- 11 January 2023
What are the best activities to do and what to see in the island of Corfu
Corfu, known to the Greeks as Kerkyra, is the Greek Ionian Island you don’t expect! It offers the possibility to do various activities and to see historical sites. I visited it at the end of October, during an uncrowded period. The reason for the visit was because I was curious to see the main points and not to swim in the sea. The article will therefore not talk about the beaches, which are abundant by the way.
The first impression was as if I were in Italy. But that’s right! The Venetian influence of many years has left the island with the style of the Serenissima and you can also notice it from the names of the streets or the architecture of the buildings.
In addition to being lucky by having had sunny days, I have had four intense days which are enough to appreciate the island for a quick visit.
The beauty of the old town of Corfu, the nerve center of the island
The main center of the island is the city of Corfu. In my opinion, the choice of hotel should be in the city or in the neighboring areas, when not visiting during summer time. There are so many reasons to stay here. Once the car is parked (no small feat in busy periods!) you can enjoy the pedestrian center for a walk, an ice cream or stop in one of the many bars on the Liston. Formerly the Liston, a Venetian name that also recalls the style of many Italian cities with arcades filled with bars and restaurants.
I stayed at the Arcadion Hotel. Apart from being recently renovated, it enjoys a privileged position because it is located in the central area. Just walk out of the hotel door to find yourself immersed in the atmosphere of the city. Some rooms have a view of the Spianada, the largest square in Greece. During Orthodox Easter, it is traditionally one of the hotels from which terracotta pots are thrown from the balconies with thousands of people watching below.
What to do in Corfu town: historical sites and enjoy a good coffee
There are many activities that you can easily fill a day or two with. Let’s start from the Fortezza Venezia, the main symbol that protects the city. I advise you to go at sunrise and sunset times, because history mixes with the colors of the sea and the sky, with postcard images for your eyes. In the area you can walk quite a lot, even along the sea. The Cathedral of Saint Spyridon and the new Venetian Fortress are other sites of particular interest.
The Casa Parlante is also a nice activity for the whole family. In this museum you can experience the atmosphere of the past era of the island by immersing yourself inside an aristocrat’s house with historical and valuable objects. There are also “robotic” figures that make certain movements.
Drinking a coffee in one of the many bars is almost mandatory. There is no shortage of choice, just as there are characteristic corners. You can choose a bar along the Liston or immerse yourself in the many streets of the pedestrian center with picturesque views. Alternatively, you can simply lay on the large lawn of the Spianada which is truly relaxing. There is also a children’s playground in the area.
The Achilleion palace, otherwise known as Sissi’s summer residence, is also one of the top places. Unfortunately, when I visited it was closed for renovations and so I can’t comment on it. I can say that it is one of the most visited palaces in Corfu and therefore there must be a very good reason.
The magic of Palaiokastritsa thanks to the crystal-clear water and the surrounding greenery
One of the most famous areas in Corfu, is undoubtedly the area of Palaiokastritsa. When I went, the temperature was chilly for swimming (although some Northern European tourists had no problem).
However, I enjoyed the landscape and above all the colors of the surrounding nature, in a period with very few people.
Among the various activities you can do, I point out:
- Boat excursion to the caves: it is one of the main attractions on the island. It will seem impossible to you that water can take on certain colors. There are small boats that leave continuously and generally the excursion lasts around 40 minutes. Absolutely a must.
- Visit the “Corfu Aquarium” where there are fish, but also reptiles from all over the world: it is not very big but if you need to fill some free time, it is a valid and interesting option for children.
- Go up to the Palaiokastritsa monastery and take the walking path, at the end of which you can enjoy the spectacle of the bays and the blue colors from above.
I had lunch at the “Pozzo dell’Amore”, located a bit off the beaten path, but reachable in a few minutes by car. It is a restaurant with Italian cuisine and equipped with outside tables on a summer terrace with a panoramic view of the area. You can also continue your day by visiting Angelokastro which is a Byzantine castle built on a steep hill overlooking the sea.
Plane Spotting in Vlacherna and Pontikonissi Island
Together with that of the island of Skiathos, Vlacherna is one of the most beautiful Plane Spotting areas in Europe. For those who love to photograph or film planes that pass over your head before landing, it is an unmissable stop. You can also climb the adjacent hill to get a different perspective of the planes while sipping a coffee at one of the cafés with panoramic terraces.
With Flight Radar you can check the planes landing so you do not miss those arriving at Corfu airport.
Vlacherna is famous because there is a monastery located in the middle of the sea, but connected to the mainland by a walkway right in front of Kanoni area, which has become one of the symbols of the island. Small but nice monastery. You will find it heading south from the town of Corfu.
Another one of the most visited places of Corfu is the islet of Pontikonissi (the island of the mouse) which is located near the monastery of Vlacherna. Right here there is a small port from which boats depart to reach the islet. We are talking about a few minutes of travel. The islet is small and the only building present is a Byzantine chapel.
The road that connects Corfu city with the airport is very characteristic and offers interesting panoramic points, such as the mill with a view of the Fortezza. In the area you will find many very typical fish taverns that seem frequented by locals.
Corfu, the island that offers landscapes, sea and history
Corfu is a fairly big island and therefore you may come across many other interesting spots or other things to do. If you want to go around every corner of the island then you must extend your stay. I do not know if I would set up an entire summer vacation with the aim of seeing great beaches, but I can’t give an opinion since I visited it out of season and didn’t enjoy a dip in the sea, which seemed very clear and colorful by the way.
The weekend par excellence to visit the island of Corfu is that of Orthodox Easter given the tradition of throwing terracotta vases from the balconies. The atmosphere on the island is truly unique.
Travel blogger by passion. I am putting out my authentic experiences in travelling.