Corfu has been one of Greece’s most popular islands since the 1970s. Located in the Ionian island group in western Greece, Corfu has beautiful white sand beaches, easy connections to Italy and Albania, stunning mountains, and a wild, crazy nightlife.
While it gets crowded during the summer (especially with young backpackers), there are still many quiet places to stay and see on the island as most of the action sticks to just a few hotspots.
I love the atmosphere here. It is a lot more relaxed than other islands in the Mediterranean there’s a great intersection of cultures here.
This travel guide to Corfu can help you plan your trip so you save money and have the best experience possible — no matter why or when you go!
Table of Contents
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Corfu
1. Explore Kassiopi
2. See the Church of Saint Spyridon
3. Hit the beaches
4. Spend time in Paleokastritsa
5. Explore Achilleion
Other Things to See and Do in Corfu
1. Hang out in Corfu Town
The origins of Corfu Town stretch all the way back to the 8th century BCE, when the town was an important commercial center for the Phoenicians. It used to be called Paleopolis, and you can see some of its original ruins opposite the Mon Repos Palace. Corfu was under Venetian rule between the 14th and 18th centuries, so there is lots of Venetian architecture around town as well, such as pastel-colored buildings, iron fencing, cobblestone streets, and wooden shutters. It’s a nice place to stroll around and bask in the layers of history.
2. Check out Nymfes village
According to legend, Nymphs used to bathe in 200-meter-high waterfalls near this village. Just north of town, you can visit the waterfalls and see the remains of nearby Askitario, a small, ancient monastery. A monk named Artemios Paissios lived here alone in the 5th century. He once had a premonition that his parents were coming to fetch him, so he dug a grave to lie down in it – at which point a boulder rolled on top of him. When his parents tried to dig him out, the boulder apparently ignited into flames. The village is 33km north of Corfu Town and takes just under an hour to get to by car.
3. Visit Aqualand
Aqualand is a fun, family-friendly waterpark with 15 different water-themed rides and attractions, including slides, pools, and rivers. It’s a little cheesy, but it gives you something different to do after you’ve spent a few days on the beach or browsing ruins (it’s especially fun if you’re with kids). Full-day access is 30 EUR (27 EUR if you book online), while two-day access is 45 EUR.
4. Hike the Corfu Trail
The Corfu Trail is an epic 150-kilometer (93 miles) trek starting from the south of the island and ending on the northern tip. It’s a fairly easy hike, with lots of signage as you weave your way through hills, mountains, lakes, lagoons, monasteries, and tiny towns. It’s a really unique way to experience Corfu away from the resorts, and there’s no shortage of accommodations along the way (or you can camp out). It’s broken up into 10 stages so most people do it over 10 days.
5. Go sailing
Thanks to the calm water and consistently warm weather, Corfu is an ideal place for sailing. Various companies offer charter trips, and many of them offer lunch packages and open bars. Some hostels run day-long party boats too. Day sails start from about 30 EUR per person.
6. Visit the Museum of Banknotes
Founded by the Ionian Bank, this coin museum in Corfu Town has exhibits showcasing coins, stamps, bank documents, post-Greek liberation banknotes, books, and foreign banknotes from the past two centuries. The highlight of the museum is a 100-billion-drachma note from 1944, the largest denomination note ever issued. Admission is free.
7. Take an olive oil tasting tour
Corfu covers a mere 585 square kilometers, yet it is home to over four million olive trees. Olive oil has always been a big part of Greek tradition and culture, and a tasting tour is a perfect way to learn about the production of this essential staple. Corfu Olive Tours offers an informative behind-the-scenes tour of olive tree groves and old mills where you can learn everything there is to know about olive oil. Plus, you get to try some samples too. Prices start from 40 EUR.
8. Explore the Corfu Archaeological Museum
This museum is home to ancient artifacts from all over the island, including statues, funeral offerings, pottery, and golden jewelry. The most famous exhibit is the monumental pediment from the temple of Artemis, which depicts Gorgon, a monster of the underworld from Greek mythology. It’s the oldest stone pediment in Greece, dating to 590 BCE. Another highlight includes the stone lion of Menecrates and a limestone pediment from a temple to Dionysis. Admission is 6 EUR.
For more information on other destinations in Greece, check out these guides:
Corfu Travel Costs
Hostel prices – A bed in a dorm with 4-8 beds costs 18 EUR per night (dorms with ten beds or more cost about the same price). Expect prices to drop by 1-2 EUR per night in the off-season. Private rooms start at 49 EUR per night during the summer and 44 EUR per night during the off-season. Free Wi-Fi is standard, though self-catering facilities and free breakfast are not common.
For those traveling with a tent, a basic camping plot without electricity for one person starts at 12 EUR in the summer and 10.50 EUR in the off-season.
