Corfu – Overview

Blame the Durrells. First Lawrence published ‘Prospero’s Cell’, in which he described Corfu as ‘this brilliant little speck of an island in the Ionian’. Then Gerald wrote ‘My Family and Other Animals’, the story of his idyllic childhood on Corfu. By the late 1950s, the island’s northeast coast was the place to be. 

It still is - though somehow this lush, green haven, with its superb views across the glittering Ionian Sea and exquisite bays and beaches, manages to remain unspoilt. Take a boat along the coast to explore deserted coves and swim in the crystal clear waters. Stop at a simple taverna for lunch and in the evening dine on grilled octopus and fresh lobster at a chic waterside restaurant. It’s little wonder so many people return here year after year.

Don’t miss out on Corfu Town, the island’s Venetian capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It gets crowded as the day wears on, but go early and you can wander in peace through the labyrinth of cobbled streets and ancient archways while the locals go about their business, buying bread and pastries and gossiping over a coffee. Later, make for the park and watch a game of cricket – not something you’ll see anywhere else in the Greek Islands.

Learn more about traditional Corfu or about taking a twin-centre holiday with Meganissi.

Read about our chartered British Airways flights to Corfu.

 

FLY TO

Corfu International Airport (CFU)

FLIGHT TIME FROM UK

3 hours 15 minutes

TIME DIFFERENCE

+2 hours

CURRENCY

Euro

Corfu – Location & Map

   

Corfu – Villas

   

Plumbago

  • Corfu, 5 bedrooms/sleeps 10
  • Stylish family property
  • Use of all facilites at The Rou Estate 
  • Wifi and games rooms

Poppy's House

  • Corfu, 4 bedrooms/sleeps 7
  • Contemporary family villa
  • A short drive from local amenities and beach
  • Wifi and air-conditioned

The Manor House

  • 5 bedrooms/sleeps 10
  • Large family home
  • New swimming pool for 2015
  • Beautiful stone renovations

Villa Oliveto

  • Corfu, 4 bedrooms/sleeps 8
  • Private gated property
  • Stunning sea views
  • Large private pool

Atolikos House

  • Corfu, 3 bedrooms/sleeps 6
  • Elegant, modern property on the water's edge
  • Peaceful location yet just 5 minute drive to Kassiopi
  • Wifi, air-conditioned, Sky TV

Cassiopeia

  • Corfu, 7 bedrooms/sleeps 14
  • Luxury state-of-the-art property 
  • Sea views, 5min drive to Kassiopi
  • Wifi, air-conditioned, cinema room

Maia

  • Corfu, 3 bedrooms/sleeps 8
  • Private infinity-edge pool
  • Direct beach access
  • Wifi, Sky TV and PC

Nissaki Bay House

  • Corfu, 5 bedrooms/sleeps 10-12
  • Stunning sea views
  • Large private pool
  • Walking distance to beach

Persephone

  • Corfu, 3 bedrooms/sleeps 8
  • Elegant sea front villa
  • Walking distance to Avlaki Bay
  • Private infinity swimming pool

Villa Christianna

  • Corfu, 4 bedrooms/sleeps 8
  • Recently refurbished family villa 
  • Agios Stephanos beach and restaurants 7min walk
  • Air-conditoned throughout
  • Wifi

Villa Lilianna

  • Corfu, 6 bedrooms/sleeps 12
  • Well designed property, set within large private grounds
  • Beaches and local amenities 5 min drive
  • Wifi, Satellite TV

Villa San Stephanos

  • Corfu, 6 bedrooms/sleeps 12
  • Beautiful Venetian style 
  • Local amenities within easy reach
  • Under-floor cooling system 
Sorry, we don't have any accommodation matching your criteria. Please amend the above filter.
Corfu – Regions

Crete

Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands is a romantic one, retaining much of its character with stunning archaeological sites and medieval harbour towns. The Island can offer quiet relaxed experiences or a busy lively break. Explore the rocky landscape, unwind on golden shores lapped by azure waters or linger over a bottle of fine wine in a number of chic cafés.

Meganissi

Lying just off the coast of Lefkada, this petite and pristine island is characterised by countless hidden inlets, white pebble beaches and the clearest turquoise sea. Meganissi is wonderfully unspoilt with just a handful of tiny villages and a wild, forested interior.

Paxos

An hour by boat from Corfu, Paxos lies reassuringly off the beaten tourist track. It's somewhere to totally relax and reconnect with family and loved ones, this charming holiday destination - where time has almost stood still - is just 10km long and has three main villages. Daily activity should consist of no more than snorkelling from a bobbing boat and strolling down to dine at a waterside tavern.

