September is here, and there is no better way to “say goodbye” to summer than hopping on a plane for a visit to one of the most beautiful Greek islands – Corfu.
Thanks to its turquoise waters, rich history and green scenery, this island is so much more than just one of the crazy party islands. If you’re an adventurer and like to go a little bit further than your hotel pool, get ready to discover magnificent beaches and beauty behind each corner.
Also famous as the “Green Island” due to its rich vegetation, Corfu got its name by Kerkyra. Poseidon, the God of sea, fell in love with Kerkyra, a nymph that he then kidnapped and brought to Corfu, one of his favorite islands.
They say that, if you come to this magical island twice, you’ll keep coming back for more.
What you should know before coming to Corfu
- The water is salty – yes, i know sea water is salty – but in Corfu you can also expect to shower and brush your teeth with salty water. When they say “don’t drink the water”, they mean it.
- Renting a vehicle – if you’re a good and responsible driver, renting a scooter or a vehicle is the best way to get around the island and visit its beautiful beaches. The reason I’m stressing the fact that you need to be a responsible driver is because the turns and the roads are crazy (and so are the drivers) so you have to be really careful. Renting a scooter for 5 days costed us about 125eur (insurance included), while a full tank costed us 5 eur.
- If you plan on saving money – go for HB accommodation. Although you can’t go wrong with restaurants in Corfu, they can be a bit pricey (at least for my budget, that is 🙂 )
- Shopping – if you were hoping to shop some fast fashion brand while on the island, give it up – there’s no shopping mall 🙂 Still, walk the narrow streets of Corfu and you will find everything from souvenirs to expensive Italian brands.
- Excursions – set some money away and don’t miss out on some of the excursions your agent will offer you on Corfu – whether it’s a visit to Vido or a fun cruise to Paxos, you won’t regret it.
Where to stay?
AH, the most difficult question.
The most popular tourist places on Corfu are Kassiopi, Ipsos, Dassia, Sidari, as well as Corfu Town. The beaches on this part of the island are absolutely stunning – thanks to their rocky white bottoms, the water seems unrealistically crystal clear. The southern part of the island also has some beautiful beaches (or so I’ve heard)
Barbati is a small tourist village, very peaceful, located somewhere in between Ipsos and Kassiopi – this place flaunts one of the most notorious beaches in Corfu. From here you can easily reach Kassiopi, Sidari or Corfu Town.
We stayed at the Crystal Blue Studios Barbati, and this turned out to be a great choice (shout out to the super nice staff). Glyfa beach is pretty close, and Barbati 1 is within walking distance.
Dassia and Ipsos are both pretty “touristy”, with lots of restaurants and small shops. The beach in Ipsos is kind off small and right next to the highway, which takes away from its beauty.
If I could choose again, I would definitely stay in Kassiopi – this place has it all, from good food and shopping to a surreal beach.
What to visit
Corfu offers so many great options – get on the road and explore the islandt! Here are some of my suggestions:
- Kassiopi – As I have mentioned before, I am kind of in love with this place. Kassiopi is a 30 minute drive from Barbati, and this small village is absolutely gorgeous. For a full experience, enjoy your lunch in one of the restaurants overlooking the Kassiopi port. We tried our luck in Virginia’s and The Old School, and both restaurants had delicious Greek specialties at affordable prices.
- Sidari, Canal d’Amour –if you prefer sandy beaches, go to Sidari. This place became famous thanks to its Canal d’Amour – the legend says, that if you swim through it with the one you love, you’ll stay together forever (although it does’t specify on what means, or if it’ll be a happily-ever-after, so be careful who you swim with 😉
- Corfu Town – you must spend at least two days in Corfu Town – one to explore it and one to enjoy it. Due to its geographical position, Corfu was often a target for conquerors, who each left their mark on this beautiful town. Visit the Old and the New Fortress, and climb the top to snap some breathtaking photos. Take a walk on the Spianada Square, the largest square in Greece. Enjoy the lanterns of Liston, a street built by the French to remind them of Rue de Rivoli (Paris). And then get lost in the narrow streets of Corfu, crowded by tourists and cute, small shops.
- The Vido Island – I was never a nationalist, nor can I say my history knowledge is something to be proud of, still, sailing the deep blue waters aournd Vido, while listening to the verses of the “Blue Graveyard” leaves no one indifferent. Learn about the history of Serbia during the war, and the strong connection between Corfu and Serbia. After loosing their country, thousands and thousand of soldiers and civilians marched together towards Corfu. Unfortunately, after reaching the island, most of them were weakened by illness and hunger. After a triage was performed, those who were very ill were sent to Vido, “the island of death”.
- Antipaxos, the Blue Caves, and Paxos – spend your day on the sea, admire the magnificent Blue Caves, swim in turquoise waters and enjoy a relaxing few hours on Paxos.
Long story short – visit Corfu with your heart and mind opened, and you will surely fall in love with the energy, the atmosphere, and its marvelous beaches. And, once you fall in love with Corfu, you’ll understand why Poseidon chose this island for his love, Kerkyra 🙂