Crowds flock to the enchanting island of Corfu Greece during summer, but what happens when autumn hits? Some locals shut up their businesses, flights slow down, and the temperature cools. So is it still worth visiting this Greek island in the off-season? Most definitely!
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Here’s What to Expect in Corfu in the Winter:
The high season in Corfu is, unsurprisingly, during the scorching summer months of June – August. The off-season is typically considered to be November – February, and this is a great time to visit due to low costs and the lack of other tourists.
The absence of crowds is a very appealing reason to visit Corfu in the off-season. There will be no waiting in line and no crowded beaches. Just be aware that some businesses shut up shop once the busy summer season has passed. This is particularly true of the seaside resorts, such as Kavos in the south and Benitses in the east. These resort towns will be almost empty of tourists the moment October hits.
This guide will focus on everything you need to know about visiting Corfu in the off-season. It will touch on what to expect from the weather, how to get there, and how to get around. We’ll also cover where to stay, where to eat and drink and what to see.
How’s the Weather in Corfu during winter?
When arriving in Corfu, don’t expect the classic white and blue buildings and dry landscape of a Greek island like Santorini, instead, you will be treated to lush greenery and beautiful Venetian architecture. The island has a slightly cooler climate, so there’s a fair amount of rainfall in the winter months, which helps keep the island green. All this greenery does attract mosquitos, and during the summer months, they seem to take over the island. So another bonus of traveling in the off-season is fewer of these frustrating bugs to contend with.
Winters on the island will be mild but be prepared for intense spells of rain. It can get chilly at night so be sure to bring extra layers and some waterproofs if you are keen on exploring. You know what they say, there’s no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothing!
Getting to Corfu
Although Corfu airport is open all year round, the frequency of flights starts slowing down once summer is over, so if you are traveling out of season you won’t be able to get a direct flight. Luckily it’s not hard to get a connection from airports on the Greek mainland such as Athens or Thessaloniki. Check out Aegean Airlines for these, as this is the largest Greek airline. Flights from Athens take just an hour and can be as low as 50€ in the off-season. Many budget airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet will operate flights into Athens from most major European cities, so getting to Corfu is easy.
Renting a car or scooter is a popular way to see the island. In the off-season, the rates are cheaper and it does give you a lot more freedom and flexibility when it comes to exploring.
If driving isn’t for you, then another way to get around is by using the local Corfu City Bus network. The timetables frequently change in the winter so be sure to check out their website. They service the whole island and prices start from as low as 1.10€ for a single journey.
For exploring longer distances and getting to more remote villages, Green Buses is fantastic. The main Green Bus Station is located between the airport and Corfu Town. Tickets can be bought from the kiosks inside and the staff speaks English. From this station, you can get to places like Sidari and Kavos. They even connect with the Greek mainland.
Where to Stay in Corfu
Corfu Town is an ideal place to stay in the off-season. Don’t let the name deceive you – it’s actually a city and the capital, so is perfect to use as a base for exploring the rest of the island. This historic city always bustling with locals and students, so there is plenty to do year-round. It’s also well-connected to the rest of the island if you want to venture further afield.
Many hotels in Corfu are seasonal and will close in the winter. But don’t worry, there are plenty of other options. Some perfect alternatives are apartments and Airbnbs, which you can find all around the island. There are many options on booking.com, and most are well-equipped with everything you need to make yourself at home.
If you’re looking for a hotel instead, the Hotel Anita Corfu is a great budget option, located close to the airport and not far from Corfu Town. It’s open year-round and is a friendly and family-run business. It offers comfy rooms and an on-site restaurant serving traditional Greek dishes. There is also a bus stop outside the hotel with a direct connection to Corfu Town.
In terms of hostels, many will close in November but start accepting guests again in March, so these will only really be an option if you visit in autumn or spring. Local Hostel & Suites is the perfect choice for backpackers, set in an old prison that has been converted into a hostel and offers modern facilities and a good location, but they do close in late October.
On the higher end of the price scale, check out the absolutely gorgeous Acanthus blue, located between the airport and Corfu Town. For a luxury beach resort, it is hard to top the exquisite Agios Gordios Beach Resort, in the lovely seaside village of Agios Gordios.
