The island of Corfu is an extremely popular destination situated at the northern end of the Ionian group of islands. It is a very green and fertile island with mountain landscapes. There are many long golden sandy beaches which make this a favourite island for tourists from many countries.
It is also steeped in history, having been occupied over the centuries by various nationalities. Traditional Byzantine churches, museums, and fortresses are all here for history lovers to explore.
Corfu Town is the capital of the island and its main port. It lies to the east of the island facing the mainland. It was built during the Venetian rule but has also been influenced by the French, and British to name but a few during their time there.
The main public square Esplanade Square was designed in the French style with trees and flowers and has the honour of being the only place in Greece where cricket is played – this obviously part of the heritage left by the British.
Another legacy left by the British is located at the northern end of the Esplanade which is the Palace of St Michael and St Georges. This was built in the Georgian style of architecture in 1824. The Greek Royal family have used this as a residence in the past.
The Ionion Academy, the first university ever founded in Greece is to be found on the south side of the Esplanade. It had to be restored after having been destroyed during the second world war.
Travelling around Corfu island
The western side of the Esplanade plays host to some of the finest restaurants and cafes. There are numerous beautiful beaches on the island with a mixture of the very popular sandy beaches to the quieter picturesque ones.
The western side of the island is where the best beaches are supposedly found. Miriotissa is one of the most popular sandy beaches. It is surrounded by tree-covered cliffs making the isolation of this beach an unofficial nudist beach.
Heading south three other beaches which are as popular are Glyfada which is a long sandy beach and has some beautiful scenery of rock formations in the sea and tree-covered cliffs. The water here is warm, shallow and clear just the place to enjoy that dip in the sea to cool off. The others are Pelekas and Agios Gordis.
Heading north on the western side is Paleokastritsa which draws many tourists to this renowned beauty spot to watch the sunset. Here are three small crescent sandy bays surrounded by cliffs with olive groves, and citrus trees making for a stunning photo opportunity. There are six different and secluded beaches of sand and fine pebble for tourists to choose from.
Along the northern coast, there are several beaches Sidari which has several sea caves and tunnels and from here you can take an excursion by boat to some of the islets which are nearby. Further along heading east is Roda, which is a fishing harbour and there is a long sand and pebble beach. The Old Harbour is where you will find the restaurants and lively bars.
Still heading to the east from here is Kassiopi, which is another pretty fishing village resort. This is overlooked by the remains of a 12th-century castle which was built on the site of the Temple of Zeus. Tree-covered hills and headlands surround this wide bay.
Along the eastern side runs a coastal road and from Kalami heading south many of these beaches are of the hotel/resort type.
South of Corfu Town are the resorts of Messoighi and Benitses both offering beach sports and a vibrant nightlife scene. Benitses a pretty fishing village has a shell museum which is one of the best in Europe.
Near the southernmost tip of the island is Lefkimi, which is the second-largest town and port. Ferries leave here for Igoumenitsa (mainland Greece) and some of the other Ionian islands. Kavos Beach just further along is for the younger (18-30) party type hailed as a beach and disco village.
There are several other beaches, fishing villages and resorts in Corfu that equally offer golden sandy beaches, beautiful clear water and fantastic scenery. Agios Gordios, Dassia, Ipsos, Acharavi to name but a few.
Things to do in Corfu
There are many varied things to do when visiting Corfu. There is a water park called Aqualand which boasts 15 pools, with various attractions. There are restaurants, cafes and bars to make this a good family day out.
For the golfers, there is a beautiful golf course situated in the Ropa Valley designed by a Swiss architect. Incorporating the natural environment with man-made hazards it makes it a good course to test the skills of all levels of golfers. Available in the clubhouse are lunches and snacks and the usual facilities.
Horse riding is available at stables near the Ano Korakiana (north central area). Farm tracts stretch for miles and are set in the foothills of the Pantokrator Mountain range. Woodland and olive groves offer shade if trekking during the heat of the day.
Water sports are available in many of the resorts including scuba diving, water skiing, jet skiing, snorkelling, windsurfing and other fun activities.
Car hire, bike hire and even boat hire are available, making it possible to explore this beautiful and scenic island. Apart from the miles of golden beaches and spectacular cliffs, there are traditional villages and hamlets to visit and enjoy when travelling around the island.
There are impressive churches and monasteries for those interested in religious travel experiences, as well as fortresses and ruins to see and reflect upon the history of a bygone era and what secrets they hold.
Why you should visit Corfu
Corfu is truly an island to visit encompassing old and new, for families who just want to enjoy the sun, sea and food and relax or those who want to explore and learn more about the island’s fascinating history.
For the food lovers who want to try out the local traditional dishes or the fresh fish available at many of the coastal taverners. For the water sports enthusiast with a vast and varied selection of sports to choose from.
For the romantics that want to find that secluded bay, to chill and just enjoy the ambience, blue skies, crystal clear water and golden beach. Corfu is an island with so much to offer its guests.