Corfu, Greece

Corfu, also called Kerkyra, is located in the Ionian Sea and belongs to the Ionian Islands. It is the northwestern-most Greek island, and with an area of 593 square kilometers is the seventh largest in the country. It is located closer to Albania than to Greece and is about 103 km off the coast of the province of Lecce in Italy. They call Corfu “the most British of all Greek islands”. With a total population of 102.071 people, the island is home to more than 10,000 British settlers as well as a steadily increasing number of other nationalities such as Germans, Scandinavians, Russians and others.

corfu sidariIt is estimated that the total number of foreigners living on the island is about 30,000. This creates a unique multicultural and cosmopolitan environment.

In general a large number of foreigners lives in all parts of Corfu, but their number is biggest in the northern part of the island.

The best time to visit Corfu

The best time for tourism in Corfu is early summer (May and June) and late summer (September and October). This part of the year is preferable, since temperatures are higher than 23°C but usually lower than 28°C.

In addition, these months are recommended if you wish to avoid the huge crowds of tourists.

Beach season of Corfu

The beach season of Corfu lasts six months. It begins in early May and continues until the end of October. At the end of the season you will find warmer sea waters but higher rainfalls.

What clothes to wear?

From May to October are required light summer clothes. However, do not forget to wear also a jacket or an anorak just for in case.

Usually the island of Corfu gets a lot of rain in comparison with the rest of Greece. Sometimes these sudden and abundant precipitations are responsible for the relatively cooler summer afternoons in comparison with the Aegean islands for example.

This applies for the entire summer season but especially for the months of May and October.

From November to April the weather conditions in Corfu do not change a lot, so if you are planning to travel during the winter season a jacket and a sweater are the first thing to put in your suitcase.

Also, it is a good idea to have some tshirt near at hand, because temperatures sometimes can rise up to about 20°C.

How to get to Corfu?

corfu from aboveThe fastest and easiest way to get to Corfu, especially during the summer season, is to take some of the regular or charter flights that connect the Greek island with various destination from all across Europe.

Another alternative is to fly to Athens and then with a direct domestic flight to Corfu. A few times a week there are flights to and from Thessaloniki.

If you choose to travel by bus from Athens to Corfu, it will take you about seven hours from Athens to Igoumenitsa.

Then you will have to travel by ferry about an hour and a half to the island of Corfu. This alternative is a bit exhausting, but on the other hand, the bus-lines and ferries are quite regular.

Another way to get to Corfu is by ferry from Italy, from cities such as Ancona and Bari. Ferries usually travel about 2-3 times a week.

Where to find the best beaches of Corfu?

Channel of Love

“Channel of Love” is the most famous beach of Corfu. Known for its aquamarine water and golden sand, it is situated in the village of Sidari, in the North of the island.

The place attracts a large number of young people, who come here not only for the beach itself but also to take picture and to enjoy the scenic view.

The narrow cove surrounded by steep limestone rocks actually really resembles a channel. “Channel of Love” is not the only lovely beach on the outskirts of Sidari. The vicinity offers a vast choice of fantastic must visit beaches with fine sand and clear waters.

Paleokastritsa

corfu beachIf you love white sandy beaches and crystal clear turquoise Caribbean-like sea waters, then you should head towards the small village Paleokastritsa, which is comfortably nestled on the west coast of Corfu. The settlement is known for the most beautiful beaches on the island.

The resort village offers several coves with calm and clear marine waters and lush vegetation reaching the coast itself.

Avlaki beach

If you are looking for some idyllic and quiet beach, you can take to the Avlaki beach. It is located in a quiet area on the northeastern coast of Corfu, not far from the coast of Albania.

Compared to other beaches in Corfu, Avlaki is less visited and is the best choice if you are looking for some solitude. It is covered with oval pebbles, and the sea water is very clear.

Kerasia beach

Another alternative to Avlaki is the beach of Kerasia. It is located not far from Avlaki, in northeastern Corfu, and offers beautiful views toward the coast of Albania.

The beach is famous for its pureness and transparent seawaters. Fed by regular rainfalls, the lush Mediterranean vegetation reaches the coast itself.

Paralia Marathias

If you want to find a large golden beach like these in Southern California, you do not need to go to the United States. Paralia Marathias is exactly what you are looking for.

