Travel

Eight Reasons to Visit the Emerald Island of Corfu

white and black ship on sea
Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Corfu is one of the Ionian islands of western Greece.

Often referred to as the Emerald Island for its crystalline waters and lush vegetation, Corfu offers stunning natural scenery combined with historic towns and villages to explore and a bustling nightlife in the more populated areas. While not the largest of the Greek Ionian islands, Corfu is the most populous, and the island attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.

As a peninsular country with more than 2,000 islands, Greece boasts the longest coastline in the whole of Europe. One of the best ways to explore the area is therefore by boat. Booking a yacht charter in Corfu brings the freedom to explore not only the Emerald Island but also the surrounding landscape, which include multiple individual islands as well as the Greek mainland.

Corfu is the sixth most visited destination in the world according to annual airport arrivals, with millions flocking to soak up the sunshine and experience the cultural heritage and spectacular natural beauty of the island. The whole Ionian island region is renowned for its splendid and varied topography, with lush greenery, soaring mountains, scenic beaches, rustic villages, verdant countryside and busy town centres all jostling for precedence.

There are many marinas dotted around the coastline of Corfu and the surrounding area, ideal for chartering a yacht and exploring the region with flexibility. These include the large and often busy Gouvia Marina and the smaller, more secluded Kassiopi Marina nestled within a natural bay.

Some of the most experienced travellers choose Corfu as one of last destinations in Greece. For example some of them start in the most furthers island, by booking a yacht in Rhodes, and then start to ascend through the rest of the Ionian Islands, and finish their holiday in Corfu.

snow light sea dawn

Agni Bay

Agni Bay is a must-see for lovers of seafood and quaint historical villages. The ancient fishing village has a certain uniquely rustic charm, having remained largely unchanged for centuries. There are multiple seafront tavernas across the coast of Agni Bay, offering delicious fresh seafood cooked in traditional Corfiot style.

Old Town

The Old Town of Corfu, known as Kerkyra in Greek, is steeped in Venetian history, with several houses of traditional architecture still standing, Visitors can also experience a variety of architectural and artistic styles with visits to the Saint Spyridon church, Spilias Square or the Old Fortress, before heading to one of the many restaurants serving up a vast array of dishes in both classical and contemporary styles.

Aqualand

One of Corfu’s biggest tourist attractions and particularly among the younger generations is Aqualand. The Aqualand waterpark is one of the largest of its kind in the whole of southern Europe and features gigantic waterslides ideal for the adrenaline junkies in the family. There is also access to a plethora of watersports in the Gouvia area near the marina.

Beaches

The beaches are one of the biggest draws of Corfu, with each offering a unique experience so there is something for everyone. Avlaki beach near Kassiopi is a relatively tourist-free zone most of the year, although the locals are in on the secret and tend to frequent the pebbly bay in the evenings and at weekends. Agios Spiridon beach is an excellent choice for families, with soft sand and a children’s playground. Nissaki is home to a scuba diving school, while Kerasia is another relatively quiet beach flanked by several exclusive villas. Barbati suits those that prefer a busier environment, attracting locals and tourists year-round with clear waters for swimming and a range of quality seafront taverns and cocktail bars.

Royal Palace

The Royal Achilleion Palace was originally built in Gastouri as a home for Austrian royalty. Today, the building is open to the public, with regular guided tours to absorb the exquisite architecture and landscaped gardens. Those with a more contemporary viewpoint may enjoy the fact that the palace was the place where the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only was filmed.

group of people in a concert

Nightlife

Corfu is known almost as much for its nightlife as it is for its scenery, with various regions boasting multiple bars and nightclubs. One of the most populated regions for a night out is the Old Town, where clubbers can find a wide variety of venues featuring myriad musical styles and dance the night away. Many of the other beach resorts have top venues with A-list DJs in high season.

Wineries

Wine afficionados may enjoy the experience of a tasting tour in the village of Paleokastritsa. Visitors can enter the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, which is located on top of a breath-taking hillside, taking in the scenery as well s sampling the local fare. Tasting tours include wines from several of the best vineyards on the island, samples of local liquors accompanying local delicacies such as cheeses and sweets.

Underground Lake

Myrtos Beach boasts not only a long stretch of exquisite coastline. It also provides easy access to the subterranean Melissani Lake. This underground lake has a mystical feel, with the patterns caused by sunlight scattered on the waters and filtered through the caves giving off a truly magical vibe. Myrtos Beach itself is renowned for its natural beauty and is thought to be one of the most photographed locations in the whole of scenic Greece.

Chartering a yacht in Corfu provides access to all of this and more, with the freedom to explore both Corfu and the wider surrounding area at leisure.

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