Budget hotel prices – A two-star hotel starts at 40 EUR per night anywhere on the island, although a beachfront property in Sidari costs 10-20 EUR more. In the off-season, you can find rooms for as little as 25 EUR per night.
Airbnb is available everywhere on Corfu, with private rooms costing from 40 EUR per night. A full apartment averages about 130 EUR per night.
Food – Traditional Greek cuisine is very healthy, using a lot of fresh seasonal vegetables, olive oil, lamb, fish, pork, and cheeses (especially feta). Yogurts are also super common. Filo pastries stuffed with meat or spinach and cheese are a local favorite as are souvlaki and gyros.
You can find street food like gyros for under 5 EUR. A hearty pita or Greek salad costs around 7.5 EUR while a fast food combo costs around 8.50 EUR.
Pastitsada (slow-cooked rooster in a wine tomato sauce season with herbs and served over pasta) is Corfu’s signature dish. You can find it in most restaurants for around 10 EUR. Traditional veal dishes like psito and sofrito cost about 11 EUR. A beer to go with it costs 3 EUR.
At most restaurants, you can get an appetizer and an entrée for about 15 EUR. If you feel like splashing out, a meal at a higher-end restaurant can cost 40 EUR or more. A glass of local wine is another 4 EUR. If you’re looking to get fish, expect to spend between 20-30 EUR for your meal.
Most restaurants charge for bread. The price is between .50-1.50 EUR. A bottle of water is about 2 EUR.
If you cook for yourself, expect to spend around 45 EUR on groceries per week. This gets you basic staples like pasta, veggies, cheese, and some meat.
Backpacking Corfu Suggested Budgets
If you’re backpacking Corfu, expect to spend around 55 EUR per day. This assumes you’re staying in a hostel dorm, eating lots of cheap food, cooking some meals, using the bus to get around, visiting only a few cheap attractions (like a museum) and taking advantage of lots of free activities like beaches and hiking, and limiting your drinking. If you’re going to party while you’re here, add another 10-15 EUR per day to your budget.
On a mid-range budget of 115 EUR per day, you can stay in a private Airbnb or private hostel room, eat out for all your meals, rent a bike to get around, visit more museums and take some tours, and enjoy a few drinks. You won’t live large but you’ll want for nothing!
On a “luxury” budget of 215 EUR or more per day, you can stay in a hotel, eat out anywhere you want, drink as much as you’d like, take taxis or rent a car, and do as many tours and activities as you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!
One thing to keep in mind is that if you’re coming during peak summer, prices are about 10-20% higher for everything!
You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you spend more, some days you spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in EUR.
Corfu Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips
Despite Corfu being one of the most touristy islands in Greece, the island remains relatively budget-friendly. Accommodation and tours will be your biggest expenses here but, overall, the island isn’t as expense as places like Santorini or Mykonos. Here are some of my favorite ways to cut your costs in Corfu:
- Get the Corfu City Pass – The Corfu City Pass gives you access to many different attractions under one price, including Aqualand, a day sail, a walking tour, and more. It can’t be purchased online so you’ll need to buy it on arrival.
- Use the Greek salad/bread rule – If the bread cover is .50 EUR or a Greek salad is less than 7 EUR, the restaurant is cheap. If the cover is around 1 EUR and a salad is 7-8.50 EUR, the prices are average. Anything more than that and the place is expensive. use this rule to avoid expensive restaurants!
- Eat super cheap – Gyros and other street snacks only cost a few euros and can keep you full for less than 10 EUR per day if you’re on a tight budget.
- Have an ISIC Card – To save on the cost of admission to museums and other tourist attractions, be sure to present a valid student card if you’re a student. The ISIC is typically accepted in places where a foreign student ID is not.
- Book in advance – Corfu gets a lot of tourism and things tend to fill up quickly in the summer. If you want to secure that ultra-cheap hostel room, book way in advance!
- Travel in the shoulder season – Accommodations and scooter/ATV rentals are cheaper in the shoulder season. It may not be as hot as the summer months, but the weather is still pleasant.
- Book overnight ferries – Greece’s inter-island ferries can get quite expensive if you are taking a lot of them. Booking overnight ferries can save you up to half off the normal price plus save you a night of accommodation.
- Get a ferry pass – Eurail has a ferry pass that has 4- and 6-trip options. The only caveat is that you can only take Blue Star and Hellenic Seaways ferries. Those tend to be the larger, slower ferries and, depending on the islands, might require you to connect somewhere. You’ll need to research routes in advance to see if the pass is worth it. I would search routes on FerryHopper to see if it works for you. You can purchase your pass on Eurail (non-EU residents) or Interrail (EU residents).
- Stay with a local – If you plan ahead, you can usually find really nice Couchsurfing hosts all throughout Corfu. This way, you not only have a place to stay, but you get a local host that can share their insider tips and knowledge.
