Corfu, known as Kerkira, is among the most beautiful Ionian islands, with rugged mountainous landscapes, lush vegetation, crystal-clear waters, and an amazing architectural style. What makes it distinct from other Greek islands and regions, is that it never was under Ottoman Empire. In Corfu town, you can only see the Venetian and French influence, in its cosmopolitan, simple elegance.
There are various smaller and bigger islands near Corfu you can visit, to have the ultimate island-hopping experience.
Here’s a list of the top islands near Corfu, as well as how to get there:
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- 1. Paxos – Antipaxos
- 2. Diapondia islands
- 3. Lefkada
- 4. Ithaki (Ithaca)
- 5. Kefalonia
1. Paxos – Antipaxos
Paxos and Antipaxos are two small Islands of the Ionian Sea, known for their incomparable crystal-clear turquoise waters. A lovely destination for all of those who wish to enjoy nature and a good swim.
How to Get to Paxos – Antipaxos
You can get to Paxos and Antipaxos from Corfu by car ferry or the regular ferry. The ferry trip lasts about 1 hour and 37 minutes, starting from the port of Corfu and reaching Paxi. The ticket will cost about 20 Euros.
There are various daily boat cruises from Corfu to Paxi and Antipaxoi, so do some research or simply ask around once you reach the island. I recommend this one that visits Paxos, Antipaxos, and the blue caves.
What to do in Paxos and Antipaxos
Discover the gems of Paxos
While in Paxos, you can’t miss Tripitos Arch, an open-air sea cave of a peculiar formation. It rises up as high as 20 m above the sea. You can find it just 3 km south of the harbor of Gaios.
Similarly, the famous Blue Caves are a wonderful attraction to marvel at by sea. Take a boat tour and enjoy the view and the lovely sea waters.
For an unforgettable swim, visit Erimitis beach, a newly born beach just where a cliff fell and created a small bay, with amazing azure blue waters and an imposing view. It is relatively windy and rough there, however, so beware of the weather while visiting.
Learn about the history of Paxos by visiting the Paxos Museum with its interesting artifacts.
Explore the beaches of Antipaxos
You can cross from Paxos to Antipaxos by what are taxes you can find at the harbor of Gaios. Once you put your foot on the island, you will immediately notice the mesmerizing turquoise water tones of this island.
Explore its beaches and start from Vrika beach, which is organized with sunbeds and parasols and a beach bar. It is very family-friendly as it has shallow waters.
Then, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the most famous beach on the island, Voutoumi beach, a small cove among thick green vegetation. This is paradise on earth.
Check out: Things to do in Paxos Island.
2. Diapondia islands
Diapontia islands, also known as Othonoi, are a group of islets found Northwest of Corfu. Although not many people know about their existence, these islands have unparalleled natural beauty, unspoiled by mass tourism.
How to Get to Diapondia islands
You can access all of Diapontia islands from Corfu, with boat lines from Corfu port and Agios Stefanos Avliotis. You can take the car ferry which lasts approximately 3 and a half hours and costs around 11 to 29 Euros.
What to do in Diapondia islands
Visit Ereikoussa island and discover two of its hidden gems, including Porto Beach, which is also the island’s port, and Biagini, a more remote and quiet paradise. There are countless hidden sea caves around, ideal for nature enthusiasts and snorkelers.
In Othonoi, you will find beautiful beaches and awe-inspiring raw landscapes, as well as traditional villages made of stones. While there, you can marvel at so many locations that inspired ancient Greek mythology, such as the popular Calypso Cave.
Discover the unknown beauty of Mathraki by spending the day at its lovely beaches such as Portelo beach and Arvanitiko beach. Most beaches in Mathraki are sandy, with shallow waters, ideal for SUP or sea kayak explorations.
There is also the option of the Fiki Bay. West of the island, you can stroll around the old port or visit the port of Apidies.
Lefkada is arguably the top island destination for its beaches. It features unparalleled landscapes of breathtakingly raw natural beauty.
How to Get to Lefkada
There are no direct ferries you can take from Corfu to Lefkada. You can, however, take the ferry to Igoumenitsa, get on the bus to Preveza, and change buses to get to Lefkada. The overall distance is about 252 km, and if you wish to avoid the bus route, you could rent a car in Igoumenitsa. Both options are very affordable.
What to do in Lefkada
Try an unforgettable beach-hopping experience
Porto Katsiki beach: Porto Katsiki, a long pebbly beach of unparalleled beauty, lies just below the steepest of cliffs. The open seawater is a cobalt blue that almost blinds you, its temperature refreshing all year round.
The beach is not organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, but you will find an organized parking space and two beach bars before the long staircase down the beach.
