If you speak to resident experts on the Greek island of Corfu, they will probably tell you that July and August are remarkably busy, and yet they also agree that summer is one of the best times to visit. Though mid-spring to mid-autumn has long been called the peak season, summer on Corfu is a real gem.
Why? This is the time when the island is, quite literally, buzzing with life. Though you may encounter a bit of humidity along with the higher daytime temperatures, it is not so dramatically different from the conditions of mid-spring to mid-autumn, and it is typically just after the rains, when everything is in full bloom.
In fact, the Telegraph traveler’s guide to the island says that the months of July and August are when you see “everything fully functioning in Corfu, and the sea is thoroughly warmed up”, too. Does this mean that July and August are the only times to enjoy summer on Corfu? Not at all! From late May to late June and during the last few weeks of September, everything is just as beautiful, but perhaps a bit less crowded and busy.
The thing to remember about a summer on Corfu is that the term “busy” or “crowded” can be relative. After all, it usually enjoys tourism from April through October, with the last rains coming down in mid to late June. It is notably one of the greenest of all the Greek islands, because of the rains, but also because of a historic trend in leaving olive trees to themselves. This has given Corfu a staggering array of olive groves, and many still retain a somewhat wild and uncultivated atmosphere that makes the island such a unique, emerald-green gem.
A Sleepy Spring or Summer on Corfu
It is important to keep in mind that Corfu is one of the least “developed” in terms of its tourism. Though there are distinct tourism towns and spots, if you opt to head inland, it can feel as if you have stepped back in time and entered a different world. The same verdant and rolling landscape is there to appeal, but most secondary roads are still quite primitive and winding. The villages are unspoiled and enjoying summer on Corfu means being able to run across at least one panigýria, which is a small fair and religious festival. Many feature local goods, delicious foods and traditional Greek music. They typically occur after 8PM in the evening and are a great reason to plan a summer stay.
Of course, if you visit before the peak of summer tourism, such as an arrival in late May or early June, you may find many of the most beautiful natural sights and smaller towns and beaches open and free of crowds. This would be an ideal time to enjoy such delights as:
Hiking the Corfu Trail
Running the length of the island, it is not at all difficult and gives amazing views of the towns and the sea. With younger travelers flooding the trails in late July to August, an early summer visit is a fantastic choice.
Exploring the towns
Old Corfu, Kassiopi, Messonghi, Nymphes and Paleokastritsa can become quite busy during the summer. This can cause you to miss out on the waterfront restaurants, caves, waterfalls and other amazing sights.
Hitting the best beaches
Lakkeiss Beach is noted for its peace and quiet, and an early summer visit can allow you to enjoy it almost entirely to yourself.
Achilleion palace, the church of Saint Spyridon, the Museum of Coins and biking from destination to destination are wonderful activities when the island is sunny, warm and yet still a bit quiet.
Visiting during the late spring or early summer on Corfu is a wonderful way to savor the very best the island has to offer, and it will be during the fine weather just before the many summertime travelers arrive.