Corfu

Corfu is a cosmopolitan island in the Ionian Sea. The Old Town is magnificent and there are plenty of things to see, nice beaches and attractions for kids

What to see
Corfu Old Town
Old Venetian Fort
Pontikonisi
Achilleion
Mon Repos
Angelokastro
Casa Parlante
Archaeological Museum of Corfu

Where to have fun with kids
Aqualand
Pirate ship
Aquarium
Corfu Donkey Rescue

Where to swim
Palaiokastritsa
Agios Gordios
Kontogyalos
Glyfada
Sidari
Corfu City beach near the castle
Benitses

When to go

How to get to Corfu

How to get around the island
By bus
By car
By taxi

Where to stay
Corfu City
Benitses
Palaiokastritsa
Aqualand Resort
Kavos (avoid!)

All places mentioned below are gathered on the map, so you can choose which ones you would like to combine. You can find the map here

What to see

Corfu Old Town

Walk in the narrow cobblestoned alleys between the two Venetian forts and among a blend of architectural gems influenced by Venetian, French and British conquerors. The colorful buildings from the Venetian era commingle with British Neoclassical buildings and the French Imperial style of Liston

Walk at the Esplanade (Spianada), the second largest square square in Europe, and have a coffe at Liston, which was built following the design of Rue de Rivoli in Paris

Try to spot the red-domed bell tower of Agios Spyridon Church

There are a lot of options to sample local cuisine. One of the best places we found was at the Old Town Hall Square, where kids have lots of room to run around. The building in the picture is the Catholic Cathedral of Saints Jacob and Christopher. There are several cafés and restaurants at the square. Kritikos restaurant is a good option, where you can order a plate with a variety of of grilled meats that is typically shared with everyone at the table

You can find fantastic ice cream in lots of different flavors and amazing sweets at the historical pâtisserie Papagiorgis. Corfu is famous for its kumquat sweets and liqueurs – you can also try kumquat ice cream at Papagiorgis, a unique flavor for sure!

Papagiorgis Patiserie-Gelateria
Nikiforou Theotoki 32, Kerkira 491 00, Greece
https://goo.gl/maps/NFevc81RvnKUaxjz9

You can also find good ice cream at Hansel & Gretel with lots of options that will make the kids happy here

Hansel & Gretel
Nikiforou Theotoki 23, Kerkira 491 00, Greece
https://goo.gl/maps/3VsnrhzM5iC9mC3J9

And if you are looking for a place to shop inspirational Greek designers, then Muses is the place to be

Muses art things & more
Michail Theotoki 22, Kerkira 491 00, Greece
https://goo.gl/maps/9pdD4YaSs2aTfeUNA

There is also a tourist train departing from Spianada and going around the Old Town, great way to get a feel of the city with little ones without them getting tired

Old Venetian Fortress

Built by the Venetians in the 15th century, the fortress was artificially separated by the rest of the island. The medieval town of Corfu This is also where the town of Corfu got its Western name; the twin peaks of the fortress are called “coryphe” in Greek. There are lots of stairs, this is not stroller friendly or wheelchair friendly.

There is a small Byzantine collection and also temporary expos at the Latin church. There is also a lighthouse at the top that is still functioning

The view from the fortress is great. There is also a café/restaurant to enjoy the view even longer

Pontikonisi

Pontikonisi (Mouse Island) is where according to the Greek mythology Poseidon turned to stone the Phaiakian boat that would bring Ulysses to Ithaca. You can walk towards the Monastery of Vlacherna, then take a boat to visit Pontikonisi. There is the 12th century chapel of Pantokrator on the islet and a small café

As the Monastery of Vlacherna is right next to the airport, the area around it makes for a pretty cool spotting platform for airplanes, as the airport is right next to it

There is also a café/restaurant with an iconic view of Pontikonisi a bit further up the road

Café Kanoni
Kerkira 491 00, Greece
https://goo.gl/maps/PdeGZy3ZDwEnvHDH9

Achilleion

Achilleion is the palace of the Empress Elisabeth of Austria, known as Sissy. After the loss of her only son, she built the royal mansion as a refuge in 1890. Sissy wanted to build “a palace worthy of Achilles”, her favorite Greek mythology hero. Achilleion was purchased by German Kaiser Wilhelm II after Sissy’s death. It also served as a military hospital and then as an orphanage during the World Wars

Dying Achilles is the most well-known sculpture in Achilleion by Ernst Gustav Herter

