Home Destination Guides Accommodation 27th January 2020







Named originally as Kerkyra, the Mistress of Poseidon, God of the seas. Still called Kerkyra today by the Greeks, but renamed Corfu by the Venetians and that name is used by most people not resident on the island. 
Corfu is one of the best known of all the Greek islands and a particular favourite with the British - for good reason.  Corfu is a captivatingly beautiful island with miles of fabulous coastline, traditional villages, historic sites, verdant hillsides and warm, friendly people.  Set in the sapphire seas of the Ionian, its northerly location means that Corfu has more rainfall than other Greek islands and the resulting lush vegetation has given rise to Corfu being known as ‘the Emerald Isle’. Tourism is the main source of income on the island, although the winter crop of olives comes a close second.
Most of the holiday resorts line the north and eastern side of the island, where a necklace of coves and golden sandy beaches are strung out along the coastline.  The aptly named Mount Pantokrator, or ‘Lord of Creation’ dominates the north east of the island.  This is the highest point on the island at 906 metres and the surrounding area is stunningly scenic with fabulous views across to Albania.  Due to its rugged landscape the North East is less developed and pockets of sand coves, pebble coves and small fishing villages indent the coastline. To the south the island flattens out with good beaches and more great views across the Ionian Sea to the Greek mainland.  The west coast is also rugged and far less developed than the east coast.  It too has great sandy beaches, but is renowned for the breathtaking sunsets, lighting up the whole sky with a magnificent orange glow.  The Corfiot hillsides are awash with shimmering olive groves, pine forests and tall slender cypress trees, whilst in the small hamlets agriculture is still the mainstay of village life. 
The island has a rich history of invasion and conflicting cultures have influenced development and architecture on the island, particularly in Corfu town, where rulers include the Venetians, French and British.  British rule lasted from 1812 to 1864 giving Corfu an almost colonial feel in places, and today, cricket is still played on the Esplanade green in Corfu town. Please see the separate area of this site dedicated to a more extensive history of Corfu occupation!
Corfu offers a mixed cuisine of local and international food depending on the chosen resort.  Local dishes include ‘soffrito’ - beef cooked in a white sauce with pepper and garlic, ‘bianco’- whiting cooked in lemon with garlic and black olives. After dinner, those with a sweet tooth could try the local speciality drink, ‘Kum Kuat’- a sweet orange liqueur.
The array of resorts offered by this lovely island means there is something to tempt all types of holidaymaker, everything from cosmopolitan hotspot towns to sleepy hideaways. Yet somehow amongst all the modern hotels and influx of tourists Corfu has retained its traditions and the essential charm of being ‘Greek’.
   The main port and capital of the island is Corfu town located in the middle of the east coast.  Despite a tendency to be overcrowded in high season, historic Corfu town remains the number one attraction on the island.  This charismatic city is an architectural delight, thanks to the legacy of stylish buildings; elegant Georgian homes from the British, pastel painted Venetian houses and ornate French residences.  One of the main focal points of the town is the Esplanade green, also known as Spinada Square. It is lined on its western side by the Liston - grand arcaded houses now hosting street cafes, built by the French between 1803 and 1812 and the place to be seen on balmy summer evenings. To the north of the green is the Royal Palace, built in 1819 and used by successive British High Commissioners among others. It is now open to the public and houses a collection of Chinese and Japanese bronzes and porcelain. To the East is the Old Venetian Fortress, built on the site of the Temple of Hera on the Corfu promontory.  In the centre of the green there is a bandstand that is still in regular use. A short stroll from the green is the Archaeological Museum housing a wonderful display of Roman and classical sculptures, including the renowned sculptures unearthed from the Temple of Artemis in ancient Corfu town, dating from 580 BC.  The Byzantine Museum is also well worth visiting, and is noted for its display of icons.  It is a real delight to discover the secrets of this medieval old town, so full of character and conjuring up visions of a bygone era, with ancient cobbled streets and narrow alleyways - not forgetting the beautiful church of Saint Spyridon, Corfu’s patron saint and the reason that 60% of the men on Corfu are named Spiros!
