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.

View of Albania from Mt PantokratorView 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.

Corfu TownCorfu Town

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, CorfuKalami

Kalami

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,

Mount Pantokrator

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 on CorfuView from Mount Pantokrator

Inland

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.

Don't Miss our Northern Corfu Drive!

North Coast

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 SidariHaving Fun with the Rock Formations in Sidari

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, the most famous being a gap between two rocks known as the Canal d’Amour. One story says that any couple swimming through the channel will stay together forever.

Sign for a footpath to Palaiokastritsa

Palaiokastritsa

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.

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.

  • 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’s Marine Life

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

  • 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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