Corfu, in Greek called Kerkyra, is the island of the Phaeceans, the last stop of Odysseus (Ulysses) on his return to Ithaca. The island is situated on the West coast of Greece in the Ionian Sea and together with the islands of Lefkas, Ithaca, Kefallonia, Zakynthos (Zante), Paxos, and Kithira make up the Ionian group or alternatively the Eptanisa (Seven Islands).
The Northern part of the island has only a 3 km strait separating it from Albania, while in the southern part of the island the distance from the Greek mainland ranges from 10 to 23 km.
Corfuâ€™s dimensions are 64 km in length and a width that ranges between 3 and 32km. The highest point of the island is Mt Pantokratora â€“ 960 mts.
Corfu is characterised by a lush overgrowth, with a unique exuberance of (wild) flowers in springtime.Â The island thanks it green, rich landscape to high rainfall in a short winter. The Corfiot landscape varies from rough and mountainous in the North, to hilly in the South. Picturesque bays, traditional villages, monasteries and the beautiful capitol, Corfu Town, alternate this image.
Everywhere you find cypresses, olive trees and a pristine, sapphire sea.
An island not easy to forget, once visited.
More than 150.000 Corfiots live on the island, of which approximately 40.000 reside in Corfu town, the capital.
For centuries the Romans, the Byzantines, the Despots of Epirus, the Angevins, the Venetians, the French, the Russians, and the British occupied Corfu. Their influences are still shown in architecture and lifestyle of the inhabitants. It enriched the island and its people. After being a sovereign independent Kingdom, Corfu was finally re-united, on the 21st of May 1864, to Greece.
For the ancient Greeks, Corfu was a real Garden of Eden. Many writers and poets claimed the island as the most charming of the Greek archipelago. Many celebrities visited and settled on the island. Just a few who did were Greek hero Odysseus (Ulysses), the Austrian empress Elizabeth (Sissy) and the German emperor Wilhelm II.
Resort and Beach Information...
Beaches - All beaches on the islandâ€™s east coast are pebble.
Most of beaches have sun beds and umbrellas to rent and a varying selection of water sports ranging from pedalos and canoes to sailing clubs and sailboard hire.
Also very popular is motorboat hire, which gives you excellent access to the wonderful coves hidden along the east coast. There are usually a good selection of tavernas on each beach offering excellent meals and refreshments.
Blue Flag awarded beaches are indicated.
Gouvia has much to offer with many restaurants, some bars and a nightclub, it is suitable for all ages. Only 8 kms from Corfu Town it has a regular bus service. Gouvia houses Corfuâ€™s main marina which has excellent facilities of a public swimming pool, 2 restaurants, cafes, cricket pitch and even a croquet field. It is also the base for the Seaplane that flies between Corfu and neighbouring islands.
Gouvia's beach is shingle and compact, at the south end the remains of the ancient Venetian dockyard can be found.
Conveniently located just 14kms from Corfu Town. It is a busy, active resort that has many eateries along the main road and a good selection facing the stretch of shingle beach. The standard of water sports on Dassiaâ€™s shingle beach is excellent.
The 2 km long sand/shingle beach stretches along the roadside and opposite the many facilities Ipsos has to offer. Bars, cafes, supermarkets and a nightclub line the road giving plenty to offer for your holiday. Many local boat trips leave from here to neighbouring beaches and waters sports are excellent.
The highlight of Barbati is the 2km long, pebble beach. The deep waters are sparkling clean and a perfect spot to relax or be adventurous on the water sports available. Barbati has the dramatic backdrop of Mt Pantokratora, who sides drop straight into the sea. A good selection of tavernas can be found along the winding road that runs through as well as on the beachfront itself.
Nissaki is an area that covers 4 kilometers and in cooperates 3 beaches and various hillside hamlets.
Coming into Nissaki form Barbati there is the Vinglatsouri area, which sits in the shadow of Mount Pantokratora, Corfuâ€™s highest peak. The first beach is Nissaki beach; a picture postcard setting of a tiny beach with pristine waters offering water sports and seaside tavernas â€¦â€¦. an idyllic spot.
Heading north you will pass the occasional supermarket, bakers, village church and a few tavernas set on the main road with dining terraces offering amazing views over the sea and towards Albania.
The 2nd beach on this coastline is Kaminaki, approached by a steep country road and leads onto yet another idyllically Greek beach, with white stones and clean, clear water. Yet more water sports and boat hire is available and 2 local tavernas to dine at.
