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Corfu Old Town: Things To Do, What To See, & Key Info

I think a visit to Corfu should be on everyone’s bucket list! It certainly was on mine for a few years. As soon as I was old enough to understand that my parents came here on their honeymoon, I added it to my ever-growing travel bucket list. I am so glad I was able to visit for a few days this past April, and I hope this blog post inspires you to plan a trip to Corfu of your own. There are so many things to do here, and I’m going to cover it all — including Corfu Old Town restaurants, Corfu Old Town hotels, and of course Corfu Old Town things to do. Let’s hop in with a little background information!

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Key Information About Corfu

Corfu is one of Greece’s Ionian islands, and is located in the Ionian Sea just off the western coasts of mainland Greece and Albania. It’s a relatively small island, just about 36 miles long and 17 miles wide, totaling 229 square miles. Due to its strategic position at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea, it has a turbulent history dating back to the 8th century BC. As a fortified Mediterranean port, Corfu Old Town is notable for its high level of integrity and authenticity. The entire Old Town of Corfu became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.

The island is mostly composed of limestone, making it quite mountainous in the north. The Ionian islands are characteristically more green, fertile, and well-watered than the Cyclades Islands in the south, which includes popular tourist destinations: Santorini and Mykonos.

Since Corfu is a part of Greece, the main language spoken here in Greek. The main currency is the Euro. You can take Ubers here, but there are also taxi stands throughout Corfu old town that are cheaper!

Historic Background About Corfu

The three forts in the town were all designed by renowned Venetian engineers, and were used for centuries to defend the maritime trading in this region against the Ottomans. Throughout the years, the forts were destroyed, repaired, and reused for various purposes. Most recently, the British ruled Corfu in the 19th century.

In the 20th century, the island played a part in both World Wars and suffered great damage by German bombing in 1943. The Ionian Academy, for example, was completely destroyed but later rebuilt. This was the first Greek academic institution established in modern times. Today, Corfu has risen in prominence in the tourism industry and remains a large exporter of goods such as olive oil, grain, wine, soap, and textiles.

Corfu’s name — which is Kerkyra in Greek, is derived from Greek mythology. According to legend, Poseidon, the God of the Sea, fell in love with Nymph Korkyra, kidnapped her, and brought her to Corfu. Also according to legend, Corfu makes an appearance as “Phaeacians”, the island that Odysseus returns to from his trip to Ithaca.

Corfu Old Town

Answering Top FAQs About Corfu Old Town

Is Corfu Old Town Worth Visiting?

Is Corfu Old Town worth visiting?! Absolutely it is! While most tourists may flock to Santorini or Mykonos on their dream Greek Islands vacation, I think Corfu deserves some consideration.

When planning a trip to Greece, I think it’s important to see some of its diverse landscapes. The Cyclades Islands are a must for their popularity (i.e. Santorini), but I also think seeing Athens is important for gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation for ancient Greece. Similarly, Corfu is located in the Ionian Islands, which are much greener than Santorini and Mykonos. Plus, Old Town Corfu is much more charming than towns on the other islands. So yes, Corfu is worth adding to your itinerary.

How Much Time Do You Need In Corfu Old Town?

I spent about 4 days total on the island of Corfu. This was plenty of time to see the highlights of Corfu Old Town. I even had time to take the ferry over to Albania for a day! However, I did not rent a car and explore the rest of the island. There are beautiful beaches and cliffs to see in the north. If you want to see more of the island of Corfu, I would plan to stay here for 5-6 days. If your goal is to just explore Corfu Old Town, 3-4 is perfect.

Best Time Of Year To Visit Corfu?

The best time of year to visit Corfu is the summertime, when most of the Mediterranean experiences its peak tourist season. Although this time of year is busy (and more expensive!), it has the warmest weather. During June – August you can enjoy the best of the Corfu Old Town Beaches, plus excursions up the coast.

HOWEVER! I visited in April and was still able to enjoy beach clubs and sunny, warm weather — without all the crowds. The ocean was freezing. A few brave souls took a dip, but they could! The sun was warm enough to heat up shortly after. So, I would like to recommend that you visit Corfu during the shoulder seasons. April – May or September – October would be perfect. Since Corfu is more north than the Cyclades Islands, I wouldn’t recommend visiting during the winter season. It will be quite cold and seasonal businesses will be closed.

Pro-tip: If you want to do a guided day trip to Albania from Corfu, I would plan to visit in May. A lot of the tours I saw online started in May. I was able to take the ferry and the buses on my own in April and had a great day, but I learned there are no group tours during the off-season.

Best Corfu Old Town Hotels?

There’s a range of accommodation options around Corfu Old Town that are walkable to the main sights. If you’re visiting for a special occasion or are most comfortable in mid-range to luxury accommodations, I would check out Acanthus Blue Hotel or Cavalieri Hotel.

On the flip side, if you’re looking for a budget accommodation that is still centrally located, check out Casa Pericles! This apartment is located right behind a square in Corfu Old Town and is a 6-minute walk from the center of the Old Town. Although it’s in more of a local neighborhood, the apartment felt safe, and the location was great.