The harbour area of Corfu Town is full of bustle and divided into two; the old port and the new port.  The new port is a hub of ferry boats, the larger international ones on their way to the Italian ports and other ferries to mainland Greece, particularly the Igoumenitsa ferry which departs on an almost hourly basis at peak times.  Another focal point is the old port that sits beneath the watchful eye of the impressive New Fortress and is home to the smaller local ferries and excursion boats.  Along this harbour front is an array of cosmopolitan cafes, bars and clubs. Corfu town has all the usual amenities, banks, local bus station, and a large hospital, coupled with a fantastic choice of cafes, tavernas, restaurants, and bars.  For the avid shopper, look no further.  There are trendy boutiques, shops selling designer gold and silver jewellery, local handicrafts, ceramics and leather goods, all of which stay open well into the evening.  The lively nightlife offers something for everyone with bars, restaurants and a few clubs, or you can easily find a quiet spot to sip a glass of wine and watch the world go by. 


   Just south of Corfu Town is the archaeological site of the ancient city of Kerkyra and the Temple of Artemis, although only the foundations of the buildings can be seen.  Next to the ruins is Kanoni, famed for the tiny islets just offshore.  In fact, Vlakerani has to be the most photographed attraction on Corfu, gracing countless postcards with its monastery topped islet joined to the mainland by a causeway. This, together with another favourite, Pontikonissi, better known as Mouse Island, is visited on a daily basis by many local caiques and tour boats.  The island’s airport is also located just outside Kanoni, so you may have a good of Mouse Island as you fly in, and a good view of planes landing and taking off when you visit Kanoni!  

Stretching south from Kanoni, the east coast down to Messonghi is well developed for tourism.  Perama is the first resort after Kanoni and to the south of Perama is the Royal Palace at Achillion (House of Achilles).  The palace was originally Built in 1861 for the empress of Austria whose favourite hero was Achilles. After her assassination in Italy (1898), the Palace was bought and used by Kaiser Wilhelm II (1907). After this, the allies used it during WWI and the Italians during WWII. For 30 years it was then used both as a museum and a casino before being refurbished for an EC conference in 1994. It now houses a small museum and the rest of the house is closed. However, the gardens are truly magnificent and well worth a visit.
Just down the coast is the imposing villa of Mon Repos, previously owned by the Greek Royal family but with a strong British connection, being the birthplace of the Duke of Edinburgh. The villa built in 1830 now houses a museum of island life. At the time of writing, it was open every day except Monday, with a nominal entrance fee.
Benitses was originally a small fishing village before it became popular with tourists.  The colourful fishing harbour now has an exuberant atmosphere and there is a small shingle beach where there is a choice of water sports in high season.  The restaurants and tavernas serve English food as well as Greek and there is a very lively nightlife with many music bars and discos.
South of Benitses on the main road is the small resort of St. John’s (Agios Ioannis), ideal for a relaxing holiday. There is a sand and shingle beach nearby offering water sports and facilities include an assortment of shops, tavernas and a couple of mini markets.  Agios Ioannis is also home to the island’s only water park ‘Aqualand’, sure to keep the kids (grown-up ones too) amused for the day.  It is a short taxi ride from the resort of Moraitika where you will find additional amenities and a more active nightlife.
The lovely resort of Messonghi lies just south of Moraitika and sits on a swathe of sand and shingle beach that shelves gently into a clear, warm sea.  Olive groves and cypress trees line the beach and facilities include a good choice of water sports.  There are assorted shops, bars and tavernas and the resort is relatively quiet making it popular with families and couples.   For those looking for livelier evenings, within easy reach is the adjoining resort of Moraitika, which offers a more active nightlife.
On the southern tip of the island is the action packed resort of Kavos, party capital of Corfu.  There is a fantastic stretch of sandy beach, offering great water sports with bars and restaurants lining the street, just a stroll away. There are the usual resort amenities but the real attractions are the high-energy discos, and buzzing bars for the ardent clubbers and party set.  This resort is a magnet for young singles, couples and groups all looking to dance the night away.  Not suitable for grannies or those wishing to sleep at night!  You have been warned.  The smaller and more peaceful Aspro Kavos is 2 kilometres outside the main resort of Kavos and the harbour town of Lefkimi is situated just to the North
Returning to the north of Corfu Town, only 2 kilometres from the outskirts is the small resort of Alykes.  Here there is a great beach and spectacular views across to the mainland.  There are shops, bars and restaurants and being so near to the main town, all amenities are close at hand if you want them.  A favourite with couples and families, this is a central location for those wishing to explore the rest of the island.
