We never used to holiday in the same place more than once, but we’ve been to north Corfu three times in the last few years because it’s absolutely charming.
We’ve grown rather fond of the north east of Corfu and have stayed twice in the Kalami Bay area. Our northern Corfu holidays consist of waterfront seafood and tzatziki dinners, toes in the shingles and a rust-coloured sunset lighting up the mountains of Albania. It’s hopping on a water taxi to a remote bay where a single traditional taverna has been welcoming guests for decades. It’s glistening green ocean backed by pine and olive tree-covered mountains.
Are you starting to see why we like it?
Corfu holidays are also super convenient. Multiple airlines offer direct flights from the UK and we’ve found both package deals and villa rentals on this island far more affordable than other parts of Greece.
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Where to stay in northern Corfu
On two of our previous visits to Corfu we based ourselves in Kalami, a small bay on the north east coast of Corfu that has a handful of traditional tavernas and more trendy eateries like Callao Corfu and The White House Restaurant.
If you’ve ever watched the TV show The Durrell’s you may recognise Kalami Bay, as The White House Restaurant is found in the former residence of Laurence Durrell.
We love this area because it’s laidback and not super trendy but there is an array of waterfront eateries that make every meal special. Amenities including 2 small supermarkets and a tour office are found directly behind the beach. And you can catch water taxis from the wobbly piers to explore the local area, so you don’t need to hire a car if you don’t want to drive through the mountains.
You can fly and flop to the adults-only San Antonio Resort like we did on our first trip, or you can stay in one of the traditional villas dotted throughout the hills like we did on our second visit. (More details below.)
There’s accommodation for every type of budget and they all share the most incredible views, which is what I love most about Kalami. The views. My goodness, I can never get enough of those sunsets.
Best places to visit in North Corfu
The best thing to do in North Corfu is to explore all the gorgeous secluded bays and swimming spots dotted along the north coast of the island.
There are a couple of main options for getting around. You can join a boat trip from Kassiopi, hire your own boat from San Stefano, hop in a water taxi from larger tourist resorts like Paleokastritsa, or hire a car, which is what we did.
Some of the most beautiful places to visit in North Corfu are:
Bataria Beach in Kassiopi
Perched on a peninsular on the north-west tip of Corfu, the water on Bataria Beach is crystal clear and was the perfect temperature for swimming even at the end of September.
There are sunloungers for rent and parking nearby so it’s a convenient spot if you’re driving around the island.
Bring water shoes though – those pebbles are a killer when you are getting in and out of the ocean!
For lunch head to Kassopi, where you’ll find a number of restaurants looking out over the picturesque harbour. Then, burn off the calories with a walk around the ruins of the Byzantine castle afterwards.
Kassopi is also the best place for shopping in north Corfu. It’s not a huge resort town but there are a few lovely boutiques selling jewellery, beachwear and souvenirs.
Liapades & Rovinia Beach
Liapades Beach, found on Corfu’s north-west coast, south of the resort of Paleokastritsa, is like nowhere else I’ve ever been in Greece. It’s a relatively small, organised beach that I imagine can get crowded during peak season, but, my goodness, this setting has to be seen to believed.
Tall, tree-lined limestone cliffs surround the emerald green water. It felt somewhat Italian or Balkan due to the landscape, but the gyros and mythos meal deal (a bargain at 3.90 Euro) the beachfront restaurants offer leave you in no doubt of your location.
Parking can be difficult around here. We managed to get parked up the hill near the village but it is a steep walk back to the car at the end of the day. If you’re staying in or visiting Paleokastritsa, you might find it easier to visit Liapades via a water taxi.
We hopped in a water taxi from Liapades to visit neighbouring Rovinia Beach. It’s a super quick and scenic journey to Rovinia, which has nothing there apart from a canteen boat serving frappe and snacks, if you’re lucky.
Many people choose to hike from Liapades to Rovinia as it offers the best views of Liapades Beach, but having checked out the path we decided not to do it with a toddler.
