Corfu Travel Guide for 2024

Written by James
 Last updated: February 11, 2024

Corfu is our favourite Greek island, rich with culture, lush greenery, misty mountains, clear blue waters, and golden beaches.

The stunning island of Corfu has outstanding natural beauty, and the Venetian and French influences evident in their cuisine, architecture, and lifestyle make a truly vibrant atmosphere.

We can't recommend Corfu enough as a must-see travel destination with something for everyone.

While you won't find much typical ancient Greek architecture, sites such as Angelokastro castle date back to 1272 and more than satisfy the archaeologists in your group.

The history, culture, serene beaches, breathtaking views, delicious cuisine... this beautiful island never disappoints.

A Short History of Corfu

Corfu’s vibrant history is evident on the island. It has been conquered by the Greeks, Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and French throughout the ages. In 1864, it finally became an official region of the country and has since grown to the majestic and beautiful island it is today.

Where to Go

Palaiokastritsa

Located on a dramatic bay surrounded by white cliffs, Palaiokastritsa offers plenty of aquatic activities, including snorkelling, water sports, and more.

We took a private boat tour of the shore and caves, costing €60. Typically this would be less expensive, but for just the two of us for a full hour, this guided tour was more than worth it.

Agios Spiridon Beach

Arguably the most beautiful beach on the island. The white sands and deep, calm waters make it our first choice for sunbathing and also very safe for swimming. Surrounded by impressive cliffs, it's an ideal spot for sunbathing and pictures.

It has several tavernas serving surprisingly excellent and affordable food for such a tourist location, and we would especially recommend the Corner Snack Beach Bar for huge portions.

The Kaiser William II Observatory

An observation platform at the top of a mountain which boasts incredible sunset views of the whole island. This is our favourite place in Corfu for the view, especially during sunset.

At the peak of the observatory is a lookout post with a railing where visitors have drawn directions to each of the towns, villages and cities on the island.

Getting here is a thrill, with a drive through the very social village of Pelekas, with tiny, windy roads barely wide enough for the smallest of cars. We were blockaded by a group of cats on our drive through the village and had to let several cars pass, but the incredible view was worth it.

The Achilleion Palace

This 19th-century palace belonged to the Austrian Empress Sisi and was featured in the James Bond movie, For Your Eyes Only; it's surrounded by a beautiful garden with sculptures of gladiators and centaurs. Nestled between forests of Italian cypress trees, it's not far from Corfu town, so don't miss it!

Old Fortress

Dating back to the 15th century, the oldest fortress on the island was built by the Venetians and is now a great spot to check out some panoramic city views. Much of the walk up to and through the fortress is on large cobbled roads. Plenty of steep paths can be tricky and slippy during the rain, so we recommend visiting during good weather.

Kanoni Peninsula

The peninsula offers one of the most stunning views of Corfu City. Being right behind the airport, the low-flying planes directly overhead make it a unique experience.

We visited here just before our return flight home as it's just a few minutes drive from the rental drop-off area. It features some of the most important monuments of the region, like the remains of the Old Monastery of Panagia.

What to do

Take a tour of the Beekeeping Corfu of Panagiotis Vasilakis facility

Just a short walk from the village of Ermones, you'll find award-winning honey and a fascinating telling of the story of this small beekeeping facility. The facility is small but incredibly popular for local tour groups, and you'll be able to talk with the owner, who moved here from Athens, to develop his passion into a thriving business. Insider tip: Ask to try the honey, especially the dark pine honey, and buy the large jars because you'll run out quickly!

Tour the Theotoky winery & vineyards

This small winery, once owned by one of the most powerful families in Greece, houses a museum of traditional wine-making equipment, and the tour shows you how their practices have been modernised over time. Included is a sampling of two wines and food pairings. 

Insider tips

Ask for a taste of their red, which is especially good as a refreshing summer wine. Buy a few bottles of your favourite because they're surprisingly cheap, no more than €10-15/bottle, and if you're in the UK or USA, you'll rarely see these wines on shelves. We really love the Cuvée Spéciale.

Go sailing

Corfu has some stunning coastlines. Many companies provide boat trips to explore the island's most beautiful beaches and coves, and the calm waters are perfect for beginners.

Spend a night in the old city

The city glows with beautiful light through the evening, and the bars and tavernas fill the air with vibrant music and the scent of incredible Greek cuisine. Wander around the streets at night, peek inside some old buildings, and take in the essence of the local way of life.

Take a walking tour

Walking tours of the city and some villages, such as Old Perithia, allow you to explore these incredible destinations and beautiful landscapes with the expertise of a local to answer all of your questions.

Visit the Monastery of Paleokastritsa

The stunning monastery, with its beautiful gardens, sculptures, and breathtaking views, is set atop a cliff and is one of the top attractions on the island. A tour takes just 25 minutes, and a perfect finish to your visit is gelato at the bar just opposite.

Try some traditional cuisine

Corfu has some delicious dishes, so try out some traditional cuisine like pastitsada. While their tastes are traditionally Greek, there's influence from Italy and other European areas, creating some truly unique recipes.

Flights to Corfu

Where to Stay

Atlantica Grand Mediterraneo Resort and Spa 

This resort is a gem in Corfu that we plan to return to. It's on the side of a mountain surrounded by cypress trees, offering stunning views of the Ionian Sea, and has its own funicular down to the beach. It provides a luxurious experience with its full-service spa and gourmet dining options from three restaurants. This 5-star resort is rated 9.2 out of 10 by guests, and prices start from £170/night. Book here

tui blue grand mediterraneo hotel corfu
james in ermones corfu

Insider tip: We can't recommend George's Taverna on the beach enough - you will be greeted like a long-lost friend and served wonderfully local food.

