Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to a one day in Corfu Itinerary! Doesn’t the name Corfu just conjure up a magical image of gorgeous beaches, grilled fish drizzled in olive oil, and Cary Grant with a tan? Well, in Corfu you can certainly find all of those things. (Yes, even tan Cary Grant, but you have to make do with a photo, as he is no longer Among the Living.)
It would be ideal to spend a whole week in Corfu, one of Greece’s most beautiful islands, but sadly we don’t have enough time. If you are in Corfu as part of a one day shore excursion, like I was on my most recent Royal Caribbean cruise out of Venice, then this itinerary is perfect for you. Let’s not waste any more time!
One Day in Corfu Itinerary
What to Pack?
You’ll need comfy shoes for all the walking we’re going to do today on our One Day in Corfu Itinerary. If it’s summertime, I love my special pink Birkenstocks. These aren’t your grandpappy’s Birkenstocks anymore. They come in every shade, and I always get compliments on my electric magenta shoes.
Greece is hot in the summer, so don’t forget the sunscreen. My favorite is the Neutrogena spray bottle because it’s so easy to apply. And as a solo traveler, I can actually use it myself on my own back. I just put it in my purse and re-apply throughout the day.
Finally, if you’re American or from the UK, you need a universal adapter if you’re going to plug in electronics. European electrical outlets don’t work with American or British plugs. I suggest the NEWVANGA travel adapter. It’s usable with any electrical outlet in the world, so you won’t need to keep buying new adapters. I always carry two with me, just in case something happens to one.
One Day in Corfu Itinerary
Morning: Achilleion Palace
We already discussed the many things that come to mind when you think of Corfu. But I would imagine one thing that doesn’t come to mind is Austrian princesses. And yet all that will change after we visit the stunning Achilleion Palace on our one day in Corfu itinerary. So many tour groups offer excursions here, so I’m sure it will be easy to get to, whether you go by cruise ship shore excursion or take a tour from your hotel in Corfu.
And while the palace might be entirely on the beaten track, that doesn’t mean it isn’t fascinating. Allow me to demonstrate the fascination with…
Three Fun Facts: Achilleion Palace
1) So Who’s the Austrian Princess?
If you know anything about Austrian history, you’ll know there’s only ONE Austrian princess to rule us all, one Austrian princess to bind us, and that’s Princess Elisabeth, better known as Sisi. Of course Austria has had other princesses, but she was certainly the most beloved. The Achilleion Palace was actually built to be her stunning home in Corfu.
I looked up whether or not Corfu belonged to Austria because it seems like at one point basically everything in Europe did, but this seems to not be the case. Sisi just liked it here because of her exquisite taste. You’ll hear a ton of stories about her and her beauty in the palace, but the saddest is that after she turned 29, she thought she was no longer beautiful and wouldn’t allow anyone to photograph her.
Sisi, that’s so sad! Look at how great Jennifer Lopez looks and she is literally in her fifties. If only you loved yourself as much as the Austrians did…
2) So Why Should I Visit This Palace?
Well for one thing, it’s really pretty. The views of Corfu are amazing, you’ll have time to walk around the palatial grounds…is your life really so exciting that you get to chillax in a palace whenever you want? If so, I want to be you when I grow up, Internet Stranger!
There’s plenty of stunning artwork around the palace as well. Most of it has an Achilles theme, like the gimungous fresco The Triumph of Achilles. Sisi supposedly loved Achilles because he was so proud and thought he was better than everyone else, including the gods. I really feel like Sisi would be a super awesome bitchy best friend. In exchange for hearing her witty comments and getting to have tea with her in palaces, we could teach her how to embrace life at thirty, flirty, and thriving. Win, win!
3) What’s the Coolest Piece of Achilles-Related Art?
It’s this guy stretched out in this garden here. See how he’s putting his ankle on fabulous display? He’s just taunting you to stab him in it. But if you have read The Iliad, it will not surprise you to see Achilles being a terrible drama king.
However, I am fond of this statue because of its intriguing backstory. According to our guide, he used to have a German inscription on him. (Makes sense, as he belonged to an Austrian princess.) However the inscription was removed when the French took over the island. Oh Europeans! Will you ever stop feuding?
One Day in Corfu Itinerary
Afternoon: Explore Corfu
Even with only a one day in Corfu itinerary, we’re going to want to hit the two coolest parts of the island: the beaches and Corfu’s Old Town. So if you’re on a shore excursion from a cruise, like I was, or if you book a tour, make sure they include those things. Of course if you’re driving around alone, you can be sure to see any sight you please. But I am not sure it is legal for tourists to drive in Corfu. I mean, it isn’t legal for me to drive anywhere, so I never know those things.
