The Ionian Island of Corfu or Kerkyra, Greece is one name that you should definitely look into if you're planning a getaway vacation. A major holiday destination that has drawn Greek and European travellers for years, the island offers a unique blend of cultures that come together to make a vibrant space. Even a cursory glance at the prospects will have you marvelling at old Venetian towns that have stood the test of time, serene beaches backed by lush mountains, and modern-day resort villages, all of which are complete experiences in their own right.
And who even says, that you can't experience it all in just one trip. The otherwise large island of Corfu has quite a few dedicated towns that focus on single elements of whatever things that make a trip to the island great, but then there are also the ones that have a little bit of everything. And even with the vast number of options, choosing an area for your stay is an easy choice once you know the island better and that's exactly where we help. Here, we have listed some of the neighborhoods of Corfu and what they might have in store for you traveller!
The island's capital city, Corfu City is a sight to behold; the most stunning of Venetian cityscapes with giant arcades and narrow cobblestone streets, accentuated by majestic the seafront fortress are only the tip of the iceberg because the minute you enter the town, a surprise awaits at almost every turn. Before we talk about any of that, however, a quick reminder to check out the fortress complex that is not only a fine example of the island's cultural capital, but also one of the best places to visit for sweeping views of the Ionian Sea. It also helps that some of the finest galleries and exhibition halls on the island are all a stone's throw from here; a quick tour of the monument followed by a quick visit to the Museum of Dionysios Solomos, or the Museum of Asian Art of Corfu or the Byzantine Museum of Antivouniotissa will give you every a whole new insight into the rich past of Corfu!
Corfu City's old history quarters centred around the Spianáda Square are the most picturesque settlement on the island. It's here that the pastel coloured buildings, the shopping arcades, peeping clock towers, terraced cafes and shady parks all come together to create a unique atmosphere, one with an old-world charm but not bereft of activity. Travellers from all over throng the streets here looking for a lovely outdoor afternoon tea, Greek buffets, casual drinks and even souvenir shopping. The green space close to the seafront also offers great views of the city's old harbour. In short, you are likely to come back for a second and a third stroll through this part of the town. Uptown, you will find the new fortress, with equally stunning views of the sea and a few great waterfront entertainment centres.
The Ioannis Kapodistrias International Airport makes Corfu City the most easily accessible part of the island; besides ferry services are available at the main port. Hotels are resorts (pricey as they might be) are in plenty in the vicinity of the city, and are among some of the finest that you'll come across in the Ionian Sea.
Another beautiful town that appears to have been frozen in time is the western coastal town of Palaiokastritsa. The vast neighborhood has maintained a large part of its green cover with extensive natural vegetation and several olive orchards, and houses some of the oldest churches and monasteries on the island, located in the backdrop of this exceptional scenery. The Agios Georgios Old Church and the Monastery of Paleokastritsa are particularly impressive for both their cliffside setting and stunning complexes. The outdoors offer prospects of a few exciting treks and walking trails; go for the Trail to Lakones if you're looking for a challenge, but very few experiences match up to the hike up to the Angelokastro castle, a supreme-looking stone castle housing unique art exhibits located in the midst of a verdant scenery.
The beaches in and around Palaiokastritsa are another great reason to visit the town. Varied as they are, you will find a little bit of everything as you laze around from one beach to the other. The main sandy strip is the Agios Spiridon Beach, which has the more traditional entertainment options including a lively beachfront lined with open-air cafes and food shacks that serve some great comfort foods and chilled beer to keep you refreshed in between your swims and bouts of beach volleyball. But if you're looking for a more private and laid-back beach day, head over to the smaller Ampelaki Beach. This one is centred around a much smaller bay but the soft sand and the beautiful turquoise water make for as impressive an atmosphere as there can be.
The neighborhood has a few great hotels and resorts near the Agios Spiridon Beach and that's where you should be looking for your accommodation. Palaiokastritsa is about 30 minutes from the airport, making it one of the shorter rides when compared to other coastal towns.
Even with all the talk of its culture dominating the conversations, Corfu has a top nightlife destination for long now. And that's largely because of the lively beach parties and clubbing districts present on the southern coast of the island. The town of Kavos, located on the southernmost tip is known for the sheer number of bars and nightclubs lining the streets and the coastline; while some of them host overnight parties and music nights, others also have day-long performances and RnB concerts that draw huge crowds. Until recently, Kavos mostly attracted European tourists but that has begun to change. And so has the scope of cuisine; while the Mediterranean food here is something you just cannot miss, you will also come across some great Asian and Middle Eastern eateries.
