27 Best Sights in Corfu, Greece

Archaeological Museum

Fodor's choice
A makeover and extensive remodelling have brought the island's flagship museum into modern times. Partly using interpretive panels and video screens, the lower floor takes you through the ancient history of mankind in Corfu and how it is revealed by way of the various finds, from stone-age culture through the development of society and skills. This area also tells the story of archaeological discoveries, with contemporary photographs and documents from a succession of digs, including the one that uncovered the museum's star attraction, the Medusa, on display as the centerpiece of the upper floor. This massive bas-relief once formed the pediment of the 6th-century BC Temple of Artemis at Kanoni, but nowadays, the snake-coiffed figure---one of the largest and best-preserved pieces of Archaic sculpture in Greece---is housed in a vast open-plan area that affords visitors a dramatic encounter. Other exhibits are arrayed thematically and stylishly throughout the four main spaces, each one focusing on a distinct aspect of life in ancient times.
Vraila 1, Corfu Town, Corfu, 49100, Greece
sights Details
Rate Includes: €5, Tues.–Sun. 8:30–3


Fodor's choice

This medieval quarter, part of a UNESCO-designated World Heritage site, is an atmospheric labyrinth of narrow, winding streets, steep stairways, and secretive little squares. Laundry lines connect balconied Venetian palazzi engraved with the original occupant's coat of arms to neoclassical 19th-century buildings constructed by the British. Small cobbled squares with central wells, watched over by old churches, add to the quiet, mysterious, and utterly charming urban space. If you enter, you're almost sure to get lost, but the area is small enough that eventually you'll come out on one of Corfu Town's major streets, or on the sea wall.

Church of St. Spyridon

Fodor's choice

Built in 1596, this church is the tallest on the island, thanks to its distinctive red-domed bell tower, and it's filled with silver treasures. The patron saint's remains—smuggled here after the fall of Constantinople—are contained in a silver reliquary in a small chapel; devout Corfiots visit to kiss the reliquary and pray to the saint. The silver casket is carried in procession through the town four times a year. Spyridon was not a Corfiot but a shepherd from Cyprus, who became a bishop before his death in AD 350. His miracles are said to have saved the island four times: once from famine, twice from the plague, and once from the hated Turks. During World War II, a bomb fell on this holiest place on the island but didn't explode. Maybe these events explain why it seems every other man on Corfu is named Spiros. If you keep the church tower in sight, you can wander as you wish without getting lost around this fascinating section of town. Agiou Spyridonos, the street in front of the church, is crammed with shops selling religious trinkets and souvenirs.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Corfu Market

San Rocco Fodor's choice

Picturesquely located in the dry-moat outer defenses of the New Fortress, Corfu's public market is laid out in an attractive, traditional design. The stalls showcase local produce, specifically fruits and vegetables (some of it ecologically grown), fresh fish, and local foodstuffs like olives, dry pulses, wine, and packaged goods. Two coffee bars in the central "square" provide refreshment at very low cost. It's a far cry from the supermarket!

Corfu Museum of Asian Art

Fodor's choice

It may seem a bit incongruous to admire Ming pottery in an ornate British colonial palace as the Ionian Sea shimmers outside the windows, but this elegant, colonnaded, 19th-century Regency structure houses the Museum of Asian Art, a notable collection of Asian porcelains, Japanese ukiyo-e prints, Indian sculpture, and Tibetan temple art. The building was constructed as a residence for the lord high commissioner and headquarters for the order of St. Michael and St. George; it was abandoned after the British left in 1864 and renovated about a hundred years later by the British ambassador to Greece. After visiting the galleries, wander in the shady courtyard behind the palace, where you may have trouble tearing yourself away from the fairy-tale view of the lush islet of Vido and the mountainous coast of Albania. Don't miss the Municipal Gallery.

