Corfu is a sunny island in the Ionian Sea with a history as large as the nearly 3,000-foot-high mountaintop that dominates the landscape.
This small island, with its resident population of around 100,000 people, has always played a huge role in the Mediterranean, and you’ll see why when you hike to the summit of Mount Pantokrator, stand on the lofty battlements of the Angelokastro, or explore the Venetian fortresses (old and new) that dominate Corfu’s Old Town. It’s just a few miles from the northeastern tip of Corfu to Albania, while the Greek mainland is just a few miles off the southern coast of the island.
Across Corfu, remnants and relics of Hellenistic and Roman empires are constantly unearthed, while the legacy of Byzantine, Venetian, French, and British rule has created a unique, modern Greek character that you’ll love delving into.
But of course, Corfu is perhaps best known among modern tourists for its dramatic coastline and beautiful beaches. You can spend your vacation hopping from one beach or island to the next, snorkeling or diving the reefs and sea caverns, or wining and dining in your favorite taverna.
With so many things to see and do, you might not know where to start. That’s why we’ve compiled our list of the absolute best things to do in Corfu for you. Try these fun and unique Corfu bucket list recommendations, and we guarantee you’re going to have an amazing time exploring this beautiful Greek island!
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15 Fun and Unique Things to do in Corfu, Greece
1. Delve into the ancient world at the Archeological Museum of Corfu
History fans will quickly fall in love with Corfu, where the ancient world is just waiting to be uncovered. Corfu played a prominent role in ancient European history, and you can find out more with a trip to the Archaeological Museum of Corfu.
This impressive museum first opened in 1967, and it was originally intended to showcase the then-recent finds from the excavation of Corfu’s Artemis Temple, which had been uncovered in Paleopolis. This included an impressive Gorgon pediment, as well as a range of other archeological objects dating back to the Hellenistic era.
The museum has since expanded and now hosts several floors of exhibits from Corfu’s prehistoric and Hellenistic periods, making this an excellent place to learn more about the classical world. There are Roman statues, Greek funerary ornaments, and a collection of ancient coins that offer a brief glimpse into a time long since passed.
2. Explore Corfu’s Old Town
Exploring the Old Town is one of the must-do things in Corfu. This is the historic heart of Corfu, and you’ll love how the district’s importance is recognized by its UNESCO World Heritage status.
There’s much to see, so prepare yourself for a full day of walking when you set out into the Old Town. This is the original ancient city of Corfu, a place known to locals as Korkyra, where you’ll see firsthand the many influences and powers that have shaped the island.
Start with the Old Venetian Fortress, which sits on a small peninsula jutting out into the Ionian Sea. Drop into the Archaeological Museum in Corfu, see the former theater-turned-City Hall, and look out for the Venetian-style piazzas and canal.
Then make your way over to the New Venetian Fortress, visit the British-built Palace of St. Michael and St. George, and marvel at the religious icons on display in the Byzantine Museum. Throughout the day, you’ll find countless churches hidden away among the medieval streets, while there’s always a cafe or taverna ready to welcome you in with a few well-earned refreshments as you explore the best sights in Corfu’s Old Town.
3. Go to the best beaches in Corfu
A beach trip is one of the most fun things to do in Corfu because we’re pretty sure it’s the island’s coastline that’s really brought you here!
Corfu is renowned for its excellent beaches, and you’ll be spoiled for choice when you’re deciding which beach to visit. You may even find that your hotel or resort overlooks an impressive stretch of sand of its own, in which case, don’t let us stop you – jump right in!
Every mile of coastline in Corfu seems to have a unique beach to visit, but here are just a few of our top picks. In the north of Corfu, the breathtakingly beautiful Canal d’Amour (Channel of Love) is a romantic favorite close to the popular town of Sidari. The wilder northern coast is home to countless small coves and bays and is a perfect place for a sailing excursion or boating trip in search of hidden beaches.
One of the most popular beach destinations in Corfu has long been Paleokastritsa, where you’ll find many of the best beaches on the island. These include Alipa, Agios Spyridonas, and Agios Petros.
For typical resort-style beaches, you have Glyfada on the west coast of Corfu, while in the south, Kavos has readily accessible beaches and amenities. Best of all, though, is Porto Timoni Beach, where you’ll find a double beach separated by a narrow spit of land that’s engulfed by cliffs and turquoise waters.
4. Wander in the footsteps of royalty at Achilleion Palace
Corfu has always been a hit with European royalty, and if you travel to Gastouri, on the east coast of the island, you can visit the magnificent Achilleion Palace. This royal palace was designed by an Italian architect for an Austrian Empress, and the lavish scale of the building is sure to astound you even a century after its construction.
The Achilleion Palace draws on the Greco-Roman traditions of the Ionian Sea and is named for the legendary Achilles, who fought in the Trojan Wars. But the palace itself only dates back to the late 19th century, when Empress Elisabeth of Austria had it commissioned as her summer residence.
Today, you can wander through regal rooms and marvel at the mighty statue of Achilles in the gardens. You can also learn more about the palace’s unique history.
