Looking for the best things to do in Paleokastritsa? This article has got you covered.
Located in the north-western part of Corfu, Paleokastritsa is among the most picturesque coastal areas on the island. Nestled among dramatic green hills, olive groves, and embraced by the aquamarine waters of the Ionian Sea, it’s no wonder the village is a magnet for tourists.
Paleokastritsa, despite its relatively small size, offers plenty of fun activities to enjoy. From scenic beaches and a diverse underwater world ready to be explored with a snorkel, to thrilling hiking trails and ancient historical sites nearby, there’s something for everyone.
My husband and I spent ten days in Paleokastritsa and we got to experience both its active and relaxing sides. While some travellers might consider this a lengthy stay, we found more than enough to keep us busy.
Whether you’re considering a day trip or a longer visit, here’s a list of the best things to do in Paleokastritsa to help plan your next adventure.
The Best 13 Things to Do in Paleokastritsa
Relax at the Beach
One of the most popular things to do in Paleokastritsa is relaxing on its picturesque beaches, of which there are six main ones to choose from.
The beaches in Paleokastritsa feature a mix of sand and pebbles. You won’t find expansive stretches of sand extending for kilometres here. However, all the beaches in Paleokastritsa are nestled within sheltered coves and are framed by stunning natural beauty.
Each beach boasts striking aquamarine waters that are clear and calm, making them ideal for swimmers across all age groups. The seabed in Paleokastritsa is rich with marine life, and you’ll likely spot some creatures even without snorkelling equipment, particularly if you swim early in the morning.
Some beaches offer umbrellas and sunbeds for rent. Prices vary between 7€ (US $7.40) and 20€ (US $21.00) per sun lounger, with higher fees typically charged for spots closer to the sea on more popular beaches.
The main beach in the area, and my personal favourite, is Agios Spiridon – also known as Saint Spiridon. This beach has earned the prestigious Blue Flag status. It mostly features sand, and its waters are incredibly pristine and blue, though a tad on the cooler side.
Agios Spiridon tends to get crowded by late morning and early afternoon. I suggest visiting early before the influx of day-trippers or later in the afternoon after they depart.
Other notable beach destinations include Agios Petros, Ambelaki Beach, and Agia Triada. Bear in mind that some areas of these beaches have been taken over by sunbed and umbrella rentals, but there are still sections where you can lounge for free.
Visit Paleokastritsa Monastery
Perched up on a dramatic cliff just above the Agios Spiridon Bay stands the historic Paleokastritsa Monastery. Although the present complex was constructed in the 18th century, its origins trace back to an original Byzantine Monastery from 1228, making it one Corfu’s oldest.
Visitors can explore the complex, which houses a museum showcasing Byzantine icons and various religious artefacts. Additionally, there’s a shop that offers local products like kumquat preserves, jams, and limoncello.
Even if religious history isn’t your primary interest, a trip to the Monastery is worthwhile simply for its unparalleled views. A designated viewpoint offers a breathtaking panorama of the Ionian Sea and the rugged coastline, with the scene taking on an ethereal beauty during sunset.
To reach the Monastery, you can simply walk up the hill from Agios Spiridon. The journey takes 10-15 minutes, and you can enjoy stunning views over Paleokastritsa along the way. However, exercise caution when walking, as the road is also used by cars.
The path is a little steep but is fairly easy if you have a good level of fitness. If you prefer not to walk, the alternative is to hire a car and drive up there. There is a car park at the top.
As the Paleokastritsa Monastery is still an active religious site, there is a dress code. Be sure to cover your knees and shoulders if you decide to go in.
Have a Cocktail at Sunset at Monastre
If you would like to enjoy an elevated sunset-watching experience, I suggest a visit to Monastre. Situated on the same headland as the Paleokastritsa Monastery – from which it takes its name – this chic restaurant offers breathtaking views.
Monastre prides itself on an exquisite Mediterranean menu, enriched with a unique Corfiot twist and crafted from the region’s finest produce. Guests can dine on an open-air terrace, which provides panoramic views of the sea.