Corfu Reading Society

Fodor's choice

The oldest cultural institution in modern Greece, the Corfu Reading Society was founded in 1836. The building, filled with books and archives relating to the Ionian islands, is only open in the morning, stands behind the Palace of Saint Michael and Saint George and has an impressive exterior staircase leading up to a loggia. Inside is a book lover's delight, with 19th-century decor that is evocative testimony to the "English age" that gave Corfu so much of its character.

Kapodistriou 120, Corfu Town, Corfu, Greece
sights Details
Rate Includes: Free for scholars, Closed Sat. and Sun., Mon.–Sat. 9:30–1

The Esplanade

Fodor's choice

Central to the life of the town, this huge, open parade ground and park just west of the Old Fortress is, many say, the most beautiful spianada (esplanade) in Greece. It is bordered on the west by a street lined with Venetian and English Georgian houses and a famous arcaded building called the Liston, built by the French under Napoléon and meant to resemble the Rue du Rivoli in Paris. Cafés spill out onto the passing scene, and Corfiot celebrations, games, and concerts take place here; at night, lovers promenade and children play in this festive public space. Sunday cricket matches, a holdover from British rule, are occasionally played on the northern half of the Esplanade, which was once a Venetian firing range. Standing in the center is an ornate Victorian bandstand and, just south of it, the Maitland Rotunda, a circular Ionic memorial built in honor of Sir Thomas Maitland, the not-much-loved first British lord high commissioner who was appointed in 1814 when the island became a protectorate of Britain. At the southernmost tip of the Esplanade a statue of Ioannis Kapodistrias, a Corfu resident and the first president of modern Greece, looks out over Garitsa Bay. Kapodistrias was also, unfortunately, the first Greek president to be assassinated, in 1831.

Theotoky Estate

Fodor's choice
The Theotoky Estate stretches over a long saddleback hill covered with pines and olives, while its vineyards and pastures blanket the adjacent valley floor. The boutique winery produces its own cold-pressed olive oil from over 4,000 ecologically managed trees, as well as the famed Theotoky wine, made from the farm's own grapes---it's one of the oldest and most respected estate-bottled vintages in Greece. Visit for a guided tour and tasting in the beautiful Venetian building where the wine is made and stored. Organic snacks are an optional extra, and the products are also for sale. You may book your tour in advance through the website.


This Teutonic palace, built in the late 19th century for Empress Elizabeth of Austria, is perhaps the most popular tourist attraction in Corfu and remains a monument of 19th-century historicism. The empress used the place as a retreat to escape court life and to ease her heartbreak over husband Franz Josef's numerous affairs and her son Archduke Rudolph's mysterious murder or suicide at Mayerling in 1889. Elizabeth named the palace after her favorite hero, Achilles, whom she inexplicably identified with Rudolph. After Elizabeth was assassinated in 1898, Kaiser Wilhelm II bought the villa and lived in it until the outbreak of World War I, during which time the Achilleion was used by French and Serbian troops as a military hospital. After the armistice, the Greek government received it as a spoil of war. During World War II, it was appropriated and used as a headquarters by the occupying Italian and German forces. In 1962 the palace was restored, leased as a gambling casino, and later used as the set for the casino scene in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. (The casino has since moved to the Corfu Palace Hotel.)

Today it's a museum, but not a terribly inspiring one. The interior is a series of rather ungainly, uninteresting rooms done in various styles (a pseudo-Byzantine chapel, a pseudo-Pompeian room, a pseudo-Renaissance dining hall), with a smattering of period furniture scattered about; the vulgar fresco called Achilles in His Chariot, behind a window on the upper level, tells you all you need to know about the empress's taste in pseudo-classical art. More appealing is the terrace, laid out like an Ionic peristyle with a number of 19th-century statues, the best of which is The Dying Achilles. The gardens, surrounded by olive groves and with a distant view of the sea, are pretty but, all in all, the whole place looks a bit vacuous and forlorn. Still and all, lovers of period style won't want to miss this.