It was inherited by Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany after Empress Elisabeth’s death, then during the First World War, it became a hospital and in the Second World War, it was commandeered by Allies generals in need of a headquarters on Corfu.
5. Visit the 13th-century Monastery of Paleokastritsa
The island is home to countless churches, holy places, and monasteries, but one of the most fascinating Corfu attractions is the Monastery of Paleokastritsa. This impressive place of worship dates back to the 13th century AD, and it’s located in a beautiful position in the hills above the village of Paleokastritsa.
The monastery is thought to have been built by the Byzantines in 1228 AD, making it one of the oldest continually inhabited religious complexes in Corfu. Not much remains of the original structures, however, although the buildings you see today generally still date back a few hundred years to the 18th century.
The monastery was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and there’s much religious iconography to admire. If you’re not religious, then the impressive Byzantine history that surrounds the monastery is a worthy reason to visit. Even if you’re not into your history, the commanding view afforded from the monastery, with panoramas across the northwestern coast of Corfu, is absolutely stunning.
6. Hike to the summit of Mount Pantokrator
Hiking to the summit of Mount Pantokrator is one of the top things to do in Corfu! This lofty mountain peak rises 2,953 feet above sea level, making the summit the highest point to be found on Corfu. You can see Mount Pantokrator from almost anywhere on the island, so if you love an outdoor adventure, we guarantee that soon enough, you’re going to want to reach the top.
The most popular route to the summit starts in the village of Old Perithia. Take a look around first because Old Perithia is one of the oldest villages in Corfu.
It was founded in the 14th century, high up in the hills, when the locals needed to escape the continual raids that ravaged the coast. Today, many of the houses are preserved in a unique Venetian style that was typical of the era but that has rarely survived elsewhere.
From Old Perithia, the path to the mountaintop takes an average of one and a half hours to complete. Perhaps more, perhaps less – it depends on your fitness! The views from the top are absolutely breathtaking, and you can often see Italy, Albania, and mainland Greece on a clear day. The way back down is a little easier and should take no longer than an hour.
7. Explore Corfu’s underwater world on a snorkeling or diving trip
If you love snorkeling and diving, then you’ve decided to visit a great island. Exploring the underwater world is one of the best things to do in Corfu, and there are many reefs waiting below the surface of the Ionian Sea.
For qualified scuba divers, some of the best sites are found at Colovri, where you can reach depths of 100 feet (and more) while spotting schools of fish, moray eels, and much more among the rocks and crevices. Other great sites include House Reef, Kassiopi Reef, and Monastery. Cave divers will love an adventure to the Hole of Ha, an eerie underwater cavern where you can reach depths of 82 feet.
For snorkelers, the opportunities are just as abundant. Just grab a mask, snorkel, and fins and wade off your nearest beach into the water. You’re bound to be impressed by the marine life. Dive operators often take snorkelers along with them on boat trips, too, while dedicated snorkeling tours regularly run to top snorkeling sites like Kassiopi and Paleokastritsa.
8. Join a sailing trip along the Corfu coast
One of the best ways to explore Corfu’s exceptional coastline is on a sailing trip. There’s little better than sitting on the deck, with the Ionian sea breeze filling the sails, as you take in stunning views of Corfu.
Of course, the best sailing trip is a private yacht charter, and there’s many a boat captain waiting in Corfu’s marinas to take you and your group out for the day. Personalize your itinerary, pick your drinks, and get ready for an awesome sailing experience!
There are also group sailing trips to join if you are on a budget or if you’re a solo traveler, while multi-day sailing trips frequent the Ionian Islands throughout the summer sailing season.
9. Marvel at Vlacherna Monastery and visit Mouse Island in Kanoni
Just to the south of Corfu’s Old Town, you’ll find Kanoni, one of the most picturesque destinations on the island.
Kanoni is a little peninsula with a collection of hotels and guesthouses overlooking the Ionian Sea. From Kanoni’s hilltop, you’ll spot Vlacherna Monastery and Mouse Island below.
From afar, Vlacherna Monastery looks to be floating on the water. It is, in a way, as the 17th-century holy monastery is built on a tiny rock in the sea and only connected to Kanoni by a narrow walkway. You can stroll across the walkway to this floating monastery, where you can learn more about this unique religious site.
Walk back to Kanoni, and you can jump on one of the small boats that traverse the small strait leading across to Mouse Island. The journey takes just a few minutes, and when you arrive, you can set foot on one of the smallest islands in Corfu. The island is also home to a quaint monastery, which is thought to have been built by the Byzantines sometime in the 12th century AD.
10. Be awed by the mighty ruins of Angelokastro
Like all Greek islands, Corfu is littered with relics and ruins of empires of the past. Few other historic sights on the island, though, can compare to the mighty ruins of Angelokastro.
Angelokastro is located on the northwestern side of the island, not far from the village of Paleokastritsa. The castle is precariously situated atop craggy cliff tops and was deliberately built at the highest coastal point in Corfu. The scenery itself is dramatic, but when you add the crumbling walls of the castle into the fold, you’ve got yourself one of the best things to do in Corfu!
