The Greek island of Corfu offers a calm refuge from the country’s bustling mainland cities like Athens. Many exhausted travelers, therefore, turn to Corfu to relax and energize, holding a cup of coffee and watching people stroll up and down the Old Corfu Town streets.
Having said that, Corfu is not without its pastime offerings – whether you love an outdoor adventure or are a history enthusiast, you will find plenty of activities and experiences that will enrich your vacation.
In this guide, we will talk about the things that you must do while vacationing on the Greek island, as well as the things that you should avoid.
While there is no bad time for visiting Corfu, the ideal period is between the months of May and September. This is the phase during which every beach on the island is available to tourists, the seasonal restaurants and hotels are fully operational, and holidaymakers can benefit from a wide range of diverse entertainment.
The eastern island coast is considered to be calmer and more relaxing. So, if a peaceful sanctuary is what you are looking for, the eastern coast is definitely the way to go. In addition, the local beaches present on the eastern Corfu coast are ideal for recreation, especially if you are traveling with small children.
While the tap water in mainland cities like Athens is extremely safe to drink, it is best that you use bottled water on islands like Corfu. This is because the tanks installed on the Greek islands contain water that is only used for laundry or bathing.
Much like in many regions of Europe, the Greeks prefer greeting by planting a kiss on either cheek. Shaking hands, meanwhile, is not considered very common.
People in Corfu are extremely hospitable, especially to people visiting from other countries. Hence, it will not be a surprise if you run into a family wanting to invite you for dinner. If this does happen, try your best to accept the invitation, and bring a small gift along with you as a token of gratitude.
Even though tipping is not considered a norm in Greece, rewarding good service is seen as a nice gesture. The only places that people expect you to tip in are restaurants, taverns, coffee houses, and perhaps the hotel room services. You are free to determine the amount of money that you want to tip, just like you are free to determine if you want to tip in the first place.
A vital thing to keep in mind regarding Corfu is that the island has a fairly hilly landscape. Google Maps might show you that a 15-20 minute walk is like a ‘walk’ in the park – but, once you set out on that hike, you will soon find yourself navigating the hills in the summer heat. The roads wind a lot, and, every destination is considerably farther than it appears.
In Corfu, especially during the May-September period, pretty much every destination is open to tourists. However, if you want to find the island’s real gems, you should know where to look. We can safely say that the most worthwhile destinations on Corfu are also the ones that are the hardest to reach. But, as long as you are willing to put in the effort, we can promise that you will bear the rewards.
You can either bring a pair of swimming shoes along with you or purchase a pair after reaching the island – either way; you cannot afford to go without it. The beaches in Corfu are far from sandy, and the beach stones can make you feel like you are treading on lava. Also, trying to avoid sea urchins, while also doing your best to not trip over, will seem like an exercise in futility.
When it comes to public transport, Corfu is certainly not spoiled for choice. The few buses that do go about do so at certain times, which is not convenient if you are visiting the island on a short vacation. Not to mention, it is not uncommon for buses to arrive too early, too late, or not at all. In addition to that, the roads on the island are far from great, which means that a bus trip can prove to be considerably lengthy.
Hence, if your hotel is not present in the city center, your best conveyance bet is a car rental service.
One of the biggest challenges while traveling to another country is the local cuisine. Those who are picky eaters or have endured unpleasant past experiences might be particularly skeptical regarding the foods of a foreign country. However, if you decide to end your Corfu trip without giving some of its conventional delicacies a shot, you will certainly regret it. Corfu cuisines, alongside being delicious, make use of certain flavor combinations that you might not find anywhere else in the world. Be it the creamy Sofrito, mouth-watering Pastitsada, or the glorious Bourdetto fish, we strongly recommend you to check out the Corfiot taste.
A lot of tourists who steer clear of museums think that they are avoiding the huge crowds or the overpriced tickets. However, what they are really avoiding is experiencing some of the highlights of the island of Corfu. Not many visitors realize the richness of Corfu’s culture and tradition, which is elegantly portrayed by the island’s museums. If you think that an Achilleion visit is overrated, talk to anyone who has visited the museum and you will be convinced otherwise. Also, the tickets are priced quite reasonably, with special discounts being offered to children who can tremendously benefit from such educational yet fun-filled museum visits.
Many tourists associate Corfu merely with its beaches and seaside resorts. Indeed, Corfu is home to some of Greece’s most mesmerizing beaches, but that does not justify turning a blind eye to the island’s verdant and rich interior. If you love activity, you can follow one of the many thrilling trails that lead to the inner sections of the island and take you all the way up to Corfu’s peak point, the Mount Pantokrator. On your way, you will be able to witness some quaint villages and experience a whole lot of breathtaking views.
