Snorkeling in Corfu, Greece: The 5 Best Snorkel Spots

snorkeling in corfu
Photo by Credit Dan Gold/ Unsplash
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Snorkeling in Corfu shouldn’t be too hard to come by. There’s incredible variety along the 217-kilometer shoreline of this island. From long, sandy stretches like Glyfada to the pebbly coves of Palaiokastritsa, the rugged Sidari capes of the north to the softly-sloping bays of family favorites like Benitses down south, you should have stacks to pick from.

What’s more, the Ionian Sea where Corfu makes its home is famed for its clarity and warmth. The azure waters are stunning to look at and just as beautiful to swim in. H2O temps can hit 25℃ (77℉) in August, while visibility can top 20 meters, making it some of the best territory in the whole of Greece for snorkeling.

On top of that, the shores here positively teem with life. Shoals of shimmering fish dart around the shallows whilst seagrass meadows, coral gardens, and rock formations provide perfect homes for marine creatures of all shapes and sizes. Snorkeling in Corfu is your ticket to all that. So, prepare to say kalimera to the loggerhead turtles with this guide to the best locations for pulling on the goggles and breathing spout…

Paleokastritsa

Paleokastritsa, a perfect location for snorkelling in Corfu, Greece.
Photo by Corfu Diary/Unsplash

The west coast beaches of Paleokastritsa offer the perfect environment for snorkeling in Corfu. With shingle and pebbles combining with rocky sea beds and excellent coverage by high surrounding cliffs, the area can sometimes seem tailor-made for those keen on observing what’s underwater.

Five scenic bays make up the area. They run the gamut from large, easily-accessible beaches to smaller coves that are trickier to access. We’d reccomend starting your explorations from Agios Spyridon, the largest and best-known of the Paleokastritsa five. It tends to be crowded but has plenty of amenities, including cafes and gear rental spots. Enclosed by two arms of thick rock, this large beach offers top-notch visibility and lots of nooks and crannies to swim through.

From there, take a beach tour west to smaller, emptier Agios-Petros. That links to Ampelaki even further west. The latter is the smallest of the Paleokastritsa beaches, accessible only by foot and boasting its own dive school which also offers snorkeling trips if you want to get out deeper into the Ionian.

To the east, Alipa Beach has crystal clear water but also a port, so it’s not ideal for snorkelers. Then comes Platakia. Narrow and shingled, it’s not for sunbathing but is a snorkeler’s dream, touting rock pools and a craggy seabed where timid fish coalesce between the stones. Finally, if you don’t mind the 142 steps down to the beach, finish at the most easterly cove in Paleokastritsa: Lagrotta Bay. That has cool, shaded water and dramatic rock formations crowding the bay. It’s excellent for snorkeling, diving, and rock jumping, and there’s a wonderful taverna set into the cliffs for when you need an after-snorkel cocktail. 

Nissaki

snorkel the underwater wonderland of Corfu, Greece.
Photo by Yannis Papanastasopoulos/Unsplash

The east coast of Corfu is more sheltered than the west. With calmer water less often stirred up by the Adriatic swells that come down from the north and cross-Mediterranean swells that come in from the west, it’s home to some of the most tranquil spots for snorkeling in Corfu. Chief among them might just be Nissaki Bay. It’s a small, rocky cove on the northeast corner of Corfu. There’s a Blue Flag award testifying to the cleanliness of the water and lots to fuel the marine safaris.

Generally speaking, we’d say this is a fantastic beginner spot. There’s really no need to swim out of your depth at Nissaki. Simply walk into the water, have a leisurely float in the shallows, and watch the shoals of fish that dart around near the shore. 

If you want to see something a bit bigger, explore to the right of the main beach. Larger fish can be found under the wooden jetties there. Shoals of well-fed fish also hang around in the water below the seaside taverna, where people tend to throw scraps of food into the Ionian Sea to encourage the wildlife.

Porto Timoni

Porto Timoni, twin beaches, are an incredible spot for to visit in Corfu.
Photo by Julian Muller/Unsplash

Porto Timoni, or twin beach, is an absolute must-see for any visitor to Corfu. Whether you love photography, hiking, beaches, snorkeling, or scenery you can’t go wrong with a trip to this incredible spot. We thought it looked more like something out of the Thai islands than Greece when we first went!

Situated on the west coast of Corfu, this buy-one-get-one-free isthmus beach strings along the narrow strip of brush that leads to the Akra Arilla Peninsula. With one beach facing west and the other east, you have all the choices when it comes to snorkel spots. Even if the water on one beach is rough or churned up, the other can be calm and clear. To put it another way, there’s likely to be some snorkel-worthy shores, no matter the swell direction.

