Make your way directly east of southern Italy and you’ll find yourself on the lush island of Corfu in the heart of the Ionian sea. If you’re looking for a relaxed and unique Greek island getaway, you cannot go wrong with mapping out a Corfu itinerary.
While the Cycladic Islands tend to boast the highest popularity among Greek island visitors, the Ionian islands are completely different with some of the most beautiful beaches and scenery.
Spending 2, 3 or 4 days in Corfu is never a bad idea and you’re sure to fall in love with this beautiful island in the Ionian sea. Continue reading this article to get to know the most popular Ionian island and create your Corfu itinerary.
How Many Days in Corfu?
Of the 7 Ionian islands, Corfu is the 2nd largest. Although it’s quite big in comparison to the other 5, it’s still a medium-sized island that’s quite easy to get around. When planning an island trip it can be difficult to know how long to stay which begs the question, how long to spend in Corfu?
If you’d like to spend your time at the beach and wandering through the Old Town of Corfu for a few hours, 1 or 2 days in Corfu will suffice.
But if you’re someone that prefers to take your time, see more beaches, maybe go on a day trip and enjoy an island getaway, 3 to 4 days in Corfu are what I’d recommend to maximize your time on the island.
Getting To & Around Corfu
Fortunately, due to its size, Corfu is one of the most easily accessible islands of the Greek islands.
Many islands are only reachable by ferry and others only have small airports connecting Greece and other islands (with high flight costs.)
Whereas the island of Corfu has an international airport with seasonal bases for many European and low-cost airlines such as Ryanair, EasyJet, and TUI.
Getting to Corfu
If you fly into Corfu, you’ll be flying into the “Ioannis Kapodistrias” Corfu International Airport. The Corfu Airport is conveniently located just under 2 miles from the Corfu Old Town and is easily accessible by public transport or by taxi.
If you prefer to reach the Old Town by public transport, you’ll want to take the number 15 bus from outside the terminal. The bus goes directly into the center of the old town with other stops along the way, with a journey of around 15 minutes and a ticket cost of €1.20 for one way.
From here you will reach many other bus stops which will connect you to other areas of the island.
If you prefer to take a taxi, it costs just between €10-15 depending on the time of day. It’s also possible to organise a private transfer here.
If you don’t have any luggage on you, walking is another option, as it only takes around 25-30 minutes to reach the center of the Old Town on foot.
The port in Corfu is located about a 10-minute drive from the Old Town, and here you can also find local buses to take you to numerous points across the island.
Getting Around Corfu
You have a few different options to help you get from place to place during your time in Corfu. The option that I’d personally recommend is to rent a car.
If you’re a driver and have an adequate amount of money to put toward your trip, this will be your best option. You can browse options on Rentalcars.com which aggregates prices for a number of companies.
If you’re wanting to keep costs lower while in Greece and don’t want to spend a large amount of money to rent a car, here enters the quintessential way to get around a Greek island; a motorcycle.
Motorcycles are a lot cheaper to rent than cars and offer speedy and fun ways to get around. You’ll also see so many views that otherwise would’ve been blocked by the top of the car!
Booking a car or motorcycle a fair amount of time in advance will give you the best deal and a lot more flexibility for your trip. From the southernmost point of Corfu to the northernmost point it takes around 2 hours by car. You never know where you may end up wanting to explore.
If renting a car isn’t an option for you, don’t worry. There are two main bus systems within the island; blue buses and green buses. The blue buses are for connecting the central part of the island such as the airport, the old town, the port, and surrounding areas.
The green buses reach the rest of the island which is a great option if you want to get out and explore further than your hotel or the Old Town.
The main bus station of the green buses is located near the port and connects to most of the main villages on the island which are worth the visit.
2, 3 or 4 Days in Corfu Itinerary
Corfu (Kerkyra in Greek) truly looks like a scene from a Mamma Mia movie. From the aquamarine waters, uniquely rich history, abundant lush greenery throughout the island, and dreamy sunset nights with a delicious meal or drink in hand, you’re bound to fall in love.
Corfu is an ideal island to visit if you’re looking for a Greek island getaway unlike anywhere else.
Day 1 – Old Town of Corfu
The ideal place to begin any Corfu itinerary is in the Old Town. The history of the Old Town of Corfu goes back to the 8th century BC as well as the Byzantine period. Over time Corfu has been under rule by many countries and empires, including the French, the British, the Byzantines, and the Venetians.
Undoubtedly, today you can still see an immense amount of influence on the island, its culture, food and, mainly the Old Town from these periods.
The Esplanade (Spianada)
Located beside the sea and next to the dreamy streets of Corfu’s Old Town, you’ll find the largest square in Greece and the Balkans. Just looking around you’ll already be able to notice the strong Venetian influence on the island.
The Esplanade is a relaxing and green area to take in your surroundings and prepare for your day.
