The 10 Most Beautiful Beaches in Corfu, Greece
If you're after a beach holiday, Corfu's many beautiful bays have you well covered | © Corfu Diary / Unsplash
With a dramatic coastline and turquoise waters backed by lush green mountains, the beaches of Corfu are often ranked the best in Greece.
Corfu’s geographical diversity lends itself to a wide variety of beaches. While the north of the island is peppered with hidden coves, dramatic green cliffs and corniche roads, the south is generally flat, with long, uninterrupted stretches of beach. Due to the narrow Straits of Corfu, the water on the east coast of the island is incredibly calm, with pebbly beaches. The west coast meanwhile, faces the open Ionian Sea, so expect choppy waters and sandier shores.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the centre of Corfu Town lies the little harbour of Faliraki. Though there are a few small tiny patches of beach, you’re better off just following the lead of the locals and jumping off the side of the pier. Don’t expect golden sands and azure water; the beauty here lies in its evocative location, with Venetian townhouses looming behind you, and views out towards the Old Fort and Vido Island. A perfect place to take a quick dip while exploring the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town.
The idyllic, pocket-sized beaches of Cape Erimitis are cut off from the rest of the island by a dense, green forest that forms the only stretch of unspoilt coastline on Corfu’s dramatic northeastern shore. To reach them, follow one of the narrow woodland paths leading out from the village of Agios Stefanos. Alternatively, rent a boat from a nearby village – it’s the only way to reach the most secluded of the beaches.
There’s no sight on Corfu more jaw-dropping than the road to Palaiokastritsa. Built by British engineers in the 19th century, it winds its way down through the village to the beaches below, offering mesmerising views of the green cliffs cradling a series of achingly pretty small coves. The paradisical setting has inspired many myths – keep an eye out for an odd-shaped rock in the sea said by the locals to be the petrified ship of Odysseus. In summer it’s uncomfortably crowded, although water taxis can take you to some quieter – and no less pretty – beaches in the vicinity. The A9 bus runs regularly from Corfu Town. Despite some overdevelopment, the whole area has a beauty that is hard to shake.
The small, pebbly beach of Rovinia has an evocative setting, shouldered by green forests, rocky cliffs and a fabulous unobstructed view out towards the Ionian Sea. A favourite among Corfiots, it’s remote enough to avoid the crowds, bars and holiday villas that make other beaches on the northwest of the island inevitably busy. There are, however, no sunbeds or umbrellas either, so come prepared, including lots of water. You can drive to Rovinia from the village of Liapades – at the Athena supermarket make a sharp turn and follow the signs. The road is rocky and narrow, and can become quite nerve-wracking with other cars around. Eventually you’ll reach a car park (which costs €3) from where it’s a five-minute walk down to the beach. Alternatively, taking a boat taxi from nearby Liapades Beach or Palaiokastritsa will save you a lot of stress.
The odd “double beach” of Porto Timoni, an anchor-shaped promontory that twists and curls out of the Corfu coast like it’s trying to break free, is the most eye-catching place on the island. Its rocky ridge unfurls into two picturesque beaches that lie back-to-back, allowing you to hop from one to the other on a whim. The densely forested footpath that leads there from the village of Afionas is a challenging 30-minute hike (wear sturdy shoes and bring water), or take a boat from the nearby beach of Agios Georgios.
Glyfada is a popular beach on the west coast with warm waters, golden sand and hazy, green mountains disappearing into the distance. It’s an attractive place, easily reached by the B17 bus from Corfu Town. The beach itself is also full of bars, restaurants and basically turns into one giant club party on summer evenings.
The writer Lawrence Durrell once said that Myrtiotissa was “the loveliest beach in the world”. An exaggeration perhaps, but there is a beguiling charm to this stretch of coast. Too remote and small to attract any commercial development, its haunting siren call lures the more independent-minded travellers on the island, in particular, nudists who seem to congregate here in all seasons.
Undoubtedly the wildest beach on Corfu, the undulating dunes and thick maquis shrubs give Halikounas an almost desert-like appearance. It’s a long stretch of fine sand, backing up against the protected sea lake of Korissia, home to a large colony of flamingos. The whole setting is incredible and rather surreal.
A little further south of Halikounas lies Issos Beach. Less wild, more organised but equally as sandy and expansive as Halikounas, it’s a popular spot for water sports and even featured in a scene from the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.
Marathias and Agia Varvara
The twin beaches of Marathias and Agia Varvara offer one of the best stretches of golden sand on Corfu. Backed by dunes and wooded hills, and boasting the cleanest sea on the island, they make a perfect place to just lounge around or wade lazily in the water. Even in the height of summer, their expansive length means there’s always space to lay your towel or rent an umbrella and sunbed.
These recommendations were updated on July 23, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.