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Corfu is the third largest island in Greece and one of the most western islands in the country situated between Albania and Italy in the Ionian Sea. If you were to drive through the country going north to south (or vice versa) it would take you over two hours to reach the opposite coast. It’s a lovely, vibrant island with locals who are just waiting to show you around and remind you that there are no worries on the island of Corfu. It’s a place to relax and enjoy yourself as you soak up the Greecian sun.
I spent a whirlwind three days exploring the island of Corfu, and have to say that to see Corfu best, you must do your research ahead of time. I took the ferry from Saranda, Albania, and showed up with no plan which led to overspending and not staying in the most desirable area. Luckily I met kind locals who were happy to show me around and share insider tips into the island, making my trip one to remember instead of a total wash. These are the things that I wish I knew before arriving on the island of Corfu.
Visiting Corfu – What to Know About this Greek Island
How to Get to Corfu
Corfu does have an airport, making it easily reachable from other cities in Europe. Plus budget airlines, like RyanAir and WizzAir, access Corfu so it’s an affordable destination if you’re flying within Europe.
You can also reach Corfu by sea. You can take the ferry from other islands in Greece, Italy, and even Albania! To search for a ferry into Corfu, check out this website.
If you plan to visit Corfu from Saranda, don’t miss 8 Things to See and Do in the Albanian Riviera
Where to Stay in Corfu
Because it can be relatively difficult (or expensive) to get around Corfu, I recommend basing yourself in a desirable part of the island, even if it costs a little bit more money, to save on transportation costs. My two favorite areas in Corfu are Corfu Town which is close to the airport and a major bus stop that can take you to other areas of the island, and Paleokastritsa, an area that’s a bit more remote than Corfu Town.
If you stay in Corfu Town expect more of a small-town feel with an incredible old town, fortresses, but less beach access. If you’re looking to be in a more beachy and maybe remote area, then I recommend basing yourself in the Paleokastritsa area.
When I visited Corfu I stayed in Gouvia. There were fun bars and restaurants around, but overall the area was less desirable than other parts of the island. That weren’t any great beaches in the area and unless you catch the bus, it was expensive to get around the island.
Getting Around Corfu
If you’re visiting Corfu, I would avoid taking a taxi at all costs (unless you’re short on time). Taxi’s in Corfu are wicked expensive and they don’t use meters so you’re at the mercy of whatever the driver wants to charge you. If you do decide to take a taxi make sure to ask the price ahead of time. In my experience, you could negotiate about 25% of the time.
The cheapest option, but the least convenient, would be to take the bus around the island. If you’re in a remote area or going to a remote area, you’re really at the mercy of the bus which could go to a destination/depart from a destination only once per day. However, if you’re going to Corfu Town buses run much more frequently making it easier to get around. If you take the bus expect your ride to cost anywhere between 1-4 Euro, and make sure to have cash on hand – cards are not accepted.
The two buses that move around the island are the blue buses and the green buses. The blue buses are the city buses and the green buses will take you around the island. The green buses are the ones that may only run once or twice a day so you want to check the schedule ahead of time to make sure you don’t get stranded. You can see the green bus schedules here, and the blue bus schedules here.
If you come to Corfu by plane or ferry, you’ll more than likely hop on a blue bus to San Rocco Square before transferring to another bus to get to your final destination.
In my opinion, the best option would be to rent. While it’s not the cheapest option, it’s by far the most convenient – especially if you’re short on time. There are rentals all over the island (cars, ATVs, and scooters), so it should be fairly easy to find a rental company. You do need an international driver’s license in Greece so make sure to get that ahead of time. Or if you’re short on time you can get an express license here.
When searching for rental companies, I generally prefer to rent from Enterprise for their customer service, car availability, and competitive pricing. I also like to search on QEEQ to compare rental prices and make sure I’m getting the best deal.
Highlights of Corfu – What to See and Do On the Island
Now for the fun stuff! If you’re visiting Corfu, what should you see and do on the island?! While I barely scratched the surface, you could spend months in Corfu discovering hidden gems and beautiful places, the highlights of my trip are as follows…
SPEND THE DAY IN CORFU TOWN
If you don’t plan to stay in Corfu Town, you definitely will have to carve out a day to visit. It’s the capital of Corfu and a beautiful and quaint area full of shops, restaurants, and bars. It’s right on the water so while it can get unbearably hot during the day, nighttime cools down with the ocean breeze. I would suggest visiting around 4 pm, walking the streets where you can find some good shade. And then heading to the Old Fortress around 6 pm when the sun begins to set and things cool off.
In Corfu Town don’t miss visiting the Church of Saint Spyridon (entrance is free), Yogurt Berry for Greek yogurt, and Grecian for shopping. Also head to the Old Fortress (entrance is 6 Euro) where you can visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum, ruins, and even pop down to the beach.
RENT A BOAT IN PALAIOKASTRITSA
One of the absolute highlights of visiting Corfu was renting a boat and venturing out to sea, discovering beautiful beaches and caves.
I rented a boat from Blue Lagoon Boats Corfu and opted for a skipper to show me around the island. Blue Lagoon has five boats for rent and you can take them out privately, or hire someone to take you out for the day. The owner, Kostas, provides ice and a cooler plus can help arrange lunch if you want to get off the boat. From what I gathered, Blue Lagoon Boats may be a little bit more expensive than other companies. While I enjoyed my experience with them, make sure to do your research if you don’t want to spend as much money. Prices at Blue Lagoon start at 120 Euro for the day (and go up depending on what boat you get) – fuel is not included in the final price. The best way to reserve a boat is to contact Kostas on WhatsApp (number on the website).
Another company that I heard good things about, but didn’t use, is SkiClub 105.
If you rent a boat in Palaiokastritsa, don’t miss visiting Paradise Beach, Stelari Beach, Marmara Beach, and Verderosa Beach. One thing to know about the beaches in this area is that they are rocky, so if you plan to step onto the beach you may want to consider purchasing water shoes. Also, most of these beaches are only accessible by boat.
While you’re in Palaikoastritsa, don’t miss your chance to hike up to the monastery for incredible views. Entrance into the monastery is donation-based.
PARTY ON GLYFADA BEACH
Located on the western side of Corfu (south of Paleokastritsa), Glyfada Beach is another beautiful sandy beach (not rocky) with crystal clear water. The fun thing about this beach is that it’s a bit more of a “party” scene. While you can lay on the ground for free, they have comfortable chairs available to rent starting at 20 Euro. You can get food and drinks ordered right to your chair, or head up to the restaurant that sits on the beach – Pazuzu – for a fun and lively atmosphere with incredible food, drinks, and amazing music.
Being the third largest island in Greece, there’s so much to explore in Corfu. If you plan to visit Greece, don’t miss your chance at visiting Corfu.
If you’re planning to “island hop” through Greece, don’t miss these posts:
A Guide to Visiting Tinos, Greece
The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Santorini
The Ultimate Paros Travel Guide
SHOP MY FAVORITE GREECE LOOKS!
For more on Corfu (and Greece in general), make sure to check out my Instagram page/highlight reel by searching “#ppingreece” or watching my highlights, “Greece”.
You are the new up and coming Rick Steves so get started on your book series 😉