If you have more time, a boat trip along the coast to beaches south of Liapades is one of the most popular things to do in North Corfu. Chomi Beach is backed by huge limestone cliffs and is absolutely stunning.
North of Paleokastritsa are the twin beaches of Porto Timoni that are best enjoyed from the Porto Timoni Viewpoint.
We are yet to make it here as I’ve either been pregnant or with a toddler on our trips to Corfu and it’s a steep 20-minute hike down from the scenic hilltop village of Afionas to get there.
It’s on the list for our next visit though. Just look at it!
Situated on the north-western tip of Corfu is the jaw-dropping Cape Drastis viewpoint. I honestly had no idea Corfu looked like this – did you?
We drove to the Cape Drastis viewpoint during our stay at Ikos Odisia and found the drive relatively easy and straightforward. There is free parking at the viewpoint but the car park is tiny so most people parked on the side of the road as you approached it.
It’s just a few minutes walk from where you park to see this view. There is a path that continues down the cliff towards the beach but we did not attempt it with a little one! We drove to nearby Canal D’Amour for a swim instead.
If you don’t want to drive this would be a wonderful place to explore by boat. You can pick up a private boat rental in Sidari to explore Cape Drastis, Canal D’Amour and Mermaid Island.
Corfu’s Canal D’Amour (meaning Channel of Love) is one of the most distinctive beaches on the island.
Situated on the north west coast of Corfu, near the resort town of Sidari, the Canal D’Amour has really unusual lunar-like rock formations that have formed a perfect turquoise channel leading to a small sandy beach.
It’s a very popular spot and the beach is not big enough for you to spend long on, but after our drive to the Cape Drastis viewpoint it was the perfect place to cool off with a quick dip.
We found it easy to park at the Canal D’Amour Central Parking. Parking is priced at a flat rate of 5 euro per day. You’ll need cash.
Overall we much prefer to stay on the north east coast of Corfu which has more charming traditional tavernas and villas, but I would recommend driving or sailing to the north west tip in order to see the unique coastline. The sunsets on this side of the island are excellent too.
For something a bit different head to the once-abandoned historic mountain village of Old Perithia.
Old Perithia is known as Corfu’s oldest village. It was settled back in the 14th century but became abandoned around the 1960s when tourism on the coast became more popular.
After a boutique hotel opened in the ‘ghost town’ in 2010 it’s enjoyed somewhat of a tourism resurgence. Today, you’ll find 5 little tavernas and a couple of souvenir shops dotted in-between the ancient churches and abandoned stone buildings.
It’s a popular spot for mountain hiking but also just an interesting place to come for a traditional Corfiat lunch, which is what we did.
Although technically in the middle of the island, you can’t come to Corfu and not explore Corfu Town, even if it’s just for a few hours before flying home from the nearby airport.
Corfu Town is found half way down the east coast of the island, in a strategic position at the mouth of the Adriatic Sea, which means it has been under the control of almost everyone from the Romans, to Normans, Venetians, French and British. They each left their mark on the Old Town’s fascinating architecture, which is an eclectic mix of pastel-coloured Venetian houses, ancient stone fortresses, British palaces and Greek Orthodox churches.
Join a walking tour to learn more about this fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site. Or simply get lost in the laneways with a gyros in hand, soaking up the atmosphere.
If you need to cool off, head to chic beach club and restaurant Iambari Corfu for cocktails and a swim.
Best day trips from North Corfu
In terms of day trips from Corfu, you are spoilt for choice with a number of excursions that include boat trips to neighbouring Greek islands such as Paxos and Antipaxos, Parga on the Greek mainland, or even a visit to Albania.
We had our heart set on this popular day trip to Paxos, Antipaxos and the Blue Caves but unfortunately Corfu experienced some really bad weather in late September last year and the boat trips were cancelled.
Again, one for the list for our next visit.
Best places to eat in North Corfu
Our favourite thing to do in Corfu is to choose a different beachfront taverna to dine at every evening. From Kalami you can take a taxi boat to the traditional seafront tavernas in Agni, where you’ll find not only enjoy gorgeous food and sunset views, but getting whooshed back home in the dark after dinner adds a little thrill to the evening!
