Corfu: a guide to Greece's greenest island
Posted on 29/03/2017

NatureGreece

Twitter Facebook 42 shares

A sparkling emerald lodged in the Ionian Sea, Corfu is, and always has been, a very popular island with holidaymakers - here's how to make the most of this beautifully green island.

Greece is the proud mother of 6,000 beautiful islands of varying landscapes and terrain - some white, some blue, some old, some new, some rugged, some smooth - but the long-standing favourite for its natural beauty, multi-cultural heritage and stunning scenery is, undoubtedly, the emerald green island of Corfu.

the greenest greek island

the greenest greek island
©lucianbolca/123RF

Located just off the west of Greece's mainland and looking out across the Ionian Sea onto the southern coast of Albania, this hook-shaped island is certainly a spot to consider for this year's summer holiday. Corfu has, for many reasons, been a haven for holidaymakers for more than 200 years and leaves a powerful spell on its visitors every year. The island has something for every holiday taste, from all-inclusive resorts, long golden beaches and party towns, to stunning villas and towns high up in the mountains, and secret coves along the coast.

At a glance, Corfu seems to be entirely covered in trees, olive in particular, creating a beautiful green blanket covering the rolling hills and mountains that make up the landscape. Everywhere you look the greenery stands out, which accentuates the true natural beauty of the island. The colourful mixture of green, with sparkling silver olive leaves, a few ocher-washed houses dotted throughout the hills, surrounded by the turquoise blue sea, makes it a magical place.

Aside from the beautiful natural landscapes, the main hub can be found in Corfu Town on the east coast. Its appeal is due to its multi-cultural heritage, Venetian-style architecture and historic monuments. The sophisticated European ambience is quite distinct to other Greek islands and is one of the most charming towns in the country with a variety of restaurants and hotels.

venitian-style architecture

venitian-style architecture
©whitewizzard/123RF

The Old Town is also classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its maze of cobbled, narrow streets and the old fort, which has incredible views out to the island and beyond. There is also the Museum of Asian Art and the Byzantine Museum.

A little further down the coast is where one can stumble across Kavos, Corfu's town catering predominantly to mass tourism. This is the place to go if looking to join the hoi polloi in modern resorts and all night partying on the town's fluorescently illuminated "strip".

Looking a little further beyond the hustle and bustle of the towns, visitors should head inland to experience some of the more unspoiled spots on the island. Attractive pastel-coloured hilltop towns and farmhouses nestle amongst ancient olive groves, only accessible by narrow windy lanes. Whilst in Corfu a trip up Mount Pantokrator is a must as it is the highest point of the island and offers breathtaking, extensive views.

The north end of the island feels so far removed from the towns of the south - it is a land of secluded villas covered in bright parasails, roses and lavender wisteria, and a few sleepy towns with stylish restaurants dotted along the coast such as San Stefano. There are hundreds of villages, beaches and coves all over the island but many of which cannot be reached by land. Most can only be accessed by water, meaning renting a speed boat or pedalo is a popular way of getting around the island.

The small and fashionable bay of Agni, which is known as a "foodie's paradise", sees boats in and out throughout the day and evening with people coming to enjoy Corfu's three best and most stylish restaurants. Just up the coast is Kouloura harbour, one of the most picturesque places on the island, a tiny village with an array of colourful boats on the waterfront with just one beautiful restaurant with views out to the Albanian coast, also only reachable by boat.

secret coves only accessible by boat

secret coves only accessible by boat
©shmid/123RF

With crystal clear Ionian waters splashing every corner, there are many superb spots for snorkelling, diving and other water sports. Each cove offers a different variation of underwater wildlife to discover, and the town of Kassiopi has the best diving centre of the island.

Corfu is an enchanting place to add to the dreamy summer holiday bucket-list, offering not only gorgeous weather and sea and sand, but also leaving visitors marvelling at its alluring charm, fascinating history and incomparable beauty. Simplicity and sophistication make up this picture-perfect, emerald Greek island.

planning a trip?

Flight deals
Weather forecast
A guide to the Greek Islands