Best Corfu Old Town Restaurants?

Marina’s Taverna

Marina’s Taverna is the best Corfu Old Town restaurant for traditional Greek food. It’s not the fanciest place, but if you’re just looking for a solid Greek salad or some baked feta, this is the spot. Two locals recommended it to me, and it didn’t disappoint. The interior reminded me of a family-owned, small-town restaurant that was slightly outdated but full of love — it added to the character.

Where to eat in Corfu Old Town

Locale Wine Bar

This place deserves an A+ rating! This small wine bar, located in Corfu Old Town, but on a quieter side street, is a MUST. It doesn’t serve much. Just some toasts and coffee in the morning, and some wines and appetizers in the evening. However, the women who owns this shop is the definition of “hospitality”. She worked so hard to give all her guests a personalized experience. I can tell she works here all day every day. For the appetizers, she essentially just makes whatever she has available. When I visited, she prepared a meat + cheese board for me, and recommended the best white wine to pair with it.

There’s also WiFi here if you want to sit and do some work. 10/10 experience all around.

Diporto Taverna

Another classic Greek restaurant located in the heart of Corfu Old Town. I do think I liked Marina’s better, but this place had a fantastic Greek salad and Moussaka (essentially a Greek lasagna). I would recommend coming here one night too!

Mikro Café

Cute and unique coffee shop in the center of Corfu Old Town. It’s located steps away from Nikiforou Theotoki, the main shopping road in the city — one of the main things to see + do in Corfu Old Town (more recs below!). Mikro Café doesn’t serve any food — just some cappuccinos and espresso, but it was amazing! The outdoor dining area is super unique. It has tiered levels with tables and chairs, all under a garden pergola.

They offer a selection of cocktails and specialty drinks to enjoy in the evening and at night as well.

Where to eat in Corfu Old Town

Porselani Café

I worked a full 9-5 work day from Porselani Café, that’s how amazing it is! This café is also located right off the main shopping road, Nikiforou Theotoki, and is a real gem. The inside is full of stone and kind of reminded me of an old grain cellar or something. It is full of character and super cozy. Although it’s small, it has lots of seating. They had a wide selection of coffees and teas here, and also delicious toasts!

There’s high-speed WiFi here as well, so whether you’re a digital nomad or just looking to grab some tea on vacation, I recommend spending some time here.

Favela No17

If you choose to stay at the Casa Pericles apartments that I recommended above, this breakfast café is right around the corner! Favela No17 is known for its breakfast menu and is especially famous for its pancakes. There are several kinds here! I got the omlet and loved it. They have some seating inside, but several tables that spill outside into the square. Although this square is quieter than others in Corfu, I recommend sitting out here for some prime people watching!

Pro-tip: To curate my own trips and eventually, travel guides like this one — I always read other blogs! I read a few blog posts about Corfu that highly recommended this spot, and I can see why. Now, I’m recommending it to you! I usually pool recommendations from several other articles, plus from my own experiences, into my guides to make them as comprehensive as possible.

Salto Wine Bar

Salto Wine Bar is also located just a few minutes from the Casa Pericles apartments and is also steps away from the New Fortress in Corfu. This wine bar has fantastic people watching as its located in a central square in Corfu. Their wine list was several pages long and the food here is to die for! It was super fresh and high-quality. A bit pricey, but if you split some small plates, it’s not too bad. The service was exceptional. Oh, and there are cats that roam around — not sure if you think that’s a good or bad thing, but I enjoyed the company!

Where to eat in Corfu Old Town

The Venetian Well

The Venetian Well in Kremasti Square is the most famous restaurant in Corfu Old Town. It is a higher end, intimate restaurant with elevated local cuisine and a long wine list. This romantic restaurant spills out into square, where guests can enjoy their dinners by the square’s historic well.

Where to eat in Corfu Old Town

Corfu Old Town Things To Do

And now for the most important part of this Greece travel guide — the Corfu Old Town things to do! Corfu Old Town is a fairly small historical area on the island (and a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site!). Due to its small size, it’s easily walkable. Most of these sites are less than 10-20 minutes away from each other on foot, and several of them can be visited in one day. As I mentioned above, I do think you can see the highlights of Corfu Old Town in just a few days.

Old Fortress Of Corfu

My favorite attraction that I toured in Corfu Old Town is the Old Fortress of Corfu. I spent about 2 hours here and was SO impressed. First, it is very affordable to visit. Just a few Euros for adults.

Pro-tip: I’ve mentioned this in a few of my other Europe guides, but you are considered a student in Europe up to the age of 25! If you have a valid ID, passport, or school ID on you, you can get discounts at so many major sites around Europe! I had my ID on me at the Old Fortress and had a > 50% discount, paying just 3 Euro for a ticket to visit.

The Old Fortress of Corfu is one of the most impressive fortifications in Greece and is a crown jewel in the city. Whether you first arrive in Corfu Old Town by taxi from the airport or by ferry, it’s one of the first things you’ll notice.

