Used as the backdrop for epic tales by both Homer and Shakespeare, the island of Corfu, or Kerkyra, continues to attract weary travelers looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The sight of its lush green landscape speckled with wildflowers is enough to melt away any ounce of stress. The scent of olives and citrus carried by the wind from nearby groves is enough to refresh anyone from the inside out. And the feel of the sprawling, pebbly beaches beneath your feet or the view of the cerulean waves of the Ionian Sea is enough to make you feel as though you've found paradise.
It's really the beaches that draw so many tourists to Corfu every year. Whether you prefer the more isolated—but easily accessible—shores of the island's southern tip or the expansive, rocky north coast, Corfu is every sun-seeker's dream. However, if you find yourself facing a rainy day, the island is also home to some interesting museums and historical sites. Head over to Corfu Town, the island's main commercial and tourist hub, and explore the winding cobblestone streets of Old Town. Tucked away amongst pastel-colored houses are breathtaking tributes to Corfu's rich history, such as the Old Fortress (Palaio Frourio) and the Church of Agios Spiridon, all of which can be explored on foot.
The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions. Read more about how we rank vacation destinations.
U.S. News editors analyzed weather and price trends to recommend the top times to visit.best time to visit
Corfu is a friendly city, and Greeks are known for their hospitality toward visitors. However, a little understanding of Greek etiquette will help you interact with residents and blend in better. Comprehending body language is key; for example, the hand signal for "OK," using the thumb and index finger, is offensive in Greece. And Greeks indicate "yes" with a slight downward nod and "no" by a slight upward nod—the exact opposite of us Yanks.
Corfu restaurants range from fancy to beach casual depending on where you are. You're more likely to find high-end restaurants in Corfu Town and at the resort destinations in coastal towns, such as Érmones on the west coast or Kalami in the northeast. Smaller towns generally feature one or two tavernas in total.
Restaurants and tavernas—classic Greek-style pubs—serve traditional Greek food with a twist. Because Corfu's past rulers include the French, the British, and the Italians, Corfu cuisine has retained some of the culinary traditions of those countries. Most menus include plenty of fresh seafood served in white wine sauce (á la français), with a side of spaghetti or accompanied by Corfu's version of the British classic, ginger beer (tzin tzin birra). Dishes prepared with local products—including grapes, citrus fruits, olives, and honey—are also popular. The only downside is that fresh fish can be pricy, as Corfu's seafood is supplied exclusively by local fishermen. Travelers recommend dining at the independent Dionysos for some excellent Greek cuisine.
TripAdvisor says, "Despite growing crime rates, Corfu is still one of the safest major tourist destinations in Europe." Still, make sure to exercise extra care of your belongings at heavily touristed areas and at resorts.
The best way to get around Corfu depends on where you spend most of your time. If you plan on staying in Corfu Town, your own two feet should suffice, but public buses are available should you grow weary. For those of you itching to explore, the most convenient way to get around will be by car or by moped. Although KTEL buses service most of the island, their schedules are often sporadic. They also don't operate routes to the Corfu International Airport (CFU), so you'll have to spend about €12 EUR (about $16 USD) on a taxi. Once you're in Corfu Town, you should have no trouble tracking down a car rental agency.See details for Getting Around
To enter Greece your passport must be valid through your stay and for at least three months after. Visit the U.S. Department of State's website for more information on entry and exit requirements.