Corfu – Our Guide

Corfu is the second largest of the seven Ionian Islands, traditionally known as the Heptanes, which lie off the west coast of Greece. With pristine beaches lapped by a turquoise sea, a historic and sophisticated capital and some of the finest villa accommodation in the entire country, Corfu is one of Greece’s most sought-after travel destinations with a very loyal clientele.

The Greek name for Corfu is Kerkyra, which derives from name of the river nymph that the sea god Poseidon is said to have married on the island. Modern Corfu is still beautifully romantic, with myriad intimate little coves waiting to be discovered along the stunning north eastern coast. One of the greenest areas in Greece, there are also strong Italian, French and British influences on the culture, architecture and cuisine, making Corfu the most cosmopolitan of the Ionian Islands.

Corfu – History & Culture

Corfu was heavily fortified
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The Ionian Islands were first settled by inhabitants from the Greek mainland as far back as the pre-historic Palaeolithic period. In the 8th century BC, Corfu became a colony of the Corinthians, though it soon became hostile towards its mother city and began to demand independence. It allied with Corinth’s enemy Athens, sparking the Peloponnesian War against the infamous military power of Sparta.

After a handful of unstable alliances and pirate invasions, in 229 BC Corfu conceded to the Roman Empire, later to become the Byzantine Empire for 1000 years, and many castles and forts were built. In 1204, the island was handed over to Venice after the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, and the old town developed its distinctive Italian character. 

 

During the 400 year Venetian occupation, Corfu proudly became the only Greek Island to escape capture by the Turkish Ottoman Empire thanks to its strategic fortification.
In 1807, the island became a French colony when Napoleon Bonaparte declared it as part of his empire. When Napoleon surrendered in 1815, Corfu was placed under British protection, and was granted a new constitution, an assembly to advise the British High Commissioner and a modern justice system. In 1864, Corfu was ceded by the British Empire and became part of modern Greece.

In 2007, Corfu Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, and contains some of the finest examples of Venetian architecture outside of Italy.

Venetian rooftops
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Corfu – Climate

The sea can be as warm as 25°c in summer
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Corfu has a mild Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers from June through to August. The temperature averages between 23°c and 26°c, but can reach highs of up to 31°c in July and August. The summer months have minimal rainfall and up to 12 hours of daylight with little cloud, and the sea warms up to between 22°c in June and 25°c in August, though this can vary from coast to coast.

September remains warm at around 22°c, but rainfall and humidity begin to increase as winter approaches. As temperatures fall from around 19°c in October to 11°c in December, the wet season follows.      

 

The thick, green vegetation of Corfu is dense and fragrant in summer, thanks to the high level of precipitation that falls during the winter months. There can be up to 190mm of rainfall in November, and December can see an average of around 17 rainy days.

Between January and March, temperatures remain at around 10 - 12°c with up to 15 rainy days per month. By April and May, temperatures begin to climb again to between 15 and 18°c and rainfall begins to ease off, and by June the hot, dry weather returns ready for summer.

Thick and fragrant vegetation grows well in Corfu
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Corfu – Activities

Corfu Old Town
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The principal attraction of Corfu is the UNESCO site of the Old Fortress dating back to the Byzantine era. The grand Venetian New Fortress is also nearby, and the central green area of Spianada Square (said to be the largest in Greece) lies below. The Greek and Albanian mainland can be spotted in the distance, and there are views of the Italianate streets below, watched over by the Tower of Saint Spyridon where relics of the city’s saint are held. James Bond fans, keep a look out for familiar scenes – For Your Eyes Only was filmed here too.

The Corfu Trail makes exploring the island on foot easy, with a walking route covering its entire length. The North East Corfu walking region extends along a string of picturesque bays between Nissaki and Kassiopi.   

 

A variety of water sports, boat hire facilities and idyllic sea front tavernas can be found along the trail. The resorts of Barbati, Nissaki, Kaminaki, Kalami, Agios Stefanos, Avlaki, Kassiopi and Apraos fall within the region, and it also includes the mountain villages of Loutses, Lafki, Old Perithia and Porta.

Mount Pantokrator is the highest point on the island. It’s a challenging 3 - 5 hour hike to the top, though there is also a direct driving route for those not wishing to walk. The reward at the peak is the Monastery of Ipsilos with beautiful paintings inside, and at the bottom is the oldest village on the island, Old Perthia, which is mostly deserted apart from five tavernas, perfect for hungry mountain explorers.

Walk or sail along the coastline
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Corfu – Feasts & Festivals

The Tower of St Spyridon
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Corfu has unique traditional festivals characterised by elaborate line dances and plenty of food and drink. It is most famed for its Easter celebrations in the old town, culminating in a huge festival that dazzles first time visitors with traditional pot-throwing and music from the philharmonic orchestra. The celebrations are rounded off with fireworks at midnight and parties that run through until dawn. Easter Sunday is a feast day after all the privations and fasting of Lent - usually lamb on the spit and plenty of local wine.