This fortress was the original way to protect Corfu from enemies and pirates at sea, until the New Fortress was built — more on this below. The fortress stands on the eastern side of Corfu Old Town and took over 100 years to build. It was built during the Byzantine, Early Venetian, and Late Venetian periods. You will hear a lot about Venetian rule during your time in Corfu, as the town was under Venetian rule until 1797 when Napoleon conquered the Venetian Republic.

What To See Inside The Old Fortress

Inside the walls of the Old Fortress, there is a lot to see! When you pass the ticket stand, you’ll immediately walk over an impressive moat. I’ve toured quite a few castles and forts around the world and have never seen a moat like this before. Near the main gate, I recommend touring the historical archive and exhibition space to check out the Byzantine art collection. From there, check out the Church of St. George, the fort walls, and the Ionian Music School, which used to be the former prison, military barracks, and hospital.

Things to do in Corfu Old Town

Pro-tip: You can enjoy live music from the Ionian Music School from a hidden bar within the Old Fortress with this ticket!

Also, if you follow the stairs (and crowds!), up the stairs, you’ll reach an incredible viewpoint of Corfu Old Town and the ancient city walls below. The hike only takes about 15 minutes, but it’s a good work out! The huffing and puffing are worth the views!

Corfu Museum Of Asian Art

Whether you’re a fan of art history or not, don’t miss this stop in Corfu Old Town! The Corfu Museum of Asian Art is housed in the Palace of St. Michael & St. George. It originally served as the residence of the British Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands. It is an extremely historic and beautiful building.

Things to do in Corfu Old Town

Pro-tip: The grounds surrounding the castle are beautiful for photos! If you walk through the adjacent gardens, you’ll be in one of the best areas in Corfu Old Town for photos. The gardens have the best view of the Old Fortress.

This museum is the only one in Greece dedicated to the art of Asia, and has collections of Chinese art, Japanese art, and Indian art. The museum opened in 1927, and today — it contains thousands of artifacts. It costs €6 to visit the museum. If you book the Hop-On Hop-Off sightseeing bus in Corfu, this museum will be one of your main stops!

Dimarchiou Square

Dimarchio Square is in the heart of Corfu Old town and is one of the most beautiful city parks for people watching, photos, and happy hour. There are a few cafes in this square that share outdoor dining, so definitely enjoy a glass of wine out here during your time in Corfu Old Town.

Holy Church Of Saint Spyridon

The Holy Church of Saint Spyridon is the most famous church in Corfu Old Town. It’s a beautiful Greek Orthodox Church. It was built in the 1580s and houses relics of Saint Spyridon. The bell tower of this church is the highest in the Ionian Islands. Be sure to pop in here for a little bit during your time in Corfu Old town.

Spianada Square

Spianada Sqaure is the largest square in the city of Corfu, the largest in Greece, AND the largest in all the Balkan countries. It’s even one of the largest in the world.

The Spianada is divided into two sections: the Upper and Lower Squares. The Square’s name derives from the Venetian word for “open flat area”, since the Venetians ruled the island of Corfu for four centuries. A cricket court made its way to the park following the British domination in the 1800s.

Pro-tip: Learn these facts anymore on a Guided Walking Tour through Corfu Old Town! This one is top-rated and also includes local food tastings.

New Venetian Fortress

The New Fortress of Corfu was built on the hill of St. Mark in Corfu in stages. The current buildings that exist within the fortress were built by the British during their rule of the island in the 1800s. Today, the stone building within the castle is used as the headquarters of the Naval Station of Corfu.

The fortress is open to visitors from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm everyday except Tuesday when it is closed. The entrance to the fortress is located at the upper end of Solomou Street and is well worth the climb!

Imbari Corfu: Corfu Old Town Beach

My last recommendation (and personal favorite!) for things to do in Corfu Old Town is to visit Imbari! Imbari is a ocean-front café, bar, restaurant, lounge, and beach club located behind the Museum of Asian Art. To access it, walk around and behind the museum (through the arch on the road), and down the paved ramp below another city gate.

Imbari has a large menu, offering delicious lunch and dinner options. They also have refreshing spritzes, cocktails, wines, and juices. This café has changing rooms and bathrooms, and lounge chairs by the stairs that lead down to the ocean.

Things to do in Corfu Old Town

Since I visited in April, it was a bit too cold for me to swim here, but I really enjoyed dipping my feet in and basking in the sunshine. I’d imagine this place gets packed during the summer months so maybe arrive in the morning and plan to hang around here for most of the day! This is one of the best swim spots surrounding the Corfu Old Town beach.

Things to do in Corfu Old Town

That brings us to the end of this Corfu Old Town travel guide! I hope you feel inspired to stay in, dine in, and explore the picturesque Old Town here. I loved the few days that I spent here and already look forward to returning one day. If you’re interested in reading more about the day trip from Corfu to the Albanian Riviera, be sure to check out these posts!

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