Corfu holidays deliver sandy beaches by the bucketload, pinch-yourself landscapes, and a capital that’s packed to the rafters with sightseeing fodder.
Sand and scenery
Corfu’s a bit of a Jack-of-all-trades on the holiday front. It’s no slouch in the beach department, with plenty of sand and pebble sweeps cosied up to the Ionian Sea. Pretty olive groves and cypress trees take over as you follow your feet inland, and you’re never far from an historic dot on the radar. Corfu Town and Kavos, meanwhile, take on the mantle when it comes to lively nights.
Corfu Town’s the sort of place you can visit again and again without feeling like you’ve seen everything. The old town’s earned its UNESCO stripes thanks to its castles and warren of interwoven lanes. The Old Venetian fortress takes pride of place on a peninsula overlooking the city, with the New Venetian Fortress in eyeshot above the rooftops. And once you start exploring the maze of narrow streets, it’s easy to lose hours among the every-flavour shops and cafés.
Old and new island
Tradition keeps a firm grip on Corfu, even when the island plays host to droves of holidaymakers in July and August. There’s no mistaking its identity as a Greek island – the cuisine has plenty to answer for on that front, along with the personal touch that its hotels and tavernas pride themselves on. Family-friendly towns like Sidari and Gouvia have broken rank and adopted a handful of modern features, but you can still count on Corfu showing its roots.
Things to See and Do in Corfu
Beaches to cover all bases
Corfu keeps you guessing on the beach front. Pebbly pockets share the billing with trademark swathes of sand, but top-drawer panoramas are a constant. There are famous faces among them, too, like the Canal d’Amour in Sidari. This sheltered channel’s said to be lucky for those looking for love, and sees countless wannabe Casanovas dipping a toe in its waters.
The big beach
The beach at Aghios Gordios is no shrinking violet. It’s a sand-only number on the island’s west coast, which means front-row views across the Ionian Sea. Tavernas and restaurants compete for attention behind the seafront, and the whole place is drenched in an orange filter at sunset.
The secret beach
One of the island’s hidden gems is anchored in the north eastern corner of Corfu. Kassiopi’s pebbly beach is lined with gently bowing trees, and the water redefines the term glass-clear. The locals have kept this one under wraps, but you can reach it in about 20 minutes if you’re driving from Roda.
Make your way to one of the island’s smaller settlements if you’re after plenty of bang for your buck. Villages like Moraitika are prime territory for little shops selling the island’s specialities, like olive oil or kumquat marmalade. It’ll cost less than picking it up in Corfu Town, too.
Sidari’s the place to head for your classic holiday shopping fix. The parade of shops and restaurants is a lilo’s length from the beach, and delivers everything from quick-and-easy souvenir stores to little independent places selling clothes and sports gear.
For shopping at the top end of the scale, make a beeline for Corfu Town. The capital’s mish-mash of time-worn streets is home to designer boutiques, artisan craft shops and antique dealers. Keep an eye out for bits and bobs that have been carved from olive wood – they’re among the most unique keepsakes you can get your hands on.
Roda epitomises small-town charm, thanks to its traditional take on a bar scene. Its beach carries the sort of clout you’d expect from a bigger resort, but the string of tavernas behind it are cut from a more down-to-earth cloth. Think cocktails while the sun sets and big tankards of Greek beer to wash down a plate of souvlaki.
Corfu Town is the standout pick for lively evenings, thanks to its handy balance of personality and party atmosphere. Whether it’s a couple of cocktails or a full-throttle bar session, there’s something to fit the mould. Kavos, on the other hand, takes first prize for all-hours clubbing, thanks to its strip of nightspots competing with each other to pull in the punters.
These bite-sized snacks take a Greek staple and wrap it in crisp light pastry. Layers of buttery filo are loaded with crumbly chunks of feta cheese, shaped into triangles, and fried until golden and crispy.
This rosy red dish is one of Corfu’s seafood calling cards. Onions, red peppers and tomatoes are tossed in a pan until they form a sauce. Potatoes are thrown in to soften, and whole scorpion fish are simmered close to the end.
This mainland Greek favourite’s a regular in Corfu’s restaurants. Lamb’s marinated with garlic and olive oil before being slow cooked on the bone. It comes served on a bed of crispy potatoes and root vegetables.
Baklava often takes the headlines in the Mediterranean dessert category, but sicomada’s the rival you wish you’d heard about sooner. It’s a cake made with dried figs, almonds, cinnamon, orange peel and ouzo.
This hearty stew’s a big hit in Corfu. Roughly chopped onions are simmered in red wine, before beef or rabbit are added to the mix. This one’s cooked slow, so you can expect melt-in-the-mouth textures.
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Aghios Georgios North
Aghios Georgios North is one of Corfu’s sleepier customers. The village sits on the west coast, with plenty of elbow room. Its standout feature’s a huge scoop of sand, which counts itself among the best sunbathing territory on the island. And unlike Europe’s busier beaches, this stretch shies away from the spotlight. Tree-brushed headlands form a C-shaped barrier against the Ionian Sea, and the waterfront’s backed by traditional villas and cosy tavernas.
Agios Gordios has gone for gold in the looks department – it’s sandwiched neatly between two lofty hills, and is considered by some to be the prettiest town on the island. But this isn’t an all-icing-no-cake deal. The main street running through the centre’s lined with local eateries and watering holes, and there’s no shortage of nightlife. It also comes with the superstar stamp of approval – Queen frontman Freddie Mercury picked this spot as his holiday go-to more than once.
Aghios Ioannis (Corfu)
Aghios Ioannis is a pocket-sized place with the laidback vibes to match, plonked right in the centre of Corfu. It's best-known for Agiotfest. This rock, soul and folk festival is staged in an olive grove, and families flock to listen to the chilled-out tunes. If you’re after a beach, you’ve got plenty of options, too. Cocktail-mixing beach bars and watersports are doled out at Blue Flag-waving Glyfada Beach, which is a 20-minute drive away. Or, sand-smothered Kontogialos Beach is 15 minutes away by car.
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