While Monastre is pricier than other local restaurants, the experience is worth it if your budget allows. A multi-course dinner for two with some alcoholic drinks will set you back between €120 and €150 (US $127 to $158).
Nevertheless, you don’t have to go for a full dinner to enjoy the breath-taking sunset views. Monastre also has a bar area directly overlooking the sea. Their drinks menu features a selection of sumptuous craft cocktails, fine wines and local beers. Non-alcoholic drinks are also available.
To get the best spots, I recommend arriving about an hour before sunset. If you would like to enjoy a full meal, I’d suggest booking a table in advance on Monastre’s website.
On our visit, we were lucky enough to secure a table without prior booking, but it was late September. I’d be cautious about trying this spontaneous approach during the busy tourist months of July and August.
Enjoy Delicious Greek Food
Speaking of great food, Paleokastritsa is home to a great selection of restaurants and family-run tavernas. These eateries delightfully showcase famous Greek dishes, with a special nod to unique Corfiot offerings.
Whether you’re craving Greek staples like gyros, souvlaki, moussaka, tzatziki, or the iconic Greek salad, you won’t be disappointed. Nearly every restaurant in Paleokastritsa offers these dishes. Seafood lovers are sure to be delighted by fresh local offerings such as prawns, calamari, and octopus.
As for Corfiot delicacies, here’s what to look out for:
- Sofrito: Tender slices of veal simmered in a fragrant white wine and garlic sauce.
- Bourdeto: A rich fish dish with a kick, featuring a sauce infused with red peppers, onions, and chillies.
- Pastitsada: A hearty casserole that can be made with veal, beef, or even rooster. This dish is cooked in a rich tomato sauce and traditionally served atop pasta.
My favourite restaurants in Paleokastritsa include Nikos and Vrachos, both located at the Agios Spiridon Beach and serving excellent seafood dishes. I also enjoyed our visit to the Dolphin, a traditional family-run restaurant offering an extensive selection of Greek favourites.
If you’d like to find out more about the local eateries, check out this guide to the best restaurants in Paleokastritsa.
Take a Greek Cooking Class
One of the pleasures of travel is sampling local foods. However, if you’re keen to replicate sumptuous Greek dishes back home, I highly recommend adding a cooking class to your list of things to do in Paleokastritsa.
While there are no cooking schools in Paleokastritsa itself, there’s an excellent option within close proximity. My husband and I enjoyed in a memorable culinary experience at the Corfood Bites cooking class.
Located in Afra, just a 20-minute drive from Paleokastritsa, Corfood Bites is run by talented chef and educator Christos. The classes take place at his home, and many of the ingredients come from his own beautiful garden or local producers.
During the class, you will get to make a variety of dishes: a selection of Greek starters, a fresh salad, a main course and a dessert. The menu is ever-evolving, determined by the seasonal availability of produce. And, as a cherry on top, you’ll also try some local wines and liqueurs.
In our session, we got to make tzatziki, a classic Greek Salad, feta filo, Spetsofai (Greek sausage cooked with peppers and onions), and a traditional bean salad. Our main course was the delectable Gemista, featuring peppers generously stuffed with rice. For dessert, we were treated to a divine orange pie.
The class completes with a grand feast where you’ll get to enjoy your culinary creations. It’s a great setting to mingle with locals and other travellers united in their passion for food. Just be sure you don’t eat too much on the day, as there will be a lot of food.
To reach Afra you may need to hire a car. Alternatively, you can contact Christos in advance and arrange a transfer for an extra fee from your accommodation in Paleokastritsa. You can do that through the Corfood Bites website.
Snorkelling and Diving
Thanks to the clear waters and diversity of marine life around Paleokastritsa, the village is a popular destination for diving and snorkelling.
Paleokastritsa is home to the Achilleon Diving Centre that offers courses and diving trips for both newbies and experienced divers alike. If you are completely new to diving, you can earn this skill from scratch and achieve the PADI Scuba Diver rating there.
