Corfu’s Marine Life

Corfu’s marine life includes dolphins, loggerhead turtles, and rare Mediterranean monk seals.

DolphinsDolphins

There is just as rich an array of wildlife living beneath the waves around Corfu as there is on land, but of course it isn't quite as easy to see! You will increase your chances if you take one of the many boat trips on offer in resorts all over the island, and if you are really lucky you may find a school of dolphins swimming along beside the boat and occasionally leaping out of the water.

Dolphins aren't common, which is why it's such a treat to see them, but they do exist and it's not a rare sight to see them in the channel inbetween Corfu and Paxos and swimming into Gouviá Bay.

Mediterranean Monk Seals

What you will almost certainly not see is a Mediterranean monk seal, ne of the world's rarest mammals, although there are some in the waters around Corfu. They are a critically endangered species, with only 300-500 thought to be left in the wild, and as they are extremely shy and sensitive to man's presence, you could probably stay on Corfu all your life and not see one.

This is a great pity as at one time they were very common throughout the Mediterranean, hence their name, and they are even mentioned in the writings of Homer and Aristotle,  and were depicted on one of the first coins ever minted, in 500 BC. 

Loggerhead Turtles

Loggerhead turtles also live throughout the Ionian islands, and their nesting grounds include Laganas Bay on Zákynthos and the glorious sandy beach on Corfu’s offshore island of Mathrakí. The problem for the turtle is that it does also like the same beaches of soft sand that humans enjoy.

Where we find it comfortable to lie on and lovely to look at, the female loggerhead turtle finds it the perfect spot to dig a nest and bury her eggs, which then hatch in the hot sand. If people come along and then stick beach umbrellas in the sand, the eggs can get punctured and the embryos die. 

Eggs Hatching

When the eggs do hatch, the young turtles dig their way out of the nest and make their way quickly to the sea. If the beach is developed and has plenty of bars, the young turtles become disoriented by the lights and noise and never make it to the safety of the water. Sadly in Greece, for a long time the needs of the tourists and the desire of local people to make money from bars and beach umbrellas has taken precedence over the needs of the turtles.

Loggerhead Turtle HatchlingsLoggerhead Turtle Hatchlings

It’s only comparatively recently that turtle nesting grounds have been turned into nature reserves and certain rules brought in, restricting human access and activities. A lot more remains to be done. It would be a tragedy if our desire to lie on soft sand, and to make money, meant we were no longer able to share our world with these ancient creatures.

Where to Stay on Corfu



Other Corfu pages

  • Corfu

    Corfu or Kerkyra is the main island in the Greek Ionian islands with Corfu Town being one of the most attractive of Greek island capitals.

  • A Lawrence Durrell Walk

    This Lawrence Durrell walk takes you from Kaminaki Beach in northern Corfu to the White House in Kalami where the writer Lawrence Durrell lived for four year.

  • Northern Corfu

    Northern Corfu is the most diverse part of the island, with Corfu's highest point, Mt Pantokrator, and beach resorts like Sidari and Palaiokastritsa.

  • Kalámi

    Kalami in north-west Corfu is a hidden gem which many people know about because writer Lawrence Durrell once lived here in The White House.

  • Best Things to Do on Corfu

    The best things to do on Corfu include visiting Palaiokastritsa, a day trip to Albania, seeing the Achilleion Palace, and the museums in Corfu Town.

  • Mount Pantokrátor

    Mount Pantokrator is the highest mountain on Corfu and it’s easy to drive to the top for spectacular views of Albania, Corfu, and even sometimes to Italy.

  • Mount Pantokrator Drive

    This Mount Pantokrator drive takes you to the top of Corfu’s highest mountain with wonderful views to Albania, mainland Greece, and around Corfu.

  • Drive to Palaiokastrítsa

    This drive to Palaiokastritsa starts at Corfu airport and takes you across the Ropa Plan and through hill villages before returning to Corfu Town.

  • Where to Eat in North-West Corfu

    Greece Travel Secrets has its list of favourite places where you can eat in north-west Corfu, including in Paleokastritsa, Pelekas, and Ayios Stefanos.

  • Corfu Town

    Corfu Town is the capital of Corfu and of the Ionian Islands and has museums, two forts, several museums, churches, and many other attractions.

  • Northern Corfu Drive

    There are two sides to every Greek island, the tourist and the traditional, and this drive from Corfu Town through northern Corfu shows the two faces of Corfu.

  • Corfu Festivals and Events

    Information for travellers to Greece on Corfu festivals and events including Easter, the Feast of St Spiridhon, Carnival and Name Days.

  • Two Corfu Saints

    The main two Corfu saints are Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of Corfu who saved the island four times from disaster, and Saint Theodora Augusta.

  • Southern Corfu

    Southern Corfu has busy beach resorts like Benitses, historical buildings like the Achilleion Palace and Gardiki Castle, and wildlife at the Korision Lagoon.

  • The Achilleion Palace

    The Achilleion Palace is one of the most visited sights on Corfu and contains a museum and impressive gardens with wonderful views over the coast.

  • Corfu Offshore Islands

    There are three islands off the northwest coast of Corfu, Erikouusa, Othoni and Mathraki, popular with day-trippers from resorts like Sidari.

  • Corfu Food and Drink

    Information for travelers on Corfu Food and Drink including restaurants and tavernas, Corfiot specialties, desserts, wine and other Greek drinks like ouzo.

  • Corfu Climate: Sun, Rain, Winds

    The Corfu Climate page describes the hours of sun, the rain, the winds, to help you plan the best time to visit this Ionian island.

  • Corfu Beer Festival

    The First Corfu Beer Festival took place in Arillas in North West Corfu and celebrated the beer of Bavaria and of Corfu, in the Ionian islands of Greece.

  • Corfu and Cricket

    The history of Corfu and cricket goes back to 1823 when the island was under British rule, which left them with a legacy of loving both cricket and ginger beer.

  • Corfu Wildlife

    Corfu’s wildlife includes rare and colourful birds, snakes, lizards, fireflies, and insects, with plenty of places to watch the wildlife like lakes and lagoons.

  • Corfu’s Special Cuisine

    Corfu’s special cuisine includes dishes like sofrito and pastitsade and the chance to try ginger beer and kumquats.

  • The Corfu Trail

    The Corfu Trail runs from the southernmost point of Corfu at Cape Asprokavos and winds for 220km (137 miles) to the northernmost point near Andinioti Lagoon.

  • The Invasion of Corfu

    From Nero to Nicolas Cage, the invasion of Corfu goes back to Roman times and through to Hollywood today!

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