Where to Eat and Drink
A lot of the great restaurants open in the off-season will be found in Corfu Town. If you stay in the city you will never be far from some exceptional food and drink. You’ll likely want to try some traditional Greek cuisine – we’re talking moussaka, gyros, and papoutsakia! But there are many other types of cuisine if you want to switch it up a bit. These places are open year-round:
First up we have a vegetarian and vegan option, the Aubergine Cafe. Located very close to The Liston (more on this later). They have a sizeable outdoor area, which you can make use of well into December. The prices here are a little higher than in other areas, likely due to the location, but the food is fresh and they offer great variety for vegetarians and vegans.
Next, we have Coconela. This is a digital nomad’s paradise. It’s a super trendy cafe, which is laptop friendly and has speedy wifi. They offer fantastic coffee, a selection of plant-based milk and some snacks too. It’s easy to find as it’s very close to the busy San Rocco Square. The vibes here are cozy and make it perfect for sheltering from an unexpected downpour.
Arthaus Cafe Wine Bar was an unexpected find and turned out to be a firm favorite. It’s located in the heart of the old town, down winding cobbled alleyways, and can be a little tricky to find at first. They have a welcoming interior with cozy seats and bright artwork lining the walls and a lovely outdoor area too. If visiting, check out their well-curated food menu for some hummus, salads, and platters. Additionally, as the name suggests, they boast a great selection of local wines.
If you’re looking for a laid-back restaurant serving traditional Greek food, head to Flisvos. This Greek restaurant is close to Mouse Island (we’ll cover this later) and is the ideal place to make a pit stop after a morning of exploring the area. They fuse Greek and Mediterranean flavors in their recipes, so you’re guaranteed to be in for a treat.
Last up, we have a funky bar. Imabari is a self-proclaimed all-day seaside lounge bar and a pop-up restaurant. Situated right below the Old Palace and directly on the sea, you won’t find views like these anywhere else in the city. They have sun loungers, comfy chairs and bigger tables. Serving delicious brunch and a great range of cocktails too, you can easily pretend it’s still summer.
What to See and Do in Corfu
There is so much to see in Corfu that doesn’t look typically ‘Greek’ as the island has an interesting cultural heritage. The years the island spent under Venetian, French and British rule are reflected in the architecture.
If staying in Corfu Town, you have to stroll down The Liston. This is a grand pedestrian street with stunning houses and beautiful arches. Today it is home to many restaurants, most of which are open year-round. Take a walk down here and you will feel the impressive atmosphere. The whole Old Town of Corfu is also a must, as it’s a UNESCO world heritage site. Best to ditch the map and get lost in the small side streets, stumbling into shops lined with traditional Corfiot delicacies.
If museums are what you want, then be sure not to miss The Museum of Asian Art, which is housed in the Saint Michael and George Palace. The collection isn’t huge but still worth seeing and tickets cost 6€. The opening hours are reduced in the off-season, so it’s best to get there in the morning since they close at 15:30. The same goes for the Archaeological Museum. This is in the area of Garitsa in Corfu Town and from November – March tickets are reduced to just 3€! This is a real bargain as you get to see many unique antiquities inside.
You should pay a visit to the tiny Pontikonisi a.k.a. “The Mouse Island” (named after its shape, not because of an infestation!) This is one of the most photographed spots in the whole of Corfu. It will set you back just 2€ on the ferry shuttle, which runs frequently even in the off-season.
Hiking is another great activity to do in the off-season. It will be cooler and more bearable than in the summer. The island is perfect for hikes and is the home of the famous Corfu Trail. You don’t have to complete the whole 220 KM long route, which crosses the entire island, but there are some great smaller hikes. Whichever you choose you will get some incredible views across the crystal clear Ionian Sea.
Why Corfu in the Off-Season is a Great Idea
We hope to have shown why Corfu is the perfect place to visit during the off-season. If you choose to stay during the autumn or winter months, you will glimpse a much slower pace of life and beat the crowds. You will also save money! There are reduced museum tickets, accommodation prices, and flights. The charm of this lush island isn’t limited to the summer months, and visiting out of season you will be sure to see another side of the island, one that is possibly even more charming.