Spending wintertime on the Greek Islands can be a challenging experience. If you expect all the buzz that usually goes on in summer, you might be slightly disappointed. Big islands indeed have a life of their own in winter; however, not everything will be open when fewer tourists are around.
What To Expect On The Greek Islands During Winter
The major cities are more popular than smaller villages for a winter stay because more shops and services are already open to cater to locals. Additionally, you can find the picturesque parts of town less crowded, with fewer souvenir and tourist shops open to the public during the winter season.
In any case, flying to a Greek Island during winter, either for a week-long holiday or a short city break, can be a very relaxing experience that will let you live the way locals do and enjoy an island that is not as overpopulated as summer.
Corfu In Winter
Locally known as Kerkyra, Corfu is one of the most popular Greek Islands for summer vacations. It’s a very popular holiday spot on the Ionian Sea, a favorite among British, Italians, and other European visitors.
Things To Do In Winter In Corfu
Discover A Different Atmosphere In Corfu Town
Usually crowded, noisy, and busy in summer, to say the least, a trip to Corfu in winter will certainly show you a new side to the city. Corfu town will be quieter, the traffic less intense, and walking from one point to the other can reveal an enjoyable exercise.
As we’ve already mentioned, you might not be lucky enough to get souvenirs, but you will definitely find better prices in some shops, such as those selling local products. Besides, shop owners are often open to offering you better rates when you visit in winter.
In Corfu town, it’s also possible to enjoy local cuisine in the many restaurants, tavernas, cafeterias, and bars that do remain open, and even enjoy a chat with a local without being disturbed by the usual summer crowds.
Go For A Stroll Along The Seaside Paths
Corfu is home to a network of different trails and hiking paths that extend alongside the island’s coast and the island’s interior areas. Paths and trails make the island a perfect destination for those who love to take mild exercise in the open and still avoid the scorching temperatures typical of Corfu during the summer.
If you’re planning to spend some time exploring Corfu on foot, get the right gear ready. Go for a comfortable pair of hiking boots, a raincoat, and a comfy outfit that allows you freedom of movement. Corfu is an island that usually receives a lot of rain during the cold season (and that’s precisely why we can enjoy a verdant landscape in summer), so make sure that you have waterproof gear, including a small waterproof backpack for all your necessities. Winters can be harsh; use layers to avoid getting cold during your walks.
Explore The Traditional Villages
Not everyone is aware, but Greece is a country with lots of mountains, and this also applies to the Greek Islands, not just the mainland.
One of my favorite things to do when the cold season arrives is to set out on trips to the mountains to explore the villages, discover the local traditions, and — why not? — discover a completely different face of Corfu that in summer is not so easily revealed.
A visit to a mountain settlement is also an excellent opportunity to taste dishes that you won’t otherwise be able to find in restaurants that usually serve tourists. If you’re a foodie or merely curious about Greece’s typical flavors, these mountain trips can be the perfect opportunity to enjoy new tastes.
A visit to the mountains in the winter might be affected by the weather conditions, so it’s always a good idea to venture up the hills once you’ve checked your trusted meteo app. Adding an extra layer to your outfit can only be of help.
Villages we loved were
- Chlomos Village: for a chilled-out vibe in beautiful surroundings, head to Chlomos Village. The houses are all built in Venetian style and have colorful exteriors. The views here are stunning, and that’s mainly due to its altitude; the village is known locally as the ‘Balcony of Corfu.’ The main square is a great place to sit and soak up the atmosphere, dating back to the 13th century. Then, wander around the cobbled streets with beautifully bright and fragrant flowers, and enjoy traditional cuisine. You can easily reach the village too, as it’s only 31km away from Corfu Town, and buses head in that direction regularly
- Kaiser’s Throne in Pelekas Village: if you’re a fan of fantastic sunset views, Pelekas Village is for you. Just 13km away from Corfu Town, Pelekas is famous for panoramic views across the island and a little history, too; the highest part of the island is known as Kaiser’s Throne, named after a former German Kaiser
Enjoy A Diverse Nature
Corfu’s natural landscape is one of a kind. We’ve already mentioned the mountains and the green, lush vegetation, which add an exotic touch to the scene. But there’s much more! Corfu boasts unique beaches, as well as valleys and lakes. Visitors can usually distinguish Corfu’s three distinct environments: the coastlines, the lowlands, and the mountains. Each of these areas is better enjoyed, surrounded by the tranquil winter atmosphere.
