excursion to the UNESCO Heritage site of Butrint, an ancient Greco-Roman village.

There are many agencies offering day tours in Corfu Town, or you can book them in advance. I recommend this one, Albania Cruise From Corfu (note that the tour to Butrint costs extra).

The tours leave from the main Port of Corfu and arrive at the main Port of Saranda in Albania. If you choose the additional tour to Butrint, then you’re transported to the ancient city where you can explore the ruins including a theater, Roman baths, mosaics, a baptistery, the agora, and more.

How To Get To Corfu

Fly

The International airport in Corfu is called Ioannis Kapodistrias (CFU). It’s about 2 miles (3 km) south of Corfu Town.

Several airline carriers fly directly to Corfu, but you may need to book a connection to Athens (which gets more international flights) to get a better price. This is what I did.

Corfu Town From The Airport

There are several car rental places at the airport, taxis, as well as a bus from the airport to Corfu Town. Bus 15 leaves for San Rocco Square from the street right outside of airport arrivals. When exiting the building, turn right and walk to the end of the sidewalk. You will see the schedule at the bus stop, but it runs frequently in peak season.

Buy your ticket on the bus. As of October 2023, the cost is €1.70. They say you can use credit card or cash, but it’s really best to have change to keep the line moving. This is popular bus.

If your final destination is not Corfu Town, exit Bus 15 at the intercity bus station or Green Bus Station (or take a taxi there) and take the bus to your destination. Check schedules in advance at www.greenbuses.gr.

Ferry

Ferries to the port of Corfu arrive from Igoumenitsa and Patra on mainland Greece. Both of these options will take much longer than a flight, at least 6-8 hours, so flying is the preferred method (and what I did). But if you have the time, this is very inexpensive.

Igoumenitsa is directly across from Corfu, so only a 1.5 hour ferry ride. The drive or bus to get to Igoumenitsa from Athens, however, is about 5 hours. Ferries from Igoumenitsa to Corfu are usually offered daily in peak season.

The ferry from Patra is south of Athens and takes about 7-8 hours. This ferry only runs a couple times a week.

You can search a variety of ferry companies for date, time, and price on ferries.gr. One more on taking ferries to Athens for a flight out of the country. It’s best to arrive the day prior to account for any hiccups that may occur. Plus, strikes are known to happen.

Paleokastrista

How To Get Around Corfu

Self-Drive

Corfu is a large island with beautiful sites located all around it. Because of this, it’s really best to rent a car to explore them at your own pace.

Driving is on the right-hand side of the road and citizens of the EU, US, Canadian, and Australia (as well as some others) are not required to have an International Driving Permit (IDP). You need to be 21 to rent a car and have held your license for 1 full year. There is usually a surcharge for drivers under the age of 25.

Bus

If you choose not to rent a car, the public bus system (KTEL) offers good coverage to the top cities. The schedules are not always optimal and they are often late, but the drivers are friendly and the buses are air-conditioned.

The Green Bus Terminal in Corfu Town is one of the most convenient places to catch a green bus to other cities. The bus schedules change seasonally, so it’s best to check the schedule and updated prices at greenbuses.gr. You pay for your ticket on the bus, or, if starting at the Green Bus Terminal, you can buy your ticket in the terminal.

There is an employee onboard the bus that collects payment after the bus starts (in addition to the driver). This is great as it means the bus is not delayed by a queue of people paying as they get on. It’s also convenient if you have a specific stop you want to exit at. If you ask, they will usually let you know where it is. Luggage storage is under the bus.

Taxis

Although Uber has started running in Corfu, when I was here there were never any Ubers around when I checked the site.

There are regular taxis at the airport and the port, as well as at some major tourist sites. They’re convenient for short rides, but using them for long rides between cities can be very pricey. It’s better to self-drive or use the green bus system.

Where To Stay in Corfu

Corfu Town

  • Puppet Guesthouse (Affordable) – This affordable guesthouse offers air-conditioned rooms with city view balconies in the heart of Corfu Old Town. With a cool French vibe, it’s located just a 5-minute walk to Saint George and Saint Michael Palace and a 10-minute walk to the Old Venetian Fortress. It’s exceptionally rated with several hundred reviews, making it a top choice.
  • Cleopatra Boat Corfu is a sailboat in the old marina behind then old Venetian Fortress. This is where I stayed and loved it! But it’s not for everyone. Rooms are small as this is a real sailboat. The downside is that you need to carry your luggage through then Old Fortress to get here…
  • Casa Flora (Affordable) offers a tastefully decorated apartment with an equipped kitchen in the heart of old town Corfu, very close to Spyridon Church.
  • Corfu Center Studios 3 (Affordable) is located in the heart of town and near the old Venetian Fortress. These studios offer a balcony and a kitchenette.
  • City Walls Sea View (Affordable) is located on the sea behind the Palace of Saint George and Saint Michael and near the Byzantine Museum. The rooms offer balconies with sea views.