And that's without even mentioning the drinks! You can find just about anything in the neighborhood's trendy bars starting from craft beer to the most ingenious of cocktails. The Florida Bar, Rodney's Live Music, Ice Car and Alma Libre are some of the top choices in the area. The restaurants beach clubs close to the Paralia Kavos are best located as you can hop over to the sandy strip for a stroll or hit waters without having to quit on your coolers and cocktails. The beach is also popular for water sports as local service providers offer a few exciting prospects. Walk down the road for rental boat rides and hatch cruises around the serene open sea.
Kavos is an hour-long ride from Corfu City and can be reached both by public transport and rental taxis. It is a walkable neighborhood so getting from one place to the other within the town is easy. For accommodation, you should look for a nice resort or waterfront hotel so you can wake up to sweeping views every morning.
Across from the capital city of Corfu City is the backpacker paradise of Agios Gordios, a western coastal town known for its inexpensive accommodation and boho vibe. The neighborhood has two major beaches that are great for sunbathing and a relaxing outdoorsy day; the long sandy strip of Paralia Agios Gordios is especially stunning. There isn't a better place for an evening stroll in all of Corfu as you not only get to witness a beautiful sunset, but also get a closer look at the more rugged side of the island. Rock formations rising from within the sea and majestic cliffs in the background are all the things that set this naturally gifted island apart.
The cityscape in Agios Gordios is minimalistic with barely any high-rise buildings in sight. In the absence of all that, you can really spend your time outdoors. If you're looking for a change of atmosphere from coming off of your regular beach days, head over to any one of the cliffs that we mentioned earlier. A trek up the lush landscape will definitely enliven you, and if the challenge isn't already enough wait till you get to the summit. The central part of the town also has a beautiful white church with a peculiar bell tower; the building is an absolute sight to behold during the wee hours. Talking of which again, find your way to the northern end of the beach to find a shipwreck monument, a landmark of sorts, one that really sums up the alternative appeal of the town. A sunset viewing there is as good as any!
The backpackers appeal of Agios Gordios has only grown over the years, with the coming up of newer hostels and shared living spaces everyday. Travellers looking to explore the lesser talked about parts of Corfu will have the best time in this part of the Island, and that too without fearing to miss out on the beach action.
The northern coast of Corfu is where you will find the most number of upscale resorts and couple retreats. The town of Kassiopi is one of the best places to visit in this part of the island. The town's longest coastlines is not only amongst the longest, but also one of the busiest mostly because of the number of coves that can be found here. The northern end of the town itself is home to three coves, housing three separate beaches: the Pipitou beach, the Kanoni beach and the Bataria beach. Each of these have their own unique appeal with the first of these being the top choice for a private experience and the latter two being the go-to for family outings.
These coves are not individually crowded and while beach hopping is a great way to spend your days in Kassiopi, the town also has a few other attractions. The main marina is lined with several fine dining restaurants and waterfront eateries that serve delicious seafood and a wide array of local dishes. Take a tour of the paved streets while you decide from the seemingly endless list of available options. Just west of the marina is the Kassiopi Castle, a stone castle sitting atop a small hillock that you visit after your lunch. A nice short walk up the hill and rewarding views of the harbour are what await you en route. And if you do manage to find sandy spare time, Kassiopi also has few offbeat entertainment options with its submarine tours and birdwatching trips to the nearby forested area of Erimitis.
Kassiopi has some of the most popular resorts in all of Corfu. The prices might be higher when compared to some other parts of the island, but you should be able to get your hands on some good deals if you make the booking well in advance. The town is one of the farthest out from central transport hubs including the airport.
And for the last neighborhood in the lost, we go back to all the basics that make any Greek island vacation great. The northern town of Sodati boasts of a rugged coastline, stunning beaches and a small old market town centred around a beautiful marina. One of the best neighbourhoods for a wholesome family vacation, Sidari is your answer if you want to enjoy every little part of Corfu without having to travel to far off places every second day. The central Paralia Sidari has a long sandy strip and calm waters; rental sunbeds and outdoor cafes line the beachfront,which is always bustling with activity.
Walk to the extreme ends of the beach and spend your time around the beautiful rock formations that have become the distinctive features of the northern coast of the island. The Canal d'Amour Beach and the Kanali tou Erota are among should definitely be in your must-visit lists; it is here that the serene turquoise waters and the rocky terrain shine the brightest. The town itself is quite charming and family friendly, with inlet canals meandering through the cityscape and small churches and green parks lending it a village-like vibe. Stroll through the streets of the town's central parts, while keeping an eye out for some great ice cream parlors, home-grown bakeries, local taverns and pizzerias.
Sidari has plenty of good resorts, hotels and apartment complexes, most of which have their own outdoor gardens and open air pools. The neighborhood then should be your top choice if you are looking for top-notch accommodation options in the mid-budget range.
That's our complete list then, traveller. Take your pick and get packing for your trip; the dream destination of Corfu awaits!