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 southern half of Corfu, from the capital down, is much less mountainous than the north but is much more varied in its landscape. The wildlife here is much more of the natural rather than the human variety, although there is one notable blot on the landscape, the package holiday resort of Kavos almost at the southern tip, and given its 24-hour party atmosphere that is probably the best place for it.
The Achilleion was built in 1890-91 on behalf of the Empress Elizabeth of Austria (1837-98), wife of the Emperor Franz Joseph (1830-1916). Elizabeth used her new palace as a retreat from the difficulties she was experiencing at the Hapsburg court at the time, not least the unfaithfulness of her husband. Elizabeth’s second son, the Archduke Rudolph, had also committed suicide at Mayerling. See our full page on the Achilleion Palace.
The Achilleion Palace
Nothing could be further from the rarified atmosphere of the Achilleion than the mass holiday resort of Benitses, a few kilometers down the coast. Its main appeal is to young people out for a good time, and in midsummer little remains of its Greek origins as a fishing village, but if visiting in spring and autumn you might be able to get a glimpse of the way things used to be. There are a few Roman remains here, including part of an old bathhouse, but hardly worth breaking a journey to try to find. See our page on Benitses for more details.
Beyond Benitses the resorts are more spread out, and you can enjoy driving down the coastal road with the Ionian Sea on your left and green hills dotted with villas on your right. The bustle builds up again as you approach the twin resorts of Moraitika and Mesongi, now more or less merged into one, and just south of here on the western coast is one of the most interesting areas in the south, the Korision Lagoon.
It is not in resorts like Benitses that you will find the best beaches on Corfu – in fact the one at Benitses is very poor – but here alongside the Korision Lagoon. The lagoon stretches for about 5km (3 miles), cut off from the Ionian Sea only by equally long expanses of beach and sand dune. They are far from undiscovered, but so big compared to the number of people who venture here that you are sure to be able to find some quiet stretches to yourself.
The peacefulness attracts wildlife, which also appreciates the abundance of fresh water that the lagoon provides, which is rare on Corfu despite its greenness. You may see ibis and egrets, along with waders such as sandpipers and avocets, while rare Jersey orchids flower here in the spring.
Some Cool Corfu Souvenirs
Paleokastritsa Luggage Tag
Corfu Cypresses Capri Leggings
To the north of the lagoon stands Gardiki Castle (open access), which was built in the 13th century by Michail Angelos Komninos II, the Byzantine Despot of Epirus and the man also responsible for the Angelokastro near Palaiokastritsa. The walls and some of the towers of Gardiki still stand, and near here some of the oldest human remains on Corfu have been found, dated back to 40,000BC.
Where to Stay on Corfu
Other Corfu pages
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.
Corfu writers and artists inspired by the island include both residents and visitors, like Gerald and Lawrence Durrell, Edward Lear, and Henry Miller.
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.
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’s wildlife includes rare and colourful birds, snakes, lizards, fireflies, and insects, with plenty of places to watch the wildlife like lakes and lagoons.
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.
Corfu’s marine life includes dolphins, loggerhead turtles, and rare Mediterranean monk seals.
Benitses is a popular resort town south of Corfu Town with its own marina, remains of a Roman Baths, an old town, and plenty of walks inland.
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.
Northern Corfu’s beaches and villages include busy resorts and secluded beaches, with several hill and mountain villages well worth visiting.
Corfu’s special cuisine includes dishes like sofrito and pastitsade and the chance to try ginger beer and kumquats.
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.
Angelokastro is a 13th-century hilltop fortress with breath-taking views near Paleokastritsa on the Greek island of Corfu in the Ionian Islands.
There are three islands off the northwest coast of Corfu, Erikouusa, Othoni and Mathraki, popular with day-trippers from resorts like Sidari.
Corfu Town’s Old Fortress is the town’s most striking landmark, standing east of the Old Town on top of a rocky promontory.
This Southern Corfu drive starts and ends in Moraïtika, taking in hill villages, secluded beaches, lovely views, and a visit to Gardiki Castle.
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.
These Corfu shopping tips include advice on buying souvenirs like ceramics, jewelry, gold, silver, wood carvings, and food and drink, with tips on haggling.
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.
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.
This Mount Pantokrator drive takes you to the top of Corfu’s highest mountain with wonderful views to Albania, mainland Greece, and around Corfu.
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.
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.
From Nero to Nicolas Cage, the invasion of Corfu goes back to Roman times and through to Hollywood today!
The Korission Lagoon on the west coast of Corfu is also called Lake Korission and has abundant wildlife, especially birds, and one of the best beaches on Corfu.
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