Mini Guide - Corfu Island

town and sea view from the old fortress

Where is Corfu?
Corfu is the northernmost island of the Ionian group, located in the northwest part of Greece. It lies between Greece and Italy.

How to reach Corfu?
You can reach the island by plane or by ferry. Corfu airport is right next to the capital. Ferries connect the Ionian seaside town of Igoumenitsa to Corfu capital town and the small harbor of Lefkimmi on southeast Corfu. The journey takes from 40 to 80 mins depending on the vehicle but ferries to Lefkimmi travel less.

Which is the capital and main villages?
The island`s capital is Corfu town, known by the locals as Kerkyra. The largest resorts are Paleokastritsa, Sidari, Acharavi, Gouvia, Dassia, Kontokali, Benitses, Messonghi/Moraitika and Kavos. There are also many other smaller and quieter villages.

Are there nice beaches on Corfu?
The island is one of richest in beaches - sandy, pebbly and rocky, organized and isolated. The long sandy beaches are in the south and southwest part, the east and northeast seaside has small and pebbly beaches, the north and northwest are pebbly or sandy, excluding Sidari and its surroundings - the beaches there are covered by wet, yellow and clay-like sand which gives the sea a peculiar muddy color. The beaches around Paleokastritsa are very blue.

What to see in Corfu?
- Corfu Town is a must with its old center, Liston square and the two fortresses,
- Vlacherna Monastery and the tiny islet of Pontikonissi (Mouse island) just next to the airport and the shore of Kanoni peninsula.
- The Achilleion Palace museum which was built by the Austrian Empress Sisi near a village called Gastouri
- Sidari with its weird limestone rock formations and Canal D`Amour.
- Paleokastritsa with its picturesque shoreline, beaches and sea caves.Tthe Monastery of Paleokastritsa on the top of a hill is nice to see with its garden and olive oil museum.
- Bella Vista, an area above Paleokastritsa which boasts to be one of the Top 10 best views in Europe, overlooking the entire bay of Paleokastritsa and part of the island. There are several cafes and pastry shops in Bella Viasta, do not miss them.
- Angelokastro, an ancient Byzantine castle built on a huge rock above the sea, is also worth to visit and very close to Bella Vista.
- Porto Timoni, a double bay just below Afionas village in the northwest of the island.
- The small and non-touristic villages which have preserved their authentic outlook, such as Liapades, Lakones, Makrades, Sinarades, Ano Garouna, Gianades, etc.
- Kaiser`s Throne, the highest point of Pelekas village from which you can see almost the whole island.
- Cape Drastis - the northwesternmost point of Corfu. The nearby village of Peroulades has a spectacular beach (Sunset beach) which sometimes gets flooded by the waves.

What to eat in Corfu?
The island offers traditional Greek dishes, fresh fish meals and elements of the Italian cuisine. A great specialty you can eat only in Corfu is pastitsada - small pieces of rooster or beef meat, mixed with potato mash, pasta and red Corfiot sauce with local herbs. Popular dishes are sofrito and stifado, although they are cooked in other Greek regions as well. An interesting product of Corfu is kumquat, a small orange-like fruit which is cultivated only in a few places around the world and Corfu is one of them You can buy kumquat jam, liqueur or dry fruit but it is very hard to find it fresh.

What activities to do in Corfu?
There are various boat trips which depart from the capital or from Paleokastritsa. Some of them last only 1-2 hours (the glass bottom boats which show you the beautiful rocky sea bottom around Paleokastritsa or enter the sea caves), others make it for a full day and take you to wild beaches accessible only by sea. There is a lot of information for trips in each resort. Also, boats to rent for individual trips are available almost from any place on the shore.
The Aqualand water park in Agios Ioannis is big and offers facilities both for children and adults.

What to be careful about?
Most of the roads in the north part of Corfu are narrow, steep and some of them are even dreadful. Drive carefully as sometimes there is no space for two cars to pass at the same time. There are villages with traffic lights at the beginning and the end of the village since the road allows only one direction traffic and you have to wait for the oncoming cars.
On the island there are several places with duplicated names, note that when you book. Corfu has two resorts called Agios Georgios, one in the north and one in the south. There are also two villages named Agios Stefanos, on the east and west coast. Agios Spyridonas beach has cloned, too - one in Paleokastritsa and one in the north, near Acharavi.

Our personal experience?
We were accommodated in Liapades (a lovely village by the way) and found a very nice taverna, called Michalis. All the meals were gorgeous, especially their pastitsio and pastitsada, and everything was perfect except for the waiter who seemed quite bored and unwilling to work there. Anyway, we do recommend the taverna for traditional Greek meals. Dolce Cafe in Bella Vista serves great desserts along with the terrific view. (Update: We visited Michalis again in 2017 and the waiter was new, responsive and very kind).
One of our favorite beaches on Corfu is Rovinia, a small pebbly cove near Liapades. Its blue water, white pebbles, the tiny cave in the cliffs and the view to Paleokastritsa suited much to our taste. But if you look for all-sand beaches, search the central west and southwest coast.
Will we ever be back to Corfu? Yes, we already did :)

main village street

An inner street in the old village of Liapades.

View from the road

View from Bella Vista to Paleokastritsa.

View from above

The scenic twin beaches of Porto Timoni

The channel of love just before sunset

Canal D`Amour in Sidari at sunset

Somewhere in the Old Town

A square somewhere in Corfu Old Town

View from the shore

Pontikonissi and Vlacherna Monastery seen from Kanoni peninsula

The beach of Agios Georgios

The beach of Agios Georgios - North

Article by Desislava L