Region, Corfu, Greece

Corfu at a glance

Corfu is one of the greenest Greek islands where mild seasons encourage lush growth of olive groves, cypress trees and forests which carpet the landscape.

Olympic Holidays’ guests can take life at their own pace on Corfu, at family friendly resorts to sophisticated adults-only hotels or simple, traditional properties – because we understand not everyone shares the same idea of a perfect holiday – even if they agree on the island!

All of this, combined with a beautiful climate, ensures guests return year after year to enjoy Corfu’s gorgeous coastline which is dotted with hidden coves. On sunshine days soak up the island atmosphere and relax on beaches that fringe the sparkling Ionian or restless explorers can take a drive through the more mountainous north or visit traditional villages in the south.

The island is also magnet for lovers of wildlife who will remember it’s the place where naturalist Gerald Durrell found so much inspiration for his book ‘My Family and Other Animals’.

One of the fascinations of Corfu Town, the island’s UNESCO-listed capital, is the architecture with French, Venetian and Sicilian touches, and even some British style. Wander in the maze of narrow streets, along the flower and tree-lined Esplanade, dine in a superb restaurant, try local wine, drink strong coffee or stop for an ice cream. You’ll also find ginger beer – a legacy from former British rule – and there’s a cricket pitch, too!

If you want to hire a boat, harbours include Paleokastritsa, Govia Marina and, in the main town, Madraki, the home of Corfu Sailing Club. Perhaps cruise to the island of Paxos, or Albania which is just across the water.

General advice is that beginners are better taking to the water mid-morning, while afternoon conditions challenge those aiming to test their skills. Plenty of other water activities, such as wake and paddleboarding, waterskiing and kayaking are available around the island.

Make the most of your trip Things to see & do

Things To Do

10 moments of inspiration in Corfu

Style & Influence

One of the fascinations of exploring Corfu Town, the island’s capital, is spotting the influence of other cultures, especially in the northern, older quarters. The architecture suggests French, Venetian and Sicilian touches, and even some British style.

The flower and tree-lined Esplanade, or Spianada, Square has a distinctly French mood – in fact, the elegant colonnades of the Liston building were designed to match the Rue de Rivoli, in Paris. This is an ideal spot to take a break from sightseeing, either dining in a superb restaurant behind the arches, enjoying a strong coffee or ice cream, or settling down to watch youngsters playing on the nearby cricket pitch.

Check out the fortresses

Corfu boasts not one but two imposing fortresses – indeed, the island’s English name derives from the older citadel’s two large towers: ‘Coryphe’ in Greek. Both are now dedicated more to art and literature than military defence.

Corfu’s public library and a music research centre are based at the Old Fortress, which was also used a location in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only, while the New Fortress is home to a museum of ceramic art. Both were built by the Venetians, in the 14th and 15th centuries, and the older has a museum, café and stunning views to reward the stiff uphill walk.

Feast your eyes on festivals and fireworks

Singing, dancing and fireworks mark the feast of Varkarola, one of the most exciting yearly festivals on Corfu. Choirs take to floating platforms and actors perform set pieces based on incidents in the island’s dramatic history. Each town may have its own interpretation of the event, usually held in early August. Some pay tribute to St Spyridon, who is said to have relieved the island from a Turkish siege in 1716, with the symbolic burning of a boat, while Paleokastritsa hosts a re-enactment of Homer’s legend of Odysseus, shipwrecked on the nearby shores after a storm conjured by the vengeful god Poseidon.

Another lively celebration takes place in late February or early March, when Corfu Town holds its carnival. A colourful parade winds through the centre, with floats, musicians, majorettes and walkers in period costume, and the streets and balconies are packed with enthusiastic onlookers. The climax is the burning of an effigy representing King Carnival, accompanied by ribald readings or a performance of ‘petegoletsia’, or gossip, by actors loudly discussing supposed local scandals.

 Other town carnivals may feature a mock wedding, with the bride played by a man, often with a grotesque moustache, a disruptive demon and more bawdy commentary from spectators!

Wildlife wonders

Beloved of naturalist Gerald Durrell, Corfu is an attractive destination for lovers of wildlife and botany. The mild seasons and humidity encourage lush growth of olive groves, cypress trees and Judas trees.

Birdwatching spots

A variety of birdlife is attracted to the coast and lakes – indeed, Halikiopoulos, a seawater lagoon with freshwater streams, is one of the first sights to welcome passengers landing at the main airport. Other birdwatching spots are the Ropa Valley with the Lefkimmi salt pans, the reserve at St Spyridon Lake, and lakes Korission and Andinoni.

Sightings in recent years include spoonbills, species of heron, warbler and bunting, bee-eaters, Scops owl, and short-toed and Bonelli’s eagles, with Mount Pantokrator being a good area for spotting raptors.