Monastery Of Paleokastritsa
Another spot for amazing views, the Monastery of Paleokastritsa, has views as far as the eye can see, and you can also enjoy some history with a museum packed with artifacts of religious importance. The monastery is dedicated to Panagia of Paelokastritsa, the Virgin Mary. As the monastery is built on top of the hill, it dominates the landscape, and the views are enough to make your jaw drop.
Dating back to 1228, the monastery now has a museum where you can look at various relics, and inside, you’ll also find a traditional olive oil press.
Grab The Best Baklava at Rosy’s Bakery
Be sure to head to Rosy’s Bakery if you’re a baklava fan, as this is the best you’ll taste on the island. And if you’ve never tried it before, this is the best spot to go for it! Located at 71 Paleolougaist, Corfu Town, the bakery doesn’t only sell baklava; it’s packed with delicious treats for all preferences.
A Guided Tour Of Patounis Soap Factory
Natural olive oil soap has long been produced on Corfu, and it’s known for its benefits. However, Patounis Soap Factory is one of the most famous and oldest soap producers on the island.
Dating back to 1850, the factory is open every day, and you can head there to check out different soaps to buy and take part in a daily tour of the factory, where you can learn how the soap is made. Tours occur at noon every day, and you don’t need to book during the winter months.
Enjoy A Glass Of Wine At Liapades
If the countryside and wine are your things, visiting Liapades is best for you. During the winter months, the temperatures make for a wonderfully pleasant visit, and you’ll be able to enjoy more space without crowds.
Just 5km away from Paleokastritsa, Liapades is a traditional village surrounded by countryside and is also known as the best spot for wine on Corfu.
Live A Different Kind Of Winter
If you’re originally from a country with harsh winters, Corfu will enchant you. Like any other Mediterranean destination, winters tend to be shorter and less extreme. And although it might be a rainy destination, you will also be able to enjoy quite a few sunny days, which will cheer you up and boost your mood.
Achilleion Palace & Museum
This is one of the most famous spots on the island, so it’s certainly a must-visit. This huge palace was designed in neoclassical style and was once the Empress of Austria’s summer residence. As the name suggests, it is based on Achilles, the Greek mythological hero.
The palace features statues of characters from Greek mythology and beautiful gardens with fountains and plenty of greenery. The palace also has an attached museum where you can learn all about Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Empress of Austria, and the palace itself.
Corfu (together with other Greek Islands) are working non-stop to increase the number of winter visits. In an effort to promote tourism during the colder months, many hotels remain open, public transport services run with frequent schedules, flights from Athens are not reduced, and daily ferries still run.
Moreover, entrance fees to many attractions are often cheaper than in summer. In winter, it’s easier and more convenient to visit museums, churches, monasteries, and archaeological sites.
Renting a car is another way you have to explore the island. You’ll be free from bus schedules while taking advantage of less overpopulated roads, making driving much less stressful.
Stroll Around The Old Town
Winter is the best time to go for a walk around the Old Town. The temperatures are much cooler, and there are no crowds, which means less stress, and you get to see a whole lot more. With winding, cobbled alleyways and the enchanting Jewish Quarter, you can easily spend a few hours just getting lost and enjoying coffee as you walk. There are also several fortresses with stunning views.
If you’re into shopping, you’ll find small stores selling homemade items, such as soap, and you’ll be able to walk into any restaurant without having to reserve a table.
In the Old Town, make sure you check out Saint Spyridon Church, with its iconic red roof and bell tower, which is the highest in the region. The church was built in 1580.
Where To Stay On Corfu
The island’s capital, Corfu Town, is the perfect place for a winter stay in Corfu. It’s always a good idea to go to bigger towns to have a higher range of opportunities to have fun. You can also choose to rent a flat to enjoy that unique at-home feeling and save on meals if you’re traveling on a budget. If your budget allows you to spend a bit more, it can be a great idea to book a home or a villa with a fireplace for a more relaxing and winter-like atmosphere.
Vip Luxury Villa Privilege Classic & Exclusive Corfu is a great place to stay in Corfu Town, just a few kilometers from the airport. If you don’t want to drive, the property offers a convenient paid airport shuttle service.
Villa Nino is located near the village of Viros, in the heart of the countryside of the island. It is surrounded by stunning rural views, even though you’re only fifteen minutes from Corfu Town. The villa is excellent for a large family or a group of friends, as it has four bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Only 2 km from the city center and the airport, City Villa is a very convenient option in the area known as Alepu. It has unique natural views of both the lake and the sea, and it’s just 2.8 km from Alykes Potamou Beach, a unique place for those who enjoy walking by the sea in winter. A key feature of this villa is the elegant hot tub, perfect for a cold summer evening!