Destinations in Corfu
Top things to See and Do in Corfu
The 200k coast
Corfu has more than 200 kilometres of coastline to its name, so beaches are easy to come by. The best-know beach resorts top and tail the island. You’ll find Sidari and Roda on the north coast and Kavos on the southern tip. Gouvia, Corfu Town and San Stefanos sit comfortably in between.
The big beach
At 5 miles long, Kavos is a pretty big beach by Corfu standards. It’s fully facilitated with sunloungers, umbrellas and watersports. If you like your bands of sand busy, this is the place to go. If you’re looking for more of a family feel, try San Stefanos Beach. It’s smaller than its southern counterpart, but it’s really popular with mums and dads.
The secret beach
None of Corfu’s beaches are completely hush-hush, but Sunset Beach in Sidari is probably one of the quietest. You can watch the sunset from the sand or one of the cosy tavernas by the beach. The taxi ride here from the centre of Sidari takes roughly 5 minutes and costs about 10 euros
Kumquat liqueur is a cheap and very cheerful souvenir. You’ll find bottles of it in most supermarkets, but if you want a Corfu-branded bottle, you should head to a gift shop. There are some good ones on Agion Doulon-Rodas in Roda and along the main strip, Lefkimmis-Kavou, in Kavos. Alternatively, take home some locally-made soap. Patouni is the big-name soap producer and you’ll find their official shop in Sanrocco Square in Corfu Town.
Bearded by olive trees, the Corfiot woodland is a gift horse to local craftsmen. And that’s why you’ll find an olive wood shop in every island town. You can pick up a hand-carved salad bowl for around £30, and a set of wooden wine glasses for around £70. The duel-level shopping centre on Karousadon-Sidariou in Sidari has a cluster of olive wood shops, as does Christoforou Kontokaii in Gouvia, and the road that connects the main street to the beach in San Stefanos.
Corfu has a proud tradition of jewellery design. You’ll find the best collection of stores around Liston Square in Corfu Town. Some shops here go down the traditional route, making Byzantine designs from 18-carat gold, and other stores keep it modern with contemporary silver pieces. You’ll also find some jewellery designers around Kapodistriou Street in the downtown area.
If you’re staying in San Stefanos, ease yourself into the evening by watching the sunset at one of the cocktail bars on the beach. Then head to the main street to watch live music or Greek dancing with a frosty Mythos beer. In Gouvia, nightlife revolves around al fresco eating and drinks on taverna terraces. You’ll find some of the best eateries and cafés branching off from Ethiniki Odos Palaiokastritsis.
Kavos rules the nightlife roost in Corfu. Shots, shorts and cocktails flow thick and fast on the main strip, Lefkimmis-Kavou, which runs parallel to the beach. At the opposite end of the island, nightlife is quieter but it’s not dead. Pub quizzes, live music and the odd DJ set are available on the main roads in San Stefanos and Roda. In Sidari, meanwhile, Karousadon-Sidariou delivers cocktail, karaoke and live music bars.
Sofrito is Corfu’s flagship dish and, as such, you’ll find it on the menu of almost every tavern on the island. It’s made from a veal fillet, which is simmered in white wine, garlic, parsley and marjoram. The finished product is usually served with a generous helping of rice or mounds of crispy roast potatoes.
A combination of saucy pasta and casserole, pastitsada is Corfiot soul food at its best. It’s made by slow-cooking beef with red wine, cinnamon, tomatoes and onions, and baking the tender stew in the oven with pasta. It’s served in an earthenware pot with lashings of mozzarella cheese on the top.
These bite-sized pastries are the ultimate sweet treat. They’re made from a mixture of crushed almonds, tangerine juice and sugar, which is made into a paste and moulded into little balls. Sometimes they’re served with melted bitter chocolate in a type of ultra-indulgent fondue.
Decades ago, most of the Ionian islands brewed their own ginger beer. Today, Corfu is the only one still flying the flag for the spicy fizz. The drink is brewed in large cauldrons and distributed to Corfiot cafes between Easter and autumn.
Bizarrely, Corfu’s national drink is made from a Chinese fruit. The kumquat has been cultivated in Corfu since the 1800s and, today, the sweet alcoholic drink is sold all over the island. Traditionally, it’s served neat but it can be poured over ice-cream for a real treat.