The more developed resorts within half an hour drive north of Corfu town are Kontokali, Gouvia, Dassia, and Ipsos.  Kontokali is 6 kilometres from Corfu town, has a busy main street with shops and restaurants, and most of the accommodation is in peaceful Kontokali Bay.  There is a local bus service to Corfu town and taxis are available for hire. 
Gouvia is popular with all age groups and has visitors from all over Europe giving it an international feel.  There is a long shingle beach with water sports by day, and in the evening the main road is host to busy tavernas, sports bars and discos.  There is a smart marina where boats of all shapes and sizes are moored and at the end of the beach there is a Venetian arsenal, left over from the Venetian occupation when Gouvia was used as a naval base. 
Dassia is another favourite, set on a long, gently sloping sand and shingle beach fringed with friendly café-bars and tavernas.  It is renowned for its fantastic choice of water sports, including waterskiing and parascending, which operate from wooden platforms in the bay. This resort has a relaxed atmosphere coupled with excellent amenities - the main street playing host to a good selection of restaurants, shops and bars.  In the evenings the bars can be lively offering good entertainment, but for those who want more action, a short taxi ride will take you to neighbouring Ipsos, where the nightlife is more brisk.
Ipsos and Pyrgi sit side by side on a long, narrow stretch of shingle beach known as the ‘Golden Mile’.  There is a good selection of water sports on offer and the beach is overlooked by an assortment of tavernas, bars and discos lining the street.  This ‘strip’ comes alive at night, particularly in high season where the neon lights vie for custom.  Pyrgi is quieter but still within walking distance of the action.
Leaving Pyrgi behind, the road snakes north around the olive clad foothills of the imposing Mount Pantokrator. Here, there is some truly spectacular coastal scenery, with occasional glimpses of fishing hamlets and sandy coves below the steep cliffs and the ever-present sparkling sapphire seas of the Ionian.
The pretty, up-market resort of Nissaki can be found here with its small sand and shingle beaches and local tavernas.  This is a great place for a quiet, relaxing holiday.  Some water sports are available on the beach and car hire is available if you wish to explore the surrounding countryside. Next-door is another small, unspoilt resort, called Kalami, which found fame for being the home of Gerald Durrell as he was growing up in the 1930’s.  He subsequently wrote the book ‘My Family and Other Animals’ based on his experiences in Corfu and his former home, the ‘White House’, is now a popular sea front taverna.  Fortunately, this claim to fame has not spoilt Kalami, which retains its traditional charm and offers peace and tranquillity.  There are mini markets, tavernas and bars and small motorboats can be hired for exploring the many hidden coves by sea. This whole area is excellent for those who enjoy walking or rambling through the lovely countryside.  You can follow coastal tracks between coves to some of the smaller hamlets, such as Agni, which is a delightful fishing village with tavernas by the waters edge.
Further along, there is the attractive bay of Agios Stephanos - East, not to be confused with Agios Stephanos on the West coast!  This is a small fishing village with some excellent tavernas on the waterfront.  Avlaki is another tranquil spot with a beautiful beach and a handful of tavernas for that long, relaxing lunch.  Kassiopi is more of a resort than the other smaller villages, complete with shops, bars and restaurants. There is a delightful harbour where small motorboats are usually available for hire and from which excursion boats cruise the coastline. The resort has a strong British following with local Taverna’s and pub-style bars catering for this market.
From Kassiopi to Roda on the north coast, the shoreline is one long sand and shingle beach, in the middle of which sits the north coast resort of Aharavi.  Aharavi is perfect for a relaxing holiday, with its lovely beach shelving gently into the sea, and the opportunity to try some water sports.  There are restaurants, shops and a few bars, but nightlife here is low-key.  This is also another good area for those who enjoy walking holidays, the best times being in spring and early summer when the wild flowers are in bloom and the temperatures are not yet scorching! 
