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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.