There are two dozen dive sites to explore around Paleokastritsa, including sea caves, reefs and even shipwrecks, all teeming with marine creatures. The hardest part is to choose where to go. You can see the full range of courses and book your spot on the Achilleon website.
Achilleon runs snorkelling trips as well. But honestly, you can enjoy snorkelling right at the main beaches in Paleokastritsa. Simply get your snorkelling gear and go for a swim. Local souvenir shops stock up plenty of affordable masks and snorkels if you need to buy them.
I have personally enjoyed snorkelling at the Agios Spiridon beach. Be sure to head out before the crowds arrive in the late morning for a chance to spot a wide range of different fish species without having to go far from the shoreline.
Go to Corfu Aquarium
A visit to Corfu Aquarium makes for a great activity, whether you’re escaping a rainy day or the afternoon heat. Both situations are common in Corfu. Although the aquarium is not vast in size, it provides a wonderful opportunity to learn about local marine life.
The Corfu Aquarium is home to a variety of marine species from around Corfu and the wider Mediterranean region. These encompass a range of lobsters and crabs, starfish, scorpion fish, eels, lionfish, and many more.
In addition to the marine displays, the aquarium also features exhibits of reptiles and amphibians from around the globe. Visitors can expect to see an array of snakes, lizards, geckos, turtles, frogs, and even a crocodile.
Tickets to the aquarium are priced at €7.50 (US $8.00) per adult when purchased in advance through the aquarium’s website or €8.00 (US $8.50) if bought at the door.
You can also buy a combo ticket for €20.00 (US $21.20) that includes entry to the aquarium and a trip on a semi-submarine, equipped with an underwater cabin, allowing visitors to see the very creatures introduced at the aquarium in their natural habitat.
If you would like to experience a more traditional side of Corfu, I recommend adding a visit to the village of Lakones to your list of things to do in Paleokastritsa.
Situated high on a hill overlooking Paleokastritsa, Lakones is a quaint village that feels like it’s been frozen in time. With its traditional village square, homes dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, and even a small museum, Lakones provides a refreshing contrast to the more commercialised tourist hubs on Corfu.
During your visit to Lakones, meander through its narrow alleyways, savour a drink or meal at one of the few local cafes, and explore the charming shops. Thanks to its elevated location, the village also boasts spectacular views over Paleokastritsa.
Many cafes capitalise on this vantage point with open-air terraces. However, for one of the most stunning panoramas, head to the Bella Vista viewpoint. Located just a 10-minute walk from Lakones’ main square, it’s must-see. If you decide to make the trek, be cautious, as you’ll be sharing the road with cars and tourist coaches.
If you’re up for an adventure, you can hike up to Lakones directly from Paleokastritsa via an old donkey path. While the trail is quite steep and rugged, it meanders through olive groves and offers breathtaking views along the way. If hiking isn’t your preference, consider renting a car for an easier journey to Lakones.
Another great spot to add to your Paleokastritsa itinerary is Angelokastro, the remnants of a once formidable Byzantine castle perched atop a rugged cliff. Its imposing silhouette can be easily spotted from many of the Paleokastritsa beaches.
Dating back to the 5th-7th century, Angelokastro stands as one of the oldest castles in Greece. Its strategic location provided an unparalleled viewpoint across the island, essential for defending Corfu against potential invasions.
By the 14th century, Angelokastro, along with the entirety of Corfu, fell under Venetian rule. Recognising the castle’s strategic value, the Venetians further fortified the stronghold. However, as centuries passed and the nature of warfare evolved, the importance of castles waned. By the 19th century, Angelokastro was deserted and subsequently fell into decay.
Today’s visitors can trek up the steep path leading to the castle ruins to see the remnants of its walls and structures, including the small church of Archangel Michael nestled atop the fortification. Additionally, Angelokastro offers breathtaking panoramic views of the island.
Access to the castle is possible by car, with parking facilities and a café situated at the base of the hill. Yet, be prepared for a climb, as reaching the castle requires hiking up a steep, uneven pathway.
Admission to Angelokastro is priced at €3 (US $3.30) per person. Entrance is free on Saturdays.