A winding road leads toward the base of the hilltop, where you continue on foot to reach the battlements. The castle sits at 1,000 feet above sea level, ensuring you’re going to have exceptional views across much of the island and the Ionian Sea.
The castle is thought to have been built around the 12th or 13th century, although there are likely to have been earlier forts here for centuries before this. The Byzantines constructed the castle in order to control the strategically important sea lanes between Corfu and Italy, and Angelokastro continues to dominate the landscape to this day.
11. Fall in love with the Canal d’Amour
If you’re looking for a special place to take that special someone in your life, then why not make a romantic trip to the Canal d’Amour? This is Corfu’s “Channel of Love,” and it’s a beautifully scenic beach close to the town of Sidari on the northern coast of the island.
The Canal d’Amour (which literally means Channel of Love) is so called because of its natural aesthetics. Over time, the sea has carved a long, thin channel between the cliffs, and that channel is filled with the sparklingly clear waters of the Ionian Sea.
There’s a small beach at the start of the channel, although, as you might imagine, it gets packed quickly in summer. Many of those tourists are couples because, as the enduring local tradition has it, couples that swim together in the channel stay together forever!
12. Take a trip across to Albania
Look out to the east when you’re in Corfu, and you’ll see Albania just across the strait. In fact, you’re just as close to Albania as you are to mainland Greece, and it’s super easy to make a day trip (or multi-day trip) from Corfu to this lesser-visited Balkan nation.
Albania is fast making a name for itself as a destination to rival anywhere else in the Mediterranean, and you’ll immediately notice that the prices are much lower than Corfu, while the beaches are just as good. There’s even an excellent choice of beach clubs along the seafront in Sarande, a place that’s better known as the Albanian Riviera!
In peak season, there are several ferries a day connecting Corfu to Albania. The fastest speedboats take just half an hour, and the slowest car ferries take around an hour. They all depart from Port of Corfu and cross to the harbor in Sarande, the main town along the Albanian Riviera.
From here, you can take in the town’s easy-to-access beachfront, have a few low-price cocktails or glasses of wine, and enjoy some excellent Italian, Greek, and Albanian food on a budget. You can also head further south to a small town called Ksamil, where you’ll find the unique natural sights within Butrint Archeological Park were well worth the boat trip!
13. Enjoy a day trip to Paxos and Antipaxos
It’s said that Poseidon forged the island of Paxos when the Greek god of the sea smashed Corfu with his trident. Paxos, and the neighboring island of Antipaxos, are both steeped in legend and myth, and they make for a fantastic day trip from Corfu.
The two islands (often referred to collectively as Paxoi) are just 10 miles from Corfu, and they are considered to be the smallest islands in the Ionian Islands chain. In summer, ferries depart regularly from Corfu to Gaios, the main town in Paxos, or you can join a group sailing trip or charter your own private boat.
However you choose to arrive, you’re sure to fall in love with the slow pace of life on Paxos, where the resident population numbers around 2,000. Enjoy the quiet charms of Gaios, take in the local beaches and scenery of Paxos, then continue south to Antipaxos, which is just a few miles away.
This is where it’s handy to have joined a boat tour because you’ll get to see the Blue Caves the tiny island is famed for. Finish with a quick stop at Voutoumi Beach before you’re taken back to Corfu at the end of the day!
14. Party the night away in Kavos
For many Europeans, a trip to the clubs in Kavos is a rite of passage, and if you’re the partying type, then you’ll find yourself more than at home in Corfu’s most notorious beach town.
Kavos is the most southerly town on the island, and there’s a long strip dedicated to bars, pubs, and restaurants. In peak season, it’s guaranteed to be packed with package holidaymakers and backpackers, and you can party the night away in one of the many, many clubs.
But in Kavos, you’ll also have access to some of Corfu’s most convenient beaches (although they are often crowded), as well as fun activities like boat tours, an aqua park, and live music events. If you’re looking for a traditional resort-style holiday, then Kavos is also where you’ll find the best range of accommodation for the best price!
15. Admire the wild landscapes of Cape Drastis
One of the most beautiful Corfu sightseeing attractions is Cape Drastis, a wild headland that extends out into the Ionian Sea from Corfu’s north coast. Cape Drastis is the most northwesterly point in Corfu, and we guarantee you’ll be awed by the chalky white cliffs that rise abruptly from the water far below.
This little-developed stretch of coastline can be visited by land or by sea. If you’re visiting by land, then you’ll need to drive or hike a rough road that leads from the village of Peroulades to the headland. From here, you’ll have an incredible panorama of Cape Drastis, but it’s as far as you can go (easily, at least) on foot.
The second option is to view Cape Drastis from the sea. This is the easier way to explore the area, as on a calm day, you can just enjoy the sunshine from the deck while waiting for the headland to appear. From the sea, you’ll be able to admire the cliffs in all their beauty while looking out for the many sea caves that dot the coastline here.
There you have it! The 15 best things to do in Corfu, Greece. What’s your favorite thing to do in Corfu?
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