Visit Corfu Greece: 10 best places & top things to do

VISIT CORFU GREECE
VISIT CORFU GREECE

Corfu is the capital city of the Greek island with the same name, located off the coast of Albania.

About 30,000 people live there and tourism is the main industry. Its historic center has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007 for the value of its heritage and the architecture of Venetian origin.

On this page I share with you a practical city guide with the best places to visit in Corfu.

Street in Corfu Greece
Street in Corfu Greece

Culturally, Corfu is the result of overlapping influences, including French and British. The latter being a stronger one which explains the locals’ interest in cricket and ginger beer.

The island has several resorts on the coast while inland the landscape is predominantly mountainous. Visiting Greece and not going to Corfu is missing out on a destination worth visiting.

During my trip to Albania and Greece I also spent one week in Lebanon.

Corfu Greece: What you need to know

Corfu Greece
Corfu Greece

Although it’s a popular tourist destination, if you prefer a quieter trip, you can explore the inland areas with picturesque off the beaten path villages.

The city of Corfu, the island’s capital, is flanked by two majestic Venetian fortresses and its historic center is a labyrinth of medieval alleys. Other must-sees in the city include the Palace of St. Michael and St. George with its eye-catching French-style archways.

Corfu, previously known as Kerkyra, is an island in the Ionian Sea. It’s a fascinating destination with mixed influences over time: it was occupied by the Venetians, the French, and the British before it became a part of modern Greece.

Best time to go to Corfu

In order to know the best time to go to Corfu, gather all the necessary information about the seasons and the best weather. The best time for holidays in Corfu is during spring.

It’s best if you travel to Corfu in April and June, or in September and October. I traveled there in the summer and it was really hot, and not everyone enjoys high temperatures like I do.

Top things to do in Corfu

What to visit in Corfu Island.

  1. Spianada Square
  2. Old Fortress
  3. New Fortress
  4. Corfu Old Town
  5. Palace of St. Michael and St. George
  6. Mon Repos
  7. Saint Spyridon Church
  8. Museum of Art
  9. Temple of Artemis
  10. Byzantine Museum of Antivouniotissa
  11. Monument of Menecrates

Map of attractions in Corfu

Map with the most popular attractions in Corfu.

Quick travel tips to visit Corfu

Best places to visit in Corfu

Best places to visit in Corfu
Best places to visit in Corfu

If you want to know what to see in Corfu, I organized a list of places to visit so that you can plan your trip and maximize your time during your holidays.

Top 10 places to visit in Corfu.

1. Spianada Square

Spianada Square in Corfu
Spianada Square in Corfu

The Spianada Square in Corfu is the spacious park that separated the city from the fortress of the city. It’s one of the largest squares in Greece, and it dates back to the French occupation era around the Napoleonic Wars. For a while, it was an empty space because it was part of the city’s defense system and it needed to be always unblocked for military reasons.

The cricket field is one of the square’s peculiarities, a trace of the British presence in Corfu (1814-1864), who left behind the interest for the game on the island. It’s widely used both by tourists and locals in their spare time.

2. Old Fortress

Old Fortress in Corfu
Old Fortress in Corfu

You’ll immediately recognize the Old Fortress of Corfu on top of a hill to the east of the city when your boat is approaching the island.

The Venetians built it in the 15th century on top of an old Byzantine castle.

Until the British built the current access in 1819, the fortress was separated from the rest of the island by a moat with a moving bridge. Inside you’ll be able to see a small museum dedicated to the post-Byzantine art in Corfu and the small chapel of Madonna Del Carmine.

The fortress also houses the Corfu public library inside the barracks built by the British in the 19th century.

From the fortress, you can see the vast Ionian Sea and the whole city, particularly the clock tower, its highest point.

In 1718 an explosion caused mass destruction and completely shattered the Agiogi Apostoli church and a large part of the citadel.

3. New Fortress

New Fortress in Corfu
New Fortress in Corfu

The New Fortress of Corfu, also known as St. Mark’s Fortress, was designed by Italian architect Francesco Vitelli. It was built between 1576 and 1645 over the old harbor. A series of underground tunnels connect it to the Old Fortress and the city.

Firstly, the most recent bastions were added by the French, and later by the British. Unfortunately, the British demolished part of the fortress after the 1864 agreement that gave Corfu back to Greece.

The fortress was severely damaged but has been restored recently and now houses several cultural areas for exhibitions and events. The view from the rooftop terrace is stunning.

4. Corfu Old Town

Old Town of Corfu
Old Town of Corfu

The Corfu Old Town is on the north side of Corfu. It’s an interesting fusion of styles and colors. This is the right place to see the different overlapping cultures that shaped Corfu over the centuries, in particular the Venetian.

South of Spianada Square, the Ionian Academy is a must-see. Let’s not forget that the old town is one of the main reasons to visit Corfu. Founded in 1824 by Ioannis Kapodistrias, it’s the first Greek University of the modern age.

The French-influenced Liston, with its picturesque archways, is another must-see. It’s the most cosmopolitan place on the island and where you’ll find the best cafes in Corfu.

Other points of interest include the Town Hall building, once the gathering place for the Venetians in power and later a theater. It was later transformed into the Neo-Classical Ionian Parliament, wherein 1864 was decided that the Ionian Islands would become part of the new Greece.

Also, don’t forget to visit the “Square of the Saint” where you can see the three main churches of Corfu.