Corfu Imperial, Grecotel Beach Luxe Resort

This 5-star resort is a beachfront paradise where you can enjoy surfing or bodyboarding. It's just a stone's throw away from the Ionian Sea and a short distance from Dassia Beach. Guests have rated it an impressive 9.2 out of 10. The average cost per night is approximately £390. Book here

Angsana Corfu Resort & Spa

This 5-star resort offers direct access to the beach and a full-service spa. It's located 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from Achilleion and within 9 miles (14.5 km) of Corfu Archaeological Museum. It also boasts a guest rating of 9.2 out of 10. The average cost per night is around £280. Book here

The Olivar Suites

This 5-star hotel has a private white sand beach and a full-service spa. It's within 1 mile (1.6 km) of the Ionian Sea and Moraitika Beach. Guests have given it an exceptional rating of 9.8 out of 10. The average cost per night is approximately £280. Book here

MarBella Elix

This 5-star resort is located on the beach, just a 10-minute walk from the Ionian Sea. It has a full-service spa and 4 restaurants. Guests have rated it 9.4 out of 10. The average cost per night is around £345. Book here

Local Foods to Try

Kumquat Spoon Sweets

Reminiscent of glazed cherries, these sweetened kumquats have a candied citrus charm and ooze with syrupy juice in every bite.

Bourdeto

A fish stew cooked with onion, tomato, pepper and garlic. It's a traditional dish often served with local bread and feta cheese.

Pastitsada

A penne pasta dish cooked with beef, garlic and white sauce. It's seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.

Souvlaki

A grilled skewer of pork, lamb, or beef served with pita bread, tomatoes and onion. It's a popular snack served throughout the island.

Pitaroudia

Fried bread filled with cheese, spinach, and sometimes meat. It's crispy on the outside and warm and cheesy on the inside.

Dolmades / Dolmadakia

Grape vine leaves marinated and stuffed with rice, herbs and vegetables. We love these so much that we get some at every restaurant and compare them against each other. The below dolmades were from Taverna Evdokia in Old Perithia, almost near the top of Mount Pantokrator in the north.

dolmades greek food in corfu

Souvenirs to Buy

Corfu (Kerkyra) Lace

Handmade lace created by embroidery and bobbin lace techniques is popular in Corfu. It's usually made with linen, wool or cotton threads.

Dried Oregano

Corfu produces some of the best quality oregano in the world, which you can find in local shops for just a few euro for a large, dried bunch. It's delicious and great for adding flavour to dishes, or you can use a single sprig to make a refreshing and antimicrobial tea.

Handmade ceramics

In traditional styles, the island's artisans make beautiful ceramic products, like mugs and decorative plates and crackle glaze bowls.

Olive oil

Island's perfect climate is perfect for producing some of the best olive oil in Greece. Buy a bottle and take some of Greece's finest home with you.

Wine

Corfu has some beautiful wines, so buy a few bottles to take home with you. We took a museum tour, had wine tasting at the Theotoky Estate, and drank the same wines as James Bond did in For Your Eyes Only - a truly unforgettable experience.

Kumquat Liqueur & Sweets

The kumquat is a small, olive-shaped orange with a sweet rind and sour flesh - and we couldn't get enough. Vassilakis is one of the biggest liqueur producers (a little like limoncello, also popular on the island). The shop in the old town is happy to let you try all of their drinks. 

vassilakis kumquat liqueurs

Is Corfu Expensive?

Corfu is generally very affordable, and you can get much more for your money than on the more touristy islands of Mykonos and Santorini.

The cost of accommodation, food and entertainment is relatively low, and you can find plenty of value-for-money deals. You can also pick up a few souvenirs without breaking the bank, with award-winning wines and honey for just a few euros.

Helpful Recommendations

Our number one recommendation is to rent a car. While the roads can be thin and winding, public transport is sparse, and taxis can be expensive if you're away from the city. During our trips, renting a car cost just a couple hundred euros a week and was cheaper than calling a taxi.
If you plan to rent a car, get your International Driving Permit before you go. It's easy to get, but you'll need it to rent a car.
Travel light, as the beaches don't usually have changing facilities and most restaurants are small and don't offer tables for large groups.
Bring sunscreen, as the sun can be powerful during summer. Also, make sure to check the temperature before planning your activities.
Be aware of the tides and bring a decent pair of waterproof shoes for some rocky shores. The sea can come up very quickly, so take extra caution.

Corfu Weather

Corfu, Greece, enjoys a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters. The sunniest months are June, July, and August, with temperatures reaching up to 30.4°C / 86.7°F. The sea is warmest for swimming from July to September. The rainiest months are November, January, and December.

JAN

12.1°C / 53.8°F

8 days rain

FEB

12.8°C / 55°F

7 days rain

MAR

14.4°C / 57.9°F

7 days rain

APR

18.2°C / 64.8°F

6 days rain

MAY

23.2°C / 73.8°F

4 days rain

JUN

27.8°C / 82°F

2 days rain

JUL

30.2°C / 86.4°F

1 days rain

AUG

30.4°C / 86.7°F

1 days rain

SEP

26.8°C / 80.2°F

3 days rain

OCT

22.4°C / 72.3°F

6 days rain

NOV

18.1°C / 64.6°F

9 days rain

DEC

14.1°C / 57.4°F

7 days rain

Best time to visit Corfu

The best time to visit Corfu is from May to September when the weather is warm, the sea is at a comfortable temperature for swimming, and rainfall is at its lowest. This period offers the perfect conditions for exploring the island's beautiful landscapes, enjoying its beaches, and immersing yourself in its rich culture.

Samos
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