Corfu, or Kerkyra as the Greeks call it, is a jewel of an island in the Ionian Sea. With a rugged mountainous spine, the island falls off to a series of cave-dotted coves that provide some of the best beaches in Greece. Which is the best to visit first is a discussion that can go on for hours.
To help out, here are the 17 best Corfu beaches.
A 10-minute drive from the bright lights of Corfu’s Old Town, Perama is a laid back resort town, largely known for it being the home of famed British zoologist and author Gerald Durrell when his family made their home on the island in the 1930s.
There are several coves along the shore here but the two main neighboring beaches are a mix of sand and shingle with gently shelving waters, set against a backdrop of olive and cypress trees. They can both get busy in high season, so it pays to arrive early if you want to find a lounger and shade.
Once camp is set up, there’s enough to do to spend a whole day here: bathe in the water, play around on a pedalo, jump on a banana boat, or take a hike in the surrounding hills before enjoying a meal in one of the many tavernas.
Like the plush Athenian coastal suburb of the same name, Glyfada has a high-end, cosmopolitan feel, much like its cousin in the Greek capital. A lovely arc of white sand is backed by forested hills and there’s a smattering of beach bars and restaurants lining the road side of the beach.
Activities and facilities here are again plentiful and varied: an inflatable water-based obstacle course, water sports and boat trips, as well as umbrellas and sunbeds.
One of the best beaches in Greece, Glyfada is surrounded by hills that are criss-crossed with walking trails. Meanwhile, the delightful and traditional village of Pelekas is 10 minutes away.
Paleokastritsa Bay Beaches
According to some, Paleokastritsa is Scheria, the home of the mythical Phaeacians and the last destination in the 10-year journey of Odysseus in Homer’s classic, The Odyssey.
Homer described Scheria as the first utopia and it’s not hard to see why, given that today it remains one of Corfu’s prettiest villages and location of two of the finest Corfu beaches.
There are two main beaches here: Paleokastritsa Bay (or Verderosa) and Agia Triada, with the latter being the most popular choice thanks to golden sands and a couple of decent beach bars.
For those who like snorkeling, around 400ft from the shore is a small rock formation called Astakos (lobster) that protrudes over the waves and is worth exploring.
If you’re up for a hike up and down around 100 steps or fancy renting a boat for the day to get here (something that’s easy in Corfu), Rovinia is a wilder, prettier and much less organized alternative to the beaches of Paleokastritsa.
Set a 15-minute drive south-east of the famed resort, it sits on an almost perfect cove, surrounded by towering olive- and pine-covered cliffs.
The beach here is not of fine sand, more shingle and pebble, but given it’s more difficult to access, it remains one of the island’s quieter beaches, even in high season.
The cliffs and their caves offer enough shade during the day, but there is no beach bar or other facilities, so be sure to pack all you need if tempted by the trip.
Kanali tou Erota, Sidari
Just outside the village of Sidari, on the island’s north coast, sits this small, sandy arc dramatically set between a forked opening in the surrounding rocks. It’s known as one of the most beautiful places in Greece.
Its name translates as Love Channel and it’s also known colloquially as the Canal d’Amour given the romantic legend that claims that any man who swims in the bay will meet the love of his life on the beach.
The popularity of this Greek landmark means it can get super-busy in high season, but the surrounding rocks have plentiful space to lay down a towel, plus there are several smaller neighboring coves. If all else fails, head to Sidari’s main beach, a beautiful stretch of sand in the main town.
Agios Gordios Beach
Get the best of both beach worlds on this picturesque cove on the central western coast of this Mediterranean island. At one end, it’s sandier, and there are sunbeds and umbrellas available if you buy drinks in the beachfront tavernas and cafés that own them.
The other the beach is more shingle, with some lovely rock formations to explore underwater for those with snorkels and masks.
The entrance to the bay is guarded by a sentinel-like, semi-submerged rock column known as Ortholithi. The beach, meanwhile, takes its name from the small Greek Orthodox church of Agios Gordios which is on the beachfront and is worth a look.
Bataria is the best of several fine beaches and coves that surround a peninsula jutting into the Ionian Sea outside the fishing village of Kassiopi on the north coast of Corfu.
Surrounded by low cliffs and with gently shelving waters, it’s a great family option, and there’s a beach bar here offering facilities including umbrellas and sun beds.
There’s much to explore here aside from the clear blue waters. The town is home to a fine example of one of the Byzantine-period Greek castles that once defended the island.
At the northern tip of the peninsula is where you’ll find one of two limestone rock formations that claim to be the petrified ship of mythological hero Odysseus.
If you like Corfu beaches with plenty going on, Kavos is the place for you—as long as you’re happy to head to the island’s southernmost tip.
Widely renowned as a party resort in high summer when it’s packed with young European holidaymakers, Kavos can, at times, be a little over the top. But for the rest of the year, it remains one of Corfu’s best beaches.
Kavos is a five-mile strip of pale golden sands backed by a string of tavernas, cafés and bars, punctuated by the occasional olive, palm or cypress tree. The waters are as clear as you get on the island.