There is a café at Achilleion and a couple of cafés near the entrance, one of which (San Marino) has a very small kumquat museum

Mon Repos

Mon Repos was built as a summer villa for British Lord High Commissioner of the United States of the Ionian Islands and it was gifted to King George I after the union of the Ionian Islands with Greece in 1864. It remained the summer residence of the Greek royal family and it was confiscated by the Greek State after the declaration of the Hellenic Republic in 1974. This is also where Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was born

Mon Repos now houses the Museum of Palaiopolis—Mon Repos and you can walk around the pine forest, where you can discover the Sanctuary of Hera Akraia (Heraion), the Doric Temple of Kardaki and a very small local beach with no facilities, untouched by tourism. Take a photo of the map of Mon Repos at the entrance, otherwise it is not easy to find your way around!

The museum is open only until 16.00, but the rest of the domain is open until later in the evening

Angelokastro

Angelokastro (Castle of the Angel) is one of the most important architectural remains of fortifications of the island together with the two Venetian forts. The Byzantinte castle never fell; it endured three Ottoman sieges

There are lots of stairs to reach the ruins and toddlers can fall, so a baby carrier is a good idea. Also driving there is difficult at high season with tiny, busy streets where buses get stuck

Angelokastro is near Palaiokastritsa, so you could combine these two

There are lots of stairs (this one is definitely not stroller friendly!), but…

The view is magnificent!

Casa Parlante

Casa Parlante is a living museum at a 19th-century mansion. The guide explains how the aristocracy of the time used to live. The animated figures come alive right in front of your eyes. While this is a great learning experience with older kids, our 2 year old found it too difficult to keep away from porcelain tea sets, paintings and other fragile things. Maybe not the best idea with toddlers 🙂

Archaeological Museum of Corfu

This is a small, modern museum with artifacts from the antiquity. It is great to explore Greek mythology and show show the kids their favorite heroes depicted. There is also a room with burial artifacts that sparked some interesting conversations with our 5 year old. The signs are in Greek and English

One of the most important exhibits is the pediment of the temple of Artemis, where the goddess is depicted as Gorgon

Where to have fun with kids

Aqualand

This is the largest water park in Greece and third-largest in Europe! It was definitely the highlight of our trip in Corfu for the kids. Plan to spend the whole day there, there are also cafés and restaurants there. You can also stay at the resort

Pirate ship

A pirate ship with costumes and swords, kids loved this one too! The ship goes to Vidos island, where you can stop for a swim and there is also a café/restaurant. It also makes a 1 hour 15 minutes tour around Corfu city starting from the Old Port

Corfu Pirate ship Black Rose
El. Venizelou 28, Kerkira 490 01, Greece
https://g.page/Corfu-Pirate-Ship?share

Aquarium

The small aquarium is situated next to Palaiokastritsa beach making it perfect for a quick visit. The guided tour really helps mae the most out of this little place with fish and reptiles (even a crocodile!). Better book in advance, otherwise you might have to wait a bit to enter

Corfu Donkey Rescue

Corfu Donkey Rescue opened in 2004 by an English woman to rescue mistreated donkeys. Kids can learn all about donkeys and pet them. Entrance is free, but donations are welcome. You can also adopt a donkey for a year. The dirt road is pretty bad and the turn is easy to miss

Where to swim

Palaiokastritsa

The most famous beach of Corfu, sometimes compared to Thailand’s iconinc Maya Bay. Having been to both, I personally see a very distant resemblance 🙂 The water has a beautiful turquoise color. This is best to visit outside of high season or very early/late in the day, as the small beach can be packed with people in August. There are many restaurants around there and the beach is organized. The best tip is to rent a boat from Palaiokastritsa to enjoy more secluded beaches and visit caves for a half-day trip

Also right next to Palaiokastritsa there is a small Aquarium, perfect to visit with young kids

Agios Gordios

Agios Gordios is a 1.5km sandy beach with several cafés/restaurants and sunbeds. It is open sea, which means that the water is clean, but there can be waves. You can see La Grotta, the big rocky formation. It can be difficult to find a parking spot

Kontogyalos

Kontogyalos is a big sandy beach. It is organized, there are sunbeds and umbrellas, many taverns next to the beach and there are showers at some of these taverns. The road to get there is very steep and driving is not easy

There is also a guy with an interesting story, who sells all things snacks, from fruits to yummy donuts. George has a weird system of transportation of goods and a great sense of humor

