With an area of almost 590 square kilometers, Corfu is the second largest Ionian island, after Kefalonia (688 km2). Located off Greece’s west coast near the border to Albania, Corfu is a paradise island. Called Kérkyra in Greek due to its fertile soil and lush vegetation, including 36 varieties of orchids and four million olive trees, you are sure to agree that the name of this “green island” is appropriate. Likely settled about 3200 years ago, archaeological findings show the permanent presence of inhabitants on Corfu since the 8th century BC. Since then, the Macedonians, Romans, Ottomans, Sicilians, French, Neapolitans, Albanians, Venetians, English, Italians, and Germans have all had control of the island. After 1945, Greece finally regained Corfu as its own. The island has steadily grown as a destination for relaxing and water-sport-filled vacations. Corfu’s 220 kilometer long coastline provides plenty of opportunity for lying on the beach or taking advantage of the beautiful sea with some of the many water activities available off the island. There are now 97,000 people living in Corfu’s twelve municipalities – Agios Georgios, Achillio, Esperies, Feakes, Kassiopi, Korissia, Lefkimmi, Melitia, Paleokastritsa, Parelli, Thinali and in the city Corfu. 40,000 of those people live in the city Corfu, which is also the island’s capital. Historically, the militaristic and strategic importance of the 71 kilometer-wide Strait of Otranto’s placement, between the heel of Italy’s boot and the Albanian city Vlora, is what the area was most used for. Today, however, the strait serves as a free trade and transportation route as well as popular a sailing area closer to shore. More islands, coasts and towns comfortably reachable in day- or week-long routes from Corfu are the very close Diopontia islands Othonoi, Errikousa and Mathraki in the northwest, the exactly one-hectare-large island Pontikonisi (mouse island) in the east, the Paxi island group in the south, including the islands Paxos and Antipaxos, as well as the southern island region including Lefkada and the Tilevoides islands – Skorpios, Meganisi, Kalamos, and Kastos. The Karaburun Peninsula and the Albanian Riviera around Vlora, Himara, Palasa, Dhërmi, Orikum, Selenica, Vuno, Pilur and Qeparo and their marinas in the very close neighboring country can also be reached by boat in no time flat.
The largest and most modern marinas on Corfu can be found in Benitses in the south, Gouvia north of Corfu city, Paleokastritsa in the west and Petriti in the east. More ports and marinas well suited for sport boats include Ipsos, Kavos, Lefkimmi, Agios Stephanos as well as Sayiádha on the nearby mainland. Except for the more than 1200 mooring spots in Gouvia, the places available at bays further north, such as in Dapnila Bay, Agni, Kalami, and Kouloura, are less plentiful. Other useful docking spots on the rather rawer west coast can be found at Meltemi Bay, the Bay of Lakka with a marina with an excellent reputation, Kassiopi, Gaios, Longos, Mongonisi, Grotta Bay on Paxos and the Vrika and Voutoumi Bay on Antipaxos. A sailing route from Corfu to Paxos via Antipaxos, Kefalonia, Ithaka, Meganissi, Lefkas, Sivota, and back again makes for an enjoyable cruise around the region. Further route recommendations for the Ionian islands can be found here or at YACHTICO.com . In the Corfu region, a generally reliable wind comes in from the north around mid-day. The winds register at a five on the Beaufort scale, but in the summer there is also the possibility of thunderstorms and heavy rains, which severely restrict visibility. There is no lack of bathing beaches of all kinds on Corfu, and the southwest is particularly rich with them: visit Mirtiotissa, Marathias, Pelekas, Agios Georgios/Pagi, Barbati, Ermones, Gardeno, Arillas, Agios Gordios, and Agios Stefanos to experience a well-known beach in the southwest.
On the western shore of the island, spend time on the especially beautiful Sidari, Kavos, Roda/Acharavi, Paleokastritsa and Glifada beaches. In the north, the small island of Vido has consistently gained visitors since the 1980s due to its two beaches and the breathtaking dive sites off the island. Underwater sport enthusiasts get their money’s worth on Corfu with the many possibilities available on the island. Dives are conducted in English and German, among other languages, at sites including Barbati, Ermones and Paleokastritsa and the popular diving sites off the nearby island Skeloudi. Further known and worthwhile dive sites on Corfu are Bobby Rock, La Villa and Christallo, Monastery Bay, Poseidon’s Garden, Camel Rock, the Monastery Wall, the West Point, the Riffs of Lazaretto and Angelokastro, the Rocks of Kolovri and Tholeta and the Odysseus Promontory. The best areas for surfing on the island are found on the east and north coasts, such as at the Bay of Agios Georgios. With its gently sloping beach, Agios Georgios is also a good place for beginning surfers to learn the sport. East of Kassiopi, the small Avlaki Bay offers a flat beach and quiet atmosphere. Vassiliki Bay on the island Lefkada, south of Corfu, is an internationally recognized surfing location, and therefore also heavily visited. For a particularly nice destination for the whole family in the hot summer temperatures, the 75,000 square kilometer water park “Aqualand” in Agios Ioannis, in the middle of Corfu, is a good bet. With many different swimming pools, a special pool for small children, 38 different water slides, three wave pools and more, the park makes a fantastic activity for everyone in the family. It is open daily from May to October from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
The Bay of Kalami near Kassiopi in the northeast, with its quiet winds and waters, you will find the perfect place for sea kayaking. Stands at Glyfada and Avlaki will provide you with a place to rent a boat. In Agios Gordios in the northeast, starting at the more than 900-meter-high Mount Pantokrator, you can demonstrate your courage by paragliding from the mountain. If you’d rather go into the ground than jump from it, take an excursion into the caves, including Klimatia Cave, Grava Loutson near Loutses, or Anapaftiria and Kato Perithea near Kassiopi. A center for waterskiing and wakeboarding, the area around the city Gouvia and on the rest of the east coast offer many offers and renting places for those sports. In contrast to other Greek islands, Corfu’s waters have not yet been overfished, meaning fish still live, reproduce, and are plentiful in the region. The area around Benitses is one of the best fishing regions in the entire country, though the fishable species are generally small ones. Nevertheless, there is plenty of octopus in red wine sauce and mussels and crevettes (kokkinisto), very typical classic island cooking, available in the small taverns and restaurants all over the island. Some specialties are also offered, such as veal with quince (moshari me kydonia), veal in garlic sauce (sofrito kerkyras), and above all, the tasty stew “pastitsada”, with chicken or beef, olive oil, onions, wine, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon, tomato paste, salt, pepper and noodles. With coffee or as a dessert, a walnut pastry called “karidopitta” and a puff pastry treat called “bugatsa” are often available, and also pair nicely with a small glass of the traditional kumquat liqueur “koum kouat”.
358 sailboats and 70 catamarans are available to book for a charter sailing holiday in Corfu through YACHTICO.com, the new international platform for boat charters of all kinds. In just a few clicks at YACHTICO.com, you can book the perfect boat for a sailing trip from Corfu. Available boats were built from 2000 to 2013, with the majority having been built from 2005 to 2008, and are rentable from prices ranging from 840 euros a week to at most 15,300 euros per week, for the larger and more luxurious yachts. Well known sailing regattas in the region are those from Trieste to Corfu with a stop in Orikum, from Corfu to Crete and back, and the Rimini-Corfu-Rimini Race.