Is a trip to Corfu on the cards? A stunning Greek island, Corfu is full of history and culture, and is the perfect summer getaway. Founder Susie Marquis shares her recommendations, including where to go, where to eat and where to stay…
The Greek Islands offer all the advantages of a relaxing holiday, particularly if you are looking for sunshine, beautiful beaches and plenty of tavernas offering delicious Greek food. It is also true that the smaller islands can get very busy and crowded in the height of summer, while the larger islands like Corfu offer a more peaceful ambiance, with its green and mountainous landscape and a coast offering stunning sea views and a great selection of beaches.We also very much recommend a visit to Corfu Old Town with its long history, including stunning Venetian architecture, as well as being a certified UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Corfu was under Venetian rule from the 15th century for four centuries, and just walking around the streets you will see the historic Italian influences. It is definitely worth taking a walking tour through the narrow lanes to learn more about the fascinating history and culture here, including the Old Venetian Fortress of Angelokastro and the famous St. Spyridon church, dating from the 16th-century.
The Mon Repos Palace estates are located just 3kms south of Corfu Town, in a beautiful setting full of greenery on top of Analipsis hill near the Kanoni area. The small but beautiful palace was built in 1826 by the British Commissioner, Frederic Adams, as a gift to his Corfiot wife Nina Palatianou. Later on, the palace became the summer residence of all British governors of Corfu and when the Ionian Islands were united to Greece in 1864, it was given as a gift to King George I of Greece.
This is also the house where Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born in 1921. During the Italian occupation of Corfu in the Second World War, the palace became the residence of Parini, the Italian governor of the Ionian Islands.
The Achilleion Palace is in the village of Gastouri (10 kms southwest of Corfu town) and is definitely worth a visit too, although do check first as from October 1st 2022 it has been closed to the public due to restoration work.
The stately palace also has a fascinating history, and was originally inhabited by Empress Elisabeth of Austria and Kaiser William II of Germany. During World War I and World War II, the Palace was looted, but after many years of renovation work, it was returned to its former glory as a museum. The surrounding gardens are beautiful and include important statues such as that of the dying Achilles.
If you want to taste the local wine and olive oil on the island, the beautiful Ropa Valley and the small village Giannades are 17 kms west from Corfu Town and definitely worth the 30-minute drive. This 300-acre ecological estate has belonged to the same family for many generations, and is famous for its fine wines, organic extra virgin olive oil and olives.
As well as offering wine tasting, visitors can enjoyan Olive Oil Tasting and Tour. The Theotoky family is one of the oldest families in Greece, and the estate has a cellar of great white, rose and red wines, as well as an olive press. It is open for visiting and wine tastings from Monday to Saturday from 10:00-15:00.
More recommended activities while staying on Corfu:
For those who like walking and exploring nature, there are apparently at least 20 walks on the island, including the Corfu Trail running the length of the island from Kavos in the south to Agios Spyridon, one of the most quiet and beautiful beaches with its white sand and crystal clear water. The day walks also include olive groves, sandy beaches, and picturesque villages.
For the more energetic, head to Porto Timoni, a beautiful double beach on a peninsula in the northwest of the island which can only be reached by a 30-minute steep hike from Afionas village, or short boat trip from Agios Georgios Pagon.
We can also recommend a day cruise from Corfu to visit Paxos and Antipaxos, just 14 kms south of Corfu, or a 45-minute hydrofoil ride – or even consider a two centre holiday, as we rent some beautiful luxury villas on Paxos as well. Like the Ionian islands generally, it is a green island with many trees and endless olive groves, and the west coast is renowned for its spectacular sunsets.
Some Recommended Restaurants in Corfu Town
Sailing Club’s Restaurant: The restaurant of the Corfu Sailing Club is located inside the old fortress and has been operating since 2004. Over these years, it has established itself among the top choices of both locals and visitors to the island.
Venetian Well Restaurant: One of the most historical and beautiful restaurants in Corfu town! Atmospheric, romantic and overlooking the beautiful Kremasti Square, in front of the historical Venetian well.
Avli Restaurant Corfu: A garden of tastes awaits you at the parkland of Garitsa bay, one of the most beautiful spots of Corfu town. Surrounded by green trees and colourful flowers, Avli is one of the most beautiful spots to enjoy your meal in Corfu, and will treat you to its culinary secrets and quality food amidst a pleasant and friendly environment.
Recommended Luxury Villas
Situated just a 15-minute drive from Corfu Town on the east coast, Villa Kira Chrisikou is set within beautiful gardens with an L-shaped heated swimming pool and benefits from wonderful sea views. The beautiful west coast sandy beaches of Palaiokastritsa and Glyfada are around 20 minutes drive. For a larger group, the villa is situated close to another of our 4-bedroom villas, Villa Kontokali, and the two villas could be rented together.
Set in a quiet position on a hilltop near the traditional villages of Viros and Perama, this 3-bedroom villa benefits from breathtaking views over the mountains and the sea.
Only 7 minutes drive from the centre of Corfu Town and a 5-minute drive from Perama beach, this lovely villa has stylish interiors, and has an outdoors space offering a magnificent shaded living area of 150m2, with a dining area that’s perfect or relaxing and gathering with family and friends in absolute privacy and serenity all day long. The villa also has a large infinity swimming pool and an outdoor Jacuzzi.
Just 20 minutes south of Corfu town, Villa Tsaki benefits from a prime beach front location with direct access to a secluded beach. Surrounded by beautiful, landscaped ground and a swimming pool overlooking the sea, the private estate consists of two independent villas, with the main house is set over 2 levels with spacious living areas and 4 bedrooms, as well as an independent guest house is also set over two levels with a further 3 bedrooms.
Guests can also arrange for massage and beauty treatments at the villa, along with personal trainer sessions and yoga classes.
Situated in the area of San Stefano in the north-east of Corfu, this villa offers all modern comforts as well as a beautiful location with uninterrupted views to San Stefano bay and the Ionian Sea. The village of Agios Stefanos is just 2 kms away, and the nearest beaches are Avlaki (2 kms) and Kerasia (3 kms).
Surrounded by terraces with stunning sea views, the property has an infinity swimming pool with a small waterfall at one end, and the pool can also be heated on request. There are several furnished areas for relaxing outdoors, including a pergola-shaded dining area seating 12, as well as a bar, a barbecue and a fire pit.
Situated in one of the most spectacular settings in Corfu, Villa Kanoni is a stunning 9-bedroom property set in a quiet location with wonderful sea views, as well as easy access to the restaurants and shops of Corfu Town.
As well as being one of the neighbouring estates to “Mon Repos”, now the summerhouse of the King of Greece, the property has also been featured in the James Bond film ‘For Your Eyes only’. The 10-acre estate features beautiful gardens on three levels and a fabulous 20x10m seawater swimming pool and terrace. A path winds down from the gardens to the pebble beach and pier below.
Looking to discover Corfu this year? With a range of luxury villas, explore this beautiful Greek island any time of year, thanks to its mild climate and gorgeous surroundings. Click here to view all properties in this Greek hotspot, or discover nearby Paxos, Zakynthos and more. Stay ahead of the pack by receiving updates on an array of international luxury villas and apartments, chic new properties and our impressive selection of enticing travel itineraries. Sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter here.