Don’t be thrown off if you see cricket players having their hand at a match in the Esplanade, this goes back to when Corfu was under British rule and is still the only spot in Greece where you’ll find cricket!
Old Fortress of Corfu
From the Esplanade, one of the most defining points you’ll likely notice is the Old Fortress sitting looking out into the Ionian sea and taking watch over Corfu.
Known as one of the most astonishing and impressive fortifications in Europe, the Old Fortress of Corfu was built by the Venetians during the period of their rule in the 15th century.
The Old Fortress is a brilliant site to spend time at on your Corfu itinerary, not just for the impressive features of the fortress itself but also for the breathtaking views from the top.
There are regular exhibitions at the fortress as well as concerts at different points of the year if that’s something that you’re interested in.
Entry tickets are €7 and visits are available throughout the winter season from 8:30 AM to 3 PM and throughout the summer season from 8 AM to 8 PM daily.
Wander the Streets of the Old Town
The Old Town of Corfu is truly stunning and even has a royal feel to it. The Old Town itself is quite small and wandering through its Venetian-influenced streets is truly a joy.
From the colorful buildings, cobblestoned streets and friendly locals, you’ll find it hard to leave! You’ll find boutiques, speciality food stores, ice cream shops, restaurants, cafes, and pretty much everything else you’d expect. If you want to learn more about the history of the town, you can organise a walking tour here.
If you’re visiting on a hot summer day and want a cool treat (or you’re visiting in winter!), I’d recommend heading to Papagiorgis Patiserie-Gelateria to enjoy an artisanal gelato.
Church of St. Spyridon
Just a 2-minute walk away from the Papagiorgis Gelateria is the most monumental church on the island of Corfu, the Church of St. Spyridon.
Built in the 1580s and still located in the Old Town of Corfu, the Church of Spyridon is home to the relics of St. Spyridon and also has the highest bell tower in all of the Ionian islands!
The outside of the church is quite typical, but the baroque and Orthodox art inside the church is quite beautiful and worth popping in to see. Visits to the church are free.
Dinner at Veranda Taverna
At the end of day 1 of this Corfu itinerary, you’ll make your way to the harbor at sunset to enjoy a sunset meal at the wonderful tavern Veranda Taverna. Here you’ll find classic Greek and Corfu dishes.
The dishes of Corfu are quite unique due to the many occupations throughout history and I recommend the Pastitsada or Stoufada to experience the unique foods of Corfu!
The sunsets are breathtaking and because of this, I recommend making reservations in advance to secure a table.
Day 2 – Wine Tasting and Beach Day
When people think of wine and wine production countries, France, Italy and Spain are typically what come to mind, not Greece. But Greece – and Corfu in particular – has some incredible varieties of wine grapes and unique wines to get to know.
If you’re spending 2 days in Corfu, you’ll have the opportunity to get to taste some of these wines, explore the vineyards, and sit back, relax and enjoy the sun and time at the beach.
Wine Tasting & Vineyard Tour
The vineyards on the Island of Corfu are all located in small villages and more rural areas of the island. Reaching these parts of the island can pose a challenge especially if you’re not with a car on the island. But with the right planning, you’re on your way to Corfiot wine country.
My recommended option for a vineyard visit is to take part in a guided tour. Many guided tours that will transport you from the Old Town and possibly your accommodation, as well as arrange vineyard visits and wine tastings.
A lot of these tours also combine tours with local olive oil tastings which make for a perfect day to get a literal taste of the island of Corfu. Some options include this wine-tasting & Old Town tour or this private full-day tour.
If you don’t have a car, there are bus routes from the Old Town that will take you to many of the villages where you will find local wineries.
If you do have a car during your stay in Corfu, your options do open up quite a bit. For those with the flexibility of location, my recommendations for vineyard visits Pontiglio Winery – a lovely family-run vineyard in the southern Corfu village of Lefkimmi – and Nicoluzo Winery – a winery in the northern part of the island with unique wine varieties.
The best place to head to after wine tasting is to go relax under the Greek sun at the beach.
Corfu is full of wonderful beaches, and you can find different beaches to suit your needs. One of my favorites is Glyfada beach.
The water is clean, the sea is vast, there are a few different restaurants at different budgets on the beach, and you can either pay to rent a chair at one of the beach clubs or just lay your blanket down and get to it. If you decide to rent a chair and umbrella, be prepared to pay between €15-20.
Glyfada beach is located on the other side of the island from Corfu’s old town and can be reached by bus transport quite conveniently. If you’ve been doing wine tasting, you’re already in the nearby vicinity.
Day 3 – The Most Beautiful Beach in the Ionian
If you’re lucky enough to spend 3 days in Corfu, today will bring you to what is arguably the most beautiful beach in the Ionian sea. Located on the west side of Corfu, Gialli beach is a tranquil wonder unspoiled by tourists and infrastructure.