Like many of the resorts Roda used to be a fishing village, but has now embraced tourism without losing its charm.  The beach is a continuation from Aharavi, and there are also water sports on offer.  Roda has an assortment of shops, restaurants and bars, offering something for everyone, making this an attractive resort for all age groups.
Sidari is the largest resort on the northern coast and consequently quite lively.  The main attraction is the fantastic sandy beach stretching for 2 miles and offers a great choice of water sports.  Unique to Sidari are the amazing sandstone formations, shaped by wind and sea erosion to produce a series of distinctive patterns in the rock face cliffs beyond the pretty harbour.  Also carved through the sandstone is a narrow sea inlet known as the ‘Canal D’Amour’.  Apparently, according to legend, single women yearning to find their ‘Mr Right’ have only to make a wish when swimming in the channel for their dream to come true.  So off you go girls!  Sidari has great facilities, mostly concentrated on the main street, with a good selection of shops, mini markets, restaurants, bars and a couple of discos.  This resort attracts all age groups and the restaurants reflect this by offering international and Greek cuisine.  Whilst the resort is laid back during the daytime, at night it can be quite lively, but without getting out of hand!  The combination of beach facilities and reasonable nightlife make this resort a very popular one.
Leaving Sidari and travelling down the western side of Corfu, you come to the small village of Agios Stephanos (west!) - very confusing - there are also two Agios Georgios’ - St George’s North and South – (taking a post-man’s job on Corfu is not recommended!). Agios Stephanos is a small, picturesque village, very traditional with a nice beach and tavernas.  Next-door is another traditional resort, Arillas, with a good sandy beach offering water sports and a few bars and tavernas.  Both offer a quiet and relaxing ambiance and a friendly welcome from the local people. For the more active, this area is good for hill walking with superb scenery.
Paleokastritsa on the North West coast is renowned as Corfu’s beauty spot because of its incredible setting.  Surrounded by a mountainous backdrop, aromatic pine trees and olive groves, the verdant hillsides encircle numerous sand and shingle bays.  The beaches shelve gently into a clear sea and there are sun beds, umbrellas and water sports on offer.  Boat trips are a popular pastime here; there are boat trips round the coast to the fabulous beaches of Agios Georgios, (St George-north) and Agios Gordis (north) together with boat trips to the fascinating Paleokastritsa caves.  Paleokastritsa, meaning Old Castle, is named after the hillside ruins of the ‘Castrizza San Angelo’, which overlooks the picturesque village and was built by the Venetians in the 13th Century.  The resort is spread out around the bays and accommodation is on the hillsides amongst the olive groves.  There are a variety of shops, mini-markets, restaurants, bars, and tavernas.  Being on the west coast, the sunsets are spectacular and as Paleokastritsa is a little off the beaten track car hire is recommended if you wish to explore further afield.  Because of the hilly terrain, this resort is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties. However there are day trips from other resorts on Corfu for those wishing to enjoy the scenery without actually staying there, although this often makes lunch times a little busy with coach parties.      
The West coast is renowned for having the best beaches on the island and this is justified by a string of superb beaches at Mirtiotissa, Glifada, Pelekas and Agios Gordis (south), all perfect for the serious sun worshipper. Agios Gordis (south! – still with me?!) has a spectacular setting, with over a kilometre-long swathe of sandy beach set beneath a backdrop of cliffs covered in lush vegetation.  This is a tranquil, laid-back resort with low-key nightlife, as are most of the resorts on the West coast, making them popular with families and couples looking to ‘get away from it all’.  This ambience also attracts visitors from many parts of Europe but whilst the beach can be busy in high season, it is large enough to accommodate everyone and has a variety of water sports.  There are mini-markets, shops, plenty of tavernas and restaurants, some bars and a local bus service that runs to Corfu town.
Agios Gordis (south), has a beautiful sandy beach extending either side of the village and is also surrounded by verdant hillsides.  Water sports are available and the traditional village has a nice mix of shops, mini-markets, taverns and restaurants.  The atmosphere is peaceful and relaxing, not for those looking for an active nightlife.  A short drive to the north of the resort is the natural, unspoilt Korission Lagoon - home to many species of birdlife and wild flowers.
In the very south west of the island is the small, totally uncommercialized village of Maltas, set on a sweeping beach of golden sand.  This village has mini-markets and tavernas, but not so many tourists.  There are no large hotels or nightlife or bus services.  This is a wonderful area to explore on foot but car hire is essential if you wish to explore beyond the village.
The three Corfu islets of Othoni, Erikoussa and Mathraki lie off the north west coast of Corfu and a visit to one of these is like stepping back in time.  Regular ferries leave from Corfu town to the islets, although most people prefer to take a boat from Sidari in the north. The largest of the islets is Othoni and although there are some tourists staying there in summer, there is little to do other than laze on the beach, read books and enjoy a meal and a glass of wine, or two.  Erikoussa is popular as a day trip destination by boat from Sidari.  The excursion boats arrive at the port village where there is a good sandy beach, ideal for swimming.  Mathraki is the smallest islet and in summer it is the nesting ground of the rare loggerhead turtle (Caretta-Caretta).  Fortunately there are very few tourists here in summer so the beach nesting sites have remained undisturbed and the turtles have been able to hatch their young in peace.


Corfu airport is about a 15-minute drive from Corfu town.  Package holidays are available from major and Greek-specialist tour companies.  Charter airlines fly direct from the U.K. to Corfu during the summer months, usually from April to October.  Flying time from the U.K. is just over 3 hours.  Olympic Airways offer scheduled flights from the U.K. to Corfu via Athens, all year round.  Timings vary depending on how long you need to wait for the connecting flight to Corfu.  The Olympic Airways domestic flights from Athens to Corfu run all year round, although the flight schedule will be less frequent in the winter months and the flight time is approximately 40 minutes. 
    It is worth mentioning that if you are booked on a domestic flight with Olympic Airways and you fly from the UK with another airline that arrives late - causing you to miss the domestic flight, Olympic Airways does not accept responsibility for delays caused by other airlines and you may have to purchase a replacement domestic flight ticket.  Having said this, I have flown many times with Olympic Airways to Athens with connecting domestic flights and on the rare occasion that I have been delayed (for whatever reason) they have always honoured the onward section and put me on the next available flight without any extra charge.  You should check this policy when booking onward connections with whatever airline you choose to travel with.
Corfu is a popular destination for island hoppers wishing to explore the other Ionian  islands.  There is a regular ferry operating frequent daily services between Corfu town and Igoumenitsa on the Greek mainland.  Ferries to the neighbouring island of Paxos operate from Igoumenitsa, Corfu town and sometimes you can also take a boat from the small resort of Agios Georgios (south). Paxos is a very pleasant laid-back destination off-season, but can become packed in July and August. Antipaxos is uninhabited. Both islands have wonderfully clear water so do not forget your snorkel and mask. Corfu town is one of the main stopping points for the international ferries from the Italian ports including Ancona, Bari, Brindisi, Trieste and Venice.  These ferries go to the mainland port of Patras in the northern Peloponese before returning to Italy via Corfu; I myself took an Italian car ferry from Corfu town to Patras, and then picked up a coach from Patras to Athens. Corfu town also has ferries to Sami in Kefalonia.
Additionally a seaplane service operates, departing from Gouvia marina, offering regular flights to Paxos Island (20 minutes flight time), Patras (Peleponnese) and Ioannina in central mainland Greece. The flight operator runs a courtesy bus service from its local office in Corfu Town (close to the old harbour) to Gouvia marina for its passengers. Flights operate in virtually all weather conditions and at the time of writing, were very reasonably priced.
