A few years ago, I visited Greece for the first time – Athens to be exact; but I knew I had to return one day to see the islands. And finally, last summer, I flew back to this beautiful Mediterranean country and went beyond the capital. While not as popular as its other counterparts like Santorini, Mykonos, or Ios, Corfu has a lot to offer that despite staying for a full week, there were a lot of excursions we still missed out on. However, I felt like we had made the most out of this trip and did the must-dos, so here’s a list of my top 8 places to see on the the seventh largest Greek island.
1) Agios Spiridon Beach
A trip to the islands of Greece would never be complete without a visit to the beach, which is why first on this list would have to be the Agios Spiridon Beach. Located on the northeastern part of Corfu, surrounded by lush greeneries and clear waters, this fantastic attraction is a must-visit. There are a few beachfront restaurants to choose from, making it a great option to enjoy the local cuisine whilst admiring the gorgeous view. Even better, there is no entrance fee!
2) Ampelaki Bay
Just half a kilometer away from Agios Spiridon and well within walking distance is the picturesque Ampelaki Bay. This gorgeous haven is surrounded by stunning landscapes and mountainous terrain, with a small beach cove at its entrance that guests can enjoy for free.
3) Monastery of Paleokastritsa
A few minutes drive from the area where Agios Spiridon and Ampelaki are is the historic Monastery of Paleokastritsa showcasing panoramic views of the surrounding sea as it sits on an isolated hill. In addition to this, the Monastery houses a small museum exhibiting religious artifacts, and a lovely little chapel with a pocket garden.
One of two Corfu excursions I highly recommend (the other being #8 on this list) is the hiking up Angelokastro, a Byzantine castle that stands 1,000 feet above sea. One of three castles that make up a defensive triangle used before the Venetian era, it has withstood frequent attempts to conquer it. The hike up to the top of Angelokastro may be challenging, but incredibly doable as there are concrete steps that lead you to the top.I tripped on the way up, resulting in battle scars on my hands; but saying I got these scars while hiking up an ancient castle in Greece doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Cliché as it may sound, but the hike up is always worth the view; and that might be an understatement for Angelokastro, as it offers unparalleled views of the Mediterranean sea, as well as the nearby coves and beaches making it the perfect backdrop for your landscape photo.
5) Old Perithia
A ghost town in Greece? Of all places, the Greek island of Corfu does not only boast of pristine beaches and beautiful mountains, but of an ancient ghost town as well. As mentioned before – there is just so much to do on this island that even a ghost town would be one of the options for places to see. Built in the 14th century during the Byzantine times, Old Perithia remains to be one of the oldest mountain villages in the country. As you walk about this village that is rather small in area, you’ll come across crumbling buildings and ruins, which actually add to the charm of Old Perithia. Although there are plans to restore it, they aren’t doing so in a hurry – so I suggest you give Old Perithia a visit while it remains untouched, as I have said many times before, there is just something so unique about beauty in ruins.
The coastal village of Kassiopi is yet another must-see while in Corfu. Situated on the northeastern part of the island, what originated as a traditional fishing village has now been transformed into a highly-developed tourist area with luxury villas, retail shops, restaurants & cafes, and so on. My favorite part of Kassiopi is the boardwalk, where you can spend golden hour strolling along the harbor as you end the day trip in one of the nearby Greek tavernas. If there is one place that I mentioned on this list that truly depicts Greek charm, I would say it is in Kassiopi where you will find the true Greek experience.
7) Mount Pantokrator
Fancy a drive up to the highest point on the island? Head on over Mount Pantokrator. While it’s more convenient and of course, easier to drive up to the summit, a few friends of ours actually walked it and given that they built the roadways around the mountain range and not through it, it took them hours to get to the top. The summit of Mount Pantokrator is an attraction in itself housing a communications tower, a cafe, a souvenir shop, and a 16th century church.Once again, the views are incredible (but really, where in Greece isn’t?!) and are worth the long drive and the even longer walk if you opt for the later. From the summit, you can see the whole island, as well as neighboring Albania, and interestingly enough, if weather permits, you will also be able to see Italy despite it being more than 130 kilometers away! Needless to say, visiting the highest point on the island is a must when you’re in Corfu.
8) Albania Day Trip
Last and most definitely not the least, another highly-recommended excursion from Corfu is a day trip to Albania. If I had to choose just one highlight from this seven-day trip, it would have to be the Albania group day tour we joined.
For more information, about this must-do, visit Day Trip from Corfu to Albania with Ionian Cruises.
Greece has always been one of my dream destinations, and finally seeing one of the islands is a dream come true. Spending seven days driving through the roads of Corfu and exploring one end of the island to another, and even visiting nearby Albania made the trip extremely memorable. So if you’re planning your trip to the Mediterranean area of Europe, make sure you don’t leave Corfu off the list for that remarkable Greek experience!