Amazing Day Trips to Take Around Corfu by Boat
Paleokastritsa is a top choice for boat trips in Corfu | © Eugene Gurkov / Alamy Stock Photo
The island of Corfu in the Ionian Sea forms one of the most popular archipelagos in Greece, with Kefalonia, Zante, Lefkas, Ithaka, Paxos and Kythira completing the chain. A trip to this rugged outcrop will reward you with tropical-style beaches, lush mountain scenery, fascinating history and a buzzing culinary scene. Much of the island’s best features, from secluded coves to mysterious caves, can only be explored by boat. Here we reveal some of the best sailing trips you can do to see all this magical destination has to offer.
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Pelekas is a quaint hilltop village located 20-minutes west of the airport, that serves up characterful cafés, unassuming restaurants and a top-rated craft shop, the Witch House, selling handmade ceramics, jewellery and sorcerous curios. After exploring the village head to one of the four beaches nearby. Kontogialos, Glyfada, Gialiskari and Myrtiotissa all offer something different, with the latter being popular with nudists.
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Zip over to Paxos from Corfu, with the voyage taking around 90 minutes by ferry and longer if you’re heading over on sail. The tiny island is adorned with ancient (and protected) olive trees and surrounded by electric blue waters. The capital Gaios features a labyrinth of cobbled streets, some stunning examples of Venetian architecture and a pretty square on the seafront. Voutoumi Beach in the north can only be reached by boat and has been compared to beaches in the Caribbean.
The Blue Caves of Paxos
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If you need another reason to go day-tripping to Paxos, the west coast caves on the island are a must-see and can only be reached by sailing boat. Around forty caves link together. The largest, Ypapanti, is big enough for boats to cruise into. Trypitos stands as a naturally arched rock formation and the most popular caves are near Erimitis beach. Legend has it the Greek God of the Sea Poseidon hid his mistress Amphitrite in these very caves.
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Spend at least one day living the high-life on Corfu’s northeast coast. Here you can explore a string of stunning bays by boat and feel a world away from the hustle and bustle of the south. For years this refined pocket of the island, which is home to the picture-perfect tiny pastel fishing village of Agni, has been dubbed Kensington-on-Sea after the moneyed Brits who flock there by speedboat. Along with idyllic bays, this stretch of coast offers three charming tavernas, an enchanting winery and a cooking school where you can learn to whip up local delicacies.
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On Corfu’s west coast you’ll find Paleokastritsa, a town that boasts one of the island’s most dramatic settings. Look up to see towering hills and cliffs dotted with sun-baked olive and pine trees. Pack a picnic and putter along the coastline by boat discovering wild beaches such as Paradise, Stelari and Iliodoros. The Blue Eye Cave – a haunting turquoise circle of water hidden in a grotto – is another highlight, while divers will be in their element with this swathe of the coast being a top scuba spot.
The Palaio Frourio
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By boat, you’ll pass the rocky headland that juts east from Corfu Town and spot the Palaio Frourio fortress. This architectural masterpiece, which was built by the Venetians in the 14th century, is a must-see site and best viewed from the ocean. Corfu’s capital has been protected by the fortress walls during many battles over the years. A solitary bridge crosses its seawater moat and the scene makes for a terrific picture. You can wander its grounds or even book tickets to a concert inside but be warned, entry queues can quickly build.
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Less than 1km (0.6mi) from Corfu Old Town port sits this tiny thickly wooded island that’s barely 600m (1,969ft) wide. Once dedicated to the Greek goddess Hera, it is also home to a Serbian Mausoleum, built in honour of the Serbian soldiers who died here during World War I. Enjoy some hikes in the shade or dip into the island’s secluded swimming spots. Be sure to visit Menios’ taverna at the jetty for a simple and delicious lunch with all the ingredients, from crab to octopus, caught by the owner, Menios himself. If you’re not in your own vessel, there’s an hourly boat service with the ride taking just 10 minutes.
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Make the short walk uphill from Paleokastritsa beach to this canary-yellow monastery and you will be rewarded with extraordinary ocean views. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the place of worship dates from around 1228 but some of the monks’ cells were renovated in the 18th century. On-site there’s a small museum housing religious artefacts and icons from the Byzantine era as well as an olive oil press and manicured grounds lined with olive and cypress trees. Entry is free and the best time to get there is to watch the golden glow of the sunset.
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The blue lagoons of Sivota, which sit opposite Corfu on the west coast of the Greek mainland, certainly make for a memorable day trip. The crossing by ferry takes around 90 minutes and on arrival, you’ll find incredible Ionian natural beauty with lush greenery and sugary beaches setting the scene. Hop between the smallest beaches: Zeri, Galikos Ormos, Bello Vrako and Zavia, while Pisina beach fringes a gorgeous blue lagoon.