Europe Greece 🇬🇷

Corfu Island through the eyes of a local

August 16, 2019

Corfu is one of the most beautiful islands in Greece, and if you haven’t already, you should definitely add it to your travel bucket-list. It is the largest of Ionian islands and offers a variety of landscapes such as lakes, rocky or sandy beaches, mountains, and more. In addition to all of these breathtaking places, Corfu also has a rich history, traditions, and culture awaiting for you to explore.

There are already millions of blogs and tour guides out there mentioning the must see/do things on the island. However, I decided to write a slightly different post including 9 of my personal favourite places through the eyes of a local. These are mainly located at the North-West part of the island and you can see them in the map below:

Accommodation & Car Rental 🛏️

I recommend checking out the following accommodation options. These are located in different parts of the island (which I will discuss later):

  1. Arillas – IreneVillas Apartments, https://www.irenevillas.com/
  2. Paleokastritsa – Akrotiri Beach Hotel, https://www.akrotiri-beach.com/
  3. Corfu Town – Bella Venezia Hotel https://www.bellaveneziahotel.com/
  4. Kommeno – Rodostamo Hotel, https://rodostamo.gr/

✏️ Tip! When in Corfu, I definitely recommend staying in the countryside instead of the city centre for two main reasons: 1) it can get extremely hot in the summer and 2) there are not really nice beaches near the centre. As a result, you should definitely consider renting a car 🚗 !

If you want to rent a car, Avanti Corfu Car Hire (https://avanticorfucarhire.com/) are great. They have excellent customer service and their cars are in great condition!

Corfu Town

Only 15 minutes away from the airport, you will find the heart of Corfu Old town – one of the most beautiful and romantic places in Greece. The town is surrounded by sea and two main fortresses; the old and the new one which you should definitely visit.

corfu old fortress aerial
Corfu town and old fortress Photo Credit: Eddie Kastamonitis

Architecture

What makes the old town so special is the architecture of the buildings which is influenced and contains elements from three main civilisations: the Venetians, French, and Bynzantines!

The buildings are built quite close to each other and are separated with small streets, also known as kantounia! As a result, prepare to lose yourself in the countless kantounia which will fascinate you with their unique views, shops, and beauty!

Among the streets of the old town, you will also find countless coffee shops, ice cream shops, souvlaki shops, and pizza shops! Every corner has something delicious to offer, so make sure to try as many of the local delicacies as you can!

The famous Liston

At the East side of the town you will find the most popular meeting point for Corfian people, the Pentofanaro square, right next to where the Liston starts – the most popular street in town.

pentofanaro and liston
Pentofanaro & Liston

The Liston of Kerkyra was built by the French engineer Lesseps who was inspired by the Rue Rivoli in Paris.  The Liston, with its nice gallery full of coffee shops and restaurants, is the heart of the social life in Corfu.

Source: https://www.corfu-kerkyra.eu

St. Spiridon

During your strolls around the town it is impossible to miss the Saint Spiridon’s church bell. St. Spiridon is the protector of the island, hence you will probably meet many locals named “Spiros”, and therefore the church is one of the biggest ones, and it is free to visit!

Saint spiridon church
Saint Spiridon’s church bell

The Old fortress & “Τhe gardens of people”

One of the things you really can’t miss when in Corfu town is a visit to the old fortress. It is known as “one one of the most impressive fortifications works in Europe”. There are few things you can visit inside the fortress such as the San George’s church, the library, etc. If you are feeling adventurous, you can even walk all the way to the top of it and enjoy the views of the town!

the old fortress from above
Old fortress from above. Photo Credit: Eddie Kastamonitis

Very close to the fortress you will also find another favourite spot of mine, the “Gardens of the people”. It is a small, charming park situated next to the Palace of St. Michael and St. George. It has a gorgeous view of the sea whilst at the same time is one of the most quiet and relaxing spots!

Walk by Garitsa Bay & Anemomylos

If you have enough time, you should definitely walk across the bay that links the old town to Anemomylos. It is a beautiful route and it will lead you to my favourite spot in the town, where you can enjoy the view of the old fortress, various yachts, and boats!

anemomylos
Anemomylos Photo Credit: Eddie Kastamonitis

Arillas

arillas beach during sunset
Arillas beach

Only 45 minutes away from Corfu town, you will find Arillas – one of the most beautiful places in the North-West part of Corfu. Due to its location, it offers some of the most magical sunsets you have ever seen! It is a beautiful spot with a smooth sandy beach and crystal clear waters. The sea is very shallow and warm, which makes it ideal if you have young kids! The beach overlooks at the Gravia island (which you can visit by a pedalo or a boat) and the Diapontia islands (which you can also visit for a day trip, by catching a boat from San Stefanos port)!

Arillas village itself has kept its traditional and genuine Corfian character through the years, offering a very warm and friendly atmosphere to the visitors. It is also home to the factory of the worldwide famous beer “Corfu Beer” 🍺!

✏️ Tip! You must definitely try the Ionian Ale (green and red beer) and also the new 2019 Ginger beer with the lemon flavour!!

When in Arillas you should:

  • Swim during sunset
  • Have food at the best traditional taverna – “Brouklis
  • If you fancy pizza, the pizzeria next door to Brouklis, is great!
  • Have a coffee at the “Akrotiri Cafe” at the top of the hill, which overlooks the beach
  • If you enjoy walking, try the Arillas Trail (https://www.arillas.com/trail)
  • Have a coffee or a drink at Ammos Cafe, which is right by the beach
  • Visit Arilla’s bakery owned by my very good friend, Maria!