- Go to museums on their free admission days – Most of the museums have some days when admission is free. Check the Odysseus Culture website for details as they vary from museum to museum.
- Buy wine at the store – You can buy a nice bottle of wine for around 4 EUR at the store. It’s a lot cheaper than drinking at the bar!
Where to Stay in Corfu
Corfu has lots of hostels all over the islands, but keep in mind that some of them are big party hostels. The Pink Palace is a BIG party spot so don’t stay there if you’re looking for a quieter Corfu experience. Here are my suggested places to stay in Corfu to help you get started:
How to Get Around Corfu
Bus – Buses are really the only way to get around the island (outside renting your own vehicle). Depending on the length of your trip, bus fares cost between 1.10-4.40 EUR. You can purchase an unlimited day pass for 5 EUR on the blue-and-white bus around Corfu Town.
?Be advised that service is reduced on weekends and, to some of the further afield places, virtually non-existent during the low season. If you’re going to be moving around the island, plan accordingly because bus times, even during peak season, are infrequent. It’s kind of a pain in the ass.
Scooter/ATV rental – A scooter rental is an excellent way to get around Corfu since the buses are a hassle. Scooter rentals start from 15 EUR per day while ATV rentals start from 35 EUR per day.
Bicycle – You can find daily rentals for as little as 10 EUR per day. While the island is bike-friendly with lots of routes, keep in mind there are lots and lots of hills!
Taxi – Expect to pay around 3.60 EUR as a base fare and then just over 1 EUR per kilometer. Since prices add up fast, skip the taxis as much as you can. It’s cheaper to just rent a car or scooter.
Car rental – Car rentals can be found for as little as 15 EUR per day for a multi-day rental when booked in advance. Expect manual transmissions. You’ll need an International Driving Permit (IDP) and drivers need to be at least 21 years old.
Hitchhiking – Hitchhiking in the summer is relatively easy due to the influx of people traveling the island. It can be very slow during the off-season however. Check Hitchwiki for more details and tips.
When to Go to Corfu
Summer (June-August) is the most popular time to visit Corfu. The days are really hot and temperatures average 88°F (31°C). The Mediterranean is perfect for swimming and enjoying water sports during this time, but this is definitely when most people visit. Expect crowds and higher prices.
Personally, I think Corfu’s shoulder seasons (April-May and September-October) are the best times to visit the island. The Mediterranean is pleasant year-round so you still get warm temperatures in the shoulder seasons — but without the tourist hordes. Plus, prices are less inflated. The average daily high is 73°F (23°C).
Winters average 50°F (10°C), and you won’t have to compete with tourists for hotel rooms during this time. That said, many businesses and services shut down in the off-season. In short, I’d skip visiting in the winter if you can help it.
How to Stay Safe on Corfu
Corfu is a very safe place to travel. Violent crime is rare and petty crime like pick-pocketing is your only real concern but even that’s pretty rare here. Just keep your valuables close at tourist attractions and while at the beach. That’s pretty much the only crime you need to worry about.
If you’re an inexperienced driver, you may want to pass on the scooter rental. Locals zip around chaotically and the hairpin turns and hills sometimes make for dangerous driving. Accidents happen a lot so drive carefully.
If you go hiking, always bring water, sunscreen, and a hat. The days can be sweltering!
As with any destination, avoid walking home alone at night if intoxicated, and always keep an eye on your drink at the bar.
Remember, if you wouldn’t do it at home, don’t do it in Corfu! Follow that rule, and you’ll be fine.
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past.
Corfu Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources
These are my favorite companies to use when I travel to Corfu. They are included here because they consistently find deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors.
- Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
- Momondo – This is my other favorite flight search engine because they search such a wide variety of sites and airlines. I never book a flight without checking here too.
- Airbnb – Airbnb is a great accommodation alternative for connecting with homeowners who rent out their homes or apartments.
- Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there, with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
- Couchsurfing – This website allows you to stay on people’s couches or in their spare rooms for free. It’s a great way to save money while meeting locals who can share the ins and outs of their city. The site also lists events you can attend to meet people (even if you’re not staying with someone).
- Booking.com – The best all-around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have a no money down policy, great interface, and the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
- Intrepid Travel – If you want to do a group tour around Greece, go with Intrepid Travel. They offer small group tours that use local operators and leave a small environmental footprint. If you go on a tour with anyone, go with them. As a reader of this site, you get a discount when you click the link!
- Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B in the best and cheapest way possible. It gives you all the bus, train, plane, and boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
- World Nomads – I buy all my travel insurance from World Nomads. They have great customer service, competitive prices, and in-depth coverage. I’ve been using them since I started traveling in 2003. Don’t leave home without it!
