The imposing fortifications of the Old Fortress

The 19 Best Things to Do in Corfu Town

Are you wondering what the best things to do in Corfu Town are? You’ve come to the right place. 

Corfu Town, also known as Kerkyra, is a popular tourist destination thanks to its beautiful historic city centre and wealth of attractions. The authenticity and value of its Old Town have been recognised with a UNESCO World Heritage site designation. 

The city will delight history lovers with its ancient landmarks, varied museums, and heritage architecture. It is also home to excellent eateries, unique family-run shops, and a lively market. 

Although Corfu Town is very much on the tourist path, I adore its faded beauty, vibrant street scenes, and the overall ‘art de vivre’ feel. To make the most of what the city has to offer, take the time to explore its quieter corners, away from the main tourist streets. 

Without further ado, let’s dive into the best things to do in Corfu Town to help you plan your next trip. 

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The Best Things to Do in Corfu Town

Explore the Streets of Old Town

A scenic shopping street line with traditional venetian buildings in Corfu Town

One of the best things to do in Corfu Town is to explore it on foot. The historic core called the Old Town is famous for its labyrinth of cobbled streets lined with elegant, pastel-hued Venetian buildings, now housing shops, eateries, and apartments. 

What’s more, the narrow streets of the Old Town are pedestrianised, enhancing the experience even further. On your next visit to the city, take the time to meander through its streets, immersing yourself in its unique atmosphere of faded beauty, and discovering the shops, tavernas, ancient churches, and museums along the way. 

It’s also rewarding to experience the city at different times of the day. I particularly enjoyed strolling around early in the morning, when the Old Town was just waking up, and the crowds had yet to arrive. The evening offers a completely different atmosphere. 

Moreover, don’t hesitate to explore some of the smaller, quieter side streets, as they often conceal hidden gems away from the main tourist strip. 

Go to the Old Fortress

Ksenia visiting beautiful Corfu town - one of the places she visited while working full-time.

The Old Fortress is one of Corfu Town’s most iconic historic sites. Situated on the eastern side of the city, this imposing landmark overlooks the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea from a dramatic rocky peninsula, connected to the mainland by an iron bridge. 

While the site’s initial fortifications date back to the 6th century, the formidable buildings and protective walls you see today were constructed during Corfu’s Venetian rule between the 15th and 18th centuries. 

Today, the Old Fortress hosts small museums, a music school, the Corfu Sailing Club, and the Archives of Corfu. However, the highlight of your visit is likely to be the breathtaking panoramic views of the city from atop its tower. 

It’s worth noting that the Old Fortress also hosts live music events, spanning opera, classical music, and performances by contemporary local artists—an experience worth considering for your itinerary. 

Entry to the Old Fortress is €6 (US $6.50) per person. I suggest visiting early to avoid the crowds and intense heat. 

Stroll Along the Liston and Spianada Square

Just outside the Old Fortress lies the charming ensemble of Liston and Spianada Square. Take a moment to admire the beautiful architecture of this area, bordered by some of the Old Town’s most iconic attractions. 

The northern section of Spianada Square is home to a cricket field established during the British Protectorate, while the southern part features monuments, the Venetian Well’s Mouth fountain, and an elegant music pavilion. 

While the square is ideal for a leisurely stroll or finding respite beneath its shady trees, it also hosts occasional cultural events, including Easter celebrations. Be sure to check the event schedule before your visit to potentially catch a fun concert or an exhibition. 

The elegant Liston lines the square’s western border. It’s a pedestrianised street featuring a 19th-century arcade inspired by Parisian architecture. Today, this building houses numerous popular cafes and bars, which are especially lively in the evening. 

Admire the Church of Saint Spyridon

Corfu Town is home to many beautiful historic churches, with the Church of Saint Spyridon arguably being the most iconic one. Its bell tower is a distinctive feature of the skyline of the Old Town. 

This Greek Orthodox church holds significant importance as a site of pilgrimage, housing the relics of Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of Corfu. Many visitors come to the church to pay their respects. 

Even for non-pilgrims, a visit to the church is well worth it to admire its stunning painted ceiling and elaborate iconostasis. Given its modest size and potential for crowds, it’s best to visit earlier in the morning before the influx of visitors. 

As the church remains an active place of worship, a modest dress code is in place. Remember to cover your shoulders and knees when visiting. Entry is free. 

Explore Corfu’s Museums

The elegant exterior of the Museum of Asian Art

Other great things to do in Corfu Town include exploring its excellent museums, especially if you would like to escape the intense afternoon heat.  