Saint Spyridon is the most celebrated figure in Corfiot culture, with four processions throughout the year dedicated to him for his help defending the island in the 17th and 18th century.

 

It is said his figure appeared to scare away the Turkish army, and that he descended from his tower to drive away a deadly plague. The body of Saint Spyridon body today is still marched through the streets on feast days, when his worshippers gathered to kiss his slippered feet.

The town of Kassiopi holds the largest festival celebrating the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in August, with more music, food and dancing. Another delightful celebration is the Varkarola Festival at the end of July, which sees fishing boats decorated with fairy lights lining the beaches, accompanied by wonderfully atmospheric choral singing. During the summer months there are regular performances of Corfu’s Philharmonic Band and cricket matches held on Spianada Square, a 200 year old remnant of former British rule.

A stall selling traditional keepsakes
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Corfu – Food & Drink

Fresh seafood is a speciality
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Eating is an important part of life in Greece and Corfu is no different. Traditional food on the island is dominated by local products like fresh fish, olives, Mediterranean vegetables, citrus fruits and cheese. Family run tavernas are where most people chose to dine out, where you are likely to simply walk in and agree on a dish with the chef based on what fresh produce is available, or find a pencil written menu scribbled earlier that day.

A typical way local diners order food is by asking for a large selection of starters, or mezes, to be shared from the centre of the table. Meals are finished with Greek coffee which is served as either bitter or sweet, and is drunk slowly to allow the grains to settle at the bottom.      

 

Ouzo is offered too, a clear aniseed flavoured liquor made from grapes served straight over some ice, or mixed with a little water as an aperitif. Drinking is a social occasion in Greece, and beverages will often be served with a plate of appetisers with the intention sitting back and enjoying company for the evening.

Greek wines may be the most underrated on the planet, despite the fact that the Greeks have been making wine since around 2000 BC! The quality of Greek wines has improved dramatically since the 1980s, and while retsina remains something of an acquired taste, there are some excellent Sauvignon Blancs and Albariños now being produced, offering astounding quality for a reasonable cost.

Waterside taverna serving ouzo and mezesPicture

Corfu – For Families

Boat rides are a favourite way to explore the coast
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Corfu is perfect for families seeking sandy beaches and warm, shallow waters. Pristine Blue Flag awarded sands can be found at the likes of Agios Spiridon, with good facilities, beautiful scenery and a nature reserve and lagoon a short drive away.

Aqualand is one of the most adventurous water parks in Europe. There are slides, rivers and pools with over 15 different water-themed rides. Fans of Gerald Durrell should also make sure they pack their copy of My Family and Other Animals - the small Bosketto Durrell Garden in Corfu town has a small relief sculpture of the author.

 

Hire a boat from Agios Stephanos to explore the north east coast, or venture out to Lazaretto Island only a mile off the mainland where a small monastery and former military hospital can be found. Speedboat taxis depart from Agni Bay too, where three tavernas greet guests, each with their own jetty.  

In Corfu town the green spaces of Spianada Square are great for running about on and the Victorian-style bandstand hosts regular music performances. A boat from the old port departs hourly for the island of Vidos during summer, a small woody island with an animal sanctuary for feeding wild rabbits and goats.

Warm and shallow waters are great for children
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Corfu – For Couples

The Palace of St Michael and St George
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Dining in Corfu town can be surprisingly sophisticated, making a pleasant contrast to the more rustic fare in the smaller villages. The Liston area is a chic arcade with restaurants, cafes and bars overlooking the green of Spianada Square with a distinct Parisian feel, having been modelled on the Rue de Rivoli by French colonists.

For artistic interest, visit The Palace of St Michael and St George, a large Roman-style building that houses Greece’s only museum dedicated to the art of Asia with an incredible collection of Chinese, Japanese and Indian art, or take in the view of Pontikonisi Island, thought to be the inspiration for symbolist artist Arnold Böcklin’s famous painting ‘Isle of the Dead’. On the hill of Analipsis is Mon Repos Palace, sitting on what is believed to be the remains of the original ancient town of Corfu.

 

Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the palace was the summer residence of the British governors of Corfu, was the birthplace of Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1921. The British Cemetery is also worth a stroll around: with year-round blossoming flowers, bushes and trees, there are almost 500 graves and many tributes to noted British Officials.

The Gorgon pediment from the Greek temple of Artemis dating back to 585BC is on display at the The Archaeological Museum of Corfu, and tranquil gardens can be found at The Achilleion, a summer palace built on the instructions of the Empress Elisabeth of Austria who adored Corfu for its beauty and culture. It was abandoned and pillaged during the First and Second World Wars, but has now been restored to all its former glory.

Statue of Achill inside The Achilleion
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