Glyfada

A long sandy beach with shallow waters, some taverns and a beach bar nearby. There are also water sports and boats to rent. There is also a parking place before you reach the beach (and practically not many other places anywhere)

Sidari

Sidari is a touristic town with three beaches, the most famous of all being Canal d’Amour , a very small beach with scenic cliffs. The other two are both sandy beaches as well, one longer and the other smaller

Photo credit: Richard James

Corfu City beach near the castle (Faliraki)

This is not one of the nicest beaches of the island, but it is one of the most convenient ones. There is no beach, you go in the water with a ladder, not recommended for younger kids

Benitses

This is an organized beach with water sports and a small aqua park. There are also many cafés and restaurants around

When to go

Corfu is a very popular island. It can get pretty packed in August, thus any other time other than August is a much better choice. Greece is still warm enough to swim in July and in September

If you are not interested in swimming, then the absolutely best period to visit is during the Orthodox Easter. During Early Resurrection (ie Saturday before Easter Sunday) the Corfiots throw large clay pots filled with water (named botides). The smashing of the jugs is a unique tradition in Greece and it comes from the Venetian rulers of Corfu

How to get to Corfu

You can get to Corfu by ferry from Patra, Igoumenitsa and Italy

Check also for direct flights, as Corfu is directly connected to many European countries

How to get around the island

By bus

There are two types of buses, blue and green
Blue: the blue buses take you around Corfu City and around it. You can find more details here
Green: the green buses take you all around the island. You can find more details here
Just a note, public transportation in Greece is not very reliable

By car

This is the most flexible option. The streets are narrow and steep at certain areas and there can be traffic to enter Corfu City and at other points. On the other hand, public transportation in Greece in general is not that reliable, so you can’t win them all 🙂

Should you rent a car?

It depends on your personal preference, budget and timetable
*If you are on a budget, then it is possible to get around Corfu by public transport. However, note that Greek transportation is not always reliable
*If you are staying just for three days, then you don’t need a car. You need about two days for Corfu City anyway
*If you are staying for a week, then count about two days for Corfu City and rent a car for the remaining days to explore the island

By taxi

Taxis in Greece are relatively cheap. Normally the taxi driver should start the taximeter once you enter the taxi, but many at the islands go by predetermined cost of certain routes. Best to ask in advance how much that is

Where to stay

Check out the map for specific hotels around the areas that interest you. You can find the map here

Not sure which areas you should be looking into? Keep reading…

Corfu City

*Don’t want to rent a car? The best place to stay is Corfu City
*Staying just for 3 days? Again the best place to stay is Corfu City
There are many things to do and there are a couple of beaches – not as nice as the ones at the rest of the island though. It is also close to the airport

Benitses

If you are looking for a quite family friendly village with a decent beach, with a small inflatable water park, cafés/restaurants and all that just 20 minutes away from Corfu City, then Benitses might be just the right answer

Palaiokastritsa

*Want to stay next to a great beach? Then maybe stay around Palaiokastritsa
In general, I would advise staying at the west side of the island, as the beaches are much nicer, if this your priority (see more details here)

Aqualand Resort

*If your kids are big fans of water parks like ours: then you can stay at Aqualand, just 18 minutes drive from Corfu City (see more details here)
There are two more small water parks where you can stay, one at Sidari and one at Agios Georgios, but I would advise staying more towards the middle of the island, as Corfu is a big island. For example, Sidari to Corfu City is about 50 minutes drive and Agios Georgios is again 50 minutes

Kavos

*Do you want to party hard? Then stay at Kavos, a small village at the southermost part of Corfu with streets full of bars, clubs and drunk people – most probably you are reading the wrong blog if this is your priority 🙂 Definitely AVOID with kids, warning you not to stay there is the only reason Kavos is in the list. However, if you find yourself there for the day, then you can eat very good Greek cuisine at Big Max and enjoy a good breakfast by the sea at Florida (you get access to the sunbeds too). It can also be quite enjoyable, as Kavos is very quiet during the day

Now that you have an idea about which areas might be interesting for you, check the map for specific hotels. You can find the map here

Map

All places mentioned above are also gathered on the map: outdoor and indoor activities, kids friendly cafés/ restaurants and hotels under separate layers
*Tip: if you want to see a specific layer, you need to tap the upper left corner of the map and unselect the other layers
https://worldwildschooling.com/world-wild-schooling-map/

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