Sidari

  • I stayed at Sidari Vibes On The Beach (Budget), which is a 25-minute walk to Canal d’ Amour. It has a patio and kitchenette just across the street from the beach. It’s very quiet in this part of town, with no steps, so wheelchair friendly.
  • Socrates Apartments (Affordable) are just a few steps away from Canal d’ Amour. This 3-star hotel has an outdoor pool, a shared lounge, and rooms with ocean and pool views.
  • Located just a few minutes walk to Canal d’ Amour, Akron Seascape Resort (Affordable) offers all-inclusive rooms with pool views and a fitness center.
  • Del Mare Beach Hotel (Affordable) is a 5-minute walk to Canal d’ Amour. It offers studio apartments with furnished balconies that offer sea or the pool views. There is also kitchenware and an electric kettle.
  • My Corfu Luxury Villa (Affordable to Moderate) offers self-catered 2 bedroom apartments with a private pool, equipped kitchen, and barbecue facilities. It is farther away from Canal d’ Amour (an 8-minute drive), although looks luxurious, and quiet, and gets exceptional reviews.
  • Villa Ocean Breeze (Affordable) is not in Sidari, but I’m adding it as it looks amazing. This is only if you have a car. It sits on the west coast of Corfu in Avliótai (south of Peroulades). It features stunning sea views, balconies, and a kitchen, 1.2 miles south of Loggas Beach.

Paleokastrista

  • I stayed at River Studios (Affordable), which is a bit away from the beaches, but I booked at the last minute. There’s a kitchenette and a balcony with hill views and a green bus stop nearby Zefiros Traditional Hotel (Affordable) is a small family-run hotel near Agios Spiridon Beach. They offer rooms with sea views and breakfast is included.
  • Corfu Valley View (Affordable) is a 3-minute walk west of La Grotta on a hill with beautiful views. Some rooms have sea views and balconies. It’s about a 13-minute walk to Liapades Beach.
  • Tango Studios (Affordable) offers studios with beamed ceilings and a kitchenette. It’s a 1-minute walk to La Grotta, up on the hill for awesome sea views from your balcony.
  • Tango Apartment On The Beach (Affordable) offers self-catering accommodation near Alipa Beach, which is located between La Grotta and Spiridon. Rooms have full sea views and balconies and get excellent reviews.
  • Paleo Villas (Splurge) sit up on a hill overlooking Paleokastrista and offer beautiful views of the sea and the infinity pool. The villas have a balcony and a kitchen.

Kassiopi

Agios Gordios

  • Louiza Alartments (Budget) offers sea views and a pool with a view a few steps from the beach. Some units have air conditioning and include a terrace/balcony.
  • The Pink Palace (Budget to Affordable) offers dorms and private rooms with sea views at an affordable price. It’s a 9- invite walk to the beach with a bar, a pool, shared lounge, terrace, a nightclub, hot tub, and a private beach area.
  • Agios Gordios Beach Resort (Affordable) is just a few steps for the beach. This resort offers modern accommodation. Some units have balconies with sea views while others have city views. Some also have a private pool.

Kavos

  • Quayside Village (Budget) is the place to stay if you want to party. They offer pool parties and events. It’s a very basic 2-star hotel for those on a budget. Quayside books up quickly in July and August, so book in advance!!
  • If you want to be away from the party scene, stay at Secreta Vista (Budget). It’s south of Kavos Beach, but still within walking distance. There’s a pool and rooms have a terrace or balcony. 
  • Cavomarina Beach (Affordable) is also located a little away from the party strip but on the beach. The adults only resort has a pool and is not a party place.

Fun Facts On Corfu

If you hear Corfu called Kerkyra, that’s the island’s original name. According to Greek mythology, the Greek God of the Sea Poseidon fell in love with the beautiful nymph Korkyra, the daughter of Asopos, and brought her to Corfu. He named the island after her, Korkyra, which eventually became Kerkyra.

So where did the name Corfu come from? Corfu is the Venetian version of its Byzantine name, Κορυφαί or Koryphai, which means crests or peaks, from the peaks of the Old Fortress of Corfu.

Best Time To Visit Corfu

The best time temperature-wise to visit Corfu is April to October, while June to August will be the warmest and when the most tourists visit. June to October is when the water temperature will be comfortable for swimming.

If you want to see a festival, visit Corfu during Carnival, which has Venetian roots.
This festival is lively, with lavish costumes and a parade on Liston Street and Spianada Square in Old Town Corfu. The parade ends with a burning of the King Carnival. In 2024, Corfu Carnival is February 4 to 13.

Want More Of Greece?

Greece is amazing! On top of all its rich history, there are over 200 inhabited islands to explore here…

Mainland Greece

Corfu Island

Crete Island

Ios Island

Kefalonia

Milos Island

Naxos Island

Paros Island

Santorini Island

Zakynthos

Other

For an overview of all the best places in Greece, as well as how to get around, safety, tips, and more, see my Greece Travel Guide.

Safe Travels!

Julie

Hello! I resigned from a corporate career in product development to explore the world. Although my goal was to travel for a year, 8 years later, I’ve been honored to have explored more than 60 gorgeous countries and met some unbelievably amazing people. Our world truly is a beautiful place! Follow me into the gorgeous unknown by subscribing below. You’ll receive details on fabulous destinations, comprehensive travel guides, travel tips and tidbits, and information on travel trends, like experiential, sustainable, and transformational travel. Where is your next gorgeous unknown? Julie

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