Corfu may be one of the most popular Greek islands, but the rapid tourism hasn’t dampened any of the local identity. It’s still home to picture-perfect beaches and harbours dotted with fishing boats; plus, it’s easy to go off the beaten track with the ancient monasteries and Venetian palaces.Read More
Known as Kerkyra to the Greeks, Corfu is steeped in mythology and mystery; the story of the island is almost as captivating as the beaches, cobbled streets and historic architecture. In ancient times it was a haven for Greek intellects; Homer’s epic The Odyssey names it as the place where Odysseus was saved from near-death by Goddess Athena. If you’re wowed by such tales of deities and heroism, you can still find many traces of the old Corfu today. Old, whitewashed temples honouring ancient gods sit in olive and cypress groves. Secluded sandy coves lie at the foot of rocky cliffs, so grand and gorgeous they belong in Clash of the Titans (1981). Culture lovers will want to base themselves in the cosmopolitan capital, also called Corfu. There, the narrow alleys and cobblestone streets of the Unesco-listed Old Town are enclosed by Venetian castles. The architecture is a serious draw, from the 15th-century Old Fortress to the ancient Greek temples in the Paleopolis Archaeological Museum (Mon Repos). Don’t miss Liston Promenade: you’ll see stacked arcades and the British-inspired Royal Palace, now home to the Museum of Asian Art. For an alluring combination of beaches and culture, head to nearby Dassia. It isn’t just the capital that’s home to living history either. Ancient temples, monasteries and medieval castles are dotted around the island – perfect for combining sightseeing with beach-hopping. Paleokastritsa is a good place to start: not only is it home to both Angelokastro and Theotokos Monastery, but cyan waters lap at the shining sands of the nearby beach. Glyfada, Kontokali and Kavos should also be on the radar, along with Sidari, home to sheltered lagoon Canal d’Amour. Kassiopi, in the northeastern corner of the island, is an old fishing-village-turned-resort-town with a Byzantine castle and plenty of old Corfu charm. If you’d prefer a more under-the-radar Corfu experience, head to the Alikes wetlands. Visiting Lake Korission is a must as well: there you’ll see migrating flamingos and wander through a cedar forest to golden beaches. Elsewhere, at the top is Mount Pandokrátor is a monastery and awesome views over the coast – perfect for scouting that next secret spot. Read on to find out more, whatever floats your boat.