Swimmers and sunbathers have a luxurious choice of almost a hundred beaches, sandy orpebbly, along the 217 km Corfu coastline, enabling them to fully enjoy the island’s sunny summer weather and the mild water of the mainly calm Ionian Sea.
Visitors tend to rhapsodize about the sparkling clear turquois and aquamarine water,and 26 Corfiot beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status by the European Union, based on the local sewage treatment and swimming water quality.
Some beaches cover long, wide stretches, whilst others are small and narrow.You’ll find beaches with a wide range of facilities and other with only a bar, or not even that.
Umbrellas and sunbeds can be rented on most beaches, and investing in a pair of bathing shoes will be a sound policy to protect one’s feet against the frequently encountered pebbles.
Along the western and northern coastline one beach after the other claim to have the most beautiful sunsets in the world.
At some of the more populous towns and villages with long, wide beaches you’ll also find the best beach facilities: Paleokastritsa, Agios Georgios (north and south), Arillas, Sidari, Roda, Acharavi, Kassiopi, Kalami, Barbati, Ipsos, Dassia, Gouvia,Kontokali, Garitsa, Benitses, Moraitika, Messonghi, Lefkimmi, Kavos, AgiosGordis, Glyfada and Ermones.
Here you’ll find many a restaurant or bar providing its own beach chairs and sunbeds, at a fee, but often for free if the sun-seekers eat or drink at the hosting facility.
Paleokastritsa, with a number of separate beaches, is arguably the most coveted holiday spot on the island, Agios Spyridonas being the most popular of the village’s beaches.
However, there are many other wonderful beaches to cater for different tastes and needs.
Probably the most romantic spot on Corfu, is the idyllic Canal d’Amour with its striking sandstone formations, right next to Sidari. Legend has it that couples who swim together in the canal will never be parted.
The horseshoe shaped bay of Agios Georgios (north) is not only a picturesque sight from afar, but the wide sandy beach with shallow, warm water on the one side and deep, colder water on the other makes it a highly popular family destination.
Halikounas, in the protected range of the Korission lagoon, is popular with those beachgoers who prefer to rough it with the minimum conveniences. It is also one of the windier places and more likely to have waves. Issos, just south of the lagoon, is also part of the protected nature area and is popular too.
Around Liapades in the north west are found a number of secluded beaches that can only be accessed from the sea (Paradise, Stelari, Iliodoros, Chomoi) or in some cases also on foot, preferably for good climbers (Rovinia, Limnis).
Whether you rent a boat and sail there or travel with a shuttle from a nearby beachhead, if available, don’t expect any amenities on these isolated spots, and only the stars to give light after sunset.
More to the south and closer to Ermones, Giali can also only be reached only from the sea.
Even further south, on the way to Glyfada, Mirtiotissa can also be reached by 4×4 vehicle. It is considered one of the most beautiful beaches on Corfu.
To the north of Liapades the pristine beaches of Porto Timoni (Afionas) can be reached on foot as well as by sea, and it has limited amenities.
Should you like your beaches sandy and the water shallow you can take your pick at least from those at Sidari, Astrakeri,Acharavi,Kalamaki, Marathias, Agios Georgios (south), Pelekas or Arillas. Marathias is one of those that can get quite windy.
The beaches at Arillas and Logas (Peroulades) also features mud baths, widely held to be beneficial beauty treatments.
Of the Blue Flag flying beaches five (Avlaki, Gimari, Kalami, Kerasia and Nisaki) are in the former Kassiopi municipality and are found south of the town. Four (the western Agios Stefanos, Arillas, Canal d’Amour and Sidari) are found in Esperion. Three each are located in Parelion (Ermones, Glyfada and Kontogialos), Thinalion (Almyros, Aproas-Kalamaki and Perithea-AgiosSpyridonas) and Feakon (Barbati, Ipsos and Dassia).
Enough of that.
The beach is calling and I must leave – but to which one do I go?