13 Things to Do in Scenic Corfu, Greece, for an Amazing Visit

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Anna Kambourakis

Part of the Ionian Islands and also near the coast of Albania, Corfu, with its dramatic landscape and hill forts, can feel like a frontier. But it’s far from formidable, with a mild climate, warm summers and beautifully landscaped royal palaces. Don’t miss these top Corfu attractions.

The island of Corfu in the Ionian Sea has many amazing sites to explore. The warm climate and lush landscape made Corfu the favourite island of the Greek royals throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. There are several palatial estates to visit as well as fortresses, monasteries, museums and churches that all help teach visitors about the tumultuous history of the island. Corfu is an island for travellers who love architecture, art, history and natural beauty.

1. Mon Repos Estate

Museum, Ruins, Architectural Landmark

The neoclassical villa on the east coast of Corfu is the birthplace of many royal family members, most notably Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Mon Repos was a summer escape for the Greek royal family before their exile. Now, the mansion is open to the public and serves as a museum. There are 14 gallery rooms full of art, and, outside, there are sprawling gardens for strolling through. Archaeological excavations uncovered ancient artefacts, which are also on display at the museum.

2. Palaio Frourio

Architectural Landmark

Old Fortress, Corfu, Greece
Mikuláš Prokop / Unsplash

The Old Venetian Fortress, or Palaio Frourio, is a must-see site on Corfu. It’s hard to imagine that all the residents of Corfu’s capital resided within the fortress walls. You’ll think you’re in a fairytale as you cross over the moat to enter the fortress. There isn’t much information provided about Palaio Frourio, so brush up before on the history and the importance of the fortress during the many battles for Corfu. Attend a concert or event at Palaio Frourio for a very unique experience.

3. Palace of St Michael and St George

Art Gallery, Museum, Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Once the palace of the British Lord High Commissioner and where the Ionian Senate convened, the Palace of St Michael and George and the surrounding royal gardens are now a major tourist attraction. Visitors can explore the galleries and the Museum of Asian Art, which features pieces from China, Japan, Korea and India. Be sure to walk through the beautiful gardens full of flowers and statues to admire the architecture and the fantastic sea view.

4. Corfu Gallery

Art Gallery

Art lovers will adore a visit to the Corfu Gallery in the Old Town. The gallery features paintings and sculptures by Greek artists. The works of art showcase an array of human emotions and art styles and portray the many different aspects of life in Greece. Some artists pay homage to ancient Greek sculptures, while others take inspiration from the modern-day struggles and amusements of Greek living. The gallery is located on the most commercial street in Old Town – you can’t miss it.

5. Achilleion Palace

Building, Museum, Architectural Landmark

Achilleion Palace has an extraordinary collection of sculptures and other art in a beautiful neoclassical palatial estate. You are greeted by marble sculptures of the gods of Olympus, who seem to guard the palace and beautiful artwork in the museum. The palace itself has seen its fair share of history. It was a military hospital during World War I, then an orphanage, then the Axis powers’ headquarters on the island during World War II. There is so much to take in, and you get the chance to imagine what has occurred behind the palace walls.

6. Vido Island

Natural Feature

Vidos Island Corfu seen from the Old Fort
© Nic Hamilton Photographic / Alamy Stock Photo

Just off the coast of Corfu Town is Vido Island. It’s a tiny island that was once dedicated to the goddess Hera. There are swimming spots and hiking paths, so you can take in the beautiful natural scenery. Be sure to visit the Serbian Mausoleum, which remembers the Serbian soldiers who perished during World War I. During the tourism seasons, a small restaurant serves traditional food and drink to enjoy, with an amazing view looking back at Corfu.

7. Church of Agios Spyridon

Church, Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Saint Spyridon is the patron saint of the island of Corfu. The beautiful Venetian-style church was built for him in 1580. It is believed that Saint Spyridon has repeatedly performed miracles to protect the Corfiotes – first, from the plague and, then, from the Ottoman invasion. His relics are housed in a crypt next to the altar of the church, where the faithful may pray to him. The iconography in the church is masterful and worth seeing.

8. Moni Theotokou or Paleokastritsa Monastery


Church Tower of Theotokos Monastery in Paleokastritsa, Corfu
© EggImages / Alamy Stock Photo

A short walk uphill from Paleokastritsa Beach, but also accessible by car, is the 13th-century monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary, or Theotokou. The monastery’s grounds are covered with brightly coloured flowers and plants, and there are cats and donkeys eager to greet you. Within the monastery is a small museum with very old religious artefacts and icons from the Byzantine era. Moni Theotokou covers the entire hill and has fantastic views in all directions. Plan to be here during the incredible sunset.

