Corfu

Greece
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General

Let me tell how I decided to go Corfu first. I live in Turkey and Greece is our neighbor country. When there is a holiday in our country in summer, most people fly to Mykonos or Santorini. These two islands became full of Turkish people in every holiday. This was something I really do not like, because in holidays I like to be far away from my home country to have different experiences. So, we just checked the less preferred islands in Greece. They were Corfu and Zakynthos. Zakynthos was the choice for my best friend’s honeymoon, so I already had enough information for it. In my childhood I also have watched many James Bond movies and one of the best ones I like was “For Your Eyes Only”. Some of the scenes were shot in Corfu and Corfu was always on my list to visit one day in my life. So, that’s how I decided to choose Corfu among all the beautiful Greek Islands.

For people who are curious about where Corfu is located, it is located on the west side of Greece. So, the island is not in Aegean Sea. So, you will not find ferry options from Athens (Piraues) to Corfu Island. It will not be logical to include Corfu or Zakynthos islands on your island hopping in Greece together with Mykonos or Santorini. Corfu is also called as Kerkyra. So, do not feel weird if you hear Kerkyra from locals instead of Corfu.

How long you should stay will really depend on what you want to do. We have spent a whole week there. It was not enough for us, but we heard some people who think 2-3 days is well enough for Corfu. So, be sure to check more info below and then make your decision…

How to reach

There are two main options to reach the island. First one is the most popular one: Flying to Corfu Airport. The airport is very close to Corfu Town and there are many flights from various places in Europe. Aegean Airlines have daily departures from Athens. The airport is a very small one but the island is very popular among British people, so it is also an international airport. When you reach to airport, you will have four options to reach your hotel.

The first one is going to your Rent A Car company’s office located at the airport and then take your car. The second is using public bus no 15 (they call as Corfu City Bus or Blue Bus). However you may wait 1 hour for a public bus. Bus options are less frequent, there is only one bus per hour. Third one is using a taxi. If you are planning to go Corfu Old Town, it will be very cheap, because it is only 2-3 km away to the airport. Last option is really interesting: Walking! Yes, the airport is very close so you will see lots of people carrying their luggage from old town to the airport. If you do not want to pay to a taxi or if it seems you just missed the bus and you will have to wait a lot for the next bus, walking can be an option for you.

Another way to reach Corfu is by a ferry with car or without car. There are ferry options both from Greece and other countries reaching to Corfu Pier. If you are staying in Athens, there are also bus tickets around 50 EUR. The flight ticket with additional 20 kg luggage was 75 EUR. Flight is around 45 minutes and going Corfu from Athens by bus is about 8-10 hours. Departure for buses from Athens were during the day, so using a bus was not a good option for people like us having a limited time, so we preferred to pay 25 EUR more. The price difference between bus and flight will eventually change, so be sure to make your flight reservation earlier, because when in peak season there are almost no seats left!

Travelling around

You have two options: Private car or public transportation. The first one will cost you more if you are two people, but it will give you opportunity to explore more, because by using public transportation you can not reach every beach. Schedules are less frequent even in high season. The second option will cost you less if you prefer to relax more and visit one or two beaches a day. Below I will try to tell more information about how to reach each beach by also public transportation too.

Most people also rent an ATV, but roads in Corfu are really not good. So, it can be risky for you to use an ATV car. More importantly, the weather is really hot and each beach is almost more than 30 km away to the Corfu Town. So, it may not be the best way. When you want to rent a car at the airport, you may face with limited options such as cars only with manual transmission. So, just after you arrange your flight dates, I recommend you to rent your car immediately. There are also local rent a car companies saying that they are with full insurance, however some of them are tricky. Be sure to check “under” your car in addition to front, back and rear of the car.

