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BlogTravel tipsThe best things to do in Corfu, Greece from kumquat tastings to tavern dinners
Travel tips

The best things to do in Corfu, Greece from kumquat tastings to tavern dinners

Mar 07, 2024 by Steph Herron

Corfu, Greece, is an Ionian island oasis where turquoise waves break against inviting coastlines. The combination of the island’s sprawling olive groves, cypress-dotted hills, elegant architecture, and breathtaking beaches means you’ll always have your pick of spectacular things to do in Corfu. With so much beauty to absorb and so many adventures to be had, a trip to Corfu promises to deliver scrapbook-worthy travel memories. Here’s everything you need to know before your visit and our picks for the best things to do in Corfu.

What you need to know before visiting Corfu, Greece

Currency: Euros 

Language: While Greek is the official language, on any trip to Corfu you’ll find a mix of dialects echoing the island’s rich history. No need to worry if your Greek is a work in progress—English is spoken by many locals, especially in the bustling spots that draw travelers from all over the world.

Historic significance: The historic Corfu Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Having sat under Venetian rule for centuries, the island’s capital boasts Italian influence, multicultural charm, cobblestone streets, and historic landmarks that tell tales of times gone by. One of our favorite things to do in Corfu is take a stroll through its winding streets to admire the pastel-colored Venetian buildings.

Getting around: Corfu has an efficient, color-coded network of buses that make getting around the large island a breeze. If you plan to go off on your own during free time on any of our Corfu tours, you can ask your Tour Director—or one of the island’s friendly locals—to help you map your bus route before setting off. If you prefer not to navigate public transportation in new places, you can also take advantage of the island’s many taxis, readily available around popular tourist hot spots.

Fun fact: According to Greek mythology, Poseidon, god of the sea, struck his trident into the waters and created the island of Corfu. Legend has it that Poseidon wanted to create a beautiful and luxurious place for himself and his lover, the nymph Korkyra, whom the island is named after.

Phrases to know:

  • “Efcharistó” is your go-to for “thank you.”
  • “Parakaló” is the magic word for “please.”
  • “Pu íne i tualéta?” is how you ask, “Where’s the bathroom?”
  • “Miláte angliká?” will help you say, “Do you speak English?”

What makes Corfu so different from Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete?

The Greek Islands are always a hit, but there are key differences between them. When planning a trip to Greece, travelers often think first of the islands dotted throughout the Aegean Sea (like Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete). Corfu, on the other hand, can be found in the Ionian Sea. Before deciding on your dream Greece tour, we recommend brushing up on what makes these separate islands unique. If you’re looking for even more expertise, check out six of the best undiscovered Greek islands waiting to be explored.

The lush and vibrant Ionian Islands

The Ionian Islands are located off the western coast of the Greek mainland in the Ionian Sea. They’re known for their lush green scenery, and their terrain is characterized by emerald hills, sprawling olive groves, and cerulean seascapes. These islands have been influenced by several cultures throughout history—including the Venetians, French, and British—due to their strategic location, so expect to see this multicultural blend reflected in their architecture, cuisine, and traditions. It’s easy to fall in love with them for their picturesque villages, vibrant landscapes, and historical sites. Some other well-known Ionian Islands include Kefalonia and Lefkada.

For this type of island escape, let us whisk you away on our new Greece’s Ionian Islands: Athens, Kefalonia & Corfu tour.

The white-washed Aegean Islands

The Aegean Islands are scattered throughout the Aegean Sea off the eastern side of the mainland between Greece and Turkey. These islands have a more arid landscape and are renowned for their white-washed buildings, blue-domed churches, and vibrant nightlife. They vary from rocky to hilly, with some islands having a more desert-like environment. The Aegean Islands have a strong influence from ancient Greek civilization. Many of them played significant roles in Greek mythology, and their historical and cultural heritage is deeply rooted in ancient Greek history.

Travelers seeking an Aegean adventure should opt for our The Greek Islands: Mykonos, Santorini & Crete tour.

Discover the beauty of Corfu

Tours that will take you to Corfu

We have two tours that will take you to Corfu—both expertly crafted with our travelers front of mind, each suited for different travel styles and cravings.

Grand Tour of Greece: Athens, Corfu & Santorini

To see it all →

If you have plenty of time to travel, long to see as much as possible, and like your trips action-packed, then our Grand Tour of Greece: Athens, Corfu & Santorini is for you. This 16-day adventure—with the option to extend to 19 days—lets you sample it all. It’ll whisk you from the Ionian Sea to the Aegean, giving you plenty of free time to explore the rich culture and history of the mainland as well. After your weeks of nonstop exploration, you’ll be intimately familiar with Greece’s splendor.

Greece’s Ionian Islands: Athens, Kefalonia & Corfu

For a uniquely Ionian experience →

Maybe this isn’t your first trip to Greece, so you’re looking for something new. Or maybe you’re the type of traveler who prefers to stray from the beaten path. If so, you’ll love uncovering Greece’s green side on our Greece’s Ionian Islands: Athens, Kefalonia & Corfu tour. Begin discovering the ancient wonders of Athens before diving into island paradise. After visiting three Ionian islands (or up to six if you add excursions), you’ll be a savant when it comes to some of the country’s most underappreciated destinations.

Add independent time in Corfu to any Greece tour:

Did you know that you can extend any of our tours and add your own independent travels on either end? If you’re interested in any of our trips to Greece and think it would be fun to start or end with a few days in Corfu on your own, it’s an option! We’ll even help you coordinate your flights to make sure your Corfiot escape goes off without a hitch.

