The cosmopolitan island

A feast of nature and culture

Since antiquity, the history of Corfu was written through its contact with various civilizations over the centuries. The island’s strategic location made it a frequent target for invaders, and this had a decisive impact on the development of its unique and rich cultural heritage. The Old Town of Corfu, nowadays a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands not merely as proof of this aspect, but also as a “living” testament to the island’s history and architecture. The Old Town, with its enchanting maze of narrow alleyways and bystreets (the “Kantounia”), is full of Venetian buildings and historical churches, and exploring it becomes a genuine delight.

Corfu is also known for its amazing beaches. Its coastline is 217 km long and contains numerous beaches and coves. Some of the most popular beaches are Glyfada, Agios Gordios, Sidari, and Palaiokastritsa, all of which combine crystal blue waters, golden sand, and a breathtaking view. There are also many smaller and secluded beaches, also contributing to the island’s natural beauty, which are ideal for those who seek a quiet getaway.

Nevertheless, besides its history and beaches, Corfu is also famous for its buzzing nightlife, particularly during the months of summer, when the island comes alive thanks to visitors from all over Greece and the world. All areas of the island feature bars, clubs, and restaurants, which are suitable for all tastes and all wallets.

The world-famous philharmonic societies of Corfu are a unique touch of culture in the everyday life of the island. Continuing a tradition that goes back to 1837, during the period of Corfu’s British Rule, the musicians, dressed in their colorful costumes, perform their music on boulevards and bystreets, towns and villages, and in every small and grand celebration, and it is a spectacle that never fails to excite and move the audiences on each and every occasion. 

If you are looking for calmer vacations, Corfu is a true delight to visit during springtime, where you can observe how the natural beauty of the island reaches sublime heights through its fully blooming quarters. Another reason for visiting Corfu during the springtime is the residents’ unique manner of celebrating Easter, by way of their traditional customs such as the “Botides”, which is the throwing of clay pots and vases filled with water from balconies and windows, adding a “local color” to the solemn ambiance of the season.

During the summer months, when the island comes alive, Corfu’s entertainment options are further boosted by the addition of the numerous restaurants offering a wide menu of flavors, ranging from traditional Greek dishes to international cuisine. The options for outdoor activities – hiking, cycling, sea sports – that visitors can enjoy in Corfu during the summer are equally abundant.

A wealth of landmarks

The rare beauty of the Old Town is merely the starting point for embarking on a cultural trip of Corfu. The island’s cultural tradition is so strong and omnipresent, to the point that a landmark is hidden in each and every corner. As an example, below you find only a few of the limitless spots that you can walk, experience, and breath in the unique culture of Corfu:

Old Palaces

Old Palace of Saint Michael and Saint George: A palace in the town of Corfu, built by Thomas Maitland during his office as British Governor, which also served as seat of the Ionian Senate. The Palace nowadays houses the Corfu Museum of Asian Arts.

Achilleion Palace: The palace-hermitage of Empress Elisabeth (“Sisi”) built in the style of a Pompeian mansion and famous for its statues of ancient figures and heroes – such as Achilles – adorning its famous gardens. It functions as museums and venue for cultural events.

Mon Repos: The neoclassical manor in the sublime namesake park (Mon Repos) with the perennial trees was built in 1831 and has since been used as summer residence for the British Governor, summer palace after Corfu’s unification with Greece, and as religious seminary. Nowadays it houses the Palaiopolis-Mon Repos Museum.

Old Fortress: An emblem of the city of Corfu, combining Venetian fortifications and austere buildings from the period of the British Rule. Its distinctive nailed wooden gate, along with Porta Soranza, the old main entryway to the fortress, are merely a couple of the much-photographed spots where you can appreciate the landmark’s unique character.

New Fortress: Visitors traverse galleries and domes to reach the Bastion of the Seven Winds, where they can appreciate not only the view to the Old Town, but also to the Greek mainland. Its courtyard serves as venue for cultural events during the summer months.

Vidos Islet: Currently uninhabited, this islet is separated from the old fortress and port of the town of Corfu by a narrow sea channel. You can visit it by taking one of the small boats that make regular trips to the islet during the months of summer.

Danilia Village: A traditional theme park that gives you the opportunity to travel back in time and visit an authentic Corfiot village, glimpse traditional techniques, and become acquainted with the flavors of Corfu. The village of Danilia has also served as location for international films, such as “James Bond: For your Eyes Only”, and the acclaimed TV series “The Durrells”. 

