11 Things to Do in Corfu
When it comes to things to do in Corfu, the Ionian gem has plenty to offer. From Venetian fortresses to blue lagoons and fun-filled waterparks to glorious olive groves, there’s something for everyone. Keep reading for our top picks you won’t want to miss.
The Greek island of Corfu is located in the Ionian Sea, just west of mainland Greece. The second largest Ionian island is steeped in history and has a rich past with Venetian, French and British rulers all of whom have left their mark on the island today.
Our Top Picks
1. Corfu Old Town
2. Achilleion Palace
3. Snorkel in the Blue Lagoon
4. Climb Mount Pantokrator
5. Angelokastro Castle
6. Mouse Island
7. Vlacherna Monastery
8. Canal D’Amour
9. Paxos Island Day Trip
10. Splash around at Aqualand
11. Archaeological Museum of Corfu
Corfu Old Town
Firstly, let’s start with Corfu Old Town. Granted World Heritage status by UNESCO in 2007, the town is the best place to begin your tour of the best things to do in Corfu. As you can imagine the Old Town retains some of the charm from years gone by with an array of quaint side streets, fortresses and a touch of Venetian architecture. Stroll through the cobbled alleyways and Neoclassical houses to discover some charming points of interest. With boutique shops, friendly bars and eateries aplenty you can easily spend a day in this picturesque town.
Furthermore, be sure to stop by two of the most impressive fortresses in Europe. The Old Venetian Fortress dates back to the early 15th century and overlooks Corfu town with splendid views out to sea. The 6 Euro entrance fee is well worth it for the panoramic views stretching as far as mainland Greece. Plus, there’s a bar perfectly placed at the top for a well-deserved rest with a beer. The fortress is also hosts live music concerts in the summer months.
On the western side lies the New Fortress, also known as the Fortress of St Mark. This was also built by the Venetians and played a pivotal role in protecting the town. Indeed the site itself is fairly well-preserved especially the imposing gates.
Secondly, just 10km south of Corfu town lies Achilleion Palace. It was built in the Belle-Epoque era and encapsulates a neoclassical design. The palace was commissioned by Elisabeth of Bavaria, Empress of Austria. She fell in love with the island and therefore wanted a summer home here. The palatial residence boasts an elevated setting. As a result the views of Corfu town are super impressive.
Throughout the palace are nods to Greek mythology, most notably Achilles after whom the palace was named. In addition there are numerous statues and sculptures of the hero dotted around the grounds.
As well the gorgeous gardens are extremely tranquil and feature grand fountains, palm trees and cypress trees.
Nowadays, the site is a museum and home to numerous relics from ancient times. Discover antique paintings and classical works of art alongside the original interior furnishings.
Top tip: Be sure to take an headset for an audio guide as you take the tour. There are many interesting facts to learn for example the Achilleion Palace was used as a filming location for the James Bond film ‘For Your Eyes Only’.
Snorkel in the Blue Lagoon
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in the Caribbean when you visit the Blue Lagoon. Embark on one of the many boat trips that leave Corfu and be whisked away to enjoy the incredible coast of Corfu off the beaten track. The Blue Lagoon bay has bright azure waters and perfectly white sandy beaches. Grab your snorkel and explore the clear ocean or enjoy a swim in the cooling waters. Then finish your day with a visit to Sivota, a typical Greek fishing village.
Climb Mount Pantokrator
The highest point on the island deserves a mention on our list of things to do in Corfu. If you’re feeling brave there are hiking trails that lead to the top, otherwise hiring a car and driving to the summit is your other option. However, some of the hairpin bends and narrow roads are not for the faint-hearted, so drive carefully!
Hilltop villages including Spartilas and Petalia line the route. Once you’ve reached the top, a height of 906 metres, you’ll be rewarded with sublime scenery and 360-degree views across the whole of Corfu even across to Albania. Additionally there’s also a small monastery to visit and a café serving refreshments and ice cream.
Top tip: Try to visit on a clear day, that way you can enjoy more of the views from the summit, including planes taking off from the runway below.
Furthermore talking of heights, perched atop a steep hill Angelokastro Castle is a sight to behold. The 13th century Byzantine castle was once a strategic viewpoint for Corfu’s defences against pirate attacks. Fast forward to today and it’s now a tourist hotspot thanks to its spectacular location 300 metres above sea level and splendid views.
For a small 3 Euro entrance fee you can walk amongst the ruins and remnants of history. But be careful as some of the ground is vey uneven and slippery in places.
Every visitor to Corfu is likely to catch a glimpse of Mouse Island as they touchdown, as the tiny island is located just offshore at the end of the airport runway. Consequently the island is accessed via a ferry service. Notably the island is aptly named due to being incredibly small. According to Greek legend the boat of Odysseus was turned into this island by Poseidon. Discover an ancient chapel hidden away amongst the trees, a gift shop and exquisite views across Halkiopoulos lagoon.
Next, whilst you’re in the area of Mouse Island it makes sense to stop by Vlacherna Monastery just across the water. The monastery can be reached from the mainland via a footbridge. In fact the small chapel was built in the 17th century and operated as a nunnery until the 1980s. The monastery can be distinguished by its unusually shaped tile roof and striking white walls. For this reason, the building is one of the most photographed in Corfu. Anyhow the chapel is still in use today and you can light a candle to remember a loved one.
This picturesque beach near Sidari is home to amazing rock formations thanks to erosion of the limestone rocks by the sea and wind. As a result of its natural beauty the beach attracts crowds looking for the opportunity to swim in a unique location. Or there are a few tavernas nearby so you could easily spend an afternoon here. Above all Canal D’Amour is famed for epic sunsets so it’s easy to see why this beautiful beach is one of the best in Corfu.
Paxos Island Day Trip
Voted one of the top 20 most beautiful islands in the world, Paxos is just a short boat ride from Corfu. Most of Paxos is covered by olive and cypress trees and the island has been classified under the EU Natura 2000 Initiative which protects threatened habitats and species. Breathe in the scent of the olive groves as you explore this unique region. Or meander through the traditional villages with their charming, cobbled streets.
The Blue Caves on the western coast of Paxos are surrounded by incredible blue waters. The cave formations are all linked together and if you’re lucky you might meet a monk seal who live in the caves. Finally finish off your trip with some snorkelling and swimming for the perfect day.
Splash around at Aqualand
Additionally for a fun-filled day with the whole family, one of the best things to do in Corfu is to visit Aqualand. This water-park boasts over 50 slides for thrill-seekers of all ages and is one of the largest water-parks in the world. Consequently, toddlers will love splashing around in the pirate area, whilst teenagers will want to experience the adrenaline rush of the Kamikaze slide again and again. Or if relaxation is more your thing then float down the lazy river and soak up the sunshine.
Archaeological Museum of Corfu
To conclude our list of top things to do in Corfu, is the Archaeological Museum of Corfu. The specially curated collection includes findings from sites across the island including The Temple of Artemis. Admire the marble torso of Apollo, gaze at the ancient relics and admire the jewellery from bygone years. Visitors are impressed with how well-presented the collections are with well-preserved exhibits.
To summarise, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and about in Corfu and explore this stunning island. Indeed if reading this has left you hungry for more Greek delights, then take a look at the blog below for some fun facts.