How to do Corfu on a budget

Photo of Anita IsalskaPhoto of Anita Isalska
By Anita Isalska

2 November 2016 | Updated 15 June 20236 min read

A view of a beach and boats in Paleokastritsa on Corfu, Greece

Corfu’s soft, sandy beaches have a way of making your cares melt away. As you paddle this Greek island’s clear waters and amble through olive groves, the last thing you need is to worry about is your budget.

There are plenty of cheap flights to this Ionian isle, and you don’t need to spend like an A-lister when you arrive. With a little planning, you can book a cheap holiday in Corfu while enjoying the best scenery, culture and food that the island has to offer.

Where to stay on a budget

In Corfu Town, spacious rooms with sea views carry a high price tag. Your wallet will thank you for staying further along the coast, like in Gouvia and Dassia.

Molfetta Beach Hotel in low-key Gouvia is just 9km (5.5 miles) north along the coast from Corfu Town. This atmospheric hotel – think stone walls, cosy bedrooms, and traditional entertainment – overlooks a pretty cove, and you can snap up rooms from £71 per night in low season (or £120 in high). A little further north, Dassia has a handful of two-star resorts close to the beach.

Many of Corfu’s small hotels are family-run, and this means good value along with filoxenia – exuberant Greek hospitality. The Wave, just outside Sidari on a spectacular stretch of Corfu’s northern coast, is managed by two friendly brothers, whose ‘Mama Irene’ runs an authentic Corfiot kitchen. At this welcoming resort (with a pool and playground), one-bedroom apartments with private bathroom, kitchen and a spacious terrace start at a rock-bottom £49 in low season (or £85 in high).

Century Resort Corfu

  • Acharavi, Corfu, Greece
  • 22 May 2024
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • From Birmingham

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Where to eat on a budget

The temptations of Corfiot food make it all too easy to forget your budget. There’s sofrito beef simmered in wine, parsley and garlic, and bourdeto fish cooked in spicy tomato – and that’s before you’ve even started on the syrup-drenched pastries.

The trick is to eat where locals eat, and to keep costs down with occasional self-catering. Fridges come as standard in most hotel rooms, so it’s easy to supplement tavernas with picnics. And there’s no shortage of lovely beaches to unwrap a spread of plump olives, tomatoes and fresh-baked flatbreads.

Restaurant prices inevitably rise in popular locations, so head to quieter villages for great-value dining. You can eat well on a budget at Klimataria Nikos Bellos in the east coast fishing village of Benitses, which serves mouthwatering bourdeto along with catch-of-the-day specialties from fresh anchovies to boiled octopus in lemon and olive oil.

Even cheaper is Greece’s ultimate street food: gyros, rotisserie meat tucked into a flatbread with salad and lashings of tzatziki (usually less than £4.00). Even Corfu Town has great-value snacks, if you know where to look. Stop by Alexis Dairy (25 Ethniki Palaiokastritsas, Corfu Town), just 200m west of main square Pl. Enoseos, for Corfu’s best takeaway desserts: rich, creamy rice puddings, in flavours from chocolate to cinnamon, for only a few euros.

What to do on a budget

Wriggling your toes in the brown-sugar sand of Corfu’s beaches is one of the greatest pleasures of a holiday here, and it needn’t cost you a penny. Every coast has spectacular shores, from snorkel-friendly coves in northerly Kassiopi to idyllic Gardenos down south.

On the west coast, the crystal waters of cliff-backed Ermones Beach are popular with swimmers. Just south of here you’ll find acres of space along golden Halikounas Beach, which borders Korission Lagoon. This wetland nature reserve is home to strutting egrets, herons and even flamingos – so you can enjoy some bonus birdwatching while you’re in the area. Discover Greece has some great suggestions for less-trafficked beauty spots.

Aqualand waterpark is one of the most popular family attractions, though ticket prices might feel steep (booked online, day tickets cost adult/child aged 5-11 €31.50/22.50) – consider the two-day ticket (adult/child €50/35) for better value. You could also stay in a kid-friendly resort that has its own waterslides, and you may not need to factor in waterparks as a separate cost.

Alternatively, get a dose of Corfiot culture for free by visiting monasteries around the island: 18th-century Paleokastritsa Monastery has flower-draped gardens, delicate mosaic art, and a church that gleams with gold icons.

Likewise, it’s free to ramble the trails to Corfu’s dramatic fortresses. Park your car in Krini village and walk through an olive orchard to Angelokastro, a craggy Byzantine-era castle that fended off the Turks throughout the sieges of Corfu in the 16th century.

How to get around on a budget

Good news for road trippers: reasonable Corfu car hire prices aren’t hard to find (from around £37 per day in high season to as little as £10 in low) – use TravelSupermarket to browse different operators and cherry-pick the best before you arrive. If you prefer to find a car when you arrive, ask for quotes from a couple of places; there are some great deals.

If you want to sun-worship up and down the east coast, you don’t even need a car. Cheap and efficient local bus services can whisk you north from Corfu Town to beach towns Gouvia, Dassia and Ipsos, or south to lively Kavos. A day-ticket with unlimited journeys is only €5; get buses and timetables in San Rocco Square. If you’re car-free, remember that airport buses stop at 10pm. Still, it’s only a short hop by taxi into Corfu Town.

Insider tips

Travel in shoulder season

Most hotels in Corfu have three or four sets of room rates: they’re highest in July and August, slightly lower in June and September and very reasonable during the beginning and end of the season, May and early October. If you can be flexible, you can almost halve your accommodation spend.

Beware tourist supermarkets

If self-catering, look out for tourists traps masquerading as supermarkets. The sign might say ‘supermarket’, but a few are souvenir shops with a fridge full of overpriced groceries and staff waiting to give you the hard sell. There are plenty of small supermarkets in Corfu Town and smaller villages where locals shop. Roadside fruit stalls are also cheap.

Find tavernas with a view

A balcony that opens onto a sapphire sea is heavenly, but it certainly raises the price of a room. Instead, make time to drink and dine with fabulous views. Golden Fox in Paleokastritsa, for example, has a café-restaurant peering over the Ionian Sea.

Enjoy DIY spa treatments

Mid-range and high-end hotels often have a spa, where treatments start at around £30. Or you can feel the benefits of Corfu’s mineral-rich mud for free at coves such as the geologically spectacular Canal d’Amour in northerly Sidari. Do like the locals do: slather some clay onto your skin and stretch out on the sand – you’ve earned it.

The Royal Grand Hotel

  • Kanoni, Corfu, Greece
  • 9 May 2024
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • From Luton

Prices and availability shown can change. Always check pricing with partner before booking.

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