Spianada: The largest city square in the Balkans, established the Venetians and planted with trees by the French. Here you can admire the Maitland Rotunda (or Peristylion), the Pavilion of Union Square, and the Monument of the Union of the Ionian Islands. 

Liston Square: This square, complete with its arches and modern cafés, was built in 1807 by Mattieu de Lesseys, French Commissioner of Corfu, patterned after Paris’s Rue Rivoli and according to the architectural motifs of the Napoleonic Era.

Pontikonisi: This small rocky island, located in the Lagoon of Chalikiopoulos and facing the landing strip of “Ioannis Capodistrias” Airport, hosts a Byzantine church dedicated to the Transfiguration of Jesus that was built during the rule of King Otto of Greece.

Corfu Olive Grove (Kerkyraikos Elaionas): Being a unique agricultural environmental monument with trees up to half a century old, the Olive Grove has a rich history that goes back to the Venetian Rule, combined with a rare beauty that is the product of the Corfiot “Lianolia” olive tree variety. 

An appetite for culinary pleasures

Corfu is blessed with a multitude of culinary traditions that feature many dishes and recipes which are unique to this island. Some of the most popular are pastitsada, which is pasta with veal or rooster in tomato sauce, sofrito, which is veal cooked in white wine sauce with garlic and parsley, and bourdeto, which is a spicy fish stew made with local fishes, boukovo and tomato sauce.

Religious heritage

Corfu has a lavish religious heritage that comprises many historical churches and monasteries, some of which go back to the Byzantine period, such as the Palaiokastritsa Monastery, built in the 13th century atop a hill overlooking the sea, which is famous for its beautiful frescoes and holy icons.

There are many religious events celebrated during Easter. Besides the liturgies, litanies and religious ceremonies taking place all over the island, visitors can explore religious monuments and landmarks, such as Saint Spyridon’s Church, which houses the holy relic of Corfu’s patron saint.

A favorite family destination

Corfu is an excellent destination for families who wish to enjoy their vacations together. The island offers a wide range of activities for children of all ages, making it an ideal destination for young and old alike. 

There are many family-friendly beaches in Corfu, which are ideal for swimming, sunbathing and games in the sand. Some of most popular beaches are Glyfada, Sidari, Palaiokastritsa, Issos, Halikounas, Gardeno, Marathias, and Agios Gordios.

Corfu is also layered with many parks and outdoor areas which are perfect for families. The gardens of Achilleio Palace, for example, are home to many exotic plants and trees, as well as many statues and works of art inspired by ancient Greek mythology and history.

Another excellent option for family activities in Corfu is the exploration of the island’s historical monuments and landmarks. For families seeking something more adventurous, Corfu provides options for many outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, and sea sports. Families can admire the stunning landscape in the numerous trails of the island, or even rent a boat and explore the coastline.

All things considered, Corfu offers a unique blend of history, culture, and tradition. From its culinary pleasures to its religious heritage, the island can offer something unique to everyone. Whether you wish to explore the island’s historical monuments, or just enjoy the beautiful beaches and buzzing nightlife, Corfu is a destination that will certainly delight you!

Photos and videos

Events calendar

13 Σεπτέμβριου 2023
CORFU 12/07/2023

Lyrical singing seminar by the "Kapodistrias" Philharmonic Orchestra

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12-15 July 2023

CORFU 27/06/2023

Corfu International Festival

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21 June - 27 October 2023

CORFU 23/06/2023

Feast for the celebration of St. John the Lampatari, village of Kinopiastes

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23 - 24 June 2023

CORFU 13/06/2023

Vassilis Papakonstantinou live at Alykes Lefkimmi

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13 August 2023

Thematic tourism

Sea Tourism

The Ionian Islands are acclaimed for their rich natural beauty, crystal waters, and sandy beaches. Their combination of natural beauty and abundant experiences offers hospitality and a wide range of sea activities for all lucky visitors, featuring options that meet all interests and preferences.

The second largest Ionian Island is one of the most popular sea tourism locations in the region. With a coastline extending over 200 kilometers, Corfu provides vacationers with a range of beaches suitable for all preferences: whether you like it sandy or pebbled, remote or tourist, there is a beach for everyone. 