- EatWith – This website allows you to eat home-cooked meal with locals. Locals post listings for dinner parties and specialty meals that you can sign up for. There is a fee (everyone sets their own price), but this is a great way to do something different, pick a local’s brain, and make a new friend.
- FerryHopper – This is the best website for finding and booking ferries in Greece. They list routes, times, and prices so you can book directly with them. It’s super easy and there are no hidden fees.
Corfu Gear and Packing Guide
If you’re heading on the road and need some gear suggestions, here are my tips for the best travel backpack and for what to pack!
The Best Backpack for Travelers
Straps: Thick and cushy with compression technology that pulls the pack’s load up and inwards so it doesn’t feel as heavy.
Features: Removable top lid, large pocket at the front, hydration compatible, contoured hip belt
If you want something different, refer to my article on how to choose the best travel backpack for tips on picking a pack and other backpack suggestions.
What to Pack for Your Trip
- 1 pair of jeans (heavy and not easily dried, but I like them; a good alternative is khaki pants)
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 bathing suit
- 5 T-shirts (Unbound Merino is my preferred company. If you’re a member of NM+, you can get 15% off your purchase)
- 1 long-sleeved T-shirt
- 1 pair of flip-flops
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 6 pairs of socks (I always end up losing half)
- 5 pairs of boxer shorts (I’m not a briefs guy!)
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 tube of toothpaste
- 1 razor
- 1 package of dental floss
- 1 small bottle of shampoo
- 1 small bottle of shower gel
- 1 towel
Small Medical Kit (safety is important!!!)
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Antibacterial cream
- Hand sanitizer (germs = sick = bad holiday)
- A key or combination lock (safety first)
- Zip-lock bags (keeps things from leaking or exploding)
- Plastic bags (great for laundry)
- Universal charger/adaptor (this applies to everyone)
- LifeStraw (A water bottle with a purifier)
Female Travel Packing List
I’m not a woman, so I don’t know what a woman wears, but Kristin Addis, our solo female travel guru, wrote this list as an addition to the basics above:
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 sarong
- 1 pair of stretchy jeans (they wash and dry easily)
- 1 pair of leggings (if it’s cold, they can go under your jeans, otherwise with a dress or shirt)
- 2-3 long-sleeve tops
- 2-3 T-shirts
- 3-4 spaghetti tops
- 1 light cardigan
- 1 dry shampoo spray & talc powder (keeps long hair grease-free in between washes)
- 1 hairbrush
- Makeup you use
- Hair bands & hair clips
- Feminine hygiene products (you can opt to buy there too, but I prefer not to count on it, and most people have their preferred products)
For more on packing, check out these posts:
Corfu Travel Guide: Suggested Reading
The Iliad, by Homer
A story of men and gods, Homer’s epic poem conveys the horror and heroism of the Trojan War before moving into its heart-wrenching, tragic conclusion. The translated version by classicist Robert Fagles is a beautiful rendition of this story. Just take a second to appreciate the fact that this poem has been around since the 9th century BCE. It’s a wonderful glimpse into life at that time. (Follow it up with The Odyssey!)
Zorba the Greek, by Nikos Kazantzakis
This book was first published in 1946 and is considered a Greek classic. It’s the story of a Greek working man named Zorba, a great lover of life, and the unnamed narrator who accompanies him to Crete where they work together in a mine. The book is about the “struggle of men to find their souls and purpose in life.” Zorba is a lively, memorable character, and the writing is absolutely poetic. This is a must-read.
Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens, by Sofka Zinovieff
Sofka Zinovieff became enamored with Greece when she studied there as a student. Years later she moved back with her Greek husband and two young daughters. This book is about her first year in Athens and all the trials and (hilarious) tribulations that come with learning how to be Athenian. There are a lot of great insights into everyday Athenian life here, including how to catch a taxi, the importance of cigarettes, and how to get a pig cooked at the bakers. It will definitely spark your desire to hang out in Athens for a while!
It’s All Greek to Me, by John Mole
This is the self-deprecating, humorous true story of John Mole, a man whose dreams of a Greek paradise lead him to buy a broken-down home in the countryside. The house has no water, no electricity, no doors, and no windows. Mole drags his family along for the journey. Together, they spend time cleaning out 20 years of goat poop and getting to know the friendly neighbors (like Elpida, who cures back pain with raw eggs). This is a seriously funny, charming book!
The Summer of My Greek Taverna: A Memoir, by Tom Stone
One summer, Tom Stone went to Greece to write a novel. He ended up staying 22 years. On the island of Patmos, he fell in love with a French painter named Danielle, and seven years later they moved to Crete. This book is about life as an American struggling to make his dreams a reality in a foreign place and all the joys and sorrows that accompany that.
Corfu Travel Guide: Related Articles
Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling Greece and continue planning your trip: