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Long a favourite of travellers who like their beach break with a side of culture, Corfu is the greenest of the Ionian Islands and its historic wealth built great libraries and centres of learning - and gorgeous villas which have become some of the best places to stay in Corfu.
The landscape inspired Homer, who called it a 'beautiful and rich land'. Mountainous in the north with steep, dramatic cliffs and pebbly coves, it flattens off below Corfu Town and the beaches become sandier and longer. The interior is a picturesque mix of cypress forests and farmland.
What not to Miss
- Corfu has been welcoming tourists for 130 years at least and it's not an empty boast when the island's tourist board says they have something for everyone.
- There are resorts all along Corfu's coastline with the highest density around Corfu Town. To the north where there are some very private feeling coves.
- Corfu Town is the island's capital and where you'll find many of the best museums and most beautiful architecture. The Spinanada, the esplanade between the Old Fortress and the Old Town, is where you'll find many of the highlights.
- The Old Royal Palace, now the Museum of Asian Art, is in the north and the Liston, built by Napoleon to resemble the Rue de Rivoli, is to the west.
- Corfu Town is also where the ferry services leave - it's worth spending the day on lovely Paxos if you have time.
- Corfu's oldest village, Old Perithia, is Heritage Listed and a really interesting place to stroll around. It has only 130 houses, yet eight churches! It was built high in the mountains as a hideaway from pirate attacks and because of this it was, at one time, Corfu's wealthiest village.
Corfu has a number of other villages worth visiting, including:
- Kynopiastes, which has impressive architecture and one of the island's most famous restaurants;
- Nymphes, famous for waterfalls and pools in which nymphs are said to bathe...
- Lakones, from where you can trek down to Paleokastritsa which has a gorgeous beach said to be where Odysseus first met Nausicaa
- Benitses, once a fishing village and now an historic tourist town - it's only a short distance from the Achilleion Palace.
The beaches along Corfu's south side tend to be sandier, especially to the south west, but it's the eastern coast where waters are calmer. Though the waters are a beautiful shade of bright blue wherever you go.
If you're looking for more isolated beaches try Pelekas, Glifada or Prasoudi. If you're here with kids, one of the best beaches for them is probably Massonghi beach.
As you'd imagine it gets very busy during the peak summer months, so if you want to reserve one of the best places to stay in Corfu in July or August, you'll need to get organised and book well ahead.
- The Bella Venezia is right by the 'Spianada' and within easy walking distance of the main attractions in the main town.
- The Corfu Palace has an excellent location, just 10 minutes stroll to the centre of town, and yet you still have wonderful ocean views - right across to the mainland. The Corfu Palace was one of the first hotels built on Corfu, so it has something of the grand old dame about it. With private balconies and terraces.
- If you want to be part of the old town as well as close to it the Siorra Vittoria is probably suitable. A gorgeous neo-classical building right by City Hall Square and the Ionian Parliament. Originally a mansion, this hotel is elegant and charming, a good choice for a romantic sunny break.
- The Zefiros Traditional Hotel is right on the beach in one of Corfu’s most idyllic villages where the mountains seem to roll right down into crystal clear waters. There are just 11 rooms and you’re close to bars and restaurants.
- The Merchant’s House in the heritage village of Old Perithia is a beautiful restored historic house with six Venetian-style rooms with private balconies. Charming and relaxed.
For a beach break
- Delfino blu ticks all the boxes being located just above one of Corfu's most beautiful beaches but also close enough to Sidari so that you can visit the nightlife.
- The Marbella Beach Hotel is perfect if you're planning a beach break. Five stars right on a private beach, you have everything you need here and more. Including four different restaurants, watersports facilities galore, an extensive spa, pool and the opportunity to do some sailing or diving.
- Hidden away in the countryside, the Villa de Loulia is very peaceful. Only 400metres from the nearest beach, you're also quite close to the mountains of Perithia and several interesting abandoned villages. This is also a great place for foodies - the gourmet restaurant serves local specialities.
- The Sidari Beach Hotel is right on Sidari Beach just a short stroll from the centre of the village. There are 31 elegant and contemporary rooms, a restaurant serving Greek and Italian cuisine and a beautiful pool.
- The 21 room Bella Mare Hotel describes itself as ‘seriously relaxing’. The accommodation is in studios and apartments - with kitchens and sea-facing balconies - and the decor is chic. There are also lovely gardens and a pool.
- The Pelecas Country Club started out as a farmhouse in the 18th century and has 11 rooms in the converted stables and old olive press. The rooms and suites are full of character and they serve a hearty brunch until 11am.
- If you're hoping to find a comfortably priced spa resort check out the Kontokali Bay Resort & Spa. This is a big place and some of the more basic rooms start at less than £85 per night. When you consider you're getting a private beach, sea views, access to a 'Wellbeing Centre' and all the gadgetry and mod. cons. you could ask for then you'll see the excellent value.
