In late June I was off to Corfu Island, Greece – or Kerkyra as the locals say -, which is the second largest island of the Ionian Sea. Like a year ago in Zante, I had such an amazing time in Corfu as well. I really like Greece, the Greek culture and people there are so kind and friendly with a good sense of humour and an easy-going outlook on life.
This post may contain affiliate links.
The best cities to stay
In my opinion, the best cities to stay at are Acharavi and the capital, Corfu Town. The first option is cheaper than the latter. They are frequented, have pretty good transportation options and you can find pretty much every kind of activities that the island could offer.
Best accommodations to stay
- On budget – The Pink Palace Hostel in Agios Gordos.
- If you need some privacy – Secret Garden in Acharavi. They have turtles in the garden 🙂
- Staying in the capital
Renting a car/quad vs organized trips
If you have never rented a quad then you should definitely do it for a day or two, because it’s so much fun! Although I think it’s not the best option for getting around.
Before you rent a car, please consider that like in other countries and islands in South-Europe, Corfu people also drive with very defensive style and the tight, rocky and crooked routes won’t help either. So it’s not for newbie drivers or people who easily get stressed.
Organized tours are affordable and they ensure pretty good service, work with cool staff and have clean buses. I highly recommend you to look for an agency that is owned by locals, you’ll meet cheaper prices. My favourite agency is called Litourgis Travel. They have offices in Acharavi, San Stefano and Corfu town as well.
If you stay at the Pink Palace Hostel, they also have some amazing offers that suit any kind of budget.
The only organized activity you can (you should!) miss: the Grand Island Bus Tour. It was simply ridiculous. I know that this trip’s name is „grand island bus tour” but I did not expect that it really meant that we could barely leave the bus. It was a disappointment and not only for me. We had only 20 minutes for visiting Achilleion, the palace of Empress Elizabeth of Austria and Hungary (Sissy) that is one of the biggest attractions on the island. There were too many sights and activities stuffed into a day, additionally, we spent more than 2 hours with collecting people at the beginning of the tour and it was just the same on the way back.
This is the only tour that is organized by a specific travel agency, but then distributed by others so you can find this one everywhere. Probably there are some agencies that have their own tours organized by themselves, but I’m not sure. It’s so sad because the trip is full of cools stuff, obligatory sights and beautiful places. The idea is perfect, but the realization leaves much to be desired.
Another culture: Albania is quite close to Corfu and there are a lot of organized tours taking you to Albania and you should definitely try it if you want to meet another culture during your Corfu getaway. Please note here, that Albania does not belong to the European Union, so even if you are an EU citizen, you need a passport to enter.
The Capital – Corfu
I got to Corfu town from Acharavi by boat. After mooring, the New Fortress was the very first thing I saw that was built by the Venetians to protect the city against the Turks.
By climbing a flight of stairs next to the sight, I was trying to go inside to see more, but unfortunately, it was closed for some reason, so I continued my way through a tunnel that led me to the gate of the local market. Fresh – and huge – fruits, vegetables, Greek spices and seafood were offered by the locals. Kind vendors loudly greeted regulars and some tourists who accidentally got involved in the market and offered their merchandises at an affordable price.
I continued my way by following my intuitions and once I found myself in the Old Town. Such an enchanted place with narrow, sinuous alleys, long flight of steps, little cafes, more than 30 churches and many-many tourist shops, where the supply is almost the same.
While I headed to the direction of the Old Fortress – yes if there is a new, there should be an old one too – I walked in front of the Royal Palace, which is a museum of the Asian Art. The Old Fortress can be reached by walking through a bridge and although it is beautiful inside, you can find the most impressive view of it from the Sea (from a boat I mean, – just to avoid any misunderstandings).
When the night comes the stunning city is transformed into a vivid and crazy place with some loud and sometimes euphoric laughs and lots of people who are dancing, drinking, dining and enjoying themselves.
Guided tours in Corfu Town
Corfu’s best beaches
Corfu is encompassed by the Ionian Sea, and most beaches are covered with little rocks, hence having aqua shoes are recommended.
You have to pay for sunbeds on most of the beaches, which is around 5 euros for a day, but most of them belong to a restaurant or a bar, so if you buy something they deduct this price from your purchase.
A lot of open beaches can be found everywhere on the island, but my two favourites are in Sidari – and it’s sandy! – and in Acharavi.
When you are in Sidari’s beach, explore the Canal of Love
There are a few local legends connected to the rocks of Canal d’Amour. One of them is that every couple who swims in the Canal of Love will always stay together until the end of their days. Another says if you swim the length of the canal you will find one of your dreams. Whatever way you look at it, it’s a pretty magical place all around!