Out in the water is where the fun takes place. Here, the adventurous can try banana boat and inflatable donut rides, or chance their hand at jet-skiing and water skiing. If something more laid back is in order, boats can be hired from the town jetty to create your own fun.
On the island’s southernmost tip is this tiny beach, part of a nature reserve but accessible for both sunbathing and swimming.
Aside from a small canteen offering drinks on the approach road, there are few other facilities here, but what you do get are mostly fine sands, dramatic towering cliffs, and views over to the neighboring isle of Paxos.
Those views are further enhanced by a hike on the surrounding cliffs, home to an elevated viewpoint that looks directly onto the beach, and the ruined Monastery of Panagia which is so overgrown that it feels like being on a movie set.
For those that like beach life but are not particularly enamored by the fine sand sticking everywhere, Barbati is an ideal choice.
On the island’s east coast and surrounded by high, forested hills, it is a half-mile stretch of shingle and pebble with beautiful, crystal clear waters and just the occasional bar or café offering food, drink and sunbed and umbrella rental.
The surrounding foothills of Mount Pantokrator rise sharply above the coastal road that leads to Corfu Town, and taking the winding road inland reveals great views across to Albania as well as small, traditional villages such as Spartilas that offer a glimpse of Corfu beyond the coastal hotspots.
A few miles up the coast from Barbati is the tiny resort of Nissaki, the name of which translates from the Greek for “little island”; there was once a small islet here that has been joined to the mainland by landfill.
That island is now home to one of the island’s most famous restaurants, Mitsos Taverna, where the tables hang over the sea on platforms.
To one side of the taverna is a small jetty, home to a smattering of fishing and day rental boats. The other sees a small beach, only around 100 feet in length but perfectly formed with fine, ice-white sand and turquoise waters.
At the end of the beach, there are several rocky outcrops that are ideal for snorkeling.
Arillas & Agios Stefanos Beaches
This pair of neighboring beaches on the north-west coast of Corfu are separated by Cape Kefali, a rocky peninsula that juts out into the Ionian Sea. Both are long stretches of golden sand and both are home to a sprinkling of beachfront cafés and restaurants.
There’s not a lot to choose between them, although Agios Stefanos is both longer and wider. The associated traditional fishing village is worth exploring; you can discover both the church from which the village takes its name, and the old harbor from where boats still depart for the daily catch.
Mathraki Island Beach
From the new harbor of Agios Stefanos, jump on a 45-minute boat trip to Mathraki Island for a taste of what Corfu would have been like in the mid-20th century.
This unspoiled island—seven miles from Corfu—is home to just three tavernas and a handful of accommodation options, plus a spectacular stretch of beach that runs for around a mile and a half along the whole of its eastern side of the island.
It’s the kind of place to go wild swimming—there are no facilities—and even in the height of summer, it’s possible to visit and have the whole beach to oneself.
For those willing to put in the effort of a mile-long hike from the village of Afionas, the reward is one of Corfu’s most breathtaking landscapes. Set on a long, rocky peninsula, the headland narrows at one point to produce two back-to-back beaches separated by a rocky spine.
Both are divine, totally unspoiled and, with no facilities on either, a visit here can feel like the most remote place on the island. Following the path past the beaches allows the rest of the headland to be explored, including the Cave Chapel Agios Stylianos, a small church carved into the rock itself.
Halikounas & Issos Beaches
On a sandbar between the Ionian Sea and Lake Korission, these two mostly wild beaches on the lower west coast have a real frontier feel.
Low-lying dunes are peppered with shrubs and, given there’s nothing between here and Italy and the beaches are not on a sheltered bay, they can be windswept outside of high summer, which makes them a favorite of kite surfers.
On the Halikounas side there is a beach bar to the north offering the usual facilities, while Issos is backed by a cedar forest with local hiking trails.
Around both, the wetlands shores of the lakeside are worth exploring for birdlife. There’s a narrow channel that leads from the lake to the sea with a rickety bridge that makes for good photos.
Three miles to the south of Issos lies Marathias beach. Backed by tree-lined hills, it’s a long arc of golden sand that begs to be photographed.
The beach is mainly split between a more organized southern side where there are beach bars with umbrellas and sunbeds, and a wilder northern end which is clothing-optional.
The dividing line is handily set around the approach road which runs parallel to a small river that enters the sea here at the beachfront restaurant, Fisheye.
Chomi is also known as Paradise Beach thanks to its picture-perfect nature. Towering cliffs guard pale white sands lapped by the clearest of seas.
The reason Chomi is not Corfu’s busiest beach is because it’s a challenge to get to: there are no paths down from the cliffs and it can only be approached by boat from either Gefyra or Paleokastritsa. Boat captains will drop off and pick up visitors at relatively regular intervals in high season.
Make sure to pack as the beach is devoid of facilities. There’s also a fascinating seawater cave to explore nearby. Some of the day boats may anchor here for a while before entering Chomi.
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