Things to do on Corfu
The following provides information about a few tourist-related businesses - current in summer 2006;
Greek Tourist Office - Alikes - 26610 37638/39/40
Dinghy / Catamaran sailing and other watersports - Grecotel Daphnila Beach, between Gouvia and Dassia +30 693 67 177 68 - sailkorfu@web.de
Kalypso Star and sea lions - Old Port Corfu town - 26610 46525
Horse Riding and Trekking - Korakiana - +30 26630 22503 - British owned - trriders@otenet.gr 
Corfu Yachting - Gouvia Marina - +30 26610 99470 - info@corfuyachting.com 
Motor Boat hire - George and Alex - Gouvia - +30 69926 77242
Antonius boat trips - Daphnila and Dassia - 26610 93016
Dinghy Sailing and tuition - Greek Island Holidays - Avlaki - +30 26630 81877 info@corfu-sailing-events.com
Seaplane to Paxos and elsewhere - Gouvia Marina / Corfu Town - 21094 02880 - info@airsealines.com 
Ionian Cruises - ferry boats from Corfu Town to Paxos, Parga, Antipaxos, Blue Caves, Blue Lagoon, Kephalonia, Ithaka, Lefkada, Albania - +30 26610 31649, +30 26610 25317 - petrakis@otenet.gr  and sariscruises@aias.gr
Go-karts - Sidari - 26630 99076 - sidarigokarts@yahoo.com 
Diving and lessons - Spiros on 26610 43710 - spirodivcfu@yahoo.gr 
The foregoing information was last reviewed in July 2006. Things change, and whilst we are often travelling in Greece we do rely to some extent upon others to provide updates in order to keep the site as current and accurate as possible!  If you have any updates or information that you think should be included here, please do mail the webmaster@aguide2greece.com  - thank you.


734BC             History records that the Corinthians were the first occupiers of
640BC             Corfiots defeat Corinithians in a sea battle
431-404BC      Peleponese War – Corfu allied with Athens for protection
229BC             Romans arrive – first Greek island that they occupy after Corfu       
                       weakened by wars and Spartan attacks……..
                       …..continued Roman occupation leading into the Byzantine era
455AD             Corfu plundered by the Vandals
600AD             Corfu invaded by the Goths with 300 ships
                       Also many pirate attacks
1081AD            Norman invasion
1147AD            Byzantines (Southern Italy) and Venetians eject Normans
1205AD            Byzantine Empire defeated by Crusaders and Venetians lay claim to Corfu.
1214AD            Island comes under control of Orthodox State of Epirus
1265AD            King of Naples takes possession with blessing of Pope
1386AD            Corfiots request Venetians to return and they stay for 400 years. Venetians bring massive olive tree planting programme, tomatoes, health, culture and education.  
1537AD            Sham treaty of Turks with Venetians lets Turks attack
1571AD            Turks attack again from mainland Greece
1573AD            Turks attack again – overall 9/10ths population killed !
1576AD            Corfiots and Venetians rebuild fortifications
1716AD            Turks attack again, but it is said they were repulsed by a storm sent by Saint Spiridon, patron saint of Corfu
1789AD            Napoleon captures Corfu after defeating Venetians
1791AD            Corfu taken by Russian-Turkish allied fleet, Russians occupy
1803AD            Corfu taken by French again
1806AD            British blockade French in Corfu for 6 years until Napolean falls
1812AD           British agree under treaty signed by England, Russia, Prussia and Austria that Corfu will be protected and administered by Britain – all with the active support of Count Kapodistrias, who will later become President of Greece. British institute a programme of building, fortification and modernisation.
1864AD           After Greek war of independence, British leave and Corfu finally united with Greece on 21st May 1864, a date still celebrated with much enthusiasm in Corfu today.
1923AD           Mussolini of Italy attacks and occupies Corfu after murder of 
                       Italian representative
1924AD           Italians expelled
1941AD           Italians given administrative control during World War II
1943AD          Control taken by Germans after Italians sided with Greek resistance
1944AD          Corfu liberated by allied forces


The island is 35 miles long, 11 miles wide and has an area of 229 square miles.
Highest point – Mount Pantokrator – 3000 feet (906m) approx
Population – (mid 1990’s) 110,000.   Corfu town – 60,000
Largest export – olive oil
Sea – 13 to 26 degrees Centigrade
Average air temperature –  summer 28 degrees,  winter 15 degrees Centigrade
Hottest – July/August
Coldest – January/February
Wettest – November to March
Oldest settlement said to be 10,000 years - Sidari.















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