St. Stefanos

St. Stefanos
At St. Stefanos Port overlooking the main beach

Just 10 minutes away from Arillas, and literally at the other side of the peninsula, is St. Stefanos village. It is popular for its nightlife and hence the large variety of bars, restaurants, shops, and hotels. The beach is also nice and very similar in comparison to Arillas! At the beach you will be able to try various water sports like water-skiing, parachuting, etc.

While in St Stefanos you should:

  • Drive along the coast and visit the port
  • Rent a boat! – You don’t need a licence
  • Try the “Giannis” taverna, for the most tasty souvlaki and gyros
  • Try various watersports!

Loggas

Just a little further north from San Stefanos, you will find another special spot; Loggas. It is known for its rocky cliffs and its breathtaking views of the sea and diapontia islands! And ofcourse…its sunsets.

loggas clifs
Loggas clifs

Afionas Village

Just 45 minutes from Corfu Town or 15 minutes from Arillas, you will find probably one of the most beautiful and unique villages on the island; Afionas! It is well-known for its beautiful little streets and traditional colourful houses, and also for its breathtaking views and sunsets.

hand made product shop in afionas
Probably the oldest shop at the village

While in Afionas you should:

  • Stroll around the village just before sunset!
  • Visit the local shops where you can find handmade products made from olive wood!
  • Visit the church located at the central square of the village
  • Have lunch or dinner at “Anemos” Restaurant, which has a stunning view overlooking the Arillas bay and Diapontia island!
  • You can also visit the “Porto Timoni” restaurant, which sits at the back of the village and overlooks St.George bay!
  • As you follow the path through the village, you will end up at “Louloudi” which has a beautiful view and benches for you to enjoy it!
stunning view from louloudi in afionas
Louloudi point in Afionas village
sunset from afionas overlooking the diapontia islands
Stunning sunset from Afionas overlooking the Diapontia Island

St. George beach & Porto Timoni

If you find yourself in Afionas, you should not miss going for a swim in St. George beach and Porto Timoni!

St. George Pagon beach is one of the largest sandy beaches on the island. It is well known for its crystal clear (and very often cold 🥶- hence the name “pagoi” which means “ice”) waters! The sea gets deep very quickly, which makes it ideal if you like swimming near the sore. The beach is very popular for other activities as well such as windsurfing, canoeing, paddling, beachvolley, and many more!

san george beach
San George Beach as seen from Porto Timoni Cafe
san george beach during sunset
Sunset @San George

Very close to San George and accessible from San George beach via a pedalo, canoe, or a speed boat you will find Porto Timoni twin beaches. These are two extremely rural beaches with a unique beauty! The first beach facing San George is deep and usually cold, but it is beautiful and it is ideal for snorkelling! The beach behind it is very shallow and warm!

porto timoni
Porto Timoni twin beaches

Paleokastritsa & Aggelokastro

Only 40 minutes away from Corfu town and on the North-West part of the island you will also find the beautiful and unique village of Palaiokastritsa.

paleokastritsa
Paleokastritsa from above

At the heart of the village you will find one of the most beautiful monasteries on the island. It was built in 1225 and you should definitely pay a visit ⛪!

✏️ Tip! If you do visit the monastery be prepared to wear very long skirts and scarves (provided by the nuns) to cover your shoulders and legs. It’s a sign of respect to the church.

at paleokastritsa monastery
Inside the monastery

Palaiokastritsa is also famous for its captivating beaches with deep, cold, and crystal clear waters, but also for its gorgeous seabed. This makes is ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling!

At Agia Triada beach, which is the main beach in Palaio, you can also:

  • try a range of watersports including water skiing, banana, hoops, etc.
  • rent a speed boat or catch a taxi boat to visit other beaches near by, only accessible by sea such as Chomoi!!

⚠️Food Alert 🤤⚠️

At the same beach, you will also find my favourite beach bar/gourmet restaurant; Akron (https://akron.gr/). It offers gorgeous drinks and excellent food all day long and you should definitely try it! If you explain to Anna, one of the mixologists, what kind of drink you fancy and with what ingredients, she can make you the perfect one! They also have sunbeds available to rent!

The Castle of Angels

Very close to Paleo you will find Angelokastro, or the Castle of Angels. The castle is built at one of the highest spots of the island’s shoreline. The views it offers are breathtaking and you should definitely visit it. At the time I am writing this post, in order to enter to the castle, you need to buy a ticket just outside the entrance which costs 5 euros.

Angelokastro was one of the most important defense mechanisms of the island, and although the frequent sieges and attempts to conquer it through the centuries, it never fell!

angelokastro aerial photo
Angelokastro. Photo Credit: Eddie Kastamonitis
view from angelokastro
View from the Castle.

The end

I hope that you found this post interesting! I will write another post in the future about the North-East and South parts of the island!

Finally, you can watch my youtube video about all these places here:

Until next time…

Irene

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Awesome blog. Going to Corfu in September and we are looking forward to visiting few of these places. Thanks for sharing!

  2. We love Arillas so much! We can’t wait to go back next year! Never been to Logas before, but it’s definitely something we have added to our list xx

  3. We love visiting Corfu, it’s such a tranquil beautiful place and the beaches are second to none. Irene and her family offer an exceptional welcome and hospitality at Irene villas in Arillas. Arillas is a quiet village on the north west of the island with traditional tavernas and a vegetarian/vegan cafe, deli and shop which has everything you could wish for. A visit to Kassiopi for lunch then Kalami beach for the afternoon is a must in the north east, both stunningly beautiful places, recommend hiring a car. Paleokastritsa is also well worth a visit but gets very busy in summer. Can highly recommend a visit to Corfu!

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