It’s no secret that Greece does beaches exceptionally well. There’s nothing quite like settling down on the powder soft sand of a Greek beach, after an invigorating dip in the Ionian Sea and before an idyllic dinner watching the sunset. Playing host to just shy of 60 beaches, Corfu knows a thing or two about these sandy strips of perfection. From pebbled pockets of peace and quiet along the northeastern coastline, to unspoilt swathes of honey-hued sand on the island’s western shores, there’s something to suit every age and energy level. Read on for our list of the best beaches in Corfu to help you decide where to lay down your beach towel first.
- Kalami, northeast coast
- Barbati, east coast
- Issos, south coast
- Glyfada, west coast
- Rovinia, west coast
- Paleokastritsa, northwest coast
Horseshoe-shaped and family-friendly, Kalami is best known for being beloved by the Durrell family and as the location of their former home-turned-holiday rental and restaurant, The White House. The turquoise-tinged Ionian Sea laps at Kalami’s pebbled shores, which are fringed with pine and olive trees, while sailing yachts bob atop the waves. Day-trippers tend to flock here for the lively yet easy-going vibe, meaning the beach becomes prime real estate during high season. However, if you’re looking to escape the crowds, hire a boat for the day and visit some of the nearby lesser-known bays that are just as charming.
Barbati beach sits in the shadow of Corfu’s tallest mountain, the Pantokrator Massif (2,972ft tall), with the craggy peak providing a suitably scenic backdrop. The water here is wonderfully clear, making it one of the best beaches in Corfu for sea swims, while the beach itself is long, narrow and covered in bright white pebbles. Particularly popular with couples who come to doze on the many rows of sun beds, there are also a few cocktail bars and Greek eateries set slightly back from the sand. And if you’re after even more entertainment, Barbati is only a stone’s (or pebble’s) throw from buzzy Ipsos beach.
Corfu’s south coast has a wilder feel to it than other parts of the island, and the untamed expanse of Issos beach embodies this. The golden sand is usually uncrowded and you’ll find sun loungers scattered about at the southern end. Its geographical position invites a steady sea breeze, making this an ideal spot for windsurfing. Explore the bordering sand dunes, where sand orchids and daffodils grow, and the nearby rare cedar forest that stretches all the way to the shores of Lake Korission. Separated from Issos by a small rocky cape is Halikounas beach, another of the best beaches in Corfu and also renowned for its kitesurfing and windsurfing suitability.
Another family favourite, it’s easy to see why Glyfada is one of Corfu’s most popular beaches. Long and sandy, it’s well-equipped when it comes to amenities, from ample umbrellas and sun beds to plenty of water sports and places to play volleyball. Beach bars rub shoulders with traditional Greek tavernas along the seafront, and Pazuzu beach bar, in particular, is renowned for its sunset parties, headlined by international DJs.
Pine tree-clad mountains surround the secluded, shingle-strewn Rovinia beach, on Corfu’s west coast. It may not be the easiest to reach (it’s only accessible by boat or on foot), but the glassy emerald waters and secluded nature are well-worth making the journey for. Thanks to this more enclosed setting, Rovinia remains one of the island's best-kept secrets and you can watch stunning sunsets here without having to compete for a slice of sand.
We’ve cheated slightly with our final entry, as Paleokastritsa actually refers to a collection of six bays dotted around a headland in the island’s northwest. As Corfu’s set of pin-up beaches, images of Paleokastritsa are often used to advertise its coastal assets. And while they certainly have all of the Corfiot clichés (blonde sand, aquamarine sea and charming tavernas), their varied nature earns them a place on our list of the best beaches in Greece. Head to Agios Petros for water sports, Agios Spiridon for scenic vistas and Agia Triada for snorkelling, or hop aboard a boat tour to visit them all.
Written by Luisa Watts