These beautiful beaches are lacking in facilities, however – the remoteness is part of the charm. So, pack everything you need for the day, including plenty of water, as there’s a bit of a trek (it takes about 30 minutes in all) down to the bay that can be challenging in hot weather. You can also access Porto Timoni on a water taxi out of nearby Paleokastritsa.

Kassiopi 

the sea around Corfu, Greece is warm, and clear and perfect for snorkeling.
Photo by Arshopenby/pixabay

Kassiopi sits on the northeastern coast of the island. It’s the hub of a truly beautiful area. A fishing village turned tourist town, it offers a backdrop of mountains and olive groves, all enclosed by several stunning beaches. That said, it’s officially the largest town in this top part of the isle, so don’t expect to be alone.

There are several family-friendly Blue Flag beaches within easy reach. But for the best snorkeling locations, we suggest you head to the little peninsula above Kassiopi town. From there, you can explore three perfect snorkeling spots within easy walk, swim, or paddle of each other. 

Bataria is the most commercial of the bunch. It’s also arguably the most beautiful. With its pale, pebbly shore, azure waters, and a view of the Albanian coast in the distance, this beach is worth a visit whether you snorkel or not. If you follow the coastal path from the north of the beach to the tip of the peninsula, you’ll find the tiny but very beautiful Kanoni Beach. With no sand to speak of, only rock slabs, this one is definitely more about snorkeling than sunbathing.

Then it’s on to rocky Pipitos Beach in the west. This one is the most adventurous snorkeling option near Kassiopi, as reaching it involves a certain amount of scrambling over the coast rocks. Once you arrive, the rocky seabed offers wonderful viewing, with urchins, seagrasses, and perhaps even the occasional turtle. 

Paradise Beach

experience the dramatic scenery of the vertical cliffs of Paradise Beach.
Credit Mikulas Prokop @ Unsplash

The clue’s in the name with this one. One of the most breathtaking beaches on Corfu, Paradise Beach is a place of sheer natural grandeur. Chalky-white, near-vertical cliffs line the coast, splintering it off from the rest of the island. Accessible only by boat, a trip here will make you feel miles away from the rest of the world and at the very end of Greece as a whole. 

The cliffs, pebbles, and rocky sea beds make for wonderful snorkeling, as they help to up the visibility in the absence of dusty sand. There are also sea caves to be explored. You can even swim into one of them at the north end of the bay, while others can be seen on one of the regular boat trips that come this way. 

You can get to Paradise Beach by water taxi, or, better yet, hire a boat for the day. That way you can explore the incredible surrounding coastline, caves, and nearby beaches at your leisure.

TL;DR – Paradise Beach offers one of the most dramatic spots for snorkeling in Corfu as a whole!

Where can you see turtles in Corfu?

Endangered loggerhead turtles are frequently spotted in Corfu. They are especially common in the period of May to October, when they visit the island to nest. They prefer sandy beaches to pebbly ones and so can be most often found off southwestern beaches such as Halikounas, Issos, and the southernmost beach Arkoudilas. 

Is Corfu good for snorkeling?

Corfu is a great place to snorkel. With 217 kilometers of coastline and beaches to suit all sorts of traveler, you will not fail to find a snorkeling spot in this corner of Greece. The warm, clear water makes for exceptional visibility and wonderful marine life abounds to boot. Book yourself onto a snorkel boat for a day or half-day trip guided by the professionals. Or do it yourself from any of the beaches listed above.

What should you be aware of whilst snorkeling in Corfu, Greece?

There are a few unwritten rules when it comes to snorkeling in Corfu and snorkeling in Greece generally. They’re all about protecting the wondrous underwater habitats of the Mediterranean, and keeping visitors safe as they go in search of sea turtles and seahorses…

  • Always respect the marine environment and the sea life you find there. 
  • Never touch or disturb sea creatures, coral, or plants. Just observe from a distance. 
  • Stay safe. If you’re not a good swimmer stick to the shallows. There’s no need to venture out of your depth, as plenty of sea life can be seen around the rocks in shallow water.
  • Watch out for hazards – Don’t snorkel near moving boats, ports, or designated water sports areas.
  • Keep an eye on the current. Although most of Corfu’s beaches are relatively safe, you should always be aware of how far you’ve drifted from where you started. 

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Anita is from Wales and has been a travel addict since her first trip to Australia ten years ago. Since then she's lived and worked in Oz, New Zealand and Canada, worked many ski seasons and travelled widely through South East Asia, Morocco, India and Europe. She's a nomad, freelance writer, foodie, compulsive reader, tea addict and animal lover.