5. Palace of St. Michael and St. George

Palace of St. Michael and St. George in Corfu
Palace of St. Michael and St. George in Corfu

The Neo-Classical style Palace of St. Michael and St. George in Corfu is on the north side of Spianada Square.

It was built in 1824 by the British and now houses the Museum of Asian Art.

The museum was created in 1927 and is the only one in the country specifically dedicated to Asian art.

It all began when Gregorio Manos, a Corfu-born diplomat, donated to the city his collection of over 10,000 Japanese and Chinese pieces.

In the 1970s, the original collection grew with the donations of Chatzivasiliou, Siniosoglou, and Almanachos. They brought pieces from India, Pakistan, Indochina, Thailand, Nepal, Tibet, and Korea.

The museum is open every day except Mondays from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm.

6. Monument of Menecrates

The Monument of Menecrates in Corfu is in the Garitsa area, south of the Old Town. It was built around the year 600 BC and uncovered in 1843. It’s a memorial to the death of Menecrates but not a tomb because he died at sea.

Menecrates was the consul of Corfu in Oiantheia, an old city in the region of Galaxidi. The circular monument has a funerary inscription with
ten exceptionally well-preserved verses.

The area where the monument is located used to be a cemetery in the Ancient times. There’s a marble statue of a lion at the Archaeological Museum of Corfu that’s believed to have been part of this monument.

7. Mon Repos

Mon Repos it’s a beautiful 1828 villa that used to be Frederick Adam’s summer house. He was the British Lord High Commissioner for the Ionian Islands. Adam was sent to India in 1832 and the house was hardly ever used by his replacements.

In 1833 it housed a school of fine arts and in 1834 the gardens were open to the public. Empress Elisabeth of Austria stayed here and fell in love with Corfu, which inspired her to later built her own palace on the island.

After Corfu became part of Greece in 1864, the house was given to the Greek king that gave it its current name. It was owned by the Royal Family until 1967 when Constantine II went into exile.

The villa was restored in the 1990s after years of abandonment. Nowadays, it houses the Archaeological Museum.

8. Saint Spyridon Church

Vlassopoulou Theano street with Saint Spyridon Church in Corfu
Vlassopoulou Theano street with Saint Spyridon Church in Corfu

This single-aisle Saint Spyridon Church in Corfu was built in 1590 and is located in the historic city center of Corfu. The style is noticeably Venetian and the top of the bell tower, added in 1620, is Corfu’s highest point.

The relics of Saint Spyridon, the island’s patron saint, are behind the church’s altar and his remains are in a tomb built in Vienna in 1867. Four times a year, the remains are taken into a religious procession. The frescoes on the aisle’s ceiling are a must-see.

To visit Corfu and miss this church it’s almost impossible as it stands right in the center of the old town. If you’re lucky, you will get to see the open coffin of Saint Spyridon.

9. Temple of Artemis

The Temple of Artemis in Corfu it’s an Ancient Greek temple. It was built around 580 BC in old Korkyra, today a suburb of the city of Corfu called Garitsa.

French soldiers who were digging trenches found the ruins of the temple. Dedicated to Artemis, this stone temple is the first known Doric-style temple in the world.

The façade had eight columns, and there were seventeen more on the sides, with 48 meters in length and 22 meters in width.

In the front of the temple, there was a huge sculpture of Gorgon, a mythical female creature that was the guardian of the temple. You can see the temple’s pediment, the triangular top of the building, at the National Museum in Athens.

Also read: Things to Do in Corfu on Trip Advisor

Museums in Corfu

1. Byzantine Museum of Antivouniotissa

This museum is inside the Old Fortress, in a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Kyra Antivouniotissa). It was built in the 15th century and it’s one of the oldest churches in Corfu.

Despite the name, the collection of the museum focuses more on the period after the fall of the Byzantine Empire, with pieces from the 15th to the 20th century.

In 1979, the private owners of the church donated the temple for the government to turn it into a museum. The Byzantine Museum of Antivouniotissa was inaugurated in 1984 and renovated in 1994.

The Byzantine Museum of Antivouniotissa it’s open from Tuesday to Sunday.

2. Other museums in Corfu

Museum of Asian Art in Corfu
Museum of Asian Art in Corfu

Other museums that you might want to include on your itinerary.

  • Achilleion Museum
  • Corfu Museum of Asian Art
  • Casa Parlante
  • Patounis Soap Factory
  • Mavroudis Family Museum and Modern Olive Oil Press
  • Banknote Museum of the Ionian Bank
  • Corfu Shell Museum
  • Folklore Museum of Acharavi
  • Serbian Museum of Corfu
  • The Solomos Museum
  • Archaeological Museum of Corfu

Beaches in Corfu

Beaches in Corfu
Beaches in Corfu

The water temperature and the beautiful color of the beaches in Corfu will make beach time one of your top experiences on the island. Even if you only stay one full day in Corfu, go to Faliraki Beach for one or two hours.

What beaches to visit in Corfu Island (East Coast).

Inside Corfu:

  • Faliraki Beach has views of the Old Fortress (view).
  • Anemomilos Beach located a few kilometers from Corfu town center (view).

Outside Corfu:

  • Kontokali Bay (view).
  • Dassia Bay (view).
  • Agios Ioannis Peristeron Beach (view).
  • Barbati Beach (view).
  • Ipsos Beach (view).