For people who prefer to use public transportation, be aware that there are two bus options. One if “blue bus” which only covers a small area. All buses depart from Corfu Town. The one that you may use to reach city center from airport is under “blue bus” category. You can either buy a single ticket (A zone – B zone) or daily ticket (5 EUR). Our hotel was in Kontokali and Bus No: 7 was the best option for us to reach our hotel. Some popular bus routes for blue buses are below. You can also check the picture for it:

  • Bus No: 7 – Corfu Town – Ipsos
  • Bus No: 15 – Corfu Town – Airport
  • Bus No: 2A – Corfu Town – Kanoni

Other bus category is called as “green bus”. It is a different bus company offering less frequent bus schedules to reach different beaches all around the island. They are large buses with A/C and tickets cost between 2.5 EUR to 5 EUR depends on how far you want to go. If you are not going to the last stop, ask the staff in bus to pay less. Price of the tickets depends on how far you will go. So, it not a standard fixed price like in the blue bus. Most of the buses are really “green”, but do not be surprised to see “green buses” with no green color. Below are the popular bus options which you may prefer:

  • Corfu Town – Sidari
  • Corfu Town – Kassiopi
  • Corfu Town – Palaiokastritsa
  • Corfu Town – Glyfada
  • Corfu Town – Agios Stefanos
  • Corfu Town – Agios Georgios
  • Sidari – Kassiopi
  • Agios Georgios – Agios Stefanos – Sidari
  • Corfu Town – Kassiopi

There is something unusual in Corfu. There is no direct connection between blue bus departure area and green bus departure area. There is a bus terminal for Green Buses 1.5 km away to main square in Old Town. This means, you will have to walk. The website for Green Bus shows you the bus stops for each route. Depending on where you stay, you may have to go Corfu Town or not.

So, let me give an example. The routes are categorized as North and South. Our hotel was located in Kontokali which is considered to be part of “North” area. So beaches in North area have bus options starting from Corfu Town and passing through Kontokali. This means, we didn’t have to go Corfu Town each time. However, a popular beach in Glyfada is part of “South” area and the bus was not passing through Kontokali, so in order to reach Glyfada, first we had to go Corfu Town by using a “blue bus”. How we understand this by checking the route map of each line in website.

I was almost going to forget to say. The last option for travelling around the island by renting a boat. You do not need a license to rent a boat in Corfu. You can either rent for some hours or for a day. It will not be logical to rent a boat and travel the whole island with that boat because the island is really big. Once you go to Sidari, you may rent a boat to explore beaches around there or you may rent a boat once you are in Agios Georgios for example. It is totally up to you!

Where to stay

For people who prefer to rent a car, I will recommend you to stay only in one hotel, but for people who prefer to use public transportation I will recommend an additional 1-2 days stay in Kavos. This is mainly because of the limited public transportation in the island. Most of the hotels are family owned and they are with maximum of 20-30 rooms with only two floors with a small swimming pool. We really liked our hotel and the area where we have stayed. We had a chance to explore many places on North of the island and they were all similar. The place we stayed was Kontokoli area. A supermarket was available and few tavernas (restaurants in Greek) were also located. There was a small marina called Gouvia.

Most people who visit Corfu stay either in Corfu Town or Sidari. In Corfu Town, you will have a feeling that you are still in Athens. It is a typical old town area where you can see in every country in Europe. In Sidari, there are many many hotels and restaurants. Most German and British tourists stay there for a month and become like a local there. The concept was same with the Kontokali but there are more options, so people who like to explore more, taste more and see more people should definitely choose Sidari.

You will also hear people talking about “Kavos”. Kavos is located on south of the island. It is 1.5 hours away to the Corfu Town with bus. It is the Ibiza of Greece. Don’t expect to see parties, nightclubs or famous DJs like in Ibiza, but this area is mainly for nightlife. I think people who can not afford money for Ibiza prefer to be in Kavos. There is also a Kavos Party Calendar you should check before going there. Some of them might be in your interest, so you arrange your stay in Kavos or arrange your daily visit to Kavos accordingly.

