Corfu, a majestic island gracefully ensconced on the north of the Ionian Sea, is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, known for its dramatic scenery, sandy beaches, and gourmet gastronomic scene. Dramatic arches, deep caves, turquoise waters, and golden sunsets are as beautiful to photograph as they are to experience in the flesh, which is why high-end as well as budget travellers, are increasingly flocking to the island.
Tourism to Corfu (and the nearby Zakynthos island) grew by 12% last year, while the number of UK tourists who have visited the island is up by 20%.
Prince Charles and wife Camilla recently vacationed in Jacob and Nat Rothschild’s Corfu home on the north-east coast, dubbed ‘Kensington on the Coast’ for the number of high-end investors and buyers who now own a second home there.
In this post, we highlight some of the must-see areas of Corfu, with a focus on architecture, nature, gastronomy, and shopping.
Your Own Personal Oasis
The ideal summer getaway always involves the sea; some of Corfu’s most famous beaches include Faliraki Beach (with views of the Old Fortress), Dassia Bay (a secluded bay surrounding by greenery) and Agios Ioannis Peristeron (which is far from the island’s many resorts and which therefore boasts a quieter vibe).
With over 130 miles of jagged coastline, there are a vast array of seascapes to photograph, meditate by, or catch the sun’s rays, including romantic coves, dramatic cliffs, and lush walkways. While there are many resorts dotted around the island, the ideal luxury stay involves renting out a private luxury villa, with features such as infinity pools, proximity to beaches less travelled by, and crystal walls that will enable you to make the most of Corfu’s sea views.
There are a plethora of shops where you can find the ideal gift for someone back home. Head for the centre, where you will find shops like Mezzo Mezzo (which sells high-end designer ensembles), as well as galleries and workshops, including Perdita’s Glass Art (where you can pick up a designer handmade décor pieces) or Corfu Gallery (featuring paintings and sculptures by upcoming and renowned Greek artists).
You might be tempted to stay by the poolside all day, but a visit to Kerkyra (Old Corfu Town) is a must. Here, you will find fascinating exponents of French, British and Venetian architecture, viewing elegant arcades, old fortifications, quaint boutiques and lively café terraces.
Around 10 km to the south of the island lies the splendid Achilleion Palace, built by Empress Elisabeth (‘Sisi) of Bavaria in 1890, which boasts spectacular views of the sea. This Palace has featured in an array of films, including box office hit, For Your Eyes Only (James Bond).
Savouring the Best of Corfu
Despite being a relatively small island, Corfu has a wealth of excellent restaurants to choose from. Glyfa (featuring catch-of-the-day fish and seafood dishes) seemingly ‘floats’ on the sea, with many diners arriving by boat taxi. Meat lovers take note: you will also find lamb and steak dishes, as well as a good selection of Greek wines.
Salto Wine Bar and Bistro, meanwhile, offers international dishes such as gnocchi, as well as fish and seafood dishes. After your ‘dinner with a view’, keep partying at clubs like Edem or Dream Nights, where colourful cocktails, wine and a wide range of international spirits are offered.
A short drive away from Corfu is the bay of Agni, home to three restaurants (Agni, Toula and Nikolas), which have transformed the quaint area into a gourmet’s paradise.
Although Corfu has its luxurious side, the island caters to all pocket sizes, with a wealth of accommodation, restaurants and shops varying in price. To enjoy the best of the island, rent a car and discover hidden gems nearby, making sure to spend as much time in the Great Outdoors, as you do relaxing.
Now working as a writer, Jackie Edwards started her career in the hospitality and travel industry, but after becoming a mom refocused and decided to spend more time with her family. When she’s not writing, she volunteers for a number of local mental health charities and also has a menagerie of pets to look after.