by Isabella Perkins
Corfu is the second largest of Greece’s Ionian Islands but it’s small enough to make you feel at home! The island is only 226 mi² in size, which makes Villa Plus Holidays to Corfu ideal for holidaymakers who want to hire a car and travel across the whole island. Not to mention travellers seeking a leisurely break where everything they need is within walking distance.
Image by mickpix, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0)
Visit the island’s northeast coast for the best diving opportunities. Alternatively, consider taking a boat trip to Paxos island for a day of white sand beaches and sparkling blue seas. Corfu’s location in the Ionian Sea, just off Greece’s northwest coast, means that it’s ideal for travellers looking to fit two holidays into one. A visit to neighbouring Albania or mainland Greece is simple to arrange and an inexpensive way to see more of the world.
Image by kseko76, used under Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0)
Religion is particularly important in Corfu and the island’s old town alone has a grand total of 37 churches. They are all within 15 minutes walking distance of each other, so taking a religious tour of the old town is easy to do! Saint Spyridon Church is the most important church on the island. It takes its name from Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of Corfu, and has the tallest bell tower of any church in the Ionian Islands!
Agios Stefanos is a small resort found on the northwest side of Corfu Island. Most visitors to the resort choose to rent a villa and take advantage of the perks of a self-catering holiday. Take a short walk to Agios Stefanos’ local harbour in the morning and you can buy freshly caught fish. Save it for a special lunch or dinner time treat and serve with buttered potatoes.
Fancy a night off from cooking? You’ll be spoilt for choice for eateries in Agios Stefanos. There are Greek tavernas and restaurants at every turn and many restaurants also offer entertainment in the form of Greek music and dancing for their diners to enjoy. Try out a local speciality like tzatziki or stifado and savour the taste of Corfu while you enjoy the Greek entertainment that’s on offer.
Agios Stefanos has kept a firm hold of its fishing village roots and this sense of character makes the area a joy to explore. Agios Stefanos’ main beach in particular is a sight to behold. The beach is over a mile long with a backdrop of green hills, olive trees and paths that lead to gorgeous white-painted houses. This family friendly beach is spacious enough for children to play games and for adults to kick back and sunbathe with plenty of room to spare for a picnic basket.
Kassiopi is a popular resort town which lies just 23 miles north of Corfu Town. Want more freedom and space than a resort or hotel offers? Choose from a range of self-catering accommodation and luxury villas in Corfu to make the most of your stay in Kassiopi. Once you’ve arrived and unpacked your bags, then you’re free to explore this charming resort town.
Kassiopi was once a fishing village and it still feels like a small, tucked away gem. Like any good gem, Kassiopi boasts a long and storied history. The area is overlooked by Corfu’s tallest mountain, Mount Pantokrator, and Kassiopi Castle which dates back to the Byzantine period. The exact century the castle was built in is unknown, but other discoveries suggest that it may have been as early as the 6th century!
A walkway that surrounds the castle offers fantastic views of the harbour and gives visitors the chance to see Kassiopi Castle up close. At the bottom of the walkway stands another important part of the village’s history, Kassopitra Church. The 16th century church on top of the site of an ancient 4th century temple which was dedicated to Zeus. Wear church-appropriate clothing and take a peek inside this unique church at the end of your walk.
Kalami is a typical, sleepy Greek village. Treasured by many holidaymakers for its unique blend of traditional tavernas, a beautiful bay area and a picturesque pebble beach, Kalami offers a treat to be savoured. The village is best suited for those who want a laid-back holiday filled with relaxation, sunbathing and the occasional dip in the sea. Kalami is somewhere you’ll want to return to time and time again and the village will truly come to feel like a home away from home.
Nissaki is a village located on the north-east coast of Corfu, 15 miles from Corfu Town. The name Nissaki means ‘little island’ which comes from the small island that was once in Nissaki’s bay. Over time, the small rocky island joined with the main land of the village after a jetty was constructed. The area is still home to several taverns including Mitsos Taverna, a family run restaurant which serves up traditional Greek dishes with a smile.
Nissaki is also a good starting point for a challenging hike to the peak of Mount Pantokrator. Choose to walk or take the winding roads up to the top in a car. However you get there, once you make it to the 906-metre-high summit the whole of Corfu and neighbouring Albania can be seen. On especially clear days, it’s also possible to see Italy in the distance. During peak season, there’s a café at the summit to take in the incredible views over Corfu with a well-deserved drink.
Hiking in Corfu
For hikers and walkers who want a challenge, Mount Pantokrator is the biggest you’ll find in Corfu. From the mountain’s base, the hike is 8.5 miles. Wear sensible walking boots, a wide brimmed hat and pack plenty of water to ensure an enjoyable hike.
At the start of your journey you’ll find the deserted village of Old Sinies which stands on the foothills of the mountain. Once home to a bustling village community, Old Sinies has been a complete ghost town since the 60’s. Take some time to explore the lost village and marvel at the buildings that have been left behind.
Once you reach Mount Pantokrator’s peak there is the opportunity for a breather by visiting the Monastery of Ipsilos. The monastery holds many precious artefacts such as saint relics, stoles embroidered with gold and crosses embellished with rubies and roses. This opulent monastery also holds some incredible religious art and offers the best views on the island.
For a more relaxed walk at your own pace, the Corfu Trail is a fantastic option. The trail runs the whole length of the island, but walkers can join and leave the trail as they please. Get a taste of Corfu’s natural landscape before tourism as you walk along the trail and admire olive trees, juniper bushes and wild flowers. Want walking to be the focus of your holiday? You can find self-catering accommodation close to the Corfu Trail letting you enjoy Corfu’s stunning walking routes.
Scuba diving in Corfu
Corfu benefits from clear blue seas which provide the perfect conditions for divers. Nissaki is a favourite spot for regular divers and the area is home to many talented diving instructors. Whether it’s your first or tenth time going under, you’ll be in safe hands when diving in Nissaki.
Take a day trip further afield and enjoy the fantastic diving conditions available on the small, nearby Greek island of Paxos. A 90-minute boat ride from Corfu will deliver you to the white sandy shores of Paxos. The island is just eight miles long and two miles wide but it’s Paxos’ crystal seas and hidden coves that the island is best known for. Experienced and novice divers alike can enjoy a dive in Paxos’ seas and will have the chance to catch sight of rarely seen sea life such as starfish, octopi and coral reefs.
Romantic holidays in Corfu
Visiting Corfu on a romantic holiday? A trip to Canal d’Amour, the Channel of Love, at Sidari beach should be at the top of your to-do list! The beach is known for its underwater caves and unusual sandy rock formations that stretch out into the blue sea. The tunnel underneath the rocks is the Channel of Love and rumour has it that if you and your partner swim through the tunnel together then you’ll either stay in love forever or you will get married soon, depending on who you ask. Otherwise, if you swim through on your own then legend says that you’ll meet your one true love on the other side!
For a holiday that will leave you feeling refreshed, reiJust nvigorated and rearing to return, visit one of Corfu’s finest resort towns. Start planning your trip by browsing our available villas in Corfu today and you’re sure to become one of the many travellers who fall for the island of Corfu.
Isabella Perkins is a freelance travel writer best known for writing about self-catering holidays. Her writing tends to have a family-focus, and she is in the midst of writing a new travel guide due to be published next year.