This beach is quite large, so you will find a lot of space for you and your friends even in the busiest tourist season. Paralia Marathias is located in the southwestern part of the island, about a kilometer from the small village of Marathias.

Ermones Beach

One of the famous beaches of Corfu is Ermones Beach. It is located in the central part of the west coast of the island, at the foot of covered with dense vegetation steep hills.

The beach is covered with pebbles and light sand. Besides the main beach, in the area there are a few smaller and difficult to access coves suitable for people seeking peace and quiet.

Warning:

It is important to know that sunbathing without a swimsuit is not allowed in Corfu!

Climate of Corfu

corfu forestCorfu has a subtropical Mediterranean climate. Winters are short and mild, with temperatures of around 14°C during the day in January and February.

Winter nights are cold with temperatures of around 5 – 7°C. Summers are warm and sunny. The beach season lasts about 6 months on average, from early May to late October.

With temperatures of at least 32°C in the shade, August is the warmest month of the year.

Summer nights are very pleasant with temperatures around 18 – 20°C. Unlike most islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Corfu typically has a very humid climate with plenty of rainfalls throughout the year, especially in autumn and winter.

This is the reason for the lush vegetation that covers the Greek island. The period between early June and late August brings drier weather, but even then occasional sudden rainfalls are possible.

In Corfu it snows practically every winter but only in the highest mountains. Frost and snow are an exceptional rarity along the coast.

Sights of Corfu

If you want to visit all the sights of Corfu, it would take some time because they are not one or two. If you have to choose a place to start from, then the capital of the island, Corfu Town, is a good opportunity.

Here you will find the lovely Spianada Square, which is considered to be the most emblematic spot on the island, and the Palace of St Michael and St George, which today houses the Asian Art Museum.

Enjoy a nice walk on the street Liston, which is known for its beautiful old French style buildings with tall columns and arches. After the walk you can have some rest in any of the numerous charming cafes and restaurants.

It would be great to enjoy a cup of coffee or a portion of grilled fish while relaxing surrounded with other tourists from all over the world. Among the biggest attractions of Corfu is the Achilleion Palace.

It was built in the late 19th century to serve as a summer residence of the Empress of Austria. Another major attraction of the Greek island is Paleo Frourio, an old fortress from the 6th century.

The fortress was reinforced by the Venetians to protect the town form the attacks of the Ottoman Empire. Do not miss to visit also the Mon Repos Palace, built in the 19th century as a residence of the British commissioner.

Nature

With its fantastic landscapes, Corfu is a popular destination among nature lovers from all over the world. During the middle ages, the island was often called “The Garden of Eden.”

streets of kerkyraCorfu is a mountainous island, and the highest point reaches 906 meters above sea level in Mount Pantokrator.

The island is covered with dense forests of coniferous and deciduous trees, olive and citrus groves, date palms, cypresses, figs and other subtropical plants.

Lush vegetation reaches the lovely coastline of Corfu, which is famous for its paradise coves and fantastic beaches with white or golden sand and crystal clear sapphire or aquamarine waters. The forests, which cover most of the island, provide a refuge to the rich local fauna.

The island is home to a great variety of species of small mammals such as ferrets, moles, hedgehogs, bats and many others as well as approximately 150 different species of birds, including a wide variety of waterfowl, which inhabit the marshes of the island.

Cities

There are a number of lovely towns which every tourist should visit. Undoubtedly, the most attractive are Kerkyra, the capital of the island of Corfu (or also known as Corfu Town), and Paleokastritsa.

Corfu Town is located on the west coast and is a vibrant and colorful place with typical European atmosphere – narrow streets, old buildings, beautiful gardens and welcoming squares.

Paleokastritsa itself is a lovely resort town offering an amazing scenery and the most stunning beaches on the island.

Culture

Corfu was a possession of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, France, Britain and some of the great Italian city-states such as Venice and Naples, but unlike the rest of Greece, the island has never been part of the Ottoman Empire.

corfu townFor this reason, here you will find unparalleled palette of cultures and traditions mixed with the incredibly rich Greek culture.

However, in contrast with the rest of the Balkans, there are no traces of Ottoman influence on the island of Corfu.

Walking down the streets of any of the local towns, you will see a real masterpiece between Greek and Italian lifestyle mixed with nuances of fine French architecture and British cosmopolitan spirit.

Talking about the British cultural influence, Corfu Town is the place to find the only cricket playground on the island.