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Driving in Corfu: What to expect?

Corfu, the beautiful Greek island in the Ionian sea. It’s a very popular summer destination due to the perfect blue water and amazing beaches. As an island, one of the best ways to explore is renting a car. However driving in Corfu can be a little bit demanding for new license holders or drivers with little actual experience.

We will give you a few pointers on what you can expect from driving on Corfu island. It takes only about 1h 30m to get from one side of the island to the other. This fact makes car rentals very attractive for exploring every corner of this beautiful Ionian island.

Corfu Mountain Driving

The Basic Rules of Driving in Greece

  • Greeks drive on the right-hand side of the road
  • Speed Limit: 50km/h in Cities, 110km/h on Open Roads, 120km/h on Highways
  • Drinking any amount of alcohol is prohibited before driving (also drugs, but that goes without saying)
  • Using a mobile phone during driving is illegal
  • In Greece, cars INSIDE the roundabout must give way to cars entering the roundabout
  • Yellow lines on the side of the road mean parking is prohibited
Corfu City Driving

Renting a car on Corfu

When arriving into Corfu it is best to rent a car straight at the airport. Not only it is the most convenient, it also offers the most car-rental providers in one place. Also it is likely you will return to the airport to finish of your vacation, so if you rent at the airport you won’t need to care about airport shuttle.

Also we recommend booking a rental in advance, to make sure you get the right one available for you. Generally for Greece we recommend getting the highest available insurance level, this applies to Corfu as well.

Although we don’t think there is any rental in Greece without AC, just in case, make sure your rental has a working AC. It can get seriously hot during the summer.

One more thing to check is the transmission type. As a European country, the manual transmission is still the standard. If you want an automatic prepare to pay extra for the same class of car, due to the difference in transmission. Corfu has a lot of hilly and mountainous terrain, if you are inexperienced with manual transmission this might not be the best place to start learning.

We know a bigger car is more comfortable, and generally gives you a safer feeling. Do consider however the many narrow streets and twisty roads. During your time in Corfu, we think you are better off with a smaller car.

Corfu Mountain Driving

Driving in Corfu

Corfu is full of exciting small twisty roads. Many of them offer excellent vistas of the surrounding area. We are sure that at times you will find it hard to keep your eyes on the road.

Careful route planning is important when you are travelling between cities in Corfu. As a rule of thumb, sticking to the main roads will provide a relatively stress-free experience. However, even the main roads have parts that can be scary for inexperienced drivers. Hairpins are common in the more mountainous area of the island.

If taking smaller roads you should be prepared to reverse any time. There might be oncoming traffic that will not fit into some of the narrow roads of Corfu. In this case sometimes when an opening in the road is closer to you, you will be asked to reverse into the opening for traffic to resume.

Although Corfu doesn’t have any huge cities, there are plenty of urban areas. In these areas try to be even more careful. Make sure you are always aware what is behind you, as scooters are popular on the island. Also keep your eye on pedestrians, sometimes they will just start going trough the road without really looking.

All this said, driving in Corfu is generally an enjoyable experience. When traffic is light, driving up the mountains and on the seaside is extremely beautiful. Tune in to one of the local radio stations for some Greek music for the full experience.

One thing that can be a bother, is the local drivers. They know the roads inside and out, they know their cars and have probably traveled the distance thousands of times. Sometimes they come up really close behind you, and if there are no opportunities to overtake they will just stick to your bumper, breathing down your next. We admit this can be a little unnerving, but don’t let it affect your focus. When they have an opportunity they will just overtake and that’s the end of it.

Exploring Corfu is best done with a car rental (or bring your own). If you are a little inexperienced in driving just keep the following things in mind and you will be fine driving in Corfu: plan your route, stick to the main roads and take it easy.

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