After five years of student life in the island of the Phaeacians this could be considered a swan song dedicated to the countless magical moments that it so generously offered. No words can describe Corfu’s atmosphere, warmth and charm. Pictures may help. But if you decide it to find out by yourself, here’s a list of recommendations.
Starting from the obvious, no article about Corfu could skip the Easter part. We are talking about the number one tourist destination in Greece during the Easter period, with thousands of tourists coming from all over the world for an experience that moves even the most indifferent to religious matters. The whole thing is not strictly connected with religion, it’s more about culture, music and customs that reflect the history and the spiritual identity of this place.
In Spianada square and Liston, the local philharmonic orchestras accompany the Epitaph playing funeral marches, the most famous of which is Amleto, and create an atmosphere of devout concentration on Holy Saturday. A few hours later, the joyous news of the resurrection replaces the grievous sounds of the philharmonic orchestras with noise, voices and countless botis (pots) thrown from the balconies. Don’t forget to keep a piece of a broken botis as a memento and, according to tradition, in order to have good luck for the rest of the year.
There are many ways to enjoy a magical sunset in Corfu. A mainstream yet interesting suggestion is to visit the touristy area of Palaiokastritsa and watch the sun set from the Monastery of Panagia Palaiokastritsa, with an amazing view of the Ionian Sea.
Another suggestion is to stay closer to the city of Corfu, in Kanoni and sit on the narrow path that crosses the sea, across from the famous Pontikonisi, and enjoy a stunning sunset. Every ten or twenty minutes airplanes will take off right above your head, as the airport is located just some minutes away. This breathtaking picture combined with the sight of the sun slowly diving into the sea is a Corfu highlight.
The Corfiot cuisine offers a special culinary experience based on the Mediterranean cuisine with influences from the Greek and the Italian tradition. Some of its most typical dishes include sofrito (beef meat with a lot of garlic, accompanied with wine sauce), pastitsada (rooster with tomato sauce and a lot of spices served with thick spaghetti) and bourdeto (fish cooked in a red sauce with a lot of pepper).
Α nice place to get in touch with the authentic Corfiot cuisine is the traditional tavern Doukas, located in the central square of the picturesque village Doukades in the wider area of Palaiokastritsa. If you prefer some delicious grilled meat you should visit Ladokolla in the village Temploni, half an hour away from the city center, where they serve exceptional grilled meat in grease-proof paper and host some amazing live music nights.
Numerous small places serving sweet delicacies have recently popped up in Corfu. Yogart is located in the heart of the old city, just a breath away from Liston, and serves the most amazing frozen yogurt in Corfu using Greek yogurt and other healthy ingredients. Here you will have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of options and more than 50 garnitures. Dimitris, the friendly owner of this place, will also introduce you to other sweet tastes, like the famous waffle with ice cream.
Another place full of sweet temptations in the heart of the old city is called Stazei Meli (literally means honey dripping), which offers unforgettable loukoumades (pastries made of deep-fried dough), a vital element of Corfu’s culinary tradition. Stazei Meli offers delicious classic loukoumades with authentic Corfiot honey and cinnamon, as well as more modern versions, like loukoumades stuffed with white or black chocolate and covered by a wide range of ingredients, from strawberry marmalade and banana to Oreo cookies and fruits.
Yogart, 11 Agion Panton Street, Corfu, Greece, +30 26610 20726
Stazei Meli, 60 Guilford Street, Corfu, Greece, +30 2661 300537
If you like the idea of falling in love or staying in love forever Corfu is your place. According to the legend, if you swim through Canal d’ Amour, a sea tunnel in Sidari, you will meet eternal love at the other side.
But even if you don’t believe in such supernatural narrations, the atmosphere of Corfu is definitely going to affect you. One of the best choices for a romantic walk is Anemomylos, a picturesque windmill in the area of Garitsa that you will reach via a wonderful twenty minute seaside walking route.
