A gem in the Ionian Sea, Corfu is a Greek island that captivates British holidaymakers with its breathtaking scenery, rich history, and delectable cuisine. With influences from the Venetians, English, French, and Russians, Corfu boasts a unique blend of culture and heritage. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, this charming island has something for everyone. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how to get to Corfu from the UK, what to see and do, the best time to visit, and the top things to do while you’re there.
How to Get to Corfu from the UK
Corfu is easily accessible for British holidaymakers, with direct flights available from several UK airports. During the summer months, flights are more frequent, departing from major cities such as London, Manchester, and Birmingham. The average flight time from the UK to Corfu is about 3 hours.
Once you arrive at Corfu International Airport, you can choose from various transportation options to reach your accommodation. Taxis, buses, and car rentals are readily available, making it easy to explore the island at your own pace.
What to See and Do in Corfu
1. Stroll Through the UNESCO-Listed Old Town
Corfu’s Old Town is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, impressing visitors with its stately neoclassical buildings and charming cobblestone streets. Wander through the atmospheric Campiello, the medieval quarter, and marvel at iconic landmarks such as the Palace of St Michael and St George, Liston Arcade, and the Ionian Parliament. The Old Town is a perfect setting for a leisurely stroll, immersing you in the island’s rich history.
2. Admire the Venetian Forts and Towers
The island’s strategic location has resulted in the construction of impressive fortifications throughout its history. Visit the 13th-century Old Fort (Palio Frourio) and the imposing New Fort (Neo Frourio), both built by the Venetians. These architectural masterpieces offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape and provide fascinating insights into Corfu’s military past.
3. Capture the Beauty of Cannon and Mouse Islands
Just off the coast of Corfu, you’ll find the picturesque islets of Pontikonisi (Mouse Island) and Vlacherna. Home to the Pantokrator Monastery and a 17th-century monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary, respectively, these islands are a photographer’s dream. Don’t miss the opportunity to capture their beauty during your visit.
4. Swim at the Unique Canal d’Amour and Sidari
Corfu is known for its stunning beaches, but for a truly unique experience, head to the Canal d’Amour. This natural rock formation creates a tunnel-like passage, perfect for swimming and exploring. Legend has it that you’ll find your soulmate at the end of the tunnel! Meanwhile, Sidari offers gorgeous sandy beaches and striking sandstone formations.
5. Discover More Sandy Beaches and Crystal-Clear Waters
The island is home to an array of beautiful beaches, from the lively party scene of Kavos to the tranquil coves of Paleokastritsa. Whether you prefer sunbathing, swimming, or indulging in water sports, Corfu’s beaches cater to every preference.
6. Explore Corfu’s Rich History and Culture
Corfu’s lush landscape is dotted with historical sites and monuments, from the ruins of ancient Corcyra to the 12th-century Angelokastro castle. Visit the Monastery of Panagias, founded in 1225, and immerse yourself in the island’s fascinating past.
7. Experience the Unique Easter Celebrations
Corfu’s Easter festivities are unlike any other in Greece. The island’s Philharmonic Society accompanies the procession of Christ’s epitaph on Good Friday, and on Holy Saturday, locals drop clay jars (botides) from their balconies. These lively celebrations are a must-see during your holiday in Corfu.
8. Visit the Aristocratic Achillion Palace
Built by Empress Elizabeth of Austria-Hungary, the Achillion Palace is a testament to Corfu’s glamorous past. This elegant neoclassical building features stunning gardens and a famous statue of the dying Achilles. It’s an essential stop on any Corfu itinerary.
9. Tour Mon Repos, the Aristocrat’s Choice
This former summer residence of British High Commissioner Frederick Adam now houses the Palaiopolis Museum and botanical gardens. With over 2,000 plant species from British colonies, the lush grounds of Mon Repos provide a serene escape from the bustling island.
Best Time to Visit Corfu
The best time to visit Corfu is during the spring and early summer months (April to June) when the weather is mild and the island’s flora is in full bloom. This period also sees fewer crowds, allowing you to explore Corfu’s attractions without the hustle and bustle of peak tourist season. Alternatively, September and October also offer pleasant weather and a quieter atmosphere.
Top Things to Do in Corfu
- Take a walking tour of Corfu Old Town to fully appreciate its rich history and architectural beauty.
- Embark on a culinary tour to sample Corfu’s mouthwatering local dishes, such as pastitsada, sofrito, and bourdeto.
- Rent a bicycle or join a guided hike to explore the island’s stunning inland scenery and traditional villages.
- Visit the uninhabited Diapontia Islands for a day of diving, fishing, and sailing in the crystal-clear Ionian waters.
Corfu is an enchanting destination that’s perfect for British holidaymakers seeking a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. With so much to see and do, your holiday in Corfu will be an unforgettable experience.