Northern Corfu is the most diverse part of the island, with Corfu's highest point, Mt Pantokrator, and beach resorts like Sidari and Palaiokastritsa.
View of Albania from Mt Pantokrator
The northern half of Corfu is the most dramatically diverse part of the island, although if you drive north out of Corfu Town along the main coast road you would be forgiven for assuming that it was going to be nothing but a long string of similar-looking holiday resorts. With bronzing bodies on one side and disco strips on the other, the first few kilometers give no indication of this historically and geographically rich island.
North from Corfu Town
The first few resorts – Gouvia, Dasia, Ypsos and Pyrgi – do have their advantages, and certainly have good beaches and watersports facilities, which is why they are popular with families from all over Europe, including Greece. But they have long since lost any sense of individuality. It is not until the road reaches near to the lower slopes of Mount Pantokrator, the highest point on Corfu, that villages like Nisaki and later Kalami start to show signs of their original Greek appeal.
Kalami in particular manages to stay much as it has always been, albeit with an increase in tourism, especially day-visitors come from other resorts. One of its claims to fame is that in the White House, just behind the beach, the British writer Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990) lived while writing his book about Corfu, Prospero’s Cell. He was visited here by his friend Henry Miller (1891-1980), whose own book The Colossus of Maroussi includes his visit to Corfu and remains one of the most vivid books ever written about Greece,
Places like Nisaki and Kalami are wonderfully enhanced by having the towering shape of Mt Pantokrator as backdrops, rising so steeply in places that its highest point (906m/2972ft) is only 3km/1.9 miles from the coast as the crow flies. Its bulk fits the translation of its name perfectly: the Almighty. It truly does dominate northern Corfu, visible from almost everywhere.
It’s possible to drive all the way to the top, if you don’t mind a bit of bumping towards the end, but the best approach is on foot, as it is criss-crossed with paths and the flowers, especially in spring, are spectacular. At the top are a small monastery and an electricity pylon, and seemingly endless views over the island and across the sea to Albania.
View from Mount Pantokrator
The interior of northern Corfu has lots of mountain villages worth exploring. Apart from the occasional coach passing through on a scenic drive, the villagers live in a world hardly affected by the tens of thousands of tourists just a few kilometers away on the beaches.
The northern coast of Corfu has its own variety, and even within one of its busiest resorts – Kassiopi in the east – it manages to combine bustle with friendliness, not to mention a scenic setting around a small harbour with a wooded headland at either end. Fishermen and watersports enthusiasts both enjoy the waters, and no less a person than the Emperor Nero is said to have visited a Temple of Jupiter here, though it no longer exists.
Having Fun with the Rock Formations in Sidari
The main resort in the west is Sidari, which is known to have had one of the first Neolithic settlements on Corfu, dating back to 7000BC. Today one of its main attractions – beaches aside - is the unusual nature of its rock formations, the sandstone having been weathered by wind and rain into surreal swirls. See our separate Sidari page.
Sidari is distinct and so too is the major west coast resort of Palaiokastritsa. So strong was its appeal to one of the British High Commissioners on Corfu, Sir Frederick Adam (Commissioner from 1824-31), that he had the modern road built to make access easier for him from Corfu Town.
It is easy to see the attraction. Here green wooded headlands stand over a deep blue sea, with a road zigzagging down to a cluster of coves and sandy beaches, from where boats ride out to visit hidden grottoes. With the 17th century monastery of Moni Theotokou and the ruins of a 13th century Byzantine fortress both close at hand, it would be hard to design a more perfect Greek holiday spot. For more information, see our main Palaiokastritsa page.
Some Cool Corfu Souvenirs
Paleokastritsa Luggage Tag
Corfu Cypresses Capri Leggings
Where to Stay on Corfu
Other Corfu pages
Greece Travel Secrets’ pick of where to stay in southern Corfu including hotels in Moraïtika, Paramonas, Messonghi, Agios Georgios, and near Benitses.
Greece Travel Secrets picks where to stay in northern Corfu with budget and luxury hotels in Sidari, Daphnila Bay, Kontokali, Ipsos, Barbati and more.
Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in north-west and central Corfu including luxury mansions, inexpensive rooms, and resort hotels.
This is the Greece Travel Secrets selection of where to eat in northern Corfu, from classy restaurants and traditional tavernas to beachside fish tavernas.
Greece Travel Secrets has its list of favourite places where you can eat in north-west Corfu, including in Paleokastritsa, Pelekas, and Ayios Stefanos.
Donna Dailey of Greece Travel Secrets visits Albania by boat from Corfu Town, staying overnight and seeing archaeological sites with Sipa Tours.
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.
From Nero to Nicolas Cage, the invasion of Corfu goes back to Roman times and through to Hollywood today!
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.
Southern Corfu has busy beach resorts like Benitses, historical buildings like the Achilleion Palace and Gardiki Castle, and wildlife at the Korision Lagoon.
This Southern Corfu drive starts and ends in Moraïtika, taking in hill villages, secluded beaches, lovely views, and a visit to Gardiki Castle.
This guide to southern Corfu’s beaches and villages includes busy resorts, quiet beach, hill villages and the southernmost tip of Corfu at Cape Asprókavos.
If you want to tour northern Corfu in three days you can see busy resorts, quiet fishing villages, Mount Pantokrator, and the Andinioti Lagoon.
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.
Northern Corfu’s beaches and villages include busy resorts and secluded beaches, with several hill and mountain villages well worth visiting.
North-West Corfu’s beaches and villages include busy resorts, quiet beaches, hill villages, and places ideal for watching the sunset,
These fun facts about Corfu include how the island got its name, who wrote the Greek National Anthem, and the eccentric Englishman, the Earl of Guilford.
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.
Corfu writers and artists inspired by the island include both residents and visitors, like Gerald and Lawrence Durrell, Edward Lear, and Henry Miller.
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 Town is the capital of Corfu and of the Ionian Islands and has museums, two forts, several museums, churches, and many other attractions.
Corfu Town’s Old Fortress is the town’s most striking landmark, standing east of the Old Town on top of a rocky promontory.
Corfu’s special cuisine includes dishes like sofrito and pastitsade and the chance to try ginger beer and kumquats.
These Corfu shopping tips include advice on buying souvenirs like ceramics, jewelry, gold, silver, wood carvings, and food and drink, with tips on haggling.
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