Corfu: what to see and do. Whitewashed villages and cobalt-blue sea make this a top Greek island
December 4, 2015 | By: High50
Corfu. Greece Tourist Board 620Why go

Situated off the west coast of mainland Greece, Corfu, or Kerkyra as the Greeks call it, is the greenest of the Greek islands, with three million olive trees, flower-covered hillsides and whitewashed villages. Its coastal scenery isn’t hard on the eye either with plenty of quiet, secluded beaches, including the stunning Gardenos at the end of a long, lush agricultural valley to the south of the island. The beaches in northern areas like Cavos are more developed and packed with hotels, bars and restaurants, offering plenty of water sports too, but a young touristy vibe.

What to do

Corfu cliffs. Greece Tourist Board 620

For culture, visit the Palace of St Michael and St George at the north end of Spianada. The elegant building was created in 1819 by the architect Whitemore and was originally the home of British high commissioners, it now houses the Museum of Asian Art featuring around 10,000 artefacts collected from all over Asia, including priceless jade figurines and prehistoric bronzes.

Corfu The Palace of St Michael and St George

The Palace of St Michael and St George

For a scenic experience, drive along the beautiful Paleokastritsa, a stretch of coastline that translates as ‘heart bay,’ then visit the nearby 13th century Monastery of the Virgin Mary. Or head for the sandy southwest coast at Halikoúnas beach, a sand spit bounding the Korission lagoon, where there are naturist spots for the more daring. You can also try your hand at kite surfing here. And if you fancy a stroll with some shopping thrown in, wander down to one of Corfu’s many stone-lined shopping streets near to the Old Fortress to find quaint boutiques and specialty shops.

Where to stay 
Corfu Corfu palace hotel garden

The luxurious Corfu Palace Hotel garden

One of the first luxury hotels to open on the island, the Corfu Palace in Corfu town, has a prime location overlooking Garitsa Bay. For families and couples the four-star Spifi Prifti apartments in Gouvia are ideal. The delicious morning coffee and beautifuly tended gardens alone are enough to stay there. And for a nice three-star with a friendly feel, try the Telesilla in the heart of Kontokali.

Where to eat
Avli Restaurant Corfu Town

Great seafood and vegetarian dishes at Avli

Worth a pilgrimage in its own right, Klimataria-Nikos in Benitses, serves lip-smackingly good Greek dishes – including melt-in-the-mouth courgette fritters and tender octopus. Every item in this humble taverna is made from locally grown produce but you’ll have to book in advance during summer.

In Corfu town Avli is the place to be if you want good seafood and a wide choice of vegetarian dishes. The top gourmet choice however is the award-winning Etrusco, in the village of Kato Korakiana. Run by the Italian-Corfiot Botrini family, Etrusco displays their passion for both Italian and Greek cuisine.

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Getting around

Most tourists who want to explore hire a car but there are plentiful taxis available. If you’re feeling adventurous hire a speedboat and see the coves and tiny beaches only accessible by boat. Boat hire costs between 75 and 380 Euros for the day, depending on size and time of year. Or, hire some quad bikes and hit the road! You can take off road biking tours from Moraitika down to beautiful Korission Lake in the southern part of the island, but be careful of erratic drivers.

Corfu view from corfu palace hotel

The view from the Corfu Palace hotel

When to go

The main season runs from April until October, though many inclusive resorts only work from May to September. Peak months are June to September.

Three things we like
  1. Sofrito – a veal casserole served with a garlic, onion, pepper and wine vinegar sauce.
  2. Weekend concerts by the philharmonic band at the Spianada Green gazebo throughout summer.
  3. Sipping a deliciously lemony Corfiot Limoncello post meal in restaurants.
Something we don’t like

Taxis without meters. These drivers can try and rip you off so always agree a price upfront.

High50 insider tips
  • Be aware that there are mosquitoes around in the evenings during the summer so take some repellent.
  • Dress is mostly casual but some of the more expensive hotels will enforce a ‘smart casual’ dress code for dinner.
  • The islanders can be erratic on the roads so be careful of reckless overtaking and scooters going the wrong direction on one-way streets.
Visiting with family

The range of accommodation, food and activities makes Corfu a great destination for families.

Need to know
  • Flight time is around three hours.
  • Corfu is two hours ahead of the UK (GMT +2).
  • Currency is the Euro.
  • Due to the ever-changing economic crisis in Greece it is advisable for you to have access to enough Euros for the duration of your stay, to avoid being restricted to an ATM daily rate.