Though blighted by over-development, the Greek island of Corfu squeezes out just enough charm and beauty for you to see why the tourists keep on coming. Moving away from the bright lights and the building works (can they really fit any more in?), you’ll find crystal-clear waters, small fishing harbours, painted boats, shallow waters that stretch on and on, particularly on the northern coast, and a gorgeous interior for those who venture off the beaten track, with olive groves, figs, wildflowers and cypress trees.
But if your idea of heavenly family holidays is lying by the pool while your little ones are mollycoddled, there are plenty of resorts with kids’ clubs and entertainment for all the family. Indeed, kids are welcomed with open arms all over the island, with the Corfiots warm and extremely family-oriented.
Things to do with kids in Corfu
Storm the beaches! There’s a huge range of activities on offer for family holidays on Corfu, from good old-fashioned paddling and sandcastle-building to banana-boat rides, waterskiing, snorkelling and diving. Paleokastritsa beach is a good choice if you’re looking for action, although you can also hire pedaloes here and go off in search of your own small piece of paradise. Other good beaches are Agios Gordios, with friendly restaurants and a playground in the town, Glyfada and Pelekas. Snorkels and flippers are essential for looking at the fish. With tots, the north coast with its shallow waters is a paddlers’ paradise, whereas on the west coast the waters can suddenly turn choppy.
Hop aboard the Kalypso Star in the old port of Corfu town. This glass-bottomed and -sided boat takes you down to the seafloor to enjoy the views. Also in Corfu town is the Museum of Archeology, including the terrifying-looking sculpture of the Gorgon Medusa, and the Venetian fortress with its amazing views. Kids should love wandering the beautiful streets of the Old Town, an ice-cream in hand,
Hop on a horse to see the island.
Catch one of the puppet shows (karagiozis) given in many villages throughout Corfu, giving kids the opportunity to breach the language barrier and embrace local culture.
With older kids, head to Mt Pantokrator, the highest peak on Corfu. It’s a bit of a climb but the sweat and possible tears are rewarded by fantastic views of the coastline. Don’t forget water and suncream.
Hire a motorboat and explore some of the hidden coves of the north-east, or take a trip to the isolated and beautiful Diapondia Islands.
Splash out at Aqualand in central Corfu, or at Star Beach Water Park with its jet-skiing, scuba-diving, waterskiing and banana-boat rides, plus traditional pools and rivers for sun worshippers.
On the whole, food on Corfu is delicious and not too scary for the uninitiated, with the odd exception (such as grilled octopus 'leg'). The Greeks are big on meat, fish and vegetables, and of course gooey baklavas for pud.
Failing that, for stress-free family holidays with fussy kids, fast food, pasta and bland fish dishes are also widely available in the resorts.
When to go to Corfu
Corfu is well suited to family holidays from early May to mid October. The hottest and busiest month is July, with temperatures in the mid 30°Cs. High humidity in late July and throughout August can cause storms, but most are shortlived.
With packages available from as little as £250pp, Corfu can be a very inexpensive destination for family holidays, although you'll pay considerably more for the most upmarket villas offering seclusion amidst the olive groves!
Flying time3hrs All flight times are based on flights from UK London airports, to the capital or nearest destination airport.
Carbon footprint1.78 CO2 Estimated tonnes of CO2 produced for return flights for a family of four.
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