Cruisers know that time is limited in port, so it helps to know what's around. I recently landed on the beautiful Greek island of Corfu during my cruise on Oceania Riviera.
What can you do if you have just one day in port at Corfu?
Let's take a look. Your cruise ship docks at Kekyra (Kekira) port, and you can walk along the coast or take a bus to get to many spots.
Local bus service is offered just off the ship in a parking lot. You can find the stop outlining the routes. Check with the information booth at the cruise ship terminal for how to use the system or for recommendations on where to go if you aren't sure what is nearby.
You'll also find plenty of cab drivers hawking their taxi services as well as booths for rental cars.
Want a beach day? About 9 miles from port just up the coast is Ipsos Beach. This is the nicest beach close to port. It features calm waters in an enclosed bay setting. Loungers and umbrellas are available, as well as several tavernas and restaurants.
You can grab the Corfu City Bus (Blue Bus) to get there. Take the Dassia-Ipsos northbound bus. If you buy a daily ticket, you can ride all day to all destinations for 5 euros (single rides are about 1 euro).
Interested in a hike, too? Across the road from the beach resort area, you can find footpaths and trails that lead into the hills that give you a good workout and scenic views. In fact, if you keep climbing out of the lower Ipsos area, you can reach the highest peak on Corfu, Mount Pantoktator. You might want to get an early start if you want to conquer that activity during your day in port.
If you want to explore historic Corfu Town, head south away from the port of Kekyra instead. You can reach it by walking (about 3 kilometers or 30 minutes), Blue Bus or a 6 euro taxi ride.
This is the main tourist area on Corfu and offers a lot to see and do. The cobbled alleys and streets are fun to explore, as you wind around past shops selling fresh produce or handicrafts. You also can find workshops making leather goods like exquisite sandals and belts.
You'll definitely want to make time to have a beer or coffee while just chilling in a public plaza enjoying the warm weather and bustling show of people moving through the streets. Don't forget to grab a gelato, too. Try a special flavor of Corfu, like kumquat!
We piled up the steps visiting the Old Fortress that sits as an imposing presence between the town square and the coast. Entrance is 6 euros, and the site includes a museum filled with artifacts and paintings. You also might hear the sounds of live music emanating from the Hellenic Music Research Lab of the Ionian University on the property.
The history of this Venetian fortress dates to the 6th century and has been the site of several invasions and sieges as well as Nazi occupation in the 1940s. Weaponry, such as cannons are on display on the grounds.
The hike to the top of the fortress can be challenging because of some slippery surfaces, but the multiple views you get from a variety of lookouts as you pause on the way up are stunning. The fort overlooks the promontory jutting between the Gulf of Kekyra and Garitsa Bay.
After descending from the top, we wandered down to the attached marina and boat club at the waterside. If you are up for a swim, you can enter the waters at a small grassy park area.
The Esplanade, which is a beautiful event grounds and park between the Old Fortress and the Royal Palace. The large green space was built by the French under Napoleon.
The New Fortress: Another Venetian fortification, dates from 1577.
The Church of St. Spyridon: The red dome of this 1589 structure's bell tower looms over the city.
The Royal Palace: This impressive neoclassical mansion built in 1816 houses the Museum of Asian Art, and its beautiful courtyard cafe offers views across the sea to neighboring Albania.
If you love to dive, Corfu is known for its amazing cave diving. Check at the port terminal for an outfitter that offers day trips to the well-known beach area of Paleokastritsa on the west side of the island. You'll explore wrecks, caverns, caves, walls and reefs.
Opa! Thanks for reading.
Travel fit, travel happy, travel often!