Mess about on boats

Along with the sand and the sea, sails soon become a familiar sight for visitors to Corfu. The coastline, with a mixture of well-developed and unspoiled stretches, provides a stunning backdrop for those who take to the water. Experienced boat owners, or those aiming to hire, can find moorings in harbours such as Paleokastritsa, Govia Marina and, in the main town, Madraki, the home of Corfu Sailing Club. The club is based in an awe-inspiring position below the walls of the Old Fortress, and does accept visiting craft, although a call in advance is advised.

Surf the waves

For those happy to cruise the waves under their own power, the offshore breezes provide excellent windsurfing and kitesurfing. At Gardenos, windsurfing courses can be arranged for beginners and those aiming to improve, with professional instruction for adults and children. There are also windsurfing schools at Issos Beach, catering for a range of abilities and with equipment to hire. General advice is that beginners are better taking to the water mid-morning, while afternoon conditions challenge those aiming to test their skills. Plenty of other water activities, like wake and paddleboarding, waterskiing and kayaking are available around the island.

Toast Corfu’s wines

What better way to celebrate the proud wine-growing culture of Corfu than to offer a toast on one of its excellent estates? The Ambelonas Winery, on a hillside in the centre of the island, has its own museum, restaurant and olive groves, and a shop selling local produce, and holds cookery classes among other events. The family-owned Theotoky Estate, in the Ropa Valley near Giannades village, is regarded as one of Greece’s best after 150 years in business. The thick walls of the Venetian buildings are said to be perfect for ageing the wine.

Vlacherna  Monastery – a plane-spotting paradise

Centuries of religious devotion, plane-spotting and a visit from James Bond – compact Vlacherna Monastery has a fascinating history. Built by the Venetians in the 17th century on a small island south of the Kanoni peninsula, it can be reached via a stone bridge. Its little chapel is still used for celebrations, and there is a souvenir shop. A tall cypress tree looms over tower of the whitewashed building, close to the flightpath of planes approaching the airport – a great spot for aviation enthusiasts. Scenes in For Your Eyes Only, starring Roger Moore, were filmed on the island, from where boat trips to nearby Pontikonissi, ‘Mouse Island’, can also be taken.

Visit Empress Elisabeth’s Achilleion Palace

Another James Bond location, the elegant Achilleion Palace, built in 1890 by Elisabeth, Empress of Austria, has stunning gardens and offers panoramic views of Corfu. Formerly a hospital, military headquarters and casino, it is now a museum, with many artworks dedicated to Greek hero Achilles. Notable statues include Dying Achilles, created by German sculptor Ernst Herter in 1884 and a bronze by Johannes Götz commissioned by a later owner, Kaiser Wilhelm II. Audio guides are available.

Transport

Boat: There are many liners and ships linking Corfu to both Greek and foreign ports. There are ferries almost hourly between Igoumenitsa, directly across on the mainland (1-2 hr), and several weekly to and from Patras (about 7 hr). 

Bus: The dark blue public buses service Corfu Town, its suburbs and nearby destinations. The semi-private green and cream KTEL buses offer a frequent service all over the island.

Taxi: Around Corfu Town, a taxi is probably your best bet.

Car Hire: An excellent way of getting around during Corfu holidays, car hire gives you complete flexibility.

Our favourites in Corfu

More destinations in Corfu

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Weather

Best time to go to Corfu

Summer holidays in Greece provide great weather, with long sunny days and minimal rain. Corfu, which is the most northern of the Greek Islands, is milder and experiences slightly cooler summers than some of the other Greek islands. July is the hottest month, with the most daily hours of sunshine.   The cooler climate means Corfu has a lush, green landscape with approximately three million olive trees.   the month of May can be a great time to visit Corfu with good average temperatures and lower rainfall. You can also avoid the summer crowds and winds to perfectly enjoy the beautiful fresh flowers and greenery of Corfu.

  Max_temp   Max Temp C Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
Corfu 21 23 27 29 29 27 24
London 13 16 20 22 21 19 13
Sun Sunshine Hours Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
Corfu 7 10 12 12 11 9 6
London 5 6 7 6 6 5 3

Beaches

Best pick of beaches in Corfu

Legend has it that Odysseus landed on Corfu after his return from Troy – and if the Greek hero felt in need of relaxation after his adventures, the island’s wonderful beaches would have provided the perfect welcome.

From secluded coves to child-friendly sands, the Olympic Holidays’ team offers inspiration for you to discover simple coastal delights or dive in to lively water sports.

Many hotels have their own private beaches but don’t be afraid to explore more of the island’s gems! We want you to make the most of Olympic Holiday and create memories of a lifetime in the Emerald Island of Corfu.