Buy Tickets Now

Antivouniotissa Museum

Panagia Antivouniotissa, an ornate church dating from the late 15th century, houses an outstanding collection of Byzantine religious art. More than 50 icons from the 13th to the 17th century hang on the walls. Look for works by the celebrated icon painters Tzanes and Damaskinos; they are perhaps the best-known artists of the Cretan style of icon painting.

Arseniou St. 25, Corfu Town, Corfu, 49100, Greece
sights Details
Rate Includes: €4, Closed Tues., Tues.–Sun. 8:30–3

Aqualand Water Park

This giant, overpriced water theme park could be viewed as yet another example of how tourist-related developments are spoiling Corfu's lovely old landscapes, or you might see it as a great place to let your kids have a few hours of fun in the third-largest wave pool in the world. There are slides, rides, pools, playgrounds, restaurants and snack stands (food is mediocre in both), and stores everywhere you look, plus lots of noise. It's located mid-island, on the main road to Glyfada, near Ayios Ioannis and can be reached by a number of different bus services, the easiest being the No. 8 Afra-Ayios Ioannis Blue Bus from San Rocco Square.

Casa Parlante

A highly educational experience as well as an entertaining one, a visit to this living history museum allows you to meet three generations of a noble Corfiot family and their servants. The Count and his kin are not flesh and blood but realistic animated figures who occupy an old town house, fitted out with authentic 19th-century furniture and artifacts. A guided tour of the apartment, with intelligent and informative commentary that includes each character's backstory, brings Corfu's urban past to life, some of it rather graphically.

Catholic Church of Ayios Iakovos

Built in 1588 and consecrated 50 years later, this elegant cathedral was erected to provide a grand place of worship for Corfu Town's Catholic occupiers. If you use the Italian name, San Giacomo, locals will know it. When it was bombed by the Nazis in 1943, the cathedral's original neoclassical facade of pediments, friezes, and columns was practically destroyed; only the bell tower remained intact. It's now been restored. Mass takes place daily at 7 pm in high summer and at 10:30 am on Sunday. Across the road is a former Venetian-built theater. Note the carvings and bas-reliefs on the walls.

Dimarcheiou Sq., Corfu Town, Corfu, 49100, Greece
No phone

Church of Ayios Iason and Ayios Sosipater

The suburb of Anemomilos is crowned by the ruins of the Paleopolis church and by the 11th-century Church of Ayios Iason and Ayios Sosipater. It was named after two of St. Paul's disciples, St. Jason and St. Sosipater, who brought Christianity to the island in the 1st century. The frescoes are faded, but the icons are beautiful, and the exterior is dramatic among the unspoiled greenery. It's open most mornings. This is one of only two Byzantine churches on the island; the other is in the northern coastal village of Ayios Markos.

Anemomilos, Corfu Town, Corfu, 49100, Greece
No phone
sights Details
Rate Includes: Donations accepted, Daily 9–2

Corfu Aquarium

Although you might spot fish and other sea life when swimming in one of Paleokastritsa's stunning coves, you won't see the diversity of aquatic creatures as on display at the Corfu Aquarium, along with an assortment of reptiles. Located on the seashore at the foot of Paleokastritsa's monastery headland, the aquarium is home to a large number of species—crustaceans, starfish, and sea snails as well as fish—indigenous to Corfu's waters and the wider Mediterranean. The thrilling reptile room boasts boas, pythons, iguanas, and even a crocodile. The ticket price includes a very informative guided tour lasting around 30 minutes. You can book a concessionary dual ticket to the aquarium and on the Yellow Submarine tours at this location.

Glyfada Beach

Greeks have voted Glyfada Beach one of the top 10 in the country, and it's easy to see why when you visit this wide stretch of fine, golden sand. The central area, which is dominated by the giant Grand Glyfada hotel, has a number of funky beach bars that are more places to see and be seen. Here, the beach is highly organized, with rows of sun beds and umbrellas, sometimes rented from the nearest establishment. The northern end is more laid-back and has a small hotel, the Glyfada Beach hotel. If you've had enough of the sun, you can find shade among the trees that back the beach. A choice of water sports is available for the active, but swimmers should be aware of the strong undertow. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking; showers; water sports. Best for: partiers; swimming.