Thanks to its location amongst the hills, it is not surprising that hiking is one of the most popular things to do in Paleokastritsa. If you can get away from the beaches, exploring the region on foot is a great way to discover the beauty of the region.
I previously mentioned the donkey path to Lakones, a challenging hike in itself. For those seeking an extended adventure, I suggest pairing the Lakones hike with a visit to Angelokastro.
This hike will take around 4 to 5 hours to complete, but you will get to enjoy spectacular views over Paleokastritsa, an iconic historic site and some traditional villages along the way. Keep in mind that there are a few steep sections if you decide to tackle this, so a good level of fitness is required.
Alternatively, instead of heading to Angelokastro, you could also go to the Agios Georgios Beach situated just north of Paleokastritsa. You will still need to go through Lakones and the village of Krini to get there.
Agios Georgios is a beautiful, long sandy beach, and we’ve even found that the water there is slightly warmer than in Paleokastritsa. Be mindful, however, of the route’s challenging ascents and descents, and always respect your boundaries.
Yet another great hiking destination from Paleokastritsa is the village of Doukades. This captivating traditional spot showcases quaint historical architecture and offers panoramic vistas of the surrounding region.
Take a Boat Tour
Those looking for a more relaxing way to explore Paleokastritsa might consider joining one of the many boat tours available in the area. This offers a fantastic opportunity to visit ancient sea caves and remote beaches, some of which may only be accessible by boat.
There are two main types of boat tours. The first features a traditional boat with a larger tourist group. These are usually quite affordable, with prices around €20 (US $21) per person. The second type involves a modern speedboat and typically has a much smaller group. This option is pricier, coming in at €50 per person (US $53).
My husband and I took a morning speed boat tour, during which we visited the Agios Georgios and Porto Timoni beaches. The latter is particularly good for snorkelling. As part of our tour, we also explored several sea caves in the vicinity. One advantage of this type of tour is the flexibility it offers. For instance, you might opt to spend more time at a beach instead of touring sea caves.
You can book your tour at one the many boat hire and tour desks scattered around Paleokastritsa. We’ve booked our tour through the Paleokastritsa Travel service. Their office is situated along the main road in Paleokastritsa, right next to the Gran Aladdino restaurant.
Try to book your spot a couple of days before the intended tour date to avoid disappointment.
Hire a Boat
If you prefer to explore the coastline at your own pace, you can opt to hire a boat for the day. In Corfu, those without a boat license can rent a speed boat with a capacity of up to 30hp. For anything more powerful, you will need a license.
The cost of boat rentals varies depending on the season, with prices peaking during popular tourist times. A half-day boat rental typically ranges from 90€ (US $95) to 100€ (US $105), while a full day might cost between 170€ (US $180) and 200€ (US $210).
Before embarking on your journey, you’ll receive a brief tutorial on boat operation. The process is straightforward, and most renters quickly become comfortable with the basics. However, anchoring might prove slightly more challenging; it’s crucial to avoid rocky areas.
Once you’re ready to go, you’ll be free to explore the local area. Hiring your own boat is perfect for finding the more remote beaches, away from the tourist crowds. However, keep in mind that during the peak months of July and August, there can be hundreds of boats out on a any given day.
Find the Perfect Souvenir at Levantes Boutique
Paleokastritsa is home to several shops catering to tourists. These include supermarkets and numerous souvenir outlets that offer beach essentials like towels, snorkelling gear and sunscreen. You will find these types of shops at pretty much any tourist town in Corfu.
For a more unique shopping experience, I suggest visiting Levantes Boutique. Conveniently situated near Agios Spiridon beach and next door to the Zefiros Traditional Hotel, this boutique offers a curated selection of jewellery, accessories, homeware, and clothing, all crafted by local designers and artisans. The shop’s owner, Lina, also showcases her personal artworks for sale.
If you would like to buy a unique souvenir from your trip to Paleokastritsa, Levantes is the best place in the village for that.
When is the Best Time to Go to Paleokastritsa
The hottest months of the year in Paleokastritsa are July and August. Theoretically, this should be the ideal time for those seeking a classic beach holiday.