- The Corfu Imperial is a big, grand hotel with private beaches, a range of restaurants and superb leisure and sports facilities. It’s a destination in its own right and can accommodate any configuration of people you’re travelling with comfortably.
on a Budget
- The Bella Vista, a gorgeous, beach facing Greek guest house is probably one of the best place for families on a limited budget. Close to the main attractions and a short walk from lovely private beaches they have rooms and apartments sleeping from one to five people, starting from just £35 a night.
- Still very reasonably priced at less than £60 per night, the Levant Hotel has a more peaceful setting in the hills above the Ionian sea. This lovely neo-classical hotel is a great place to relax if you like a country house hotel vibe.
- For around £60 per night you can stay at the Melina Bay Hotel which is right under Kassiopi Castle on the beach. There are just 20 room, a Mediterranean restaurant on a scenic terrace and helpful staff.
For an Apartment or Villa
If you’d prefer to stay in an apartment or private villa we recommend you visit our online partner booking.com.
- Corfu International Airport is well connected to the UK, with direct flights available from Heathrow, Birmingham, Bristol, Gatwick, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Stansted and Edinburgh. In summer there are even more flights available. It’s also well linked to other European destinations. The airport is about a mile out of Corfu Town and there’s a shuttle bus - the number 15 - which travels into town fairly regularly. You can also arrive by ferry or cruise ship, which all dock at the New Port about half a mile out of town and also served by the number 15 bus.
- If you want to hire a car - which we highly recommend if you’re staying in Corfu and you want to see the island - we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.
- Quite a lot of people swear that summer in Corfu is better than in the rest of the Mediterranean with cooler, lusher weather than the mainland or other islands. July and August temperatures will get into the mid-30s, but between May and June and September and October the temperatures are mid-20s to 30-ish with a pleasant breeze, and for most of us that’s pretty perfect.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Corfu
Kontokali Bay Resort & Spa 259 rooms from $113Kontokali, Corfu
Contemporary chic hotel and spa resort with private beach. Rooms, suites and garden bungalows have creamy furnishings, wooden floors, modern gadgetry and sea views from private balconies. Extensive spa, salt water infinity pool and good restaurant and bar. Great for a beach holiday, family friendly.Views - Wonderful views over the Ionian SeaOn the beach - Private beach.Beach LifeSpa breaks
Delfino blu 15 rooms from $149Agios Stefanos, Corfu
Wonderful beach boutique hotel with contemporary chic suites and apartments. Fabulous Greek restaurant, champagne breakfasts, pool and beach bar. Very romantic, yet still family friendly (some apartments sleep 4). A great choice for a faultless beach holiday.Foodies - Wonderful Greek restaurant.Beach LifeRomantic BreakViews - Great views from hotel
Marbella Beach Hotel 393 rooms from $117Nr Stroggili, Corfu
Five Star luxury on the beach. Contemporary chic rooms, suites, and apartments in creams and whites with all the mod cons and sea-facing balconies. Fabulous restaurants, extensive spa, gorgeous pool and lounge area, private beach. Romantic, family friendly, often good value.Restaurant - 4 restaurants; seafood, Mediterannean, Greek, Italian.Views - Incredible views across to mainland GreeceFamilies - Two-bedroom suites.On the beach - Private beach.
Bella Venezia 31 rooms from $114Kerkira, Corfu
A traditional townhouse hotel with sophisticated living areas and contemporary rooms and suites. Excellent value for its central location. A smart choice with no added frills.Sights nearby - Central location in Corfu Town a stone's throw from the "Spianada" and easy walking distance to all main attractions.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.TraditionalLocal markets - Good for local colour.
Zefiros Traditional Hotel 11 rooms from $86Corfu
Ultra hip hotel located at the beach with sea views from every room. Red brick walls, antique furniture evoke a traditional style with all modern facilities. A cafe-bistro at the ground floor serves breakfast and light snacks. Full of character.Local exploring - In one of Corfu's most idyllic villages, ideally located close to restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, shops and small barsBack to Nature - In a beautiful setting where lush mountains meet crystal clear watersBeach Life - Located right on the beautiful Paleokastritsa beachSights nearby - The 17th century monastery in Paleokastritsa is a popular tourist attraction
Bella Vista 23 rooms from $50Benitses, Corfu
A simple family-run property in the centre of Benitses. Colourful rooms, family rooms and apartments with balconies and included air con, close to the main attractions. A family friendly choice just a stone's throw from the cove at Potomaki and excellent value for money.Beach Life - A simple property in the village of Benitses, just a short amble from the marina and Potomaki cove.Families - A good selection of accommodation from family rooms to small apartmentsLess £ - Doubles from as little as €44 per nightSights nearby - The Achilleion, Bay and monastery of Paleokastritsa, Bay and monastery of Paleokastritsa.