What to do

On our first day we arrived early in the morning, unfortunately our hotel room was not ready, so we preferred to wait until check-in time. Next thing we did was going to Palaiokastritsa. There are two places with the similar name. The one I am talking about here is the one located on left of the island. I recommend you to leave at the last station. Here, you will find a route going up to a monastery which offers you a sightseeing point. However, we skipped that due to crazy hot weather. We spent our time in one of the best beaches in Corfu. Next, we continued all the way of bus return route by walking. Here, you may find some interesting spots to swim. On your way (after 1-2 km) you will find a bar called La Grotta. This place is really crowded and it is one of the most popular places in Corfu. On your return, if you prefer walking back where bus left you, it would be better, because all people get in the bus mostly from Palaiokastritsa and it can be a problem for you. At this point, I recommend you to rent a boat for 1-2 hours to explore Palaiokastritsa beaches and caves. There are some popular beaches which is not accessed by any car. Check “Chomi Beach” photos in google and decide beaches like this are in your interest. If the answer is yes, you need to rent a boat or join a group tour.

Next thing we tried on next day was going to Porto Timoni. There is no bus option from anywhere here. There is a village called Afionas where there is bus option, but it was around 5 AM in the morning. So, you can arrive Afionas by your car and then prefer to walk or you can go to Agios Georgios by a bus and then prefer walking. You will hear lots of people who are really happy about their walking experience to hidden Porto Timoni Beach. We can not understand these people. The narrow path which you have to walk by your trekking shoes is really not safe and it is too hot. It takes more than 30 minutes to arrive this beach by walking. Our recommendation is: Do not walk! Please ask for a captain to leave you directly to the beach from Agios Georgios. Take his number and call him for pick-up. It will cost you more, but save your time. There are no facilities also at the beach, so you had to bring your own food and drinks with you. Considering you have to walk with all these stuff, it really makes no sense for us. If taking photos is in your interest, you may just walk 5 minutes and then take your pictures. We had to try walking when going to Porto Timoni and it was only the unnecessary thing we did in our holiday. On your return, you may spend some time on one of the longest beaches in Corfu: Agios Georgios.

Next beach we have visited was Agios Stefanos. There are two Agios Stefanos beaches in Corfu. This one is the one closest to Agios Georgios and located on north west of the island. We didn’t like the beach, but we have found a good beach cafe where we have enjoyed our “calamari” and ginger beer which is very popular in Corfu Island.

On the same day, you may continue your beach exploring by going to Sidari. Sidari is the most crowded area in Corfu. Most of the tourists stay here. So, here you will find many restaurants. However, do not expect to see beaches with crystal clear water. What you will see in Sidari is Canal d’Amour. It is a place for enjoying free mud bath in a small canal. There are only few places to rent a sunbed. Like Italians and Greeks do, you can take your beach towel and lay down on anywhere you see. There are not many other things to do here, but you can again arrange a tour or rent a boat to explore other hidden beaches located on north west of the island. Do not forget to skip Cape Drastis close to Sidari.

After visiting Sidari, we were not in the mood to go one more beach on the same day, so we visited Corfu Town which is the heart of city. For people who didn’t want to do the same thing, you may prefer visiting Kassiopi. We used number no 7 blue bus from Kontokali to Corfu Old Town. It is located on North East of the island. In old town area you will find many restaurants and stores. Besides that there is also Old Fortress area where everyone is spending their hours before evening. It is like a castle area with some interesting buildings inside. At this point, I do not want to give you more details. If you visit Corfu, you will eventually leave some hours to visit Corfu Town. There are some squares with their names such as Liston but they are all close and you can visit the whole old town area within one hour. Other things you can do in Corfu Town are visiting Vido Island nearby or visiting museums such as Byzantine Museum and Museum of Asian Art.

From Corfu Town, one of the best options to do is visiting Kanoni. Bus no 2a will take from Corfu Old Town to Kanoni. Here you will see a small white monastery called Vlacherna. It is located on a small island which can be accessed by walking. However, this is not the main reason you should visit Kanoni. Here, you can watch planes taking off and landing on very close. It is just few meters away to airport and this is one of the best opportunity to explore planes that much close.

On our next day, we made our way to Kassiopi. It is again located on North East of the island. On your way -if you are coming from Corfu Old Town direction not from Sidari- you will see Dassia, Ipsos, Barbati Beach, Kalami, Kerasia and Avlaki Beaches. It is not possible for you to visit them all, but you have a chance to go first three with blue bus anytime. Every 20 minutes, you will find bus no 7 from Corfu Town to Dassia and Ipsos. After all these towns and beach areas, the last stop is Kassiopi. Here there are no sandy beaches. So, do not forget to bring your sea shoes, you may really need it. The beach you will visit is called Bataria Beach. By the way, you can buy two sunbeds and umbrella for 8 EUR here. This price changes between 6 EUR to 12 EUR anywhere in Corfu.