The city boasts a selection of small museums covering a range of topics from archaeology to Asian art to numismatics. Here are some of my favourite museums: 

Museum of Asian Art: Situated within the Palace of St. Michael and St. George, this museum is the only one in Greece solely dedicated to art from Asia. Its exhibitions showcase artefacts from Central Asia, Japan, South Asia, and beyond. Entry fee: €6 (US $6.40) per person. 

Municipal Gallery: Housed in the Palace of St. Michael and St. George alongside the Museum of Asian Art, this small museum focuses on historic art from around Corfu. Entry fee: €4 (US $4.30) per person. 

Archaeological Museum of Corfu: This museum displays various archaeological findings from the island, offering insights into Corfiot life during antiquity. The artifacts from the Temple of Artemis are particularly impressive. Entry fee: €6 (US $6.40) per person. 

Relax at the Garden of the People

Right next to the Palace of St. Michael and St. George lies the small yet picturesque Garden of the People. This charming spot provides tranquillity and refreshing shade, courtesy of its lush trees. 

The garden serves as an ideal retreat in-between sightseeing, offering superb views of the Old Fortress and the nearby Faliraki Beach with its crystal-clear waters. 

My personal highlight of the garden is the iron spiral staircase leading down to the sea below. While it’s closed to visitors, as it’s probably not safe, it adds a touch of charm from the bygone days. 

Go for a Swim at Faliraki Beach

Faliraki Bathing Beach in Corfu Town from above
Faliraki Bathing Beach

Speaking of Faliraki Beach, it’s a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing, amongst both locals and visitors alike. While it may not fit the traditional sandy beach image, it’s the closest you can get to a beach experience within the Old Town. 

The beach takes up a paved area right next to the sea. There are a few bars and restaurants and some offer sunbeds for hire.  

The beach occupies a paved area right by the sea, featuring a few bars and restaurants, some of which provide sunbeds for hire. Faliraki Beach is perfect for those seeking a refreshing swim to escape the heat of Corfu or simply to unwind to the beats of music with a cocktail in hand. 

Although it may not fulfill the dream beach expectations associated with Corfu, it’s an excellent location to bask in the island’s beautiful weather and waters for those spending a few days in town and seeking a break from sightseeing. 

Visit the New Fortress

Corfu Town proudly boasts not one, but two formidable historic fortresses: the Old Fortress in the eastern part of the city and the New Fortress perched atop a hill overlooking the port. However, don’t let the term ‘new’ mislead you. 

The Venetians initiated the construction of the New Fortress in 1576 to safeguard the city against potential invaders, though its completion took several decades. Some of the more recent structures within the fortress, such as the former barracks, were erected during the 19th-century British Protectorate. 

The fortress was severely damaged during World War II. Despite some recent restoration works, it has never returned to its former glory. However, its overgrown feel has its own kind of charm. 

Although the New Fortress might not offer as many things to see within it as the Old one, it’s still worth a visit for the panoramic views from the top. Also, the fortress occasionally hosts exhibitions and cultural events. 

Entry to the New Fortress is free. 

Buy Local Produce at Corfu Central Market

Just a stone’s throw from the New Fortress lies the Corfu Central Market. A visit to the market is one of the best things to do in Corfu Town for those looking to try delicious local produce and get a glimpse of traditional local life.  

Although the market is not huge, it offers a wide array of options, including fruits, vegetables, cheeses, herbs, fish, and seafood. For those staying in self-catering accommodation, this is the ideal destination to source authentic local products. 

Within the market, two small cafes offer the perfect opportunity to grab a drink and a bite to eat and watch the world go by. Popular among locals, the market serves as a popular spot for morning coffee and socialising. 

Taste Olive Oil at the Olive House by the Governor

Corfu boasts an abundance of olive groves, and there are several premium olive oil producers on the island. It is possible to visit some of them, as they offer tours and have museums. 

However, if that’s not an option during your trip, you can taste this Greek staple right in the heart of Corfu Town. Head to Nikiforou Theotoki Street where you will find the Olive House tasting room. 

This spot was established by the Governor, one of the award-winning olive oil producers to help visitors to Corfu Town learn about and sample high-quality virgin olive oil. 

It features a stylish tasting room where a friendly staff member will explain what makes olive oil so special and guide you on a tasting journey of the Governor’s products. There is a downstairs shop where you can buy some olive oil as a souvenir. 

You can book your spot on the official Olive House website. The tasting costs €10 (US $10.70) per person. 

