Located off of the northwestern coast of Greece, Corfu is made up of remnants of multiple conquering forces. You can see influences from the French, British, and the Venetians, all of whom took a turn ruling this island before it officially became a part of Greece in 1864 and left behind their architecture, ideas, and delicious food. That’s not all there is to experience here, though: Corfu’s coasts are also full of resort towns and beaches, and its tall, impressive mountains are worth the trip all on their own.
Sound good? Here are some ideas to flesh out your Corfu itinerary.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Corfu, Greece?
Fortunately, there is never a bad time to visit Corfu, except perhaps the winter when the waters are too cold for swimming. April-May and September-November are the best times to show up, however, because these shoulders seasons offer you the same warm, sunshiny weather Corfu is known for without all the crowds.
Our Favorite Things to Do in Corfu, Greece
Visit “Mouse Island”
Corfu is an island in and of itself, but you can also visit another, smaller island by taking a boat ride that costs you all of €2.50. Pontikonisi, otherwise known as “Mouse Island” (due to its shape which, from the air, resembles that of a small rodent), is home to a 12th century monastery built in the Byzantine style, hidden by a tiny forest of evergreen trees. According to Greek legend, this island is actually not an island at all, though: it is the ship of Homer’s Odysseus, turned to stone by the god Poseidon.
Go to the Beach(es)
Corfu is full of lovely beaches, each of which have their own unique appeal. Glyfada and Paleokastritsa, for instance, are known for their unparalleled beauty. Agios Georgios Pagon and Ermones are both known for being off the beaten path and unspoiled by tourism and modern renovations. Barbati is known for its laid-back vibes, and both Dassia and Kouloura are known for the picturesque views from the mountains nearby and their crystal-clear waters. And that was just to name a few.
Become a Foodie
Residents of Corfu are particularly proud of their cuisine, which is heavily influenced by Venetian culture. Dishes to sample include pastitsada, a casserole made with pasta and either beef or rooster, bianco, a tasty fish-based dish, and sofrito, which is veal pan-fried in a sauce made with wine. Also on the menu are local lobster and other fish caught nearby and served fresh daily.
Some of the Best Attractions in Corfu, Greece
Corfu Old Town
Located smack dab between the Old Fortress to the east and the New Fortress to the west, Corfu’s famous Old Town is composed of winding streets and alleys that take you past charming yellow- and -orange-painted houses in the Neoclassical and Venetian styles. One of our favorite places to visit here is Casa Parlante, a 19th century mansion-turned-museum with animatronic figures that move and talk. You can also visit the 19th century British barracks that are now home to the city’s library, as well as the Church of St. George of the Old Fortress, which looks more like a Greek temple than a chapel.
St. Spyridon Church
Built in 1580, this Renaissance-era bell tower is the tallest bell tower in all of the Ionian Islands. It holds the relics of St. Spyridon, the patron saint of potters, which were moved here from Constantinople during the 15th century. Those relics aren’t all of St. Spyridon that can be seen here though: you can also find the remains of the saint himself in the crypt, housed inside a double sarcophagus with silver leaf plating.
Corfu is filled with imposing mountains, but the highest (and arguably most hair-raising to climb) is Mount Pantokrator. From the top, you can see a gorgeous view of Greece’s mainland, the country of Albania, Italy’s Puglia, and all the other Ionian Islands all at once, but you have to work to get there. You can join a mini-bus tour or drive yourself up the mountain to its peak, but it is full of surprise drop-offs and multiple tight turns, so you have to be careful! Once you arrive though, all that built-up tension will be released when you see the spectacular sight that awaits you.
Other Sights Worth a Visit in Corfu, Greece
Corfu is so full of cultural and historical sites that we can’t fit them all onto this list. But, if you have the time, you should also visit Garitsa, which served as Corfu Town’s port in antiquity, as well as the Achilliom Palace, where Austria-Hungarian Empress Elizabeth once lived. Mon Repos botanical gardens are also worth a look if you love combining nature with high-class British architecture.
As you can see, there is a bit of something for every traveler in Corfu, which is just one out of many reasons it’s on our list of best vacation spots in Greece. The island has been influenced by so many diverse cultures that you will surely be influenced by it as well.