Corfu is on the whole one of the most beautiful and relaxing vacations I’ve ever had. The island’s gorgeous coastline and surrounding emerald sea provide endless views, and the vibe is friendly and chill. The island’s capital, Corfu Town, is busy but fun; it’s the perfect vacation spot. But would it be a good place to live?
Corfu Town, or Kerkyra, is the quaint center of Corfu where you’ll find the majority of restaurants, businesses, and actual residents. The vast majority of people who live, work, and go to school in Corfu reside in and around Corfu Town. Though it’s still considerably tourist-centered, there is more evidence of real life ― clothes hanging out to dry between apartment windows in little alley ways, people taking the bus to work, and teenagers hanging out drinking beers in the shady nooks of beautiful buildings. The lively shops of Old Town and sidewalk cafes just inspire you to sit and people watch all day. Corfu Town might be on the coast but what it has in buzzing streets, it definitely lacks in beaches. On a hot day, you will find yourself planting a towel on the closest strip of concrete near the water in desperation. And Corfu has a lot of hot days.
It’s really hard to get past Corfu Town’s nonstop muggy 100-degree weather. I can’t imagine doing anything between the hours of noon and 5 pm that isn’t sitting inside with air conditioning blasting directly in my face. God forbid I had to walk to the market and carry groceries home. While seven straight sunny days is great vacation weather, Corfu Town could use some clouds, because it’s brutal out there. I would probably need to triple my wardrobe so I can change every 10 minutes when my outfit gets drenched in sweat.
Where options may be limited in smaller villages around the island, Corfu Town has an incredible array of dining options that are all excellent. Though some of the better restaurants only open for dinner, most of the town is open for business all day and you can always grab a bite at a snack bar even late into the night. Corfu Town is a place where you will never go hungry because there is amazing food everywhere. One of the downsides is the cost given it’s popularity as a tourist destination… but it’s cheaper than Santorini and just as delicious.
Conveniences and inconveniences
Corfu Town is fairly small, which means it’s extremely walkable. In fact, you could even walk to the airport from city center in about 20 minutes. Would you want to lug your bags there when it’s scorching out? Probably not. And while the airport is easy to get to and the city is well-connected to a lot of European cities by direct flights, most of those flights are seasonal.
Some of the other inconvenient aspects of Corfu life have to do with more basic necessities. For instance, though the water is safe to drink, it tastes like shit. The water sources on Corfu are very mineral-heavy, which may be great for digestion but not for the palate. In addition to the drinking water, plumbing in Corfu (and across Greece as a whole) lacks the capability to handle paper products. And though this is tolerable for a short holiday, flushing paper with your waste is kind of a desirable luxury. On the other hand, one desirable luxury Greece gets right is air conditioning. While the rest of Europe has to spend the summer hanging out in their underwear in front of a fan, most Greek homes are equipped with AC.
My favorite thing about Greece outside the gyros and fried cheese is the people. It’s kind of bewildering how people who live in such a hot place could be so chill. A day into our arrival in Corfu Town, we saw a delivery van knock a piece of the driver’s side mirror off a parked car. The driver got out and manually attached the cover back on the mirror and shot the owner of the car a thumbs up before driving away. Where I’m from, that is grounds for a physical altercation and/or police involvement. People in Corfu Town, as in most of Greece, truly have no fucks to give about anything. They’re nice without being over-the-top about it. Being around people like this for such a high-strung person like me would probably be extremely therapeutic.
Total livability score 3/10
If Corfu Town had California weather, I think it could be a solid 10 place to live and possibly retire. But the weather is disqualifying. I can’t live in Corfu Town if it means that I’ll have sweat flowing down my back and legs every time I sit down for lunch.