Visit Mon Repos

Ksenia visiting Mon Repos in Corfu Town
Ksenia at the Mon Repos Palace

Located in Kanoni, a district two kilometres south of the Old Town, Mon Repos is a historic mansion set within acres of beautiful parkland. 

Constructed between 1826 and 1831, it was intended as the summer residence of British Lord High Commissioner Frederick Adams and his Corfiot wife. However, their enjoyment of the house was short-lived, as he was soon transferred to India. 

Since then, the villa has hosted royalty and significant political figures. It is notably the birthplace of Prince Philip, the husband of the late Queen Elizabeth II. 

Today, the estate and the house are open to the public. The mansion now serves as a museum. On the ground floor, you will find reproductions of the original interiors, while upstairs, you can explore artefacts from the nearby Palaeopolis archaeological site.  

You can reach Mon Repos by taking bus number 2a from the city centre. Alternatively, it is a pleasant 30-minute walk.

Entry to the Mon Repos estate is free. Museum admission is €4 (US $4.30) per person. 

Walk Along the Seaside Promenade (Leof. Dimokratias Street)

If you would like to walk to Mon Repos, the best route is to follow the seaside promenade along Dimokratias Avenue, which connects the Old Town to Kanoni. Along the way, you can enjoy picturesque views of Garitsa Bay and stop at cafes and tavernas for a drink or a meal. 

Keep in mind that the promenade doesn’t offer much shade, so it might be best to avoid walking there during the afternoon heat. However, bringing plenty of water and wearing a hat can help alleviate this. 

The promenade leads all the way to Anemomilos Windmill, a reconstruction of its historic predecessor that once served the local community. From there, you can enjoy fantastic views of the Old Fortress across the bay. 

Explore the Coastline on a Day Cruise

With its seaside location, it is not surprising that one of the best things to do in Corfu Town is to hop on a boat to explore the island’s beautiful coastline. 

There are many organised tours available from the city’s ports, each offering variations on the theme. From leisurely sunset cruises to day trips to other Greek islands, there is something to suit every taste. 

For example, this full-day cruise from Corfu Town will take you along the island’s picturesque northeastern coast and includes swim stops, lunch onboard, and drinks. This is a great option to experience the beauty of Corfu Town from the sea and enjoy the island’s natural wonders.  

If you’d rather go on a shorter, less active trip, consider booking a spot on this sunset cruise on a classic boat. It’s a great option for those who want to take their time to experience the beauty of the city, cocktail in hand.  

Go to the Achilleion Palace

Although not located within Corfu Town itself, Achilleion Palace is an easy day trip from there. It is easily accessible via the local bus network; bus number 10 takes you from the city centre to the palace in just 30 minutes. 

Achilleion was built in 1890 as a summer residence for Empress Elisabeth of Austria, known as Sisi, combines the art nouveau style popular at the time with Greek neoclassical elements. 

Achilleion also boasts a collection of Greek statues, fine arts, and elaborate mosaics. It is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens that include a terrace that offers stunning sea views. 

The palace is a great destination for those who would like to learn about Corfu’s aristocratic connections and simply take in the island’s natural beauty. 

Savour Local Cuisine

The entrance to Ninos Taverna at night-time

Corfu Town is the island’s gastronomic capital and is home to many excellent eateries, delis and patisseries.  

Although the Old Town is packed with tourist-oriented cafes and restaurants that do not always reflect the local cuisine well, research and stepping away from the most touristy parts will help you find the best places. 

Here are my personal favourite dining spots in Corfu Town: 

Locale: a cafe and bar that serves delicious breakfast and lunch featuring seasonal local ingredients. It also has an extensive wine list that showcases fantastic Greek wines. 

Starenio Bakery: a small bakery serving traditional Corfiot pastries with various fillings as well as cakes and sweets such as baklava. It’s a great place to go for an affordable lunch.  

Taverna Ninos: this historic family-run spot offers local specialities such as sofrito and pastistada. I also love their gyros that are affordable, filling and delicious. 

Venitian Well: this fine dining restaurant is the perfect option for a special occasion. The menu features Mediterranean flavours and the best local ingredients.  

Ice Cream Bochoti: this patisserie offers a great selection of local sweet treats. My personal highlight was their ice cream, with many flavours to choose from.

Enjoy an Al Fresco Meal at Dimarchio Square

Dimarchio Square is an elegant public square in the heart of the Old Town. It is home to historic sites such as the Old Town Hall, which is now a theatre, and the Church of Saints Jacob and Christopher. 