And finally the beach of Krouzeri (Blue Flag) at the north end of Nissaki, best approached from the road that leads to the Nissaki Beach Hotel. You will find parking at the bottom of the road and a long stretch of pebble beach, 2 good tavernas and water sports.
Beyond Nissaki is the picturesque bay of Agni, well known for its culinary delights and often receiving great reviews in the UK press. There are a few houses to rent dotted on the hillside leading down to the bay. The narrow road winds down through the olive groves, there is a public car park set back from the beach. Each of the tavernas has beachfront locations. The beach itself is pebbly and the water deep and refreshing. A popular destination for boats, both large, small, luxurious or basic, in Agni everyone blends in. All tavernas have their own jetty giving easy access to the beach.
Kalami and Kouloura
Heading further north we reach the double bays of Kalami and Kouloura. The larger of the two is Kalami where the famous White House is located. This is one of the residences of Lawrence Durrell during his time living on Corfu, in fact he wrote Prosperoâ€™s Cell from Kalami. There is an excellent selection of facilities in Kalami mini markets, one or two bars and plenty of tavernas set on the beachfront.
The smaller and equally beautiful bay of Kouloura has just 1 very good taverna that overlooks the sea.
Koulouraâ€™s, horse shoe bay, was is widely recognized as it was used in the opening scene of the James Bond film â€œFor Your Eyes Onlyâ€™.
Agios Stefanos and Kerassia (Blue Flag)
We have now reached the closest point between Corfu and Albania, approximately 3.2 kilometers separates these neighbours. There is little in the way of beach in Agios Stefanos but an excellent lunch stop at one of the seaside tavernas. The road through Agios Stefanos continues over the headland and ends on the beach at Kerassia, a stretch of pebble coastline with wonderful pristine waters and one family owned taverna.
Avlaki (Blue Flag)
Just before Kassiopi we find the big, deep bay of Avlaki. A barrow stretch of beach borders the quiet road and two tavernas offer good local food. There is a sailing school located on the beach and as this bay often picks up the sea breezes it is a great place to utilize your sailing or sail boarding skills.
As the road begins to change direction from east to north we find Kassiopi. Once a sleepy fishing village is now a thriving harbour resort still in a traditional setting. Kassiopi has everything to offer including well-stocked supermarkets, bakers, a few bars, craft and souvenirs (the lace making here is legendary), restaurants and tavernas. The small beach can be found on the north side as you exit the village.
Resort and Beach Informationâ€¦
The northern coastline beaches are long and sandy. The terrain in this area is not as hilly, particularly at sea level, so walking from your accommodation to facilities and the beach is easier than in other resorts. There is also a good selection of boat trips leaving form the north coast, in particular giving you a chance to see the neighbouring, smaller, islands of Erikousa, Mathraki and Othoni.
Blue Flag beaches are indicated.
Acharavi and Almyros (Blue Flag)
Acharavi is a family resort situated on the North coast of Corfu. It offers long sandy beaches (some areas of pebbles) with shallow water, suitable for children. In the busy centre of the village the beaches have sun beds and umbrellas for rent and a good selection of sea facing tavernas. Water sports are also available at this busier end of the beach.
The water park, Hydropolis, is just a few minutes outside of Acharavi and a great place to entertain the kids.
Acharavi offers nice wide roads to drive on and ample parking on the â€˜highâ€™ street. Supermarkets, gift and craft shops, cafes, restaurants line the road offering an excellent choice for all the family. There are many walks accessible from Acharavi; the Corfu Trail has a well-marked walk that incorporates both sea and hills.
The East side of Acharavi is known as Almyros and this is where you will find peace and quiet. A long road wanders along the foreshore of Almyros beach, which always has a peaceful spot, even in high season. There are a few tavernas dotted along the beachfront all facing the sea and offering magnificent views.
Facing the North means that Almyros experiences wonderful sea breezes even on the hottest days.
Roda (Blue Flag)
The sandy beach of Roda stretches along the length of the resort. This is another popular destination for families and has a good selection of tavernas, bars, and cafes to please all family members. A lively town that combines tourism and local life.
Frequented by most large tour operators and has numerous bars, tavernas along itâ€™s busy main road, Sidari also has long stretches of sandy beach. Great spot for teenagers and families wanting a livelier destination.
Resort and Beach Information...
Beaches - The northwest resorts are by no means commercial or built up by tourism. You will find an excellent blend of Greek village life and holiday resort along this coastline.