Sidari

Sidari, in the north of the island, offers a choice of beach breaks, with a lengthy stretch of clean sands, attractive walks and sporting action including water skiing, scuba diving, paragliding, and hire of pedalos and speedboats.
Close by is the aptly-named Sunset Beach, beneath awe-inspiring cliffs in the village of Peroulades, and famed for its stunning views and offshore islets. The pathway to the shore is steep and adds to the sense of secluded escape.
Anyone longing for a companion to share the romantic atmosphere might be advised to swim the nearby Canal D’Amour, where legend promises you’ll find the love of your life. The two-star+ Takis Apartments and three-star Loxides Apartments are available from April to October.

Halikounas
The Olympic Holidays’ insiders love the sandy Halikounas Beach which stretches for 3km in one of the loveliest coastal areas of Corfu. It’s about 5km from Agios Georgios or 25km from Corfu Town but worth the journey for crystalline waters where children can play all day. Do not expect to find tourist facilities at the beach but there are plenty of restaurants and bars not too far away!
Cross the road take a walk around Lake Korission which is home to many rare birds and enjoy views of green hills, olive groves and vineyards.

Agios Georgios

 With more than 5km of golden sands, Agios Georgios inspires a safe, family-friendly atmosphere without feeling overcrowded. The blue flag beach and sand dunes are under an hour’s drive from Paleokastrita where the shimmering, emerald sea and is overlooked by pine-clad hillsides. The area, between Cape Arílla and Angelókastro, is also popular for windsurfing and kitesurfing, while the adjoining beach of Afiónas has a reputation for being especially clean and good for swimming.

Acharavi and Roda

Acharavi and Roda are adjoining beaches which combine to make a long stretch on the north coast about 15-20 minutes from Sidari. Acharavi is pebbled but its gentle slope has made it a popular choice for families with children who love splashing in the shallow waters. It is good for snorkelling. At each end of the resort the sands become finer and less busy, while there are plenty of bars, cafes and shops behind the beach, as well as a water park nearby.
Roda is a Blue Flag winner featuring 4km of sand and shingle, also with shallow swimming waters, as well as more secluded inlets overlooked by Mount Pantokrator. Sunbeds and parasols are available and the choice of watersports includes boat hire and scuba diving, while guided cruises are also worth including during your sunshine holiday.
Other nearby, quiet beaches to discover include Amiros, between Acharavi and St Spyridon, or Aghios Andreas, between Roda and Sidari.

St Spyridon

A sandy beach with warm, shallow waters for young families to safely enjoy, in a beautiful setting on the north coast between Acharavi and Kassiopi. Swimmers will find the area’s small coves ideal, with pedaloes and boats for hire. This picturesque resort is also popular with birdwatchers and botanists. Stay at the four-star Mareblue Beach Hotel to make the most of the beach and clear blue waters of the Ionian Sea.

Nissaki
Regarded as one of the island’s cleanest, most attractive beaches, Nissaki is popular for swimming and especially snorkelling, with a clear view underwater and plentiful fascinating marine life. Its secluded setting between Kassiopi and Barbati provides natural shelter, and the small, gently shelving beach, pebbled with some sand and rocky coves, allows safe bathing for youngsters. Stay in the Nissaki Sea View Apartments and the beach, tavernas and bars are a short walk away while Nissaki Beach Hotel is beside Krouzeri Beach which is great for swimming and water sports. Make a note that being close to a small fishing port, Nissaki’s restaurants take pride in serving fresh seafood.

Gouvia

About 8km from Corfu Town, Gouvia’s moon-shaped bay makes it onto this page for its remarkable sunset views, although there are plenty of peaceful coves and safe swimming plus water-based activities, including inflatable rides for children. Waterskiing and wakeboarding, with lessons on a jetty, are available before taking to the waves, and there’s also parasailing for those who want to try a new activity. The five-star Corfu Palace Hotel and four-star Calivari Hotel are under 20 minutes’ drive away if you want to catch that sunset!

Paleokastritsa

The resort village of Paleokastritsa boasts seven bays, a mixture of sand and shingle, curving along Corfu’s warm north-west shores. The stunning setting makes it one of the island’s busier areas, with facilities including sunbeds, pedaloes and a jetty at one end with boat hire to see the nearby caves and other coves. The shallow shoreline and clear sea makes it attractive to families with young children, and there is a choice of bars and restaurants.

Kontogialos Beach, Pelekas

Looking for perfect sand? Enjoy direct access to Kontogialos Beach, in Pelekas, when staying at Mayor Pelekas Monastery, a luxurious resort where guests can enjoy the sea views or get out on the water on a Jetski. Close to Corfu Town, the beach is popular with families because the clean, golden sands gently slope into the sea, making the access along a steep, narrow road worthwhile. Snorkellers in the clear water will find plenty of sea creatures to observe in the rockier areas offshore.