From the clearest glasslike, bluest water, to the few people you’ll likely find on the beach, Gialli beach is what I would consider to be the hidden gem of Corfu.
The only caveat is the means of reaching Gialli beach. If you have a car, it’s easy to access the nearby areas, and if not, the local villages are accessible by bus transport.
The beach isn’t accessible by road or short walk so the only ways to reach it are by about an hour-long hike down the mountain (mainly holding onto rope due to the descent and loose rocks), or by boat.
If you decide to take the hike down, plug “Chapel of Prophet Elias” into your GPS, and once you arrive you’ll want to follow the trail down toward the coast. It is extremely dangerous to commit to this hike if you don’t have the correct footwear or fitness level, or are bringing tons of beach gear.
Only do the hike if you just have a backpack on your back, and closed-toe shoes with a good grip. There are no options for food or drink once you reach the beach as it is very secluded, so bring a light lunch and water if you plan on spending the day or more than an hour at the beach (it’s hard to leave!)
Otherwise, you have the option to take a boat. You can either rent your own boat and transport yourself there (which is a bit costly), or hire a boat taxi from one of the nearby village ports.
Liapades is the closest port nearby and there you can arrange boat transportation to Gialli beach as well as plan a time to be picked up. It’s about a 10-minute boat ride each way and costs €10 per person.
Afterwards enjoy a lovely, local dinner at one of the nearby villages such as Giannades, Marmaro, or Ermones.
Day 4 – Day Trip to Paxos & Antipaxos
One of the biggest benefits of a Corfu itinerary is the close proximity of other Ionian islands to Corfu.
For those spending 4 days in Corfu, one of the best ways to get the most out of your trip after exploring the island of Corfu is to get out to one of the nearby islands.
The closest islands nearby that make for a great day trip and are known to be some of the most beautiful islands in the world, are Paxos and Antipaxos.
To spend a day in Paxos and Antipaxos islands you have a few options; you can either take part in a guided tour taking you from Corfu, then around the other islands and back to Corfu.
These will cost you a lot more than visiting independently but it also takes a lot of stress away from planning your day trip. Some options include this full-day boat cruise on GetYourGuide or this similar tour on Viator.
And the other option is to take the ferry from Corfu and explore Paxos and/or Antipaxos independently.
If you decide to visit the islands independently, make your way to the New Port of Corfu to then prepare to board your ferry to Paxos.
“Kamelia Lines” is the passenger ferry line transporting passengers to Paxos and the journey takes around an hour. “Kerkyra Lines” also has routes to Paxos from Corfu via Igoumenitsa for both foot passengers and vehicles.
Once reaching Paxos, it’s important to know that Paxos is the smallest of all the Ionian islands. There aren’t too many “touristy” things to do or sites to see but the best thing to do when visiting Paxos is just to wander the island, enjoy the crystalline beaches, and eat good Greek food.
Gaios, the island’s capital is where most of the action is happening and the town itself is beautiful, getting lost in the colorful streets and observing locals while sipping coffee is a delight. Mambo located in Gaios, is a delicious Greek tavern to enjoy a meal during your time on the island.
If you’d like to visit the sister island of Paxos, Antipaxos, you can either rent your own boat to visit or take a boat taxi as it’s only 3 nautical miles away. Expect costs for the water taxi to be around €20 per person for a return trip.
When on Antipaxos, head to Votoumi Beach to catch some sun and sea, try some local Antipaxon food and maybe even try your hand at snorkeling or scuba diving.
Where to Stay on Corfu
Eros Beach Hotel – Mid-range visitors to Corfu will love this quaint beachfront hotel. They have a number of bright and comfortable rooms available (some with sea views), an excellent location for exploring the island and rooms suitable for both couples and families. Click here to see their availability
Art Hotel Debono – Those looking for a luxury escape will love this beautiful 4-star hotel. They have a number of plush rooms on offer, a swanky swimming pool to enjoy and plenty of other amenities to ensure your stay is an excellent one. Click here to see their availability
Brentanos Apartments – Travelers who want the convenience of their own apartment but don’t want to sacrifice the amenities of a hotel will love this centrally-located aparthotel on Corfu. They have a range of flats available, an on-site swimming pool and beautiful views of the Ionian Sea. Click here to see their availability
Angelica’s Backpacker’s Hostel – If you’re visiting Corfu on a tight budget or as a solo traveler, you are sure to love this hostel. They have a range of both shared dorms and private rooms on offer, great common areas and a good atmosphere for meeting others. Click here to see their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Corfu hotels!
While Corfu may not be the main island that you think of when planning a Greek island itinerary, it’s certainly one that should be on the top of your list.
From incredibly friendly people to historically unique fusion food and idyllic beaches, Corfu has many things that set it apart from the other Greek islands and make for a wonderful island getaway.
Are you planning to visit Corfu? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!