Holy Trinity Church

Established in 1870 after the end of the British Protectorate (1815–1864), this Anglican church continues to serve the needs of the English-speaking community. All denominations are welcome to services and to other religious events and social activities in its sphere. Sunday morning service takes place at 10:30.

L. Mavili 21, Corfu Town, Corfu, 49100, Greece
sights Details
Rate Includes: Donations accepted, Closed Mon, Tues.–Fri. 10–1, Sun. services at 10:30 am

Jewish Quarter

This maze of streets was home to the area's Jewish population from the 1600s until 1944, when the community was decimated, most sent to Auschwitz by the occupying Nazis. Fewer than 100 of 3,000 Jews survived. At the southern edge of the ghetto, a 300-year-old synagogue with an interior in Sephardic style still stands.


The village of Lakones, built on the steep mountain behind the Paleokastritsa Monastery, looks rather forbidding, but tourists flock there for the view. Kaiser Wilhelm was among many famous people who would make the ascent to enjoy the magnificent panorama of Paleokastritsa's coves from the cafés at Bella Vista, just beyond the village. In the village center is a small folk museum showcasing old photographs of the village. From nearby Krini you can climb up to the ruins of the 13th-century Angelokastro, a fortress built by a despot of Epirus during his brief rule over Corfu. On many occasions during the medieval period, the fort sheltered Corfiots from attack by Turkish invaders. Look for the chapel and caves, which served as sanctuaries and hiding places.

Mon Repos

The former royal palace of Mon Repos is surrounded by gorgeous English-style gardens that lend magic to an idyllic setting. The compact neoclassical palace (really a villa) was built in 1831 by Sir Frederic Adam for his wife, and it was later the summer residence of the British lord high commissioners; the architect, Sir George Whitmore, also designed the Palace of St. Michael and St. George in Corfu Town. After Greece won independence from Britain in 1864, Mon Repos was used as a summer palace for the royal family of Greece. Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, was born here in 1921 (he was a royal prince of Greece and Denmark; the Corfiots, who have no love of royalty, call him "the penniless Greek who married a queen"). When King Constantine fled the country in 1967, the Greek government expropriated Mon Repos. Throughout the 1990s, the estate was entangled in an international legal battle over ownership; the Greek government finally paid Constantine a settlement and opened the fully restored palace as a museum dedicated to the area's archaeological history. Displays of items found in the area—as well as interpretive displays, rooms showcasing Regency design, contemporary antiques, and botanical paintings—make for a truly eclectic museum collection The room where Prince Philip was born (on the kitchen table, it is said) houses a 3-D interactive map of Corfu Town and its environs.

After touring the palace, wander around the extensive grounds (entrance is free, so you can do this even if you don't visit the palace), which include the elusive remains of a Doric temple from the 7th and 6th centuries BC and the small but beautiful beach that was once used exclusively by the Greek royal family and is now open to the public. Bring your bathing suit and join the locals on the long pier jutting out into the crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea. Opposite Mon Repos are ruins of Ayia Kerkyra, the 5th-century church of the Old City, and adjacent to the gate is an ancient Roman bathhouse.

Dairpfela 16, Paleopolis, Corfu, 49100, Greece
sights Details
Rate Includes: Grounds free; museum €4, Museum closed Tues., Grounds daily 7.30 am–8 pm; museum Tues.–Sun. 8–3

Myrtiotissa Beach

The writer Lawrence Durrell described Myrtiotissa as "the loveliest beach in the world." This statement may be hyperbolic, but few would argue that the strand is right up there with the best in Greece. Today, the beach is little changed from Durrell's time on Corfu in the 1930s, due to poor access keeping development at bay—there is a small kiosk for snacks and drinks and umbrellas to rent. Most visitors park and walk down the steep road. The southern end of the beach, sheltered from view by rocks, is designated for nudists only, while at the more open northern end swimsuits are the norm. The sand is fine and golden. The sea can be rough with currents—it's only for experienced snorkelers. A small rustic restaurant stands a few minutes' walk from the far end of the beach. Another minute's walk takes you to a monastery, dedicated to the Virgin of the Myrtles, hence the name. Amenities: food and drink Best for: nudists; snorkeling.

