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The island made famous by such great works as Homer’s Odyssey, Corfu is anything but a work of fiction. The most popular of the Greek Ionian islands, it is easy to see why Corfu was chosen as the background for so many epics. With an immensely striking natural beauty, an unending coastline and a few bustling towns, Corfu presents its visitors with the best of both worlds. There are several beautiful driving routes across the island which can easily be taken advantage of with a rented vehicle.
Who to Book With
Travellers will find most of the well-known international car rental companies on the island, including Sixt, Budget and Avis. There are also a few local companies such as Sunrise, which is particularly popular. All of these agencies can be found at the airport and in Corfu Town. Much hassle and administration is bypassed if travellers simply make an online booking before arrival.
Best time to go
During Corfu’s off season, many establishments shut their doors. Travellers will probably get the most out of the island during the ‘on season’ which runs from May to October. Unsurprisingly, this is the busiest time on the island and prices are also at their highest. The crowds tend to dissipate around September so travellers looking to find a quite spot on the beach should probably plan their trip around this time.
Need to Know Essentials
It is important that travellers bring the following with them when collecting their cars:
- An International Driver’s Permit or a local driver’s licence
- The credit card used to secure the online booking
- Another form of photographic identification, such as a valid passport
Travellers who are planning on staying in Corfu Town will not need to hire a vehicle as most sites in the town can be seen on foot. Travelling anywhere outside of Corfu Town, however, will require a hired vehicle. The roads on the island are not in the best of conditions but are certainly passable. The main road running along the east coast of the island is in better condition but drivers should definitely expect to come into contact with pot holes, donkey carts and unexpected bends.
The main settlement on the island, Corfu Town is small and compact enough to be navigated by foot but there area few other public transport options on the island, including buses and taxis. The services are not the most flexible in the region with most bus and taxi networks only operating until sundown. It is thus highly recommended that travellers hire a vehicle to avoid being stranded in the evenings.
In light of the island’s lack of train services, the bus network is the most popular form of public transport in Corfu. Blue buses operate only in Corfu Town while green buses can be taken to several other destinations on the island. Both the green and the blue buses are run by KTEL. Blue buses depart from San Rocco Square while Green buses can be found congregating at the long distance station near New Port.
Tickets for the local bus services can be purchased from the bus stations in Corfu Town or from any official KTEL offices. Tickets for both the local and long distance buses can also to be purchased from kiosks prior to boarding. Tickets can sometimes be purchased on the actual vehicles but drivers will not have any change and passengers are expected to have the exact amount. The price of tickets ranges from €1.70 to €4, depending on the distance.
The only time travellers will really need to use the taxis services on the island is when coming from or going to the airport. There are many taxi routes but most are confined to Corfu Town. Very few taxis travel outside of the town and if they do, charge very high rates. Not all taxis have metres but travellers should only ever take the taxis that do. Travellers should also ensure that the metre is switched on before the journey begins. Reputable taxi companies include Corfu Cabs and Corfu Taxi Service.
The sites in Corfu Town are well worth exploring but travellers would be remiss not to venture out to the rest of this gorgeous island. Whichever direction travellers intend to drive they are bound to hit an impressively scenic route. Those staying for longer periods may even be able to drive all over the island and experience the hidden beaches and breathtaking vistas that are all too often overlooked.
Paleokastritsa - There are many opportunities for driving on the island but perhaps one of the most famous drives is that from the north to the west of Corfu. The popular resort town of Paleokastritsa is located on this route and is home to some gems of its own as well. More adventurous travellers may even want to pack their hiking boots for the day as there are some great walking and trekking routes along the way.
Corfu Costume Museum - Lovers of the eccentric will appreciate the Corfu Costume Museum, situated a little ways outside of Corfu Town in Pelekas. The museum, which is privately-owned, is home to traditional Greek costumes worn at different periods throughout the country’s history. The museum definitely provides and interesting perspective on the country and the island’s history.
Achilleion - The most popular landmark on the island, and definitely not one to be missed, is the Achilleion. Built for Elisabeth of Austria this grand palace is an impressive structure located about 10 kilometres outside of Corfu Town. The palace has since been transformed into a museum which is open for the general public to explore.