Often called the prettiest of the Greek Islands because of its stunning green scenery, Corfu is definitely an underrated gem.
When Corfu comes up in conversation, people often think of Kavos, a party destination full of drunken teenagers and excess, but Corfu is so much more than that! With rolling green hills, epic mountains and rustic unspoiled villages, Corfu really is a sight for sore eyes.
As the second largest Greek island there is plenty to keep you busy, whether you are a beach-loving sun-worshipper or prefer to be a bit more active. So having sampled the best of what this popular holiday destination has to offer, here is a quick guide to what you should see and do on the beautiful island of Corfu.
When to go
Early-Mid June is without a doubt my favourite time of year to go to Corfu. With the weather really starting to heat up, you can spend long lazy days on less crowded beaches. The season is only just getting going, meaning that although it is starting to get busy, there is still the feel of having largely escaped the masses.
The shoulder seasons of April-May and late September-October can be nice but you do run the risk of rain and cooler weather. July-August gets very busy with the British summer holidays and children off school and for me it can be too hot (depends on your personal preferences of course).
Where to Stay
By far the best resort to stay in (in my humble opinion) is Paleokastritsa. With stunning coves surrounded by cliffs and mountains, clear azure water and beautiful unspoilt beaches; I have no qualms in naming this resort as the prettiest town on the island. Paleo has largely managed to avoid the clutches of mainstream tourism and has maintained its authentic feel, unlike some of the nearby coastal towns. No matter whether you prefer to go for a self-catering apartment or a luxe hotel, Paleo has it all, with lots of variety when it comes to accommodation. Prices vary, obviously depending on the standard of accommodation you go for but there are plenty of bargains to be had should you be on a budget (which we usually are).
How to get around
I love exploring a destination and seeing what is on offer. There really is no excuse to stay put next to the pool when you can hire a vehicle from as little as 15-20 euros a day. Spiros Bikes, in Paleo, is our favourite to use. As a friendly, helpful Greek, he is always willing to help you out with a good deal here and there. A moped is our favourite way to get around in Corfu but if you prefer something that doesn’t wreak havoc on your carefully groomed hairstyle, you can easily hire a car or even a quad bike from the various vendors in Paleo itself.
What to do
Soak up the sun in beautiful surroundings
You can’t go to Corfu and not enjoy some of its stunning beaches. With crystal clear water lapping against white sand, it really is a beach lover’s paradise. Some of my favourite beaches in Paleokastritsa itself include Agios Spyridon, Ampelaki and Agios Petros, although there are many other little coves to be discovered and many other beautiful beaches throughout the island.
La Grotta, while not strictly a beach (more of a beach bar set into the cliffs!!), is also a great place to soak up some rays and chill out in Paleo. You can choose to rent the sunbeds or laze on the surrounding rocks for free. Be sure you order a cocktail or two (as if you have to be told!)
Another of my favourites is the Acapulco bar. Located right at the far end of Paleo as you first come into the town, Acapulco is a lush bar with very friendly owners, set on the side of the cliff above the azure waters. The bar itself has a pool but we prefer to head down the steps to lounge on the rocks or sunbeds closer to the sea.
Outside of Paleokastritsa, our favourite beaches to head to are Logas Beach and Agios Georgios Beach! Click here for my 5 favourite beaches in Corfu.
As the capital, Corfu Town is always busy but completely and utterly spell-binding. You can’t help but fall in love with the beautiful architecture in the old town, with the ramshackle shutters and crumbling buildings all adding to its charm. Corfu Town is a good way to spend a rare cloudy day, as you can amble away plenty of time, (deliberately) getting lost in its maze of tiny cobbled streets.
If you’re an adventurous type and love to seek adrenaline, you should head to Aqualand, a water park located in the middle of the island. Although I’ve never visited myself, it is known as a great day out for all the family. Open from May to Mid-October, daily admission prices range from 19 euros for 5-12 year olds and over 65s, up to 27 euros for 13-65 year olds. Kids under 5 get in for free!
Hire a moped
As I’ve said already, this is my favourite way to get around. Hire a moped for the day or if possible for a few days and just explore. We all know that’s the best way to discover awesome places!
Eat your way around the island
There is literally no better way to experience the local Greek culture than to eat it! Greek food is one of my favourite cuisines and you can really find some amazing little family-run tavernas which serve home-made wine, freshly baked bread and delicious home-cooked meals all for a very small price!
Hire a speedboat
Need I say anymore? I don’t need to tell you why this is such an awesome way to spend a day! You can hire speedboats on most beaches in Paleo and throughout the island and spend the day cruising around, anchoring up for a dip in the warm water, not to mention discovering all those stunning secret beaches waiting to be found!
Take a daytrip
If you do find yourself with a bit of time on your hands and nothing to do (unlikely) or if you just fancy doing some more exploring, there are plenty day trips you can take to nearby islands such as Paxos and Antipaxos, mainland Greece and even Albania. I am yet to try these as we love exploring the island ourselves with our trusty little moped but never say never…
Visit a village in the mountains
For authentic Greek culture, which feels like you have been transported 50-100 years back in time, head to the village of Doukades, just a stones throw from Paleokastritsa, high up in the mountains. This little village boasts three amazing tavernas, a village shop (run by the friendly Kiki) and the cutest cobbled streets and picturesque houses you have ever seen! The locals sit out in the village square in the evenings throughout the summer and you get to see a glimpse of the Greek culture that hasn’t changed much over recent years.
Kaiser’s Throne – Pelekas
For unbeatable 360 panoramic views across the island, head up to Kaiser’s Throne in Pelekas. The views up here are seriously astounding, but make sure to head up on a clear day for the best outlook. There’s also a really cute restaurant up on Kaiser’s Throne called Bella Vista Sunset Restaurant so be sure to stop for a bite to eat and a refreshing drink.
Well that’s my guide for a stay in Paleokastritsa. All that is left to say really is that if you’re wondering where you should go this summer…head here!!
What about you guys? Is there anything I have missed that I should check out next time? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to have a few more places to try on our next visit to this beautiful island.
All photographs have been taken by James and Zara Aitken. http://www.jamesaphotography.co.uk.