Pelekas, Corfu, Greece

New Fortress

Built during the period 1577–78 by the Venetians, the so-called "New" Fortress was constructed to strengthen town defenses—only three decades after the construction of Venetian fortifications on the "Old" Fortress. The French and the British subsequently expanded the complex to protect Corfu Town from a possible Turkish invasion. You can wander through the maze of tunnels and fortifications; the dry moat is the site of the town's fish-and-vegetable marketplace. A classic British citadel stands at its heart. The summit offers a fantastic view over the rooftops of the Old Town.

Solomou, Corfu Town, Corfu, 49100, Greece
sights Details
Rate Includes: Free, Daily 9 am–3:30 pm

Old Fortress

Corfu's entire population once lived within the walls of the Old Fortress, or Citadel, built by the Venetians in 1546 on the site of a Byzantine castle. Separated from the rest of the town by a moat, the fort is on a promontory mentioned by Thucydides. Its two heights, or korypha ("peaks"), gave the island its name. Standing on the peaks, you have a gorgeous view west over the town and east to the mountainous coast of Albania. A statue of Count Schulenburg, an Austrian mercenary who became a local hero in 1716 when he helped to defeat the invading Turks, stands at the fort's entrance; a plaque beside the statue tells Schulenburg's story. Inside, there's an exhibition of Byzantine art and a shop with museum copies, while a second hall hosts changing events. Most of the old Venetian fortifications inside the fortress were destroyed by the British, who replaced them with their own structures. The most notable of these is the Church of St. George, built to look like an ancient Doric temple. Near it, overlooking Garitsa Bay, there is a shaded café where you can sit and enjoy the splendid view.

Orthodox Cathedral

This small, icon-rich cathedral, called Panagia Spiliotissa, was built in 1577. It is sacred to St. Theodora, the island's second patron saint. Her headless body lies in a silver coffin by the altar; it was brought to Corfu at the same time as St. Spyridon's remains. Steps lead down to the harbor from here.

Corfu Town, Corfu, 49100, Greece

Paleokastritsa Monastery

Paleokastritsa Monastery, a 17th-century structure, is built on the site of an earlier monastery, among terraced gardens overlooking the Ionian Sea. Its treasure is a 12th-century icon of the Virgin Mary, to whom the establishment is dedicated, and there's a small museum with some other early icons. Note the Tree of Life motif on the ceiling. Be sure to visit the inner courtyard (go through the church), built on the edge of the cliff and looking down a precipitous cliff to the placid green coves and coastline to the south. There's a small gift shop on the premises.

On northern headland, Corfu, Greece
sights Details
Rate Includes: Donations accepted, Daily 7–1 and 3–8

Patounis Soap Factory

A Patounis has been producing olive oil soap by the traditional stamped method since 1850, and the family's factory—the only one left in Corfu—is listed as an Industrial Heritage site. It is also inscribed on the National Inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Greece. Every weekday at noon, the current (fifth-generation) Patounis, Apostolos, runs an informative guided tour of the premises, during which you will see a demonstration of the traditional stamping and cutting process. You can also buy the merchandise, which is additive-free and hypoallergenic.

Pelekas Beach

Pelekas Beach could be two separate strands, and indeed there are two access roads down the long, steep hill. The busy southern section is overlooked by the huge Mayor Pelekas Monastery hotel complex with its satellite bars and restaurants. As you walk north, the development dwindles, and at the far northern end, the beach still possesses an atmosphere of the 1970s when it was the haunt of hippies. Most amenities, such as sun beds and water sports, are clustered in the vicinity of the hotel. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; showers; water sports. Best for: sunset; walking.