However, what truly draws visitors to this square is its array of eateries offering al fresco dining. Although many of those offer all-day dining options, I think the best time to visit is in the evening. 

During this time, all the restaurants are open, and the square is beautifully illuminated with outdoor lighting, creating a vibrant atmosphere. Pane e Souvlaki is a popular spot, renowned for serving some of the finest souvlaki in town, although it can become quite crowded. 

If you fancy a change from Greek cuisine, Dimarchio Square also hosts a couple of excellent Italian restaurants. Rosmario and Nolita are both highly recommended options. 

Take a Day Trip to Albania

You can combine your stay in Corfu Town with a day trip to another country. A regular ferry service links the city with the nearby coastal resort of Saranda in Albania. 

Several companies offer this service, providing options between a faster yet pricier high-speed boat, which reaches Saranda in around half an hour, or a more economical service taking just over an hour for a one-way trip. 

The former option costs €33 (US $35) per person, while the latter is priced at €19 (US $20) per person. Departures take place from the Corfu Port, located just a stone’s throw from the Old Town. 

Alternatively, you can join an organised day tour that will take care of all the logistics for you. For example, this day trip to Saranda and Butrint National Park includes visits to both the resort town and an ancient historic site.  

Explore Unique Local Shops

Although many shops in the Old Town sell mass-produced tat, the city still boasts some interesting options when it comes to shopping. These include artisan studios and shops specialising in genuine locally-produced goods. 

The Corfiot products that make excellent souvenirs include olive oil, honey, food and drink flavoured with kumquat (a small citrus fruit originally imported from Asia but now thriving in Corfu), leather goods such as sandals, dried herbs, olive wood products, and ceramics. 

To help you get started, here is a selection of tried and tested shops: 

Patounis’ Soap Factory: A family-run business since the 1850s, it continues to use original soap recipes that feature olive oil. You can combine a visit to the shop with a guided tour of the factory. 

Olive Wood Workshop by Tom: This shop is the place to go for homeware handcrafted from local olive wood. 

Sweet’n’Spicy: This shop offers a variety of herbs and spices, including local specialities, and also sells local olive oil. 

Galaktopoleio Periklis Alexis Dairy Shop: This unassuming spot is famed for being the purveyor of Jackie Kennedy’s favourite butter. Although taking butter home might be challenging, you can sample it in the shop. Alternatively, you might try one of their desserts. 

Visit Paleokastritsa

If you are staying in Corfu Town for a few days and looking for day trip ideas that will allow you to experience the island’s beautiful beaches, I recommend including a visit to the charming village of Paleokastritsa in your itinerary. 

Located on the northwestern coast of the island, this spot boasts stunning scenery characterised by lush green hills and picturesque beaches with crystal-clear waters. There are many things to do in Paleokastritsa, from snorkelling to boat rides to exploring the historic Paleokastritsa monastery. 

Moreover, the village serves as an excellent starting point for a hike up to the charming village of Lakones and the ruins of Angelokastro. If you need a re-fuel, Paleokastritsa has a good selection of Greek restaurants.  

Getting from Corfu Town to Paleokastritsa is straightforward. You can either take the public bus from the KTEL Green Bus Terminal located on the outskirts of the Old Town or opt for a taxi. 

When is the Best Time to Go to Corfu Town

The tourist season in Corfu spans from May to October, with July and August being the busiest, hottest, and most expensive months. 

Although sightseeing in Corfu Town is theoretically a year-round activity, winter on the island tends to be quite rainy. You may prefer to avoid this time of the year in favour of more reliable weather. 

Visiting in May, September, and October—considered the shoulder season—offers plenty of sunshine, slightly thinner crowds, and a more manageable level of heat. 

I visited Corfu in September and found it to be a fantastic time to explore. During this period, you can still enjoy sightseeing in the city while also indulging in some beach time in other parts of the island. 

How to Get to Corfu Town

There are two main ways to reach Corfu Town: by plane or ferry. 

Plane: Corfu Town boasts an international airport connecting the island with numerous European cities and other destinations within Greece. For travellers coming from further afield, a stopover in a global hub like London or Paris may be necessary. 

Upon arrival at Corfu Airport, you can get to the city centre via taxi or bus number 15. Alternatively, arranging a private transfer in advance is an option. 

Alternatively, you can arrange a private transfer from the airport to your final destination in advance. The cost of a transfer from the airport to the Old Town is about €30 (US $32). 