But let’s move on to things I do know, which include:
Approximately Top 5: One Day in Corfu Itinerary
1) Agios Spiridon Beach
The Agios Spiridon Beach, according to my guide, is the most popular beach in Corfu. It’s located in Paleokastritsa Village. Apparently there’s another Agios Spiridon Beach in Corfu, which seems like poor planning, but maybe that’s why I’m not in charge of naming Greek beaches.
My guide also said that 90 percent of the people who visit Corfu come here, which might be an exaggeration? But probably not by much. And you don’t want to be part of the ten percent of people who miss out on these stunning waters, do you?
Look how clear that water is! You can see every crack on my self-administered pedicure. And if you’re annoyed by crowds, it’s easy to just crop most of them out of your photos. Observe!
See how easy it is! Now almost all the people are gone, leaving only water and rocks. Thanks, iPhone!
2) Corfu Old Town Architecture
The beaches in Corfu are grand, but even with only a one day in Corfu itinerary, we won’t want to miss seeing Corfu’s Old Town. Our guide told us that the buildings were modeled after the architecture in Venice, with narrow streets and a lot of columns. This makes sense because back when Venice was its own country, Corfu belonged to Venice. (European history is waaaaay complicated. I always joke that Americans forget about the time Vermont and New York went to war, but really we pale in comparison with the crazy historical issues in Europe.)
You don’t even have to take my word that Corfu’s Old Town is spectacular. It’s actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So if you won’t trust me, please at least trust the United Nations.
I mean, what could this stunning building be? A palace? A luxury hotel? It’s actually something called the Banknote Museum of the Ionian Bank. Yes, in most other places, an obscure museum like this would be located in someone’s basement. But in Corfu, even the weird museums are beautiful.
3) Saint Sprydon Church
The church above might not look that impressive, but it’s the most famous church in Corfu. Photo taking is not allowed inside, which is the case in many Orthodox churches, so you’ll just have to let me paint a picture of the interior with my words. Be prepared because you will have to cover your shoulders to enter the church. That’s why I always bring a light jacket in my purse when I travel, especially if I plan on visiting the interior of any churches during the summer.
The main reason this church is famous is that it contains the relics of Saint Spyridon. He is the patron saint of the island because he expelled the plague from Corfu. That seems like a very useful life skill even in 2020.
I did notice that many signs in Corfu mention that Russian and Romanian are also spoken here, and those are both Orthodox countries. In fact, the Romanov coat of arms is even painted inside the church because the Russian Imperial Family considered the place to be under its protection. So I think perhaps this is a spot for many devout Orthodox people to come pay tribute.
It feels strange to write a section on shopping just after a section on a holy place. But such is the nature of writing about tourism. Corfu’s Old Town, like any major tourist destination, is full of stores that sell mass-produced junque. If you enjoy that sort of thing, more power to you! I visit Disney World every year and travel on cruise ships, so this is a judgment-free zone!
But if you’re looking for something handmade, I suggest Emporion d’Artes, which is right near the Saint Spyridon Church. I myself purchased a beautiful pair of locally made golden earrings here that look like window shutters. (I believe every traveler should have a collection; mine is earrings.)
If you’re on a cruise ship shore excursion, you won’t have time for a sit down lunch in Corfu. But you will have time for some ice cream at Papagiorgis, which is a gelateria and pastry shop that has been around since the 1920s. Tourists and locals alike come here–I promise it’s some of the best ice cream you will ever eat, and I have eaten ice cream on every continent but Antarctica.
One Day in Corfu Itinerary
Evening: Party on the Boat!
If this were a typical one day in Corfu itinerary, I’d be telling you where to eat dinner or what’s the coolest venue for rock concerts in Corfu. But since I did this as a shore excursion from a Royal Caribbean ship, we’re going to spend the evening back on the boat. Even if you are a solo traveler like myself, there’s lots of fun to be had on a cruise ship. Start your evening by sunning yourself on the deck with a book of choice and the cocktail specialty of the day.
Then book a reservation for dinner that night! If you want to go all fancy, try a reservation at the gourmet Chef’s Table. (What I call The Fancy Table.) It’s a great way to make friends who like food. If you’re anything like me, you’ll end up meeting a whole bunch of new Facebook friends and watching a timid-seeming young Englishman win third prize in a karaoke contest by singing “I Will Survive” in a falsetto. Anything can happen on the high seas!
That’s a Perfect One Day in Corfu Itinerary!
What would you do on a one day in Corfu itinerary? Do you think Sisi would be mad at me for sharing this selfie because I am over the age of 29? And does anyone out there have the ability to send plagues away from Corfu? Please leave your thoughts below!
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have a one day in Corfu itinerary.