Our favourite places to eat in north Corfu are:
Callao Corfu – I absolutely love the chic, chilled vibes at this all-day beachfront bar and restaurant in Kalami. With a modern Mediterranean menu, the food here is seriously good and goes down perfectly with the exceptional sunset views. Don’t miss their Corfu Spritz, made with kumquat liqueur and ginger beer. It’s simply delicious.
The White House – One of the most sophisticated restaurants in this part of Corfu also has an enviable waterfront position and oodles of history too. The former Durrell residence is now an upmarket eatery where you can drop by on a boat for breakfast, lunch or dinner or simply stop by for a coffee and a swim. It’s an absolute must-visit in this part of Corfu and the lovely thing is families are welcome too.
Dimitri’s Restaurant – High on the hills above Kalami is Dimitri’s Restaurant. Here you can enjoy their signature DIY gyros with stunning views out to Albania. We love that they offer a free transfer from your accommodation up to the restaurant with charismatic Georgios.
Taverna Agni – Our favourite place to dine on Agni Bay is Taverna Agni. (We’ve also dined at the popular Nikolas Taverna in Agni and were disappointed with the food and service.) Their seafood and bbq grill are excellent and the taxi boat back home in the dark after dinner is always a fun way to end the evening!
Kalami Beach Taverna – For a more traditional Greek dining experience on the waterfront in Kalami, we recommend the Kalami Beach Taverna.
Cavo Barbaro – Situated on secluded Avlaki Beach is hidden gem Cavo Barbaro, which is a friendly, family-run restaurant with lots of repeat customers. We loved the desserts and the views at this restaurant, and also the intriguing drive to get there. Our route to Cavo Barbaro from our villa took us through the Erimitis Peninsular – one of the last remaining undeveloped corners of Corfu – and past a hugely stately-looking estate I have since learned belongs to the Rothchilds.
Eucalyptus Seaside Taverna – Tucked away in the corner of San Stefano Harbour is the traditional olive press of the Petropoulos family, which has been operating as a taverna since 1983. With a focus on seafood and local ingredients, Eucalyptus was a fab recommendation from our hosts.
Note: I would recommend making restaurant reservations online in advance if you can – even it’s just on the day. If you plan to take the taxi boat to Agni or free transfer to Dimitri’s you’ll need to request these in advance too.
Where we’ve stayed in North Corfu
For our more recent visit we stayed in the family-friendly Artist’s House at Villa Rastoni.
Perched on a mountainside in-between Kassiopi and Kalami, this 2-bedroom villa has incredible views from the huge outdoor terrace and stunning infinity pool. The villa is surprisingly generous and decorated simply in traditional Greek style. The main bathroom has a bathtub so you can bathe little ones and the second bedroom has 2 single beds and an en suite so can accommodate older children.
Admittedly the drive to the villa is rather hairy (think: narrow windy road with sheer drops!), so you want to be a confident driver to book this property. You can book local taxis to get around but this adds up quickly so we only did it on a couple of evenings.
In summer 2023 we did something we don’t normally do in Greece and booked a luxury all-inclusive resort – the brand-new Ikos Odisia which opened in Corfu in June 2023.
Ikos Odisia has a striking modern design that has been thoughtfully merged with the surrounding mountains and cypress trees on a jewel-like peninsular in Dassia. It is one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever stayed and, because everything is taken care of, it was the most relaxing too.
Read our detailed Ikos Odisia review.
Best places to stay in Corfu
Highly-rated family-friendly resorts in Corfu to consider for your holiday are:
MarBella Corfu – luxury, clifftop hotel with incredible views
Domes of Corfu, Autograph Collection – chic, minimalist hotel in Glyfada
And for couples visiting Corfu:
Angsana Corfu Resort & Spa – luxury hotel with stunning infinity pool
Cook’s Club Corfu – Trendy, adult’s-only hotel in Gouvia