Egremni beach: Even more untouched and wild, Egremni beach, just some kilometers before Porto Katsiki, is a breathtaking cliff (as the name suggests) ending to the most pristine beach in Lefkada
Kathisma beach: For some socializing and fun head to Kathisma beach instead. It is by far the most organized beach on the island, packed with well-arranged sunbeds and parasols to chill by the waves. There are many amenities, including watersports and a lifeguard on watch.
Check out: The best beaches in Lefkada.
What else to do in Lefkada:
- Pay a visit at the Monastery of Faneromeni
- Explore the beautiful Dimosari Waterfalls
- Learn more of its history at the Archaeological Museum in Lefkada Town
- Grab a cocktail in Nydri
- Don’t miss the sunset from the Cape Lefkatas
Check out: A Guide to Lefkada Island, Greece.
4. Ithaki (Ithaca)
The mythical island of Ithaca, the homeland of legendary Odysseus, is a hidden gem of the Ionian Sea.
How to Get to Ithaki
The distance between Corfu and Ithaca is 152 km. These are the recommended routes to cover this distance:
Fly from Corfu to Kefalonia and take the ferry to Ithaca
Depending on your budget, you can also fly from Corfu to Kefalonia’s Airport “Anna Pollatou.” Skyexpress has flights from Corfu to Kefalonia. Then from the port of Sami in Kefalonia, you can take the ferry to Pisaetos in Ithaca.
Take the ferry from Corfu to Igoumenitsa, drive to Astakos and take the ferry to Ithaca
Another option would be to take the ferry from Corfu to Igoumenitsa and then either take the bus or drive to Astakos to catch the ferry to Ithaca.
What to do in Ithaki
Explore the mystical caves
While in Ithaki, don’t miss the opportunity to explore Loizos Cave, a great site of natural beauty and historical significance. Similarly, the Nymph’s Cave is a miracle of nature.
Tour the Villages
To see the traditional Ionian element of Ithaki, head to Kioni, a picturesque village that used to be a pirate’s base. You can eat local delicacies and try out Ionian cuisine the authentic way.
You can also visit the picturesque villages of Perachori and Anoyi, the former known for the panoramic views, the latter for its amazing and peculiar rock formations.
Check out: A Guide to Ithaca, Greece.
Some beaches to visit in Ithaki:
- Gidaki beach
- Skinos Bay beach
- Agios Ioannis beach
- Marmaka beach
- Aetos beach
- Pisaetos beach
Check out: The best beaches in Ithaca.
Kefalonia features stunning mirror-like waters of amazing blue hues and a cosmopolitan character that easily makes it the crown jewel of the Ionian.
How to get to Kefalonia
Fly from Corfu to Kefalonia
You can reach the island of Kefalonia by plane, from connections taking off from Corfu Airport (CFU).
The company operating this line is mainly Sky Express, with prices starting at around 73 Euros. Prices vary highly according to season and availability. With Sky Express, there is one stop at Preveza Airport (PVK) before you take off to Kefalonia’s International Airport (EFL).
With other companies, such as Olympic Air, this stop is usually Athens International Airport (ATH), the prices are higher from 100 Euros, and the duration at about 5 to 6 hours.
Take the bus and the ferry
You can get from Corfu to Patras by hopping on a bus. This will take you approximately 3 and a half hours and cost you about 23-40 Euros.
There, you can get to the Port of Patras and take the bus ferry to Argostoli, which takes about 3 hours and 25 minutes and costs a maximum of 15 Euros.
Take a bus ferry and a car ferry
You can catch a bus ferry from Corfu to Agrinio once a day. The ferry trip will last about 3 hours and cost you 19 to 27 Euros. Once you reach Agrinio, you will have to catch the bus to Astakos, with schedules running 4 times a day and prices starting as low as 4 Euros. From Astakos, you can take the ferry to Sami port in Kefalonia. This will last about 1 hour and 45 minutes and cost you 9 to 14 Euros.
Visit the picturesque village of Sami
Sami is a nice coastal town on the beautiful island of Kefalonia, where lush pine forests meet stunning beaches of emerald waters. It is situated about 25 km east of the capital, Argostoli. You will find a wonderful promenade full of locals, as well as the site of Ancient Sami and an Archaeological Museum.
Discover the heavenly Melissani Cave
One of the most popular landmarks of Kefalonia and certainly something you can’t miss. It is situated just 3 km away from Sami, almost 6 minutes away by car. The breathtaking site is a hollow, open-air cave with a lake inside it and forests of green surrounding its banks.
Check out: The caves of Kefalonia.
Stroll around the cosmopolitan Fiscardo
Fiscardo is among the top destinations on the island. There, you can marvel at the beautiful old mansions by the seaside, untouched by the earthquake of 1953. Learn more of its history at the Nautical Museum. Nearby, you can find Paleolithic findings of a settlement and many old Byzantine Churches.
Some beaches to visit in Kefalonia