At the north of the island, beaches are sandy, and the waters are shallow and warm. Here you will find the famous Canal d’Amour, an enchanting beach that is also a natural landmark, as well as the beaches of Sidari, Roda, and Acharavi. Corfu’s northwest coasts, such as Palaiokastritsa, feature lush vegetation, rocks, and cool waters. Other beaches, such as Rovinia, Agia Triada, and Liapades are also worth a visit. Sandy beaches and shallow waters are also found at the southwest coasts, which feature the popular beaches of Glyfada, Agios Gordios, and Kontogialos. A little further towards the south you will find the beautiful beaches of Issos, Chalikounas, Marathias, and Gardenos. The northeast coast is dominated by coves and beaches with white pebbles and vegetations, situated in the shadow of Mount Pantokrator. Last but not least, the beaches at the southeast coast also feature calm shallow waters, sand, and pebbles, the most notable among them being the beaches at Benitses, Moraitika, and Messonghi.

Sport Tourism

Sports tourism has become more and more popular over the past few years, and a growing number of tourists seek to combine their love for sports with their passion for travelling. The Ionian Islands are a popular destination for this particular type of tourism – and below you will find out why.

By offering a wide range of sports and outdoor activities, the Ionian Islands have become an ideal destination for those who wish to maintain their fitness during their vacations. Whether you are interested in sea sports or enjoy hiking and cycling, the Ionian Islands have unique opportunities to offer.

Sea sports are very popular in the Ionian Islands during the summer months. Their crystal waters are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving, and there are many businesses renting equipment to visitors. 

The beaches of Chalikounas and Issos at Corfu are just some of the beaches that attract fervent fans kitesurfing. In fact, several beach host kitesurfing schools that also provide the option to rent equipment.

Regarding Corfu, the constantly growing popularity of mountain roads over the recent years, along with the geomorphological characteristics, diversity of natural environment and moderate island climate over the months of winter laid the foundations for the Corfu Mountain Trail, a mountain race first established in 2012 that consists of four trails: CMT Ultra (103 km), Rain Trail (44 km), Olive Trail (24 km), and Quick Trail (12 km). This year’s race, held in early May, was packed with Greek and foreign runners. In addition, the middle of Corfu also offers a network of hiking trails that is approximately 42 kilometers long and designed according to Greek and international specifications, and consists of trails that attract a large number of hikers and nature lovers. 

Golf is yet another activity that is available in Corfu. The Corfu Golf Club at Ropa Valley in Ermones is a prominent 18-hole golf course, designed by the acclaimed architect Donald Harradine. It is open from March to November and recommended for novices to experienced players alike.

Cricket, a sport with a tradition that goes back two centuries, is still played by passionate enthusiasts in Corfu to this day. In fact, this year’s April 23rd marked the 200-year anniversary of the first cricket game in Corfu, held between rival teams from the British Navy – don’t forget that Corfu was under British rule during that time. Being the seat of the Hellenic Cricket Federation, and besides the official indoor and outdoor cricket championships, Corfu hosts tournaments and friendly matches between local and foreign teams all year round, which are held at the most atmospheric field in Europe: the square of Spianada, situated at the heart of the historical center of the city. In addition, the field inside the marina at Gouvia offers better comfort and infrastructures.

Family Vacations

Are you thinking about which destination to choose for your next family vacations? Gift your loved ones with valuable and unique moments and memories in the Ionian Islands, a small “family” of Greek islands, and explore the wide range of experiences and thrills they can offer.

One of the most popular islands is Corfu, which is famous for its amazing beaches, historical monuments, and buzzing nightlife. Some of Corfu’s top landmarks include the Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Achilleion Palace, built of Empress Elisabeth of Austria in late 19th century, and the beach of Canal d’Amour, formed by natural rock formations and coves which are ideal for swimming and sunbathing.

Gastronomic tourism and Wine tourism

The Ionian Islands offer a rich and diverse cuisine, a blend of traditional Greek gastronomy and influences from other cultures. By emphasizing locally produced ingredients and the power of taste, it is made evident that the Ionian Islands are a special destination for all food lovers.

The Ionian Islands are famous for their “trademark” tasteful qualities, combining traditional Greek dishes with influences from the Italian, Turkish, and Venetian cuisine. The islands offer a wealth of fresh local ingredients such as fish, seafood, olive oil, vegetables, herbs, and wines. Their gastronomy constitutes a unique experience that is bound to thrill and delight all connoisseurs of fine food. 

Each Ionian Island features a variety of traditional recipes and dishes which are unique to the region.

Pastitsada – A rich meat stew prepared with veal or rooster, cooked in tomato sauce with cinnamon, clove, and allspice. Usually served with pasta.

Sofrito – Thin slices of beef cooked with white wine and garlic sauce. Usually served with mashed potatoes or rice.

Porpetes – Meatballs in red sauce.

Stoufado – The Corfiot version of stew, served with polenta. 

