Corfu is a very large island with a very long history: these two characteristics together make it an ideal destination for a complete sea vacation and not only.
When you can’t stand the heat on the beach anymore, there are many things to see and do: visit interesting museums, discover the ancient crafts of the island in the inland villages, get in touch with an unspoiled nature, take pictures of characteristic churches, be charmed by suggestions of Venice and Vienna. Sunset time? It is the ideal time to admire breathtaking views capable of bewitching princesses and emperors with their beauty and relieve their restless souls.
Visiting Corfu outside of the most famous beaches is a fascinating experience, which brings you to know great people who have made the history of Europe and humble villagers who with their daily habits have made the island traditions survive until today.
Dry your costume and get in the car: the top attractions of Corfu are waiting for you!
The capital of Corfu is an elegant city where the traces of Venetian domination are very evident. It is the ideal base to stay at for those who want to combine sea and city life, but it deserves to be visited also by those staying elsewhere.
Rich in interesting museums, boutiques and lively places where you can have a drink while watching the people go by, Corfu Town (called Kerkyra in Greek) will keep you busy for at least half a day, or more.
Attractions not to be missed are the Church of St. Spyridon, easily recognizable by its characteristic red dome; the Royal Palace, the largest building in Corfu; the characteristic Cambiello quarter; the Spianada, the main square overlooked by the Ancient Fortress.
According to the locals Paleokastritsa it is the most beautiful area of Corfu, and since they certainly know a thing or two about beautiful landscapes, this stretch of coast on the west side of the island must be included in the list of things to see.
The area includes the homonymous beach, which is the main one and the only one equipped, and a series of coves and paradisiacal inlets reachable only by sea. Thanks to the cab boat service, moving from one to another is not so difficult: it is worth seeing as many as possible!
The most photographed attraction of Corfu is the Monastery of Vlachérna, a characteristic white church of the 18th century placed in a scenic position on an islet connected to the mainland by a small footbridge. The effect is that of a building suspended over the sea: an enchantment, especially at sunset when the sky is tinged with beautiful colors.
The islet is located on the peninsula of Kanoni, about 4 km from Corfu, and can be reached with a beautiful walk from the city center. You can continue the day with a visit to the islet of Pontikonissi, uninhabited and wild, taking a boat that leaves from the pier of Vlachérna.
Another scenic wonder of Corfu not to be missed is the Canal d’Amour near Sidari (north of the island), a sort of small fjord created by cream-colored rocks stretching towards the sea. A masterpiece of nature, created in years and years of slow erosion by wind and sea.
It is a very evocative place (and much photographed!) but it is also an ideal spot for a few hours of relaxation. At the end of the fjord there is in fact a small sandy beach where you can lay your towel and admire the beauty of the place.
If you visit Canal d’Amour as a couple, remember to absolutely take a bath: according to a local belief, lovers who swim in these waters remain bound for life.
Viennese atmosphere in one of the most beautiful Greek islands: the Achillion Palace is the palace where the restless Elizabeth of Austria, better known as Princess Sissi, came to stay in search of peace. It is an elegant nineteenth-century building in neoclassical style away from the hustle and bustle of the seaside resorts, hidden among silent expanses of olive trees.
It was Sissi herself who wanted to dedicate the palace to the Homeric hero Achilles, also honored by a statue depicting him in the fateful moment when Paris pierced his heel.
Don’t be misled by the name: the Emperor’s Throne is not a chair of gold and brocades but a belvedere in the village of Pelekas from which William II, Emperor of Austria, admired the sunsets of Corfu. And to say that it takes a lot to impress a nobleman accustomed to luxury …
Climb the stone steps leading to this panoramic terrace, also known as the Kaiser’s Observatory, and enjoy the same enchanting view of vineyards and olive groves, dream beaches and traditional villages.
After taking breathtaking photos stop for a while to wander around the streets of Pelekas, a quaint village perched in the hills of central-western Corfu that for decades was a popular destination among hippies from all over Europe.
If you love beautiful views another attraction to put on your list of things not to miss in Corfu is the fortress of Angelokastro, a medieval citadel built on the top of a hill 3 km from the village of Lakones. It was built in the 13th century by the will of Michael II of Epirus.
The final part of the path to reach it is rather steep, but you will be rewarded with a splendid view of the sea and the green hills of the surroundings. Then, back down, turn around and look at this impregnable fortress from below: it’s a really impressive view!
A vacation in Greece, whether mainland or islands, cannot be said to be complete without a visit to the ancient ruins. In Corfu, the best of cultural tourism is the archaeological site of Paleopolis, located on the peninsula of Kanoni.
The visit follows a guided tour that begins at the Roman baths and includes the agora area, the military port of Alcinoo (King of the Phaeacians), the sanctuary of Artemis and a tower of the city walls. The archaeological site of Paleopolis can be visited independently, without having to participate in a guided tour; audio guides are available.
At the end of the route those who want to know more about the excavations and the findings can visit the Museum of Mon Repos, reachable on foot in 10 minutes.
The lake of Korission represents a pleasant diversion from beaches and hills covered with olive trees. The landscape here is very different: in spite of the name, it is a lagoon that extends close to a stretch of sea in the south-west of the island. Walking on the bridge that crosses the lagoon you can admire the typical lagoon landscape and the many birds that live there, including some very rare species.
Visit Lake Korission at sunset if you want to be full of romance or if you are fond of nature photography.
One of the best experiences to have in Corfu is a boat trip, but don’t disdain its inland equivalent: a tour of the island’s villages. If the coast is now completely devoted to tourism, the villages away from the sea have maintained a more traditional atmosphere.
They are the right places to discover how life was in Corfu before the advent of tourism, to learn about crafts and customs centuries old, taste genuine local products and admire unspoiled landscapes. In order to discover the maritime traditions, it is necessary to visit the villages on the coast where a strong tourist infrastructure has not yet developed.
Among the most beautiful villages of Corfu we can mention: Lefkimi10, a fishing village; Strinilas11, a mountain village on Mount Pantokratoras, the highest on the island; Palia Perithia12, a small group of stone houses immersed in total silence.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article