9. Corfu’s very own Acropolis

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Angelokastro, Corfu, Greece
Pascal Debrunner / Unsplash

Do not miss Angelokastro (the Castle of Angels), a Byzantine fortress located on the highest peak of Corfu’s shoreline (300m [984ft] above sea level). Go before midday, as it’s a steep 15-minute walk up a rocky path, best done before the heat of the sun fully kicks in. You’ll be richly rewarded once you’ve got your breath back and your eyes take in the panoramic view. Tickets are only €3 (£2.50) and there’s also a café at the entrance. The easiest way to get there is from Paleokastritsa village – just follow the signs. Recommended by Eleni Vezyri.

10. Northern Corfu’s most beautiful beaches

Natural Feature

Corfu, Greece
Tobias Reich / Unsplash

Aline Stavritis, an Athenian lawyer, says her favourite area on the island is the northern coast. Northern Corfu’s lusher terrain, with its stunningly sculpted cliffs that plunge down to sandy beaches, tranquil bays and mystical coves, is famed for its dramatic landscapes. From Paleokastritsa, Stavritis suggests you make your way further north toward one of two beaches (both about a 40-minute drive): Arillas Beach or Porto Timoni Beach. Arillas Beach is a tranquil, sandy spot where you can also enjoy a relaxed lunch at one of the tavernas nearby. For the more adventurous beach seeker, walk down to Porto Timoni Beach after parking at the village of the same name. Blessed with beautiful crystal-clear waters, this beach is a little more of a challenge to get to, and you’ll need walking shoes for the rocky path down to the bay (along with water and a snack). Recommended by Eleni Vezyri.

11. Dramatic cliff views

Natural Feature

Another 20-minute drive north from Arillas Beach are two must-visit sites for anyone (particularly photographers) seeking out dramatic landscapes: the very popular Canal d’Amour (Channel of Love) and the more impressive, but slightly more difficult to get to, Cape Drastis. Both spots boast striking landscapes of weather-beaten rock formations. Warning: be careful who you go to Canal d’Amour with; legend has it that you’ll fall in love and be destined to spend the rest of your years together. A nine-minute drive from Canal d’Amour (or seven minutes from Cape Dratsis) will take you to 7th Heaven, a café with another mind-boggling view. Recommended by Eleni Vezyri.

12. Glide over sapphire seas

Natural Feature

Crystal clear waters in Corfu, Greece
Natasha Ommundson / Unsplash

If dozing on a sunbed is not your idea of a day at the beach, then the action-loving enthusiast in you will have to head on over to one of the water sports venues that are scattered across the island. Check out the array of beginner and more advanced lessons from waterskiing to adrenaline tubes up north at Sidari Watersports. Paraglide 50m (164ft) above the sea at Corcyra Beach on the east coast, and try new wakeboard manoeuvres at Barbati Watersports on the northeastern coast. Recommended by Eleni Vezyri.

13. Indulge your sweet tooth with local delicacies

Architectural Landmark

Well-known Athenian cake and biscuit connoisseur Evita Papacharalambous says Corfu’s retro classics are a must-try. Guaranteed first-rate local ingredients (Corfu’s butter is known to be outstanding) can be found at the Periklis Alexis dairy store. The store has been whipping up decadent dairy concoctions since the 1950s, with perennial sweet hits including vanilla cream pudding, galaktoboureko (semolina custard in syrup-infused filo) and creamy rice pudding. Another old-school pit stop is patisserie Papagiorgis (running for over over 90 years), where you’ll be swooning over the house-made ice cream, mille-feuille (custard slice) and traditional Easter sweet bread, corfiot fogatsa. At Lazaris distillery and artisanal sweets, try the sikomaida (a pepper- and ouzo-infused dried fig and grape delicacy) and the island’s own bittersweet kumquat preserve. Recommended by Eleni Vezyri.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Evangelos Tsirmpas.

Looking for more inspiration? We’ve got your accommodation sorted, from the best hotels on Corfu to top-rated luxury hotels, and you can even book right here with Culture Trip. You can, then, spend your days lounging on the most beautiful beaches on the island. By night, enjoy a delicious dinner at one of these top restaurants and a handcrafted cocktail at one of the best bars on Corfu.

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