Bourdeto – A spicy fish stew made with scorpionfish or other local fishes, cooked in a tomato-based sauce, along with red pepper flakes, garlic, and onions.

Tsigareli – A spicy vegetarian dish made with wild vegetables.

Religious tourism

The Ionian Islands have been a hub of religious activities for hundreds of years, hosting a vast number of churches, monasteries, and Byzantine monuments, many of which are open for religious tourists during the months of summer and spring, whether for pilgrimages or just out of desire to explore the rich history of the region through its religious tradition.

Saint Spyridon Church in the city of Corfu: Located in the heart of the city of Corfu, this church is among the most famous holy temples throughout Greece. It houses the relics of Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of the island, and a popular place of pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians.

Saint George Church: Located in the village of Kassiopi in North Corfu, this amazing Byzantine church was built during the 16th century and is decorated with beautiful frescoes and holy icons. It is a popular spot for pilgrims and open for visitors all year round.

Monastery of Panagia Spiliani: Located near the city of Corfu, built during the 13th century and famous for its cavern-like chapel that was carved into the rocks.

Monastery of Panagia Vlahernon: Located on a small island near Corfu airport and accessible through a small bridge. It was built in the 17th century and decorated with pleasing frescoes, and it also features a small museum with religious objects.

Monastery of Paleokastritsa: Located on a hilltop overlooking the sea at the namesake village. It was founded in the 13th century and is distinct for its amazing architecture, pleasing frescoes and small museum.

The celebration of the Dormition of Theokotos on the 15th of August is very important for the culture of the Ionian region and traditionally celebrated with litanies, festivals, and fireworks. Another very important date for Corfu is the 12th of December, which is the celebration of Saint Spyridon.

Moreover, during the year, there are four great litanies taking place in the city of Corfu, in commemoration of the miracles of Saint Spyridon, and held on the Sunday of the Palms, on the Holy Saturday, on August 11th, and on the First Sunday of November, all of which attract numerous devotees from Greece and abroad.

Due to their strategic location, the Ionian Islands drew many conquerors over the centuries and used the exchange between cultures and people to their advantage, resulting in the region’s religious diversity. Corfu is a great example of this phenomenon, on account of its active Catholic Archdiocese, Anglican Church, and Jewish Synagogue.

Cultural Tourism

Cultural tourism is becoming more and more popular, and the Ionian Islands are among the best destinations for this type of tourism. By virtue of their exceptional natural beauty and rich history, the Ionian Islands offer a wide variety of cultural landmarks and activities.

Corfu, the largest of the Ionian Islands, is a treasure of cultural landmarks. One of its most popular destinations is Achilleion Palace, built in late 19th century for the Empress Elisabeth (Sissi) of Austria. The palace is an outstanding example of neoclassical architecture, decorated with splendid gardens full of fountains and statues in the Ancient Greek style. Visitors can explore its many rooms, which are present many works of art and antiques, and learn more about its fascinating history.

The Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is yet another destination you should visit in Corfu. Its labyrinthine streets are full of Venetian buildings and Byzantine churches, while visitors are provided with the opportunity to explore the numerous museums and art galleries housed in such historical buildings.

From their ancient temples and ruins to the impressive fortresses and castles, the monuments of the Ionian Islands are testament to the multitude of cultures who have made these islands their “home” over the centuries.

One of the most impressive Ionian monuments is the Temple of Artemis in Corfu, built during the 6th century B.C. Although a large part of the temple was destroyed over the centuries, visitors may still admire the majestic remains of the temple’s foundations and columns.

The Old Fortress, built in the 16th century by the Venetians atop a rocky promontory with a view to the open sea and the surrounding landscape, is yet another ancient monument that you should visit while at Corfu. Visitors can explore the rooms and courtyards of the fortress, where they will discover a church, a prison building, and the lighthouse of the fortress. 

The Ionian Islands are home to plenty of museums that present visitors with an overview of the rich cultural and historical legacy of the region.

Archaeological Museum of Corfu: Its collection includes artifacts such as potteries, sculptures, and inscriptions from the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods. Its important exhibits include the Gorgon Pediment from the Temple of Artemis, which is regarded as one of the finest samples of ancient Greek sculpture.

Corfu Museum of Asian Art: Situated at the heart of the city of Corfu, it houses one of the finest collections of Asian art in Greece. Its exhibits include over 15,000 works of art, including potteries, textiles, and sculptures from China, Japan, and other countries of Asia. The museum also hosts periodical exhibitions and cultural events throughout the year.