The beaches are mostly sandy and face open sea bringing in soothing sea breezes, even in the hottest months. All beaches offer umbrellas and sun beds for rent and offer varying water sports. Blue Flag beaches are indicated.
Agios Stefanos (Blue Flag)
Agios Stefanos has a deep sandy beach and shallow waters making it ideal for small children. Good tavernas both on the village road and along the beach offer local food and English options as well. There are also a couple of excellent craft shops to browse through.
For those looking for a small modest resort, Arillas is ideal; catering for both families and couples it offers a good choice of eateries and a few bars. The beach is sandy and has shallow waters. A rural setting backs Arillas with country roads winding between its neighbours of Agios Stefanos and Agios Georgios. It is possible to walk to Agios Stefanos from here (approximately 2km). Agios Georgios is a longer walk of 4.5 km (approximately).
Agios Georgios (Blue Flag)
The stunning deep bay of St George has a small amount of accommodation dotted between the tavernas facing the sea. The beach is sandy and is a perfect spot for sail boarding, which can be hired at the north end. There are some particularly good seafood eateries along the track that leads from the south end of the beach. Also as you climb out of the resort at the south end the sweeping vistas across the beach to the north are magnificent.
Paleokastritsa (Blue Flag â€“ main beach)
The islands most well known beauty spot offers a selection of 5 different bays to swim in and some of Europeâ€™s best viewpoints.
A 13th century monastery is perched on the hillside that overlooks the main beach. The Monastery and museum are open to the public. Another must see is Angleokastro, (by foot or car) a spectacular Byzantine castle, built on a steep hill about 150 meters above the sea.
Hiring a boat from the main beach can take you to one of the many nearby isolated beaches, accessible only from the sea, or tour into the caves of Naufsica, or even to neighbouring Agios Georgios by water taxi.
A small sheltered cove, south of Paleokastritsa that houses a few hotels and some apartment blocks. A lovely sandy beach than gently shelves making it suitable for children. The nearest village, Vatos is just 3km away.
One of the most beautiful beaches on the island and located at the foothills of Pelekas. A well organized resort with plenty of beach activities and a good choice of cafÃ©, bars and tavernas on the beach. There are a couple of good hotels on the beach as well as a selection of self-catering accommodation.
The stunning village of Pelekas is perched on a hill the height of 270 metres. From the lookout â€˜The Kaiserâ€™s Throneâ€™ you can enjoy views both over the west coast and the Ropa Valley that runs through the centre of the island. This is also the islands premier sunset viewing point
Pelekas beach (Kondogialos) is a long stretch of sand and perfect for children as the water is shallow for approximately 10 metres on entering the sea. There are 3 roads leading from the village to the beach taking about 15 mins to walk down but considerably longer to walk back uphill.
The beach at Agios Gordis is long and sandy and has a stunning back drop of impressive rock formations that seem to drop into the sea. There is always space on Agios Gordis, even in high season and the beach has the added plus of a village atmosphere making it an ideal location for a family holiday. There is 1 large hotel at the far south of the beach; the majority of accommodation is small Greek homes, apartments and studios just a few minutes walk from the beach. There is an excellent choice of eateries both on the beach and within the winding lanes that lead up into the village.
Agios Matheos and surrounding area
The village of Agios Matheos is set on the side of Mount Agios Matheos with a backdrop of dense forest. This picturesque village has many traditional stone houses and narrow laneways with a few quaint coffee shops. The main income in this area is from farming and the area is full-cultivated olive groves and vineyards.
There are some lovely, unspoilt beaches near to Agios Matheos, such as: Paramonas, Prassoudi and Halikounas each with at least 1 good taverna and all are sandy. The sweeping bay of Alonaki is located at the northern most end of Lake Korission.
St George (south) and Issos Beach
Continuing south and coming into the narrowest part of the island you can find the beautiful, long, stretch of sandy beach at St George that also incorporates Issos Beach (at the north end). Issos Beach is located at the south end of Lake Korission and is backed by sand dunes. St Georges beach is cut into 2 sections, the larger being the north end and the south a smaller version of the other. Between each end of the beach you can find a few small hotels and plenty of self-catering accommodation for rent. There is an abundance of choice for eating out with a couple of excellent seafood tavernas.
The small village of Marathia has little in the way of rented accommodation but rooms can be found above the tavernas that fringe the beach. A further extension of St George (south) but quieter where tourism has little impact. Sun beds and umbrellas can be found but not water sports.
Resort and Beach Information...
