Journey Through Faith: Experiencing Orthodox Easter in Corfu

Corfu Epitafios

A guide on experiencing the 2024 Orthodox Easter in Corfu, by the team at Greeklist.

1.  Corfu: A unique destination of Orthodox Easter

As spring unfurls its blossoms, Corfu, an island steeped in history and tradition, prepares to welcome visitors to its annual Orthodox Easter celebrations. Steeped in tradition and religious fervour, this annual event offers visitors a unique opportunity to witness age-old customs and immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of Greece. From solemn processions to joyous feasts, Orthodox Easter in Corfu is a testament to the island’s deep-rooted faith and sense of community.

Join us on a journey through the heart of this annual sacred holiday (this year on May 5th 2024), where centuries-old rituals blend seamlessly with breathtaking natural beauty, creating an unforgettable experience for all who partake.”

Corfu Holy Week

2.  Brief History of Corfu

Corfu boasts a rich and fascinating history, woven from diverse influences that have shaped its unique character. The island’s story begins long ago, with evidence of Greek settlements dating back to the Palaeolithic era. During the Hellenistic Period, Corfu was a steadfast ally of Athens and later during the Byzantine Era it evolved into an important trade hub. However, the most significant chapter began during the 14th century when the island fell under Venetian rule. This period, lasting for over four centuries, left an indelible mark on the island’s architecture, traditions, and even its religious landscape. Venetian influence in the island is still felt today.

Following Venetian rule, Corfu transitioned through various periods, including French and British control, before finally joining modern Greece in 1864. Corfu was also the birthplace of Ioannis Kapodistrias, (born in 1776) the first governor of modern Greece. Despite these numerous changes, the island has retained its unique cultural identity, evident in its diverse architectural styles, vibrant traditions, and enduring spirit, making it a captivating destination for history buffs and curious travellers alike.

Ancient Ruins in Corfu
Ancient Ruins in Corfu
Venetian Map of Corfu
Venetian Map of Corfu
Ancient Ruins in Corfu
British Soldiers in Corfu
Ioannis Kapodistrias
Ioannis Kapodistrias

3.  Getting to Corfu from the UK

Getting to Corfu from the UK is a breeze. Several airlines offer direct and connecting flights from a range of UK airports to Corfu International Airport (CFU). The flight duration usually falls between 3 to 4 hours, ensuring a swift and comfortable journey. Skyscanner showcases attractive return fares, with prices ranging from £30 to £200. Direct flights are available from major cities like London, Birminghman and Manchester, making it convenient for travellers to reach this picturesque island destination.

4.  The weather in Corfu during Easter

During Easter in Corfu (Late April/Early May), the weather transitions from the cooler temperatures of winter to the warmer days of spring, with average daytime temperatures ranging from 15°C to 20°C. This shift in climate creates a comfortable environment for outdoor activities and exploration. While April does experience some rainfall, the showers are typically short-lived and interspersed with periods of sunshine, contributing to the island’s lush greenery and vibrant floral displays. The sea temperature, averaging between 16°C to 18°C, may be a bit cool for extended swimming but offers a refreshing respite from the warmth of the sun. Overall, the weather during Easter in Corfu provides a balance between the invigorating freshness of spring and the emerging warmth of summer, creating an atmosphere conducive to enjoying the island’s natural beauty and cultural festivities.

For an extended weather forecast, check Accuweather.


5.  Top Destinations and Attractions in Corfu during Easter

From ancient landmarks steeped in history to picturesque villages brimming with charm, Corfu offers a diverse array of experiences for every traveller. Immerse yourself in the island’s rich heritage as you explore majestic palaces, Byzantine monasteries, and winding streets lined with Venetian architecture.

  • Panagia Vlacherna Monastery: This picturesque monastery, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is perched on a small islet connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway. It offers stunning views of Pontikonisi and the surrounding coastline.
  • Panagia Vlacherna
  • Old Town: Wander through the charming labyrinth of the Old Town, where Venetian architecture unfolds in a tapestry of colorful buildings, grand squares Spianada, and imposing fortresses like the Old Fortress (Palaio Frourio).
  • Corfu Old Town
  • Agios Spyridon Church: Located in Corfu Town, this church is dedicated to Saint Spyridon, the island’s patron saint. It houses his relics and features impressive Byzantine architecture, including a distinctive bell tower.
  • Saint Spyridon Corfu
  • Mount Pantokrator: Embark on a scenic hike or drive to the peak of Mount Pantokrator (God Almighty), the highest mountain on Corfu. Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the island and the surrounding Ionian Sea, and visit the historic Pantokrator Monastery.
  • Pantokrator Mountain
  • Paleokastritsa Monastery: Set atop a hill overlooking Paleokastritsa Bay, this monastery dates back to the 13th century. Visitors can explore its historic church, museum, and enjoy panoramic views of the Ionian Sea.
  • Paleokastritsa
  • Angelokastro (Castle of the Angel): Explore the medieval fortress of Angelokastro, situated high atop a cliff, and marvel at its impressive fortifications and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Ahilleion Palace: Step into the grandeur of this 19th-century palace adorned with stunning gardens and statues inspired by Greek mythology. Explore the lavish interior, once a summer retreat for the Austrian Empress Elisabeth (Sisi).
  • Achilleion Palace
  • Mon Repos Palace: Immerse yourself in the history of the former Greek Royal Family at this 19th-century palace surrounded by beautiful gardens. It also is also the birthplace of the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, consort to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
  • Mon Repos
  • Church of Agios Nikolaos: Located in the heart of Corfu Town, this church is dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors. It features beautiful frescoes and intricate iconography, reflecting the island’s rich religious heritage.
  • Church of Saint Nicholas Corfu
  • Kassiopi Village: Step back in time and experience the traditional charm of a Corfiot village in Kassiopi. Explore narrow cobbled streets lined with colorful houses, discover charming shops and cafes, and soak up the peaceful atmosphere of this picturesque village.
  • Kassiopi Village
  • Byzantine Museum: Delve into Corfu’s rich history through a collection of religious Orthodox artifacts, Byzantine art, and exhibits showcasing the island’s evolution through the centuries.
  • Byzantine Museum of Corfu
  • Pontikonisi (Mouse Island): This unique islet, shaped like a mouse and located just off the coast of Corfu, is a popular tourist destination. Take a boat tour from the Kanoni Peninsula or Perama to reach the island, explore its small Byzantine chapel dedicated to Pantokrator, and enjoy the scenic views of the surrounding area.
  • Pontikonisi
  • The Kapodistrias Family Estate: Located  outside Corfu town, this estate houses a museum dedicated to the life and legacy of Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first governor of modern Greece.
  • Kapodistrias Museum

6.  Cuisine and Dining in Corfu during Easter

Corfu’s Easter celebrations are a feast for the senses, bursting with colour, music, and, most importantly, unique flavours. Move over, roast lamb! Corfu’s Easter table takes a delightful detour from tradition, offering a symphony of savoury and sweet treats that will tantalise your taste buds and leave you eager to discover the island’s culinary secrets