According to a local saying, if you visit Corfu you will never leave it. That makes sense if we take into account the beauty of the island – but let’s make an exception for some short excursions. Northwest of Corfu are located three beautiful virgin islands, Othonoi, Erreikousa and Mathraki, which are called Diapontian Islands. In order to get to this magical complex of islands, the shortest and easiest way is to take the boat departing from the small port of Agios Stefanos.
Another option for a daily excursion is Paxoi and Antipaxoi, small islands in the Ionian Sea, which are located ten miles south of Corfu. Covered by rich vegetation, mainly olive trees, these small islands will fascinate you with their breathtaking beaches, their beautiful landscapes and their friendly small taverns. During the summer months, boats depart daily for Paxoi and Antipaxoi from the central port of Corfu.
A common complaint that used to be heard in the narrow streets of Corfu by locals and students was the lack of vivid nightlife in the city center, with the tsipouradika and the bars being counted on the fingers of one hand. This has fortunately changed during the last three years, with the establishment of many new small haunts.
One of the best ways to become one with the locals and the students is to visit Prosalendou Street in the heart of the old city, which has been nicknamed ‘Psirri’ because of its numerous tsipouradika getting crowded every night, which is what happens in the homonymous street of Athens. Getting drunk on some tsipouro and ouzo while listening to rempetika music at Berdes, one of the tsipouradika on Prosalendou Street, is an unforgettable authentic Greek experience.
You can also visit the all time classic Tsipouradiko, which is located at the end of Prosalendou Street, to drink authentic tsipouro (what else) from a small village outside Ioannina and taste a wide range of meze and other dishes. The atmosphere in this traditional family restaurant is also warm and welcoming, with Vassilis, the owner of the place, Eleanna, George and Thodoris always serving the customers with positive energy and a huge smile.
Mperntes, 13 Prosalendou Street, Corfu, Greece, +30 6976870532
Tsipouradiko, Behind the Old Courthouse, Corfu, Greece, +30 26610 82240
Corfu is surrounded by two fortresses that used to protect the city from hostile invasions during medieval times. Nowadays they have lost their practical application but not their beauty, dominating as proud symbols of a glorious time.
The Old Fortress is an architectural masterpiece of the Byzantine and the Venetian period located on the east side of the old city of Corfu. Wander around its paths under the harmonic sounds produced by the students of the Music Department, which is located inside the fortress, go for a romantic date in the battlements and walk up to its top to enjoy the best panoramic view of the old city.
The New Fortress, also called Fortezza Nuova, was constructed by the Venetians during the 16th century, when the Old Fortress was inadequate to protect the city. It is an imposing construction standing over the Old Port of Corfu that suffered severe damage during the consecutive wars. Nowadays it hosts facilities of the Greek Navy, as well as various cultural events.
There is a common secret that applies to all tourist destinations, and Corfu is no exception: the best beaches are those that maintain their virginity by not attracting thousands of tourists, due to their isolated location. The easy way to overcome the tourist cliches and visit some of the hidden treasures of the island is to rent a car by one of the various car rental agencies.
We suggest the hard way, however, especially if you are a fan of sports and action: rent a bike and cycle to an isolated beach! Biking through the lush landscapes of Corfu is a magical experience and not that tiring, with plenty of trees offering shade. Of course, the best part is when you finally reach the beach of your destination and wash away the tiredness and the sweat of hours of cycling in the crystal clear waters.
A real paradise on earth that could be such a destination is the unknown beach of Rovinia, one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, located near the village of Liapades. Its crystal clean waters, the numerous caves and the idyllic landscape will enchant you.
An umbrella is the number one accessory of the island, as rain makes its presence known all year long. The summer period is no exception, with periodical rainfalls even in July and August. Friendly advice: if that happens, don’t let it ruin your stay in Corfu and simply enjoy it. When the crowds start running, grabbing umbrellas and raincoats, simply remember that there is nothing better than swimming in an empty beach under the raindrops.