A Guide to the Greek Island of Corfu

A Guide to the Greek Island of Corfu

I visited the mythical island of Corfu located in the Ionian Sea of Greece in the Summer of 2018. I had made the decision to visit another Greek island after having so much fun discovering the Cyclades Islands in the Summer of 2017. Corfu surprised us with its endless natural beauty, full of mystery from its idyllic towns to mountainous landscapes and sparkling beaches.

Corfu is the second-largest Greek island in the Ionian sea. Corfu is located in a strategic position at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea off the western coasts of Albania and Greece and has its roots in the 8th century BC. The three forts of the town, designed by renowned Venetian engineers, were used for four centuries to defend the maritime trading interests of the Republic of Venice against the Ottoman Empire. In the course of time, the forts were repaired and partly rebuilt several times, more recently under British rule in the 19th century. The mainly neoclassical housing stock of the Old Town is partly from the Venetian period, partly of later construction, notably the 19th century. As a fortified Mediterranean port, Corfu’s urban and port ensemble is notable for its high level of integrity and authenticity. The Old Town was added to the Unesco World Heritage site in 2007. (Source: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/978/)

Getting There and Transport

Corfu is very large for an island. It can be accessed by sea or by the Corfu International Airport (Aerolimenas Kerkiras Ioannis Kapodistria). On our journey, we flew to Corfu International Airport from Milan. On arrival, we arrived very late at night and the airport check-out process was a breeze. In contrast, on departure, there were no automated kiosks for self-check-in and long queues for every airline followed by another long queue through security. There also wasn’t air conditioning available in the waiting areas, which was a drag in the August summer heat. I would recommend giving yourself plenty of time flying out of this airport.

We hired Roda Taxi to take us from the airport to Sidari. Their service is highly recommended and saved us the trouble of trying to snag one of the last available taxis so late at night at the airport. The cost was 56 euro and the drive took about 45 minutes.

Sidari Town

We picked Sidari as our base for this trip because we wanted somewhere laid back with a beachy vibe. It was also a strategic central location for day trips to other parts of the island. We stayed at the Del Mare Beach Hotel located at the Canal d’Amour which was a good value, and perfect for anyone looking for a relaxed holiday. There was a swim-up pool bar, a beach club, and an outdoor restaurant with a great view of the sunset. The hotel was also about 10-15 minutes away by foot to the main strip in Sidari.

Sidari otherwise sadly felt like a run of the mill beach town, with none of the character that we found in other parts of Greece. Architecturally speaking, it could have been located in almost any Mediterranean country in the world. That didn’t detract from the warm and friendly Greek hospitality of the locals. Sidari Town consisted of a stretch of beach, bars, and convenience shops full of inflatable toys and anything you would need for a day on the water.

I would highly recommend renting a boat with Wave Boat Company in Sidari to check out the surrounding coastline. There are many great coves to anchor into for a private swim and snorkel experience such as Drastis Cape.

Paleokastritsa

Once we were settled in Sidari, we had arranged for a car through Corfu Explore Car Hire. Their service was wonderful and even included drop off and pick up at our hotel. I don’t recommend driving in Corfu for the faint of heart. The roads from Sidari to Paleokastritsa and back were treacherous, to say the least. Think narrow unpaved and sometimes unmarked roads with more turns than the Amalfi Coast or Cote D’Azur. I was sitting in the car seat with sweaty palms.

We went to the Agia Triada Beach which is nestled in a cove. The water here is sparkling on any day and there are changing cabins and loungers for rent as well as 2 beach bars and one with a pool. It is very beautiful and highly recommended to visit to take in the scenery. There are also motorized and paddle boats available to rent to go explore further into the ocean, some even have slides atop of them.

I would recommend to check out Paleokastritsa for hotels and accommodations to base a trip to Corfu because of the beautiful beaches and scenery unique this bay.

Porto Timoni Beach

Porto Timoni Beach is a secluded bay accessed only by boat or by the unshaded rocky path in the North of Corfu. We parked our car in the village of Agios Georgios Pagi and set foot for twenty minutes down the path to the twin beaches. The views were spectacular the whole way down. I was very happy to be wearing running shoes, because there were some tricky spots to navigate on the way down.

Once at the beach you can choose between two sides where there is a mix of pebbles and sand. There is nowhere to keep your belongings, but it felt safe if you kept an eye on the shore when taking a dip. We also brought snorkels and could see many fish in the crystal clear water.

Corfu Town

Corfu Town is the capital of the island of Corfu. Here you will find historic sites and monuments, lots of shops for souvenirs, many restaurants, and marinas to embark on sailing excursions and charters. There is tons of character with cobblestone streets and Venetian architecture and a 15th-century Old Fortress surrounding the old town. On a clear day, you can see Albania across the sea, and there are many day trips to that depart from the port in town.

Corfu Town would serve as great base for a vacation since there are many public transport options from there to connect you to the rest of the island and more concentration of dining options than other parts of the island. I wish we had more time exploring Corfu Town.

Restaurants in Sidari

We ate out for all of our meals in Sidari, so got to sample many of the different spots within walking distance. I wouldn’t say Sidari is a location for foodies, however our bellies were always full of fresh food made with love with ingredients from the island.

D’Amour Beach Bar Restaurant Sidari 490 81, Greece This restaurant was located in our hotel and in our opinion the best option for food and ambiance in Sidari. They had great super-sized prawns in a creamy tomato based sauce, and an extensive cocktail menu.

La Strata Epar.Od. Skriperou-Peroulades, Peroulades 490 81, Greece We were Greeked out and in search for a simple pizza when we found La Strata restaurant right behind our hotel. We each got a classic cheese pizza, and were very happy with the easy lunch on their patio.

Pizzeria Napoli Restaurant ΣΙΔΑΡΙ, Sidari 490 81, Greece The pizzas here are made in an authentic wood oven and there are lots of fresh topping options. We opted for takeaway and only wish we had tried it sooner. Sometimes all you need after a long day in the sun is a pizza to go.

Aquarius Restaurant Canal d’Amour, Κέρκυρα 490 81, Greece We happened to eat here on a Tuesday which was a Greek themed night with live music and performers. Our table had a stunning view of the sunset, however, the octopus was overdone and chewy and the shrimps were also overcooked.

B.E.D. Bar Sidari 490 81, Greece We had breakfast here our first morning. We went for a walk on a Sunday at 11 am and there was no one else eating breakfast at that time, in fact, they had to flip over the chairs for us to dine to set the table for the day. Chalk it up to island time. They served an English breakfast with two eggs, a tomato slice, sauteed mushrooms, beans, two slices of grilled ham, two sausages, and some fries.

Vintage Bar Σιδαρι 00, Sidari 490 81, Greece We loved the atmosphere and the drinks here. This is probably the coolest spot in tow for a drink.

Fever Bar Megali Beach Road, Sidari 490 81, Greece This beach bar was a bit of a longer trek from us. It has a boho vibe and is a great place for a quick break in the sun before going back into the ocean. We enjoyed mojitos and great espresso martinis.

Cargo Sidari center, Kerkira 490 81, Greece This bar has live music and a lively party atmosphere. We spent a few fun hours here listening to the live music and even singing along at some points with the whole bar.

Siesta Bar Sidari 490 81, Greece We stumbled in here on our last night. We enjoyed a few drinks and unknowingly crashed a Welsh wedding, and didn’t notice until the slideshow of the couple started playing on the projector. Checked wedding crashing off of the bucket list to wrap up an adventurous trip!

Check out my guide to the Cyclades Islands for more on Greece.

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