What You Need To Know
Corfu, an island off Greece’s northwest coast in the Ionian Sea, is defined by rugged mountains and a resort-studded shoreline. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the northwesternmost part of Greece. The island is part of the Corfu regional unit, and is administered as a single municipality, which also includes the smaller islands of Ereikoussa, Mathraki and Othonoi. Its rich culture reflects years spent under Italian, French and British rule before it was united with Greece in 1864. Beaches range from the fine sand and shallow waters of Ayios Georgios to the water sports and party atmosphere at Cavos.
Area: 226 mi²
Island group: Ionian Islands
Capital: Corfu Town (Kerkyra)
- The euro is the official currency of Corfu
- ATMs are available all over Corfu in the town and larger resorts. There is a transaction charge of course, but it is the most cost effective way of changing your money into Euros.
Being the most northern island of Greece, Corfu has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, a bit different from the rest of Greece; its climate is characterized by a mild winter and a high level of rainfalls, especially during winter. Summer Weather, Corfu: The summer in Corfu is cooler than in other parts of Greece with temperatures never exceeding 39 degrees Celsius. The important level of humidity is a characteristic of the island’s climate and a common particularity of Corfu with the other Ionian Islands.
Language Spoken on Corfu: Greek, English is widely spoken on the whole island as a second language, while Italian, German and French are also spoken by lots of locals. So, even if in the beginning it might be all Greek to you, you can be assured that you will experience no communication problems in the island.
The island’s history is full of battles and conquests. Castles punctuating strategic locations across the island are a legacy of these struggles. Two of these castles enclose its capital, which is the only city in Greece to be surrounded in such a way. As a result, Corfu’s capital has been officially declared a Kastropolis (“castle city”) by the Greek government. From medieval times and into the 17th century, the island was recognised as a bulwark of the European States against the Ottoman Empire and became one of the most fortified places in Europe. The fortifications of the island were used by the Venetians to defend against Ottoman intrusion into the Adriatic. Corfu repulsed several Ottoman sieges, before falling under British rule following the Napoleonic Wars. Corfu was eventually ceded by the British Empire along with the remaining islands of the United States of the Ionian Islands, and unification with modern Greece was concluded in 1864 under the Treaty of London.
Corfu is generally a very safe destination however, international travellers should exercise sensible precautions. The water in Corfu Town is not preferable to drink, most visitors prefer bottled water. It is widely available, refreshing, and reasonably priced. Outside of town, tap water is drinkable. The low crime rates in the Ionian Isles are slowly climbing due to Corfu’s growing popularity. Urban areas and resorts tend to have higher rates of theft. Nonetheless, always lock up valuables and keep cash in a safe place. Despite growing crime rates, Corfu is still one of the safest, major tourist destinations in Europe.
By bus: There are two types of buses in Corfu – Blue buses serve Corfu town and the environs, Green buses serve the rest of the island. The Blue bus terminal in Corfu Town is in San Rocco Square. The bus information kiosk displays timetables and provides maps showing exactly where the buses terminate (some terminate a few blocks south of the square). Bus stops have electronic displays, and self-service ticket machines. Tickets are single-journey only and must be validated on the bus. They can be bought from the machines, or from the driver. The Green Bus Station is near the New Port, from where buses depart for all villages of Corfu Island. Regular departures to Paleokastritsa, Sidari, Kavos, Roda, Acharavi, Kassiopi.
By taxi: There are plently of taxi lines in Corfu Town. Between the Spaniada and the cricket ground, at the heart of the shopping center of the town in Methodiou street, at the Old Port, at the New Port and many others in Gouvia, Dassia, Benitses, Ipsos, the Airport etc. And there is the radio taxi which can be reached by phone at +30 26610 33811
By Boat: A great way to explore the island and access beaches that can’t be easily accessed otherwise is to rent a boat. Most towns have at least one boat rental company and boats up to 30HP do not require a licence to hire.
By bicycle: An automatic bike sharing scheme, called EasyBike Brainbox is available to rent bicycles