How to Spend One Day in Corfu

How to Spend One Day in Corfu

While many visitors see the sights of Corfu from sun lounger level, the island has so much more to offer than scenic beaches and 12-hour days of sunshine (the summer average). It’s cobbled old towns and Venetian fortresses, cuisine so good you’ll wonder how you ever went without it and viewpoints designed by German Kaisers. Whether you are on an island-hopping adventure or want to pack the best bits of this Ionian idyll into a flying visit, read on for our favourite ways to spend one day in Corfu.


  1. Explore Corfu Town
  2. Sail to Hidden Beaches
  3. Take a Hike
  4. Sample Corfiot Cuisine
  5. See Sunset from the Kaiser’s Throne


Explore Corfu Town

Years spent under Venetian, French and British rule reveal themselves in the cultural heritage of Corfu. And a stroll around Corfu Town shows this heritage at its best. Four centuries of Venetian influence can be seen in the town’s impressive Italianate architecture and the dramatic Old Fortress, built to defend against Ottoman invasion. Meanwhile, in The Liston, a grand parade of shops and restaurants, French design can be seen everywhere. Modelled on the Rue de Rivoli in Paris (albeit a miniature version), The Liston is the place for drink-sipping, people-watching and more surprisingly, cricket-watching. It overlooks the Spianada, the largest public square in Greece, and is home to a pitch that has continued play ever since the cricket-crazy British left over 150 years ago. Beyond the Spianada lie the labyrinthine streets of the Old Town; a historic district and UNESCO World Heritage site where cobbled lanes lead to pretty churches and plentiful museums. As the island’s main town and a major port for cruise ships, Corfu Town has its fair share of tourist-tempting souvenir shops and restaurants too, but a few hours spent here still make for a pleasant morning.


Sail to Hidden Beaches

Many of the most beautiful beaches in Corfu are only accessible from the sea (or via hiking trails that vary from strenuous to downright daunting), so we recommend hiring a boat or taking a half-day sailing tour to reach the beach of your Grecian dreams. Close to popular Palaiokastritsa (a 35-minute drive from Corfu Town), secluded Stelari Beach is a narrow scattering of pebbles that run into a transparent turquoise sea. Nearby Rovinia Beach has a dusty hiking trail leading to its shore, but arriving by boat offers enviable views of the wooded mountains and olive groves that cradle the bay. Both beaches are lesser-known gems, however our favourite hard-to-reach beach is tranquil Giali. While the hike down is rocky and challenging (with sections of ropes and ladders – it’s definitely not for the faint hearted), gliding into this beautiful bay on a boat is nothing but relaxing. Bring sunscreen and a hat (there’s no shade) and food and drink supplies (no café either) – not forgetting your swimwear for a dip in the glass-clear water.


Take a Hike

As the northernmost of Greece’s Ionian Islands, Corfu receives more rainfall than its neighbours, making the landscape lush and green. And the verdant hills and forest trails are a haven for hikers, especially during the shoulder season when the heat is less intense and the wildflowers bloom. Established in 2001, the 136-mile Corfu Trail runs the length of the island through rolling olive groves and along ancient mule paths. The trail was designed to redirect some of the island’s many visitors into the villages and valleys of the countryside. While the coastline can feel busy and bloated with tourists, rural Corfu remains pristine and peaceful. Spend one day in Corfu (or even a few hours) hiking a section of the trail to experience the harmonious heart of the island for yourself.


Sample Corfiot Cuisine

You can taste the Italian influence in Corfu’s cuisine, with dishes that descend from the island’s one-time Venetian rulers. Perhaps the most popular is sofrito (from the Italian so frito, meaning sauteed) – think thinly-sliced veal floured and fried and cooked with a white sauce of garlic, parsley, pepper and wine. A much-loved meal, the local Sunday lunch in Corfu is pastitsada. Pasta topped with a slow-cooked beef ragu, it’ll instantly transport your tastebuds to Italy. Or for a taste of the sea, try bianco. While it may not be a dish, this traditional way of cooking fish (with onions, potatoes, garlic, parsley, pepper and lemon juice) is always a crowd pleaser. Just make sure you order plenty of bread on the side to mop up every last drop of its delicious sauce.


See Sunset from the Kaiser’s Throne

The picturesque village of Pelekas (eight miles from Corfu Town) is the perfect way to end one day in Corfu. Apart from the traditional tavernas, bars and cafes that line its winding cobbled streets, it boasts one of the best view spots on the island. A small hill overlooking the village, it is known as the Kaiser’s Throne as the German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, once had an observatory there. The Kaiser was certainly on to something because once sunset rolls around it becomes one of the best places to watch the sun dip below the horizon. There’s also a nearby hotel where you can stop in the bar for a drink to toast a contented day on the Grecian island.