However, this period coincides with the European school holidays. As a result, it becomes the busiest time of the year when beaches are particularly crowded, and accommodation and tour prices peak. Unless you’re constrained to travel during these months, I would recommend steering clear of the area.
A better alternative would be to visit Paleokastritsa in May, June, or September. The temperatures remain pleasant for beach activities, but the village sees fewer crowds.
Keep in mind that you will see many cruise tourist groups on day trips throughout the whole summer season in Paleokastritsa. However, they tend to arrive in the late morning and leave by late afternoon, so you can still enjoy plenty of quieter times at popular spots.
Additionally, Corfu tends to have higher rainfall compared to other Greek islands. So, don’t be surprised if you experience a few cloudy, or even rainy, days during your stay.
From mid-October to May, many hotels and restaurants shutter their doors due to the off-season. With winter bringing significant rainfall, it’s generally not the best time for a visit.
How to Get to Paleokastritsa
The only public transport mode that you can take to get to Paleokastritsa is the bus. Corfu has an intercity network called the Green Buses that links the capital (Corfu Town or Kerkyra) with various towns across the island.
For Paleokastritsa, board a Green Bus at the main KTEL Green Bus Terminal (Leof. Eptanisou), situated on the outskirts of the historic city centre. You can find the most up-to-date timetable on the Green Bus website or get a paper copy at the bus terminal or a tourist information centre.
The travel time to Paleokastritsa is about 45-50 minutes, depending on traffic. A ticket for a one-way trip costs €2.30 (US $2.40) per person. You can purchase your ticket on the bus from the conductor. Only cash payments are accepted.
Alternatively, if you prefer to travel in more comfort, taxis and private transfers are available. Expect to pay between €40 – €50 per trip. Check out this guide on how to get from Corfu Town to Paleokastritsa for more details on available transport options.
How to Get Around Paleokastritsa
Paleokastritsa is relatively small, with most tourist businesses such as accommodation, restaurants and tour desks concentrated around the main coastal road. You can get around the village on foot, although be prepared for some undulation.
Some visitors to Paleokastritsa hire quad bikes and scooters to get around the area. I’m not a huge fan of the latter because of safety concerns. If you do hire one, be sure to wear a helmet – you’d be surprised how many people don’t do that despite this being illegal – and check that your insurance covers activities like that.
Alternatively, you can hire a car for a few days. This would help you see some of the nearby attractions mentioned in this article such as the Paleokastritsa Monastery, Lakones and Angelokastro, as well as other areas of the island.
Where to Stay in Paleokastritsa
Paleokastritsa is home to a range of self-catering accommodation and traditional hotels. There are also a couple of beach resorts. Most accommodation falls into the budget or mid-range categories.
Here are my favourite options to get you started:
So, now you know about the best things to do in Paleokastritsa. This picturesque village strikes the perfect balance between relaxation and active pursuits. Whether you’re seeking a classic beach holiday or energetic adventures, Paleokastritsa has something for everyone.
Wondering what else there is to do in Corfu? This article outlines the great activities and attractions that this stunning island offers. This pricing guide will help you to get an idea of how much a trip to Corfu would cost.
FAQs: Things to Do in Paleokastritsa
With its wealth of natural beauty and lovely beaches, Paleokastritsa is definitely worth visiting. The village is nestled amongst lush green hills and boasts several scenic beaches. It is also a great base for hiking adventures and water sports including snorkelling, diving and paddleboarding. Even if you are not planning to stay there for a while, it’s worth visiting Paleokastritsa for a day trip just to enjoy scenery.
The name ‘Paleokastritsa’ means ‘Little Old Castle Place’. This name refers to the village’s proximity to Angelokastro, an ancient Byzantine fortress. You can even see the ruins of the castle perched up on top of a high hill from the Agios Spiridon bay area.
The beaches in Paleokastritsa are a mix of pebble and sand. The main beach in the area is Agios Spiridon, is mostly sandy, with some pebbly sections. All local beaches boast calm, blue waters that are perfect for swimming.
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