Kavos and St Peters
At the most southern point of the island we turn north around Cape Asprokavos and are now on the east coast. Kavos is well known as a youth resort with bars lining the main street that runs through the town. It is a popular destination for the under 30â€™s and has excellent nightlife with good quality night clubs and a long, narrow, sandy beach offering a vast array of water sports.
St Peters, at the north end of Kavos is near enough to the nightlife, should you wish to indulge, but is fairly quiet and the beach, although sandy, does not have the same facilities as its neighbour.
There is an excellent choice of accommodation in both towns, from hotels to apartments complexes with pools
Petriti and Boukari
These 2 seaside villages are well worth visiting to indulge in the local seafood that is fished in this area. Both have excellent seafood tavernas set on the waterfront.
We now return to tourism, although, Messonghi is a small unspoilt resort that runs parallel to the sea for approximately 1 kilometre. A long sandy beach, a large hotel and small units of self-catering accommodation make up this village, it is ideal for young families.
Almost merging with Messonghi, Moraitika is a more developed resort with a busy main road with excellent facilities for shopping and eating out. The beach is set away from the main road and has some great cafes and tavernas within easy access.
A small resort with a sand/shingle beach frequented by locals. There is a large hotel at the north end and water sports available as well as mini markets and tavernas close by.
Just 12 kilometres south of Corfu Town, Benitses still retains its charm as a fishing village but with a cosmopolitan feel due to the excellent selection of cafes, restaurants and tavernas that line the village square. Benitses has a fully operational marina and a small shingle beach with good facilities to either laze the day away or enjoy the water sports on offer.
Situated on the east coast, approximately half way between the north and south points of the island.
The headland that the town sits on is divided between the two fortresses, the old (15th century) and the new (16th century), open to the public and offering panoramic views.
For all its hustle and bustle, the town, is both an elegant and charming capital. You will stumble upon a fine array of European architecture, cobbled stone streets with small but exquisite restaurants. Shopping is fabulous, from hand crafted jewelry, ceramics, olive wood products to designer clothes. A myriad of narrow streets wind beneath the tall narrow buildings, each turn bringing you to, yet, another square with glimpses of the sea never far away. Set along the arches of the Liston, are plenty of cafes to rest and recuperate after your day of sightseeing and shopping.
In 2007 the old town was inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Ano (lower) Korakiana
Just 14 kilometres North of Corfu Town and 7 - 10 kilometres from the beaches of Ipsos and Dassia, Ano Korakiana lies on a wooded hillside above the east coast of Corfu.
Historically the village is famous for being the birthplace of loannis Kapodistrias, the first president of newly independent Greece (1827-1831).
There is Kafenion and a small general store in the village.
This picturesque village with its narrow roads and traditional homes is a popular stop for walkers, from here you can follow the paths that lead to Agios Markos, Ipsos and Dassia or you can just walk to neighbouring Kato (upper) Korakiana. There is a small museum dedicated to the Greek sculptor, Arisitides Metallinos, located in the centre of the village.
Kato (upper) Korakiana
Neighbour to Ano Korakiana and separated by just 2 kilometres. Kato Korakiana has a small selection of holiday accommodation; it is largely residential with a small supermarket, taverna and cafÃ© bar. Walk or drive through the stunning countryside to experience the stillness of the olive groves often cool even in the hottest months. It offers easy access to the east coast and the facilities of Dassia.
Just 3 kilometres from the east coast, the village of Agios Markos is renown for its 2 churches, Agios Merkourious (1074 AD), one of the oldest Byzantine churches on Corfu and has frescoes dating from the eleventh, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and The Church of Christ Pantokrator (1571 AD) with its views towards Corfu Town.
A scenic village just 10 kilometres south of Corfu Town is where the famous Achillion Palace is located. The palace was built by Princess Elizabeth of Austria and dedicated to the Greek warrior Achilles. In the superb gardens you can see the two impressive statues of Dying Achilles and Achilles the warrior.
Gastouri is a well-kept traditional village with many paths that wind through the narrow lanes. It also boasts the best bread on the island so seek out the bakers (Fourno) whilst there. The east coast and village of Benitses are just a 10-minute drive and in the other direction Agios Gordis beach is 12 kilometres away.
Set in the hills above the west coast, Sinarades is a beautifully kept traditional village. From here you can walk, downhill, to Agios Gordis beach and likewise if you are staying at the beach walking up into Sinarades is well worthwhile. There is a fascinating folklore museum in the village and the village square has a mini market and cafÃ© for refreshments.