An idyllic area with unique clay rock formations that form a series of wonderful coves and canals, the rocks run in different shades of yellow and are topped with lush greenery. Another add-on of this place is, that the beach is covered with sand unlike most beaches of Corfu and around the Ionian Sea.
Acharavi’s beach and the best restaurant ever
I enjoyed lying on this beach because it’s not full of people, well there are some, but you can move easily without treading on someone. If you are there and would like to have a fancy meal, try Navigator Restaurant. It is located on the beach, they have amazing meals and very kind staff. It is a little bit pricey though, but they serve huge – like really, really huge – portions.
Hiking to the top of Corfu – Mount Pantokrator and Old Perithia
Once you would like to take a break from Corfu’s beaches, you should go hiking to Mount Pantokrator and take a short visit to a UNESCO Heritage place, called Old Perithia nearby.
From the top of the Mount Pantokrator – 906 meters high – you can see pretty much everything, the whole island, the coast of Epiros and Albania, Lake Butrinto, the small islands of Othoni, Erikoussa and Mathraki to the north west of Corfu and the hills of Lefkimmi in the south the island of Paxi. There is an old monastery at the top that is surrounded by beautiful and colourful flowers. If you want to go there by walk, be prepared for a very long and steep way.
If you choose this way, one of the best starting points is Old Perithia, which is the oldest village on the island. Some part of it makes you feel you are in a ghost town – and it’s actually not too far from the truth. Once you are there, go and explore the place, there are a lot of wonderful hidden gems presenting the power of nature as it conquered abandoned buildings there. There is a beekeeping farm on the other side of the village, where you can taste the best honey ever.
If you are into diving
Although the sealife of the Ionian Sea is not as colourful as of the Red Sea, you can meet amazing creatures of Mother Nature. I can guarantee you’ll have an awesome time if you go diving with the Dive Easy team. They’re so professional, so helpful, so kind, and very- very funny!
Our Captain/leading scuba diving instructor is simply hilarious and one of the most happy-go-lucky kinds of people I’ve ever met. On the way back to the port, after he jumped into the cabin through its window, he turned up the volume of the music and in defiance of the waves, he made our boat to hit a splendid speed. He seems to be a little bit crazy though, I’m sure he knows exactly what he’s doing, how and why. I highly recommend them. They organize scuba diving tours, snorkelling, cave diving, night diving and many more, give them a try.
Most tourist guides describe it as one of the most beautiful towns on Corfu Island. The village is worthy of this honorary title because its natural beauties are unique on the island. Out of its natural treasures, the ones that are worth mentioning are the various rock formations and interesting shapes.
Bays represent a real diving paradise because the sea life is so rich there. Above the village, there is Angelokastro Castle. It is pretty hard to reach the mountain peak by climbing on a steep path, but it is so worth seeing that spectacular view from the top.
Paleokastritsa Guided Tours
- Paleokastritsa and Corfu Old Town Private Tour
- Paleokastritsa and Corfu Old Town Private Shore Excursion
Kassiopi is a famous, ancient village with a significant history that is manifested in the fortress and the beautiful fishing harbour. The village is beautiful like most villages and towns everywhere in Corfu and – in my opinion – the only plus that is offered by Kassiopi is the Kassiopi Byzantine Castle. Visit it if you are truly a history fan and have some extra time here.
Paxi – Antipaxi (Paxos – Antipaxos)
Antipaxi has white sandy beaches with crystal clear water. If you look for an island without massive tourism, but beautiful nature, it will be your place. There are only about 20 local people and there are not too many buildings either. Such a chilling place.
Paxi is defined as one of the 20 most beautiful islands in the world. This place is… it is really hard to describe it with only one word, but I would say it is cute, not because everything was small or something, but is more than stunning. The amazing view of the Ionian sea, narrow, romantic streets and spectacular buildings make you feel you are in another world. It is still Greek and you can also find its typical characteristics, but there is something – in the air – that assigns something more and makes it really enchanted… like in a Disney movie. Leaving sentimental stuff behind and being more practical I can say that this place is more expensive than Corfu and very busy all day long.
Paxi – Antipaxi Guided Tours
Some more tips and useful stuff
- Avoid tap water or boil it before you would drink it
- Most shops and some restaurants are closed between 3 PM and 5:30 PM
- Like almost everywhere around the Ionian Sea, most beaches are covered by rocks, so having aqua shoes are recommended.
- Once you are there, you should go on a boat trip exploring some blue caves.
- Connect with locals so that you can really soak up their mentality and outlook on life. It’s amazing and a really exhilarating feeling.
- Shared Transfer: Hotel to Corfu Airport
- Corfu Airport Private 1-Way Transfer