Levant Hotel 25 rooms from $76Pelekas, Corfu
Lovely neo-classical hotel in the hills above the Ionian sea. Attractive traditional building, charming rooms with sea facing balconies, lovely terrace and cafe, and swimming pool. A great value choice within striking distance of beaches, golf and Corfu Town. Suited to couples, families and groups.Groups - The hotel welcomes groups of artists, musicians and yoga enthusiasts.Views - Breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorHouse party feel - Be prepared to meet people.Recommended by - Fodors
Villa de Loulia 9 rooms from $183Peroulades, Corfu
A romantic manor house hidden away in the countryside, but driving distance to the beach. Traditional elegance throughout; pink archways strewn with bougainvillea, pastel bedrooms and suites, and lovely central courtyard swimming pool. Excellent table d'hote.Romantic BreakSights nearby - Mountains of Perithia and discover the ancient abandoned village.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorSailing - Can be booked nearby.Recommended by - I Escape, CN Traveller
Bella Mare Hotel 21 rooms from $130Corfu
"Serious Relaxing" is how Bella Mare describes itself. Offering studios with sea facing balconies and apartments with kitchens. It is great for families. Very chic and boutique, it has lovely gardens and a swimming pool. Clean, comfortable and great value.Romantic Break - Two luxurious villas have a separate entrance, spacious gardens, a private pool and unbelieveable viewsFamilies - Apartments come with 2 single beds, a separate bedroom with double bed and a fully equipped kitchenGreat walks - Some of the best walking areas are around the hotelSwimming Pool - An outdoor swimming pool
Siorra Vittoria 9 rooms from $114Kerkira, Corfu
A gorgeous neo-classical mansion in Corfu's old town. Elegant rooms and suites have parquet floors, high wooden-beamed ceilings, and all the mod cons. Lovely garden, sitting room, and breakfast dining room. Easy access to restaurants, beaches and sights. A great choice for romantics and groups.Views - Great views from hotelRomantic BreakSights nearby - Neo-classical building of Corfu old town, close to City Hall Square and the Ionian ParliamentSailing - Can be booked nearby.Recommended by - Fodors, CN Traveller
Corfu Palace 115 rooms from $137Kerkira, Corfu
One of the first hotels to be built on Corfu. A large imposing building in a prime location. A mixture of contemporary and old-fashioned rooms with private balconies/terraces. Good spa, pool, restaurant. Well equipped, friendly staff, excellently positioned.Views - Great views over Garitsa Bay to the Greek mainlandSights nearby - 10 minute walk from the centre of Corfu TownSpa - Thalassotherapy spa centreSwimming Pool - Outdoor and Indoor PoolsRecommended by - CN Traveller
Corfu Imperial 274 rooms from $243Corfu
The Corfu Imperial exudes old-school grandeur in the best possible way. With private beaches, a plethora of restaurants, and superb sports and leisure facilities for couples and families, it's a destination in its own right. Exclusive, and in our view the best on Corfu.Families - Villas and Bungalows designed to accommodate large families with a private dining and butler serviceSwimming Pool - An outdoor and indoor pool as well as private villa poolsDiving - Private diving courses available for guestsKids Club - Grecoland kids' club for children 3 – 13+
Melina Bay Hotel 20 rooms from $75Kassiopi, Corfu
Located under Kassiopi Castle, this beach side hotel has been recently refurbished in a contemporary style with neutral, calming colours. A terrace restaurant with views of the harbour serves classic Mediterranean dishes with a good wine list. Staff are happy to help with organising excursions.Value chic - Chic suites for an inviting price - especially for this part of CorfuLocal exploring - The hotel will pack you a picnic box and organise a car for the dayRomantic Break - Whether a wedding, honeymoon or simply a romantic breakDiving - Can be organised through the hotel
Pelecas Country Club 11 rooms from $193Pelekas, Corfu
Starting life as an 18th Century farmhouse this chic country club features accommodation located in refurbished stables, old olive press and original farmhouse. The bedrooms and suits are full of character, with antique furniture and beautiful private terraces. A hearty brunch served until 11am.Families - Family suites available and with babysitting services as well as on and off site activities they will have plenty to do!Country Escape - A veritable country club - escape in the lap of luxurySights nearby - Corfu TownSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Fodors
The Merchant's House 6 rooms from $154Kerkira 490 81, Corfu
A small historic house beautifully restored maintaining a traditional style. Wrought iron beds, venetian style furnishings and balconies. Close by to several local eateries. Breakfast is included and served in the private terrace. Charming and utterly relaxed.Back to Nature - Located in the heritage village of Old Perithia in Corfu surrounded by beautiful mountain viewsLocal exploring - Is centrally located, ideal for exploring the village and its taverns on footGreat walks - Guided walking tours through the village explaining interesting facts and storiesDiving - Crystal clear waters and thriving flora and fauna yet to be discovered
Sidari Beach Hotel 31 rooms from $91Karousades, Corfu
A stone's throw from both the village centre and nearby Sidari beach. Elegant and contemporary rooms offer fantastic views of the ocean. The restaurant, serving Greek and Italian dishes, is inspired by local cuisine and ingredients. Enjoy Corfu's landscapes from their pool with a snack bar.Beach Life - Located at the Sidari beach offering sun-terraces to lounge and sun batheValue chic - Great value family holiday accommodationLocal markets - Moments away from local supermarkets, cafes, souvenir shops, travel agencies and jewellersDiving - For beginners and experienced divers