Glyfada was the last beach stop opportunity for us. This place is located on west of the island. It is considered to be part of south of the island. You have to reach Green Bus Terminal  to go there. It is just the opposite of Corfu Town on the map, so it will take not much time to reach there. We have really liked this place, because sandy beaches are always our top choice. It is also the best option for water sports. For the first time in Corfu, we have also seen a little luxury beach called Pazuzu. In Corfu, it is almost impossible to see luxury places like you may see in Mykonos, so we were little surprised. Don’t expect an amazing beach club with pool party, I said “little” luxury. This means that there is drink service to the beach and sunbeds are more comfortable.

On our last day, there was limited time before our flight back to Athens. However, we didn’t want to say goodbye without swimming also on our last day, so early in the morning we went to Kontokali Beach which is very close to our hotel. There was no one, so it was a really good experience which remembers my days in Philippines. In Kontokali, I can not skip you to recommend a restaurant called “Zorba’s”. The portions are the biggest ones I have ever seen in my life. If you do not want to visit Old Town every night, I highly recommend one of your nights to enjoy your dinner in Zorba’s Restaurant and then enjoy your drink in Gouvia Marina. They are all 5 minutes walking distance.

They call it “party animals” but I prefer to call them people who like to enjoy Corfu in a different way. I am talking about people who stay in Kavos. Kavos is located on south of the island which takes 1.5 hours to reach from Corfu Town. There are no good beaches here, but all places look like a nightclub are located here. It is the Ibiza of Greece but it was really not in our interest. If you prefer using public transportation to visit Kavos, you had to return with an earlier bus back to Corfu. This means you will not see anything in Kavos. Life in Kavos begins after evening hours. So, you should either make a visit with your car late at night -of course if you will not drink and drive- or you should stay there for a day to have Kavos experience.

Every day is a day trip for you for exploring different beaches all around the island, however there are popular four day trip options which you may do it by attending a group or private tour.

Albania

First one is about exploring Albania. Corfu is very close to Albania country. You can actually see the Albania coast very clearly from beaches located on north east side. Some tours take you to Albania coast and give you plenty of time to discover nearby small towns. If you are thinking about to visit Tiran, that tour does not match for you, because Tiran is located on north of the country.

Meteora – Kalambaka

Second one is visiting Meteora city. It is more than 200 km to go there from Corfu. First tours take you to mainland by a ferry. Then a journey with bus starts. The city itself is full of monasteries located on top of mountains. Just check my relevant post and you will love what you see. However, I recommend you to not do this tour, because there are many other places located on mainland to see and it would be better if you can combine them in a different trip.

Paxos – Antipaxos / Sveta – Blue Lagoon / Sveta – Parga

Last two are boat tours. The most preferred one but reviewed with less positive comments is visiting Paxos and Anti Paxos Islands. These two islands are located on south of Corfu. So, most people who prefer visiting there are people who stay in “Kavos”. Even if you stay in other locations in Corfu, free shuttle buses or minivans offered by tours will take you to nearby ports. In this tour, you will visit two beautiful islands but most of your time will be spent on a boat rather than swimming. The second one is less preferred but with more positive comments. It includes a visit to Syvota located in mainland and also two-three swimming stops nearby. Some tours offer you a different variation of this tour by including Parga town too. The second one offers you more swimming opportunities. I strongly again recommend you to visit these places on a different trip if you have limited time.

Below take-away plan is prepared for people who would like to stay more in Corfu. As I mentioned before, I recommend visiting Meteora, Sveta and Parga in a different trip, that’s why you do not see them here, but you may of course add one more day and arrange it accordingly. The number of days in Corfu can be decreased by visiting more beaches on a single day and for this, renting a car is a must, but when you do that you also skip renting a boat option, so from my point of view to have a good experience about Corfu you will need at least 5-7 days.

Airport & Transportation

Day Tours

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