Travel to Corfu with us

Best things to do in Corfu, Greece

Wondering what to do in Corfu? Here’s a rundown of included activities on our tours, excursions you can add on, and free-time suggestions.

Included tour activities

Explore the Old Town. Discovering Corfu Old Town is an activity in and of itself. On either of our Corfu tours, you’ll embark on a guided sightseeing tour led by an expert local guide. As you learn about the island’s captivating history, be sure to soak up the elegant Venetian architecture, and gaze out at the impressive Old Fortress (which was constructed over the span of 15 centuries). Explore the expansive Spianada Square, and don’t be surprised to find yourself falling in love with the color scheme of pastel buildings, lush greenery, and sparkling cerulean waters.

Savor citrusy delicacies. Eating kumquats falls high on our list of what to do in Corfu. While not actually native to the island (originally coming from Japan and China), this small, oval, citrus fruit has become synonymous with Corfu over the last century—so much so that the island produces over 100 tons of kumquats per year! On our Corfu tours, you’ll visit a kumquat distillery to learn about the production process of kumquat products and indulge in tasting sessions featuring liqueur, marmalade, and other delightful creations.

Visit the Church of St. Spyridon. On both of our Corfu tours, you’ll enter the spiritual heart of Corfu—the Church of St. Spyridon. Begin by admiring its impressive Venetian-influenced exterior and bell tower, which marks the highest point of the Corfu Old Town. Inside, you’ll find the remains of the island’s patron saint and quickly learn that the church is a testament to the deep religious roots embedded in Corfu’s culture.

Tour Achilleion Palace: Our Corfu tours transport you to the island’s imperial past during a guided tour of Achilleion Palace. The neoclassical architecture and lush gardens provide a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of Empress Elisabeth of Bavaria. Learn about the importance of the impressive palace to Corfu’s history as you marvel at the statues, paintings, and panoramic views that make it a true Corfiot gem.

Experience Corfu with us

Must-add optional excursions

Corfu Tavern Dinner. When you opt for an authentic Corfu dining experience at Tripa Tavern, a family-owned establishment dating back to 1936, you’re in for a fun, festive evening. Over the years, this world-renowned restaurant has been visited by famous figures like Aristotle Onassis and Jane Fonda. Follow in their footsteps as you delight in traditional Greek cuisine amidst a cozy, familial atmosphere. This optional dinner promises not just a meal, but a taste of Corfu’s cultural heritage passed down through generations as the tavern staff serenade your group with song and dance.

Paxos & Antipaxos Boat Cruise. Leave your otherwise free day in our hands when you sign up for this optional excursion. As you depart from Corfu Town to these small islands, prepare to uncover the World War II wartime secrets of Ypapanti’s Cave and cruise along Paxos’ breathtaking coast. You’ll relax at the pristine Paradise Beach on Antipaxos—enjoying its white sands and crystal clear waters—and explore Gaios, the island’s vibrant capital. This full day of sun-soaked bliss promises to enrich your travel experience, providing a perfect blend of history, natural beauty, and leisure.

Free time ideas

Rent a boat for a day. Travelers on our Greece’s Ionian Islands: Athens, Kefalonia & Corfu tour get to enjoy a full free day on the island of Corfu. If you’d like to fill it with a more personalized exploration of Corfu’s coastline, consider renting a boat for the day. For surprisingly affordable rates, you can navigate your way through hidden coves, discover remote beaches, and create your own island-hopping adventure. This free-day activity allows you to set your own pace, uncovering the treasures of Corfu’s shores at your leisure.

Visit Albania by ferry. That’s right—you can cross another country off your list while on our Greece’s Ionian Islands: Athens, Kefalonia & Corfu tour. Just a 30-minute speedboat journey from Corfu lies Albania’s stunning landscapes, ancient ruins, Ottoman architecture, and pristine beaches. If you’re seeking something unique to fill your free day, Albania’s affordability, warm hospitality, and off-the-beaten-path charm make visiting it of the best things to do in Corfu.

Swim in the Ionian Sea. Whether you choose to traverse the island to visit the sandy shores of popular beaches like Glyfada, head to the secluded coves around Paleokastritsa, or take a short stroll to the pebble beach alcoves in the Old Town, you’re in for a treat. Filling your free time with a refreshing swim in the Ionian Sea is the perfect way to embrace the island’s natural beauty on one of our Corfu tours.

Explore the Old Town’s markets. From fresh produce and local crafts to an array of spices and souvenirs, these markets offer a sensory experience. Take your time wandering through winding alleyways to shop the bustling stalls, interact with local vendors, and immerse yourself in the energetic ambiance. You’re sure to find plenty of meaningful souvenirs to remind you of your trip for years to come.

Have a drink at a coastal cafe. There are plenty of charming seaside spots scattered throughout Corfu’s Old Town that are the perfect setting for a leisurely afternoon. We recommend picking one, grabbing a table with your travel friends, and sipping on refreshing beverages as you soak up the warm sea breeze. The combination of stunning views and laid-back ambiance makes this a perfect pit stop to relax and recharge during your island exploration.

Settled on your personal picks of the best things to do in Corfu? Plan your dream trip to Corfu today.

About the author | Steph Herron
Since moving abroad for college at the age of 18, Steph’s never doubted that travel is her passion in life. When she isn’t seeking opportunities to satisfy her wanderlust—and inspiring others to do the same—you’ll find her exploring Boston’s vegan food scene, shopping for eclectic pieces to add to her closet, or rewatching 90s romantic comedies.

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views of the aegean sea from the greek islands with white buildings in the foreground
views of the aegean sea from the greek islands with white buildings in the foreground views of the aegean sea from the greek islands with white buildings in the foreground
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