It is pretty much impossible to obtain a fully authentic experience of another country unless you mingle with those who actually reside there. In fact, if you have had the chance to interact with the locals on one of your previous vacations, you can probably notice how those interactions enriched your overall experience. So, once you reach Corfu, put your shyness in the backseat and grasp any opportunity to strike conversations with the local populations. Not only will you be able to obtain recommendations about the best places to visit, you can even end up learning a few Greek words, which can prove advantageous the next time you decide to pay a visit to the country.
Do not get us wrong – the pastel-colored houses and the cobbled streets of the Corfu town might well be the real gem of this island. Having said that, there are numerous other places that deserve your time and attention and can certainly contribute a great deal of flavor and enjoyment to your holiday experience. Take some time out to visit the sleepy villages of the island, which have been able to stand the test of time and look as charming as ever. Allow yourself to slow down and cast a closer look at the authentic lifestyle of the country.
The island has pretty much endless possibilities related to sightseeing, exploration, and plain-old enjoyment. Therefore, a common mistake that many tourists make is they try to cram too many experiences into their brief schedules. This will not only prevent you from optimizing your experiences, but the overall trip rather than refreshing you will end up making you feel exhausted and worn-out. Hence, make sure that you take your time to truly savor the time that you spend on this Greek island by identifying the few experiences that you just would not want to miss, and then make the most of those experiences. This approach is much more pleasant and effective than believing that you can tick every box and end up feeling empty and unfulfilled.
Even though driving is practical and cheap, it does not allow you to enjoy the wonders of Corfu’s gorgeous coastline, which is only possible through a boat ride. The island’s north-eastern coast is particularly conducive for this activity since it is lined with underwater caves, picturesque coves, and secluded beaches, which can only be accessed through boats.
If one of your objectives behind visiting Corfu is to soak in the Greek culture, you simply cannot afford to avoid one of the local feasts. This traditional celebration (also known as ‘paniyiri’), usually takes place in the villages. Generally, these celebrations are part of some religious occasion, but that is not always the case. The feasts involve some of the best local cuisines, drinks, music, and dancing.
The St. Spyridan church is at the center of the island’s old town and is one of Corfu’s biggest landmarks. This Byzantine church is certainly worth visiting, both as the landmark of the island, as well as a spot of cultural interest.
If you think that you have done all there is to do on your first visit to the island, think again. No matter how many times you visit, Corfu always has something new and exciting in store for you, which is why it would be a mistake to not make a second (and third and fourth) visit to this city.
By now you must have figured out that Corfu’s beaches, by themselves, can make your trip worthwhile. The Nissaki beach, for instance, brags a shore containing both rocky formations and soft sands, washed by stunning green-blue waters. Mirtiotissa, meanwhile, is entirely sandy, offering a supreme landscape lined with lush-green cliffs.
This pretty little island is also home to some lovely villages. These gorgeous, picturesque villages contain the true Corfiot spirit. Some of the best villages on the island are Paleokastritsa, Perivoli, Pelekas, Sartilas, Sinardes, and Epilepsi.
Corfu town’s Museum of Asian Art contains around 10,000 priceless artifacts that tell the story of the bygone times on this island. These impressive artifacts have been collected from all over the world, including Thailand, Korea, Nepal, Tibet, India, China, and Japan. Another popular Corfu museum is the Archaeological Museum, which showcases various Greek artifacts, such as the massive Gordon pediment that dates all the way back to 600-580 BC.
If it does not have majestic ancient ruins to offer, it is not a Greek island at all. The more than three millennia of history means that there is a lot to see and explore, even though quite a few ancient monuments on the island were destroyed during the Second World War. Regardless, the Artemis temple, present in the historical city of Korkyra, as well as Palaiopolis site close to Mon Repo, and the Menekratis Monument in Garitsa, still happen to be very much intact.
The Corfiot cuisines are yet another reason that you simply have to add this island to your bucket list. The food, much like the vibrant history of the island, is a combination of Venetian and Greek flavors. Some of the most popular cuisines on the island include Sofrito, Bourdetto, Pastitsada, and Bianco. Truly Venetian. Definitely delicious.
You might be surprised to learn that this tiny Greek island brags one of the best golf courses throughout the European continent. The Corfu Gold Club, designed by the great Don Harradine back in 1971, fully leverages the Ropa Valley, while making sure that none of its unparalleled natural beauty is compromised. This concealed spot is nothing less than a hidden gem for any lover of the game. So, if you are a golf enthusiast, it is time to get your club shiny and ready.
As we mentioned, the public transport system, such as the buses, is not the best way for visitors to travel throughout the island. For this reason, many tourists make use of car rental services like Royal.
Royal is one of the best car rental services throughout Greece and offers unlimited mileage and comprehensive insurance. Some of the other benefits of opting for Royal car agency include:
From its stunning islands to its majestic museums, Corfu offers something to every tourist that steps on its turf. By covering the key things to do and avoid, as well as the primary reasons to plan a visit to Corfu in the first place, we hope that this guide will help you plan a vacation that will maximize your overall experience. If you are looking for a premium car rental agency to take care of your conveyance needs during your stay, please feel free to reach out to us.