Ferry: Regular ferry services operate between Corfu and the coastal city of Igoumenitsa on mainland Greece. The journey lasts just over an hour and costs from €20 per person. 

Additionally, ferries to Corfu Town are available from the city of Saranda in Albania. The duration of the journey varies depending on the type of boat chosen. 

The fastest options can get you to Corfu Town in 30 minutes at a cost of €33 (US $35) per person. Alternatively, the slower boat takes over an hour and charges €19 (US $20) for a one-way ticket. 

There are bus services that connect the port with the Old Town. The journey only takes about five minutes. If you don’t have much luggage, you can simply walk to the historic heart of the city. This option takes about 30 minutes.  

How to Get Around Corfu Town

You can easily get around Corfu Old Town on foot. Most of the streets in the historic part of the city are pedestrianised and are a pleasure to walk around. Also, the city is relatively compact, so you won’t need to spend that much time walking from one sight to another. 

For longer journeys, you can take advantage of the local bus network. The Blue buses can easily take you to places like Mon Repos and the Achilleion Palace, as well as some nearby beach areas like Benitses. The most up-to-date information on the timetables and ticket costs is available on the bus network website

Corfu Town also has a wealth of taxi services if you prefer to get around in more comfort. You can get a taxi at a designated taxi rank, online or by phoning a local taxi company. Alternatively, Uber in Corfu also works as a taxi service. 

Where to Stay in Corfu Town

It is best to stay right in the Old Town to soak up the atmosphere and for easy access to the best attractions. There are many charming self-catering apartments and boutique hotels to choose from there. 

On our last visit to Corfu Town, my husband and I stayed at the Filarmonia Suite Annunziata apartment. It is located within a period Venetian-style building in a quiet corner of the Old Town and boasts great amenities.  

For a touch of luxury, consider staying at the Siora Vittoria Boutique Hotel. It combines traditional charm and a fantastic location just a stone’s throw from all the action.  

How Many Days Do You Need in Corfu Town

Although you can see the highlights of Corfu Town in a day, I highly recommend spending two or three days there to explore the city at a slower pace. This will allow you to visit more sights, go on a cruise, and sample a wider array of eateries and shops. 

Furthermore, if you’re exploring Corfu without a car, Corfu Town might be an ideal choice for a longer stay. It is well-connected to other parts of the island via the Green bus network and serves as the starting point for many organised tours. 

You can leverage this connectivity to go on various day trips while using the city as your base. While this option may not appeal to everyone, given the attractions of Corfu’s beach areas, it’s worth considering if you wish to explore multiple places without relying on a private vehicle.

Tips for Visiting Corfu Town

Safety: In general, Corfu is a safe destination, so it’s highly unlikely that you will experience any crime while there. Nevertheless, always be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded places, as pickpocketing can still happen occasionally.  

Tap Water: Although tap water in Corfu is considered safe to drink, it’s best to stick to bottled water. The local tap water has a high mineral content which negatively impacts the taste. 

Heat: Afternoon heat on the island, in particular in July and August, can be challenging. It’s best to use early mornings for vigorous sightseeing, while taking it slow in the afternoon. 

Crowds: Corfu Town is a popular tourist destination, so expect crowds throughout the whole season, especially at popular sights. The city is a stopover on Mediterranean cruises, so many people end up visiting it for a day as part of their shore excursion. Visiting popular attractions early in the morning can help you avoid the rush. 

Final Thoughts

So here you have it. These are the best things to do in Corfu Town. Looking to explore the island beyond the city? Check out this guide to the best things to do in Corfu.  

To help you plan your trip, we have put together a detailed guide on the travel costs in Corfu. Moreover, if you are looking for a villa stay while on the island, this article on the best villas in Corfu has got you covered. 

FAQs: Things to Do in Corfu Town

Is Corfu Old Town worth visiting?

Yes, Corfu Old Town is undoubtedly worth visiting. It maintains its authenticity and charm and boasts a wealth of great attractions, shops and eateries. The Old Town is also a great place for just wandering around and soaking in its special atmosphere. 

Is Corfu Old Town lively?

Yes, Corfu Old Town is vibrant both during the day and at night. While it may not be considered a big party destination, its restaurants, patisseries, and shops remain open late, encouraging people to explore and enjoy its offerings. Numerous bars and eateries offer outdoor seating, contributing to the lively atmosphere in the streets. 

Can you walk around Corfu Town? 

The historic centre of Corfu Town boasts many pedestrianised streets and is a pleasure to walk around. To get to the areas that are slightly further out, you may need to take a local bus.  

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