There is something about the Greek Islands that just makes my family and I want to keep returning to them. The laid back atmosphere, friendly and welcoming people, warm Mediterranean climate, fabulous beaches, and the mouth watering food are just some of the reasons why we love visiting Greece, particularly the Greek Islands.
Corfu is an island located just West of the Greek and Albanian coastlines, where the two countries meet. Most Greek Islands are located to the East of Greece, in the Aegean Sea. Corfu is the second largest of the seven islands located in the Ionian Sea to the West. Defined by rugged mountains and a resort-studded shoreline, it’s culture reflects years spent under Italian, French and British rulings before it was united with Greece in 1864.
We chose to visit Corfu back in 2012 because it has a reputation for being extremely family friendly and one of the easiest islands to explore with children. Corfu also has it’s own airport and you can fly direct from Amsterdam to Corfu for as little as 150 euros per person. At that time, we had two children aged one and three, so we didn’t want to have to bother with additional stopovers and ferries etc.
Corfu is one of the greenest and most popular Greek Islands. But despite attracting hordes of tourists there is still plenty of beauty, charm, and beaches here to keep both parents and kids very happy for a few weeks of holiday fun. A short drive from even the most popular tourist resort should have you back in the land of olive trees and small charming villages.
The one thing you don’t get with Corfu is the opportunity to island hop. If you have visions of taking the ferry from one island to the next, then you’re best focusing on the islands of the Cyclades. However, with Corfu being quite a large island, there is plenty to discover right there without needing to leave. We stayed at Corfu for two full weeks and wanted our holiday to consist of both lazying by the pool and discovering the island. So we rented a car for four days and drove all around the island. However, if your time here is restricted and you would prefer to drive directly to the highlights, below are my top suggestions of places to visit on the island of Corfu.
Old Corfu Town
The capital city of Corfu is known as ‘Corfu Town’ and is an UNESCO world heritage site. It is situated on the eastern side of the island, roughly half way between the north and south. It is the largest town on the island and here you will find the main port as well as the island’s airport. The town itself is a mixture of Venetian and French architecture and is a maze of charming narrow streets. The whole family will love wandering the streets, eating ice cream and just generally being tourists in this very pedestrian friendly destination.The 16th century fortress dominates the town and port area.
Logas Beach Panorama Bar, Peroulades
Logas Sunset Beach and the Panorama bar is located at the top of Corfu on the North-West Coast. The most amazing bar you will ever visit with panoramic views over the sea. It’s a little off the beaten track and a bit of a hidden gem that not too many know about. Totally worth the drive to go see this. The most perfect location to sit and watch spectacular sunsets with a cocktail or two.
Kassiopi village on the North East Coast (35 kilometers north of Corfu Town) was our favourite town in Corfu. Kassiopi is a picturesque town retaining its original charm, set against the magestic backdrop of the island’s highest mountain. Centred around the local harbour, Kassiopi has plenty of bars, tavernas and restaurants that all offer a stunning view over the bay. Thanks to the local fishermen, many of the restaurants offer excellent fresh fish dishes.
The beach just a couple of minutes north of Kassiopi on the Eastern side of the peninsula is one of the most beautiful we have ever visited. We rented a couple of sun beds (as it was a pebbly beach) and spent the entire afternoon here, snorkeling, swimming, and lazing in the sun whilst enjoying the spectacular view. If we were to return to Corfu, Kassiopi is where we would choose to find accommodation. The Kassiopi Bay Hotel caught my eye as it is so close to our favourite beach.
Paleokastritsa is one of the most beautiful villages in Corfu and is a renowned Greek beauty spot located on the West coast, 25 kilometers from Corfu Town. Paleokastritsa offers holiday makers the opportunity to swim at six different secluded sand and fine pebble beaches enclosed by tall cliffs, wooded headlands, olive groves, lemon and cypress trees and lush hilly countryside. The resort runs along the coast road that winds among the cliffs and sheltered bays. It is a hilly place full of twists and turns and unexpected views. Paleokastritsa Beach is one of the most famous beaches on the island of Corfu and most definitely worth a visit.
Archilleion Palace, Gastouri
If you are looking for more culture, a visit to Archillion Palace is a must.The architectural design was intended to represent an ancient Phaecian palace. The building is surrounded by classic Greek statues and is named after Achilles. The view from this palace is ridiculously breathtaking.
I would avoid staying anywhere near Kavos on the South Coast (a popular and very rowdy party town), unless you are looking for somewhere where you can party in clubs until the break of dawn, then Kavos is the place for you.
We found that the majority of beaches in Corfu were white pebbly beaches. Surprisingly, I found myself preferring these pebble beaches over the sandy and more popular alternative. However, you can still find some pretty amazing sandy beaches. For more information on the beaches of Corfu, here is a handy site which lists the best beaches on the island.
Last Tip: Buy some water shoes before you go and your feet will be ever so thankful when visiting the pebbly beaches. Also take plenty of sunscreen to protect yourselves from the harsh sun.