Corfu stopover during a cruise: an island to discover
Corfu: what to do and see on this splendid Greek island during a cruise stopover. Here is the Cruising Journal advice and information for the perfect visit.
The splendid island of Corfu is one of the top destinations for Eastern Mediterranean cruises. The large cruise ships dock at the port that is a few kilometers away from the capital city of the same name as the island.
Known for its fun nightlife, it will wow you with its beautiful beaches, unmatched nature and variety of landscapes. What can you do on Corfu for just a few hours? If you aren’t interested in the guided tours but want to explore the island on your own, keep reading for our top tips!
Upon disembarking you can choose to visit the island in one of two ways:
→ Jump in a taxi, choose a destination to visit and enjoy yourself on your terms before returning to the ship, again with a taxi (you can even make arrangements at the beginning of the day to be picked up by the same taxi for your return trip). The tourist spot that is closest is the town of Corfu (the capital city), just 2 km away and the cost of the ride shouldn’t be more than 8 euros.
In the town of Corfu you can admire the Venetian influence of the architecture that is visible in the fortresses, castles and homes on the island. If instead you are looking for a few hours of pure fun I recommend the beach destinations like Dassia, Gouvia or Ipsos. These locations are just 10/15 km away, so the cost of the taxi is a bit higher. It is worth visiting their incredible beaches and characteristic taverns and eateries with live music where you can enjoy a cocktail while soaking in the marvelous views this island has to offer.
→ The second possibility is that of renting your own transportation from the closest car rental agency which can be reached by taxi or bus whichever you prefer (obviously research the opening hours and distance before doing so and decide based on the amount of time you have at your disposal). You can rent both cars and scooters on this island. I recommend renting a car because the roads of Corfu are often not the best (unpaved roads) but at the same time scooters can be great for finding parking, given that you are probably squeezed for time. You’ll have to decide based on your needs. You can then explore the island at your own pace, completely free and autonomous (map out your route ahead of time so you don’t waste time the day you’re on the island).
The most charming sites on Corfu:
→ Achilleion Palace, the Palace of Sisi. Located 10 km from the old town (Corfu), the palace is a real oasis of serenity that was built for Empress Sisi to escape from the austerity of Vienna, from the strict royal protocol but, above all, to recover from the depression caused by the loss of her only son. HOW TO GET THERE? Take bus 10 from Corfu Town to ACHILLEION (Gastouri village). OPENING HOURS: from June to September every day from 8 AM to 7 PM. from September to May from 9 AM to 3:30 PM. TICKET COST is 7 euros.
→ Vlachèrna and Pontikonissi Monastery. The symbol of the island and the most photographed tourist attraction, especially at sunset. This splendid white church, characterized by the typical bell tower found on Orthodox places of worship, is located in the Kanoni Peninsula 4 km from the city. HOW TO GET THERE? Walk or take bus 2A from Corfu or by boat (2.50 euros). FREE ENTRANCE to the monastery.
→ Pelekas. Small mountain village surrounded by olive trees, located 12 km from downtown Corfu, it offers the most beautiful vistas on the island. Walking through the picturesque streets of the village of Pelekes was the favorite pastime of William II, Emperor of Prussia and Germany. You can climb up to Kaiser’s Throne, nicknamed “the entrepreneur’s throne”, an observatory perched up high from where you can enjoy a 360° panoramic view. HOW TO GET THERE? Take bus 11 from the town of Corfu.
→ Paleokastrisa. One of the most fascinating places on the island. To make it even more romantic is the mythological encounter said to have occurred between Ulysses and Nausicaa on one of the beaches in the area. Paleokastritsa has jagged and rocky bays and inlets of sand and rock. The most interesting aspect is that you can move freely during the day using the taxi boats that lead to the most hidden destinations in the bay. HOW TO GET THERE? Take bus A9 from Corfu.
→ Sidari, the channel of love. The most romantic spot on the island of Corfu. According to local legend, couples who swim in the waters of the channel are destined to get married soon after. Sidari is a renowned seaside resort that is lively both day and night and frequented by both young people and families. HOW TO GET THERE? Take bus A2 from the town of Corfu.
One small piece of advice regarding renting a car or hiring a taxi: negotiate and decide on a price before using the service. Specify whether you are talking about a per person cost or for the entire car or taxi.
I hope this information is useful to you and wish you a pleasant stay on this island of a thousand colors.
Don’t miss out on all the information, opinions and advice on Cruising Journal, with Reviews, photos and cruise specials.