The second stop on our Big Fat Greek Summer vacation was Corfu! The island of Corfu is part of the Ionian Islands and a quick 60 minute flight north-west of Athens.
Corfu has a reputation of being a packaged holiday and a cruise ship destination but it is possible to get off the beaten path. During our visit, we spent 4 relaxing and adventure-filled days exploring the island and its beaches, its tavernas, and its towns. In this post, we share tips and information for those looking to visit Corfu during the busy summer travel season.
How we got here – Our flight itinerary:
Unfortunately, direct flights between most Greek Islands are generally not possible, and so we flew from Mykonos to Athens to catch a flight to Corfu on Aegean Airlines (flights operated by Olympic Airlines). We departed Mykonos on the 09:15 flight and arrived in Corfu around 14:00 (we had a 3 hour layover in Athens). During our layover, we visited the Intra-Schengen Aegean Lounge. The lounge had various salads, sandwiches, fruits, nutrition bars, other snacks, as well as a good selection of red and white Greek wines and beers.
How we got around – Our experience renting a car from Europcar:
We apprehensively decided to rent with Europcar because the price was much more affordable than Hertz or Budget (prices were generally high due to the peak travel time). Europcar is located offsite a short 5 minute shuttle drive away.
We arrived at Europcar to pick-up our car and were informed that they upgraded our reservation. There are not many occasions in which we get concerned about a “complimentary upgrade”, but having received many of these supposed upgrades in the past (typically our small-car booking to something resembling a medium to large size tank) we were worried what this might mean for navigating the narrow, winding roads of Corfu. In this case, we ended up with a Volkswagon Vintage Beetle convertible which ended up being super fun and easy to drive! We found it very easy to deal with Europcar and appreciated how organized they were after our less than organized experience on Mykonos.
Where we stayed – Our stay at Domes Miramare Corfu, Luxury Collection:
One of the reasons we chose to visit Corfu is because we wanted to stay at Domes Miramare Corfu. Domes Miramare Corfu is a seafront adults-only resort, part of the Marriott Luxury Collection portfolio. We found the resort to be very relaxing and beautiful and its location was perfect because we were able to drive to many things within 30 minutes and also walk to town for restaurants. More information and our detailed review is posted here.
Where we ate/drank – Our list of recommendations:
Pesce Fish Bar: Located in Moraitika, Pesce Fish Bar is a small family-owned restaurant that serves us a variety of seafood and sides, as well as house wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages. Pesce Fish Bar is popular with both locals and tourists who want to sit outside and enjoy a simple meal of fresh and affordably-priced seafood. We enjoyed both our meals here and highly recommend their house salad which is a mix of vegetables, oil, and vinegar; we always ordered one even if their chips are delicious! We loved the free appetizer of marinated anchovies that was served after ordering, the grilled sardines, calamari and anchovies were equally delicious.
Taverna Giannitsiss(Γιαννίτσης Ψησταριά-Κρεοπωλείο): Located in Viros, Giannitsiss is a Greek barbecue restaurant that serves lamb or chicken. There is no English menu and so you just have to ask for what you want; we decided to order tzatziki, a Greek salad and one portion of the lamb to share. The lamb portion is 1kg and very filling and so it was perfect to share. This was one of our favorite meals in Corfu because of how delicious everything was and the experience of enjoying this food authentically like the locals do. We found this restaurant using Google Maps.
Village Taverna: Located in the hills of Moraitika, Village Taverna is a family-owned and operated traditional tavern serving up Greek food the way they enjoy it. We enjoyed the food, ambiance, and the service very much! To order, we discussed what we were interested in and got 2 appetizers and 2 entrees (chef’s choice). The appetizers were: grilled zucchini cakes with tzatziki and a bread served with a tomato sauce and cheese on top. As for entrees, we had a sea bream filet (don’t be scared to ask them to filet it for you and eat the skin as recommended by the staff!) and grilled octopus served with their house salad and potatoes. The only thing we didn’t care for was the house dry white wine as it reminded us of retsina. We were too full for dessert but each enjoyed a complimentary after dinner digestive; Jason had a kumquat liqueur and Maxine had ouzo. The Village Taverna is very popular with large groups and has a very jovial atmosphere. Yamas!
Pane E Souvlaki: Located in Corfu town, Pane e Souvlaki serves up souvlaki and other Greek dishes in a casual outdoor setting, and appears to be very popular with tourists. We ordered a Greek salad, eggplant dip, and pork souvlaki portion to share. We enjoyed our meal and would not only return but try the other restaurant part of the group (Psaraki, Greek seafood).
Domes Miramare: We had lunch one day at Makris, the main restaurant at Domes Miramare of Corfu and really enjoyed everything. Yes, we had another Greek salad and various seafood! We always found it interesting to see how different chefs had different recipes and so we never got bored or sick of easting similar things.
Domes of Corfu: We wanted to explore the west coast of Corfu and were interested in the new Autograph Collection Hotel that recently opened, Domes of Corfu and decided to have lunch there (We don’t recommend doing this; we had to arrange it through Domes of Miramare and it just seemed to confuse everyone!). The setting was nice as we had a great view of the beach, the service was really good and friendly, and the food was delicious as well. We are not sure if we would stay here though as it lacks the peaceful and quiet atmosphere of Domes Miramare as Domes of Corfu is more family oriented (AKA as loud kids everywhere!).
Lampadina: Located in Old Town Corfu, Lampadina is a great spot to grab a coffee, beer, cocktail and snack. We stopped in before lunch and had a beer. The staff were so friendly and spent time telling us the story about Nymfi and offered to share a book about it with us after we ordered a Nymfi Beer from Thessaloniki.
Bar Aurum: Located in Moraitika, Bar Aurum is a low-key bar with indoor and outdoor seating. We enjoyed sitting in the garden and having a Corfu Beer.
Corfu Town: It is worth a visit to Corfu Town; you can just walk around or take a Hop On, Hop Off bus. Corfu Town has that architecture that makes you take so many photos of everything you see; it is a perfect example of ancient Venetian and Byzantine art that will be able to fascinate you with its little streets and its panoramic points. There are lots of historical sites, shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars to explore.
Beaches: If you want to enjoy beaches, there is no shortage in Corfu! They range from private to public, some rocky, some sandy, some only accessible by hiking or boating, and many offer free parking. We really enjoyed Prasoudi Beach on the west coast of the island, a quick 15 minute drive from Domes Miramare due to the soft sand, calm waters, the scenery, the free parking, and access to a shower and change room. It is quite generous of the tavern owners to let people park for free and not pressure you to spend money at the taverna.
Corfu Beer: Corfu has a microbrewery and it is easy to find their beers on the island. They were not open for tastings due to COVID but you can visit the beer shop and have a beer outside on the picnic table as well as purchase some to take with you.
Cash VS Credit Card: We heard that many places only accept cash and so we prepared accordingly. Most of the restaurants we ate at accepted cards but the tip is paid in cash and so you need to have small change for tips. We just found it easier to pay with cash and round up to leave tips.
Business Names in Greek VS English: You may find a business name in English on TripAdvisor but their sign will be in Greek. If using Google Maps to find businesses, the names will often be in Greek only. This can be a little confusing and so using street and satellite view can help you find what you are looking for!
Weather: It was very warm and humid on the island of Corfu. During our stay, it rained and there were thunderstorms off and on for about 1.5 days. According to local people, it is normal to get some thunderstorms and rain, then to have a few days of clear weather.
Wasps: We visited during wasps season and the wasps in Corfu are relentless and some are the size of small birds! Restaurants will offer to burn coffee grounds to help keep them away from you as you enjoy your meal!
Local Products: Corfu is not known for wine but you can find Greek wine everywhere. They are also known for kumquat and lemon liqueur (Lazaris is a renowned producer of these liqueurs and sweets), as well as olive oil (The Governor’s Mill offers tours and tastings).
The Durrell House: If you’ve seen the series about the Durrell’s, you may want to go visit the house. The house is not open to the public though and it is hard to get a good look at it if you are not on the water. We decided to stop in to see if we could catch a glimpse of it on our way to the north part of the island but were unsuccessful so don’t go out of your way for this!
We really enjoyed our visit to Corfu and would definitely visit again as we feel that we would have needed an extra 2-3 days to visit all the places on our list. Staying at the Domes Miramare was a lovely experience that made our visit to the island even more enjoyable. We feel that Corfu has enough things to do for adventure without feeling you need to be so busy you don’t have time to relax.
Do you have any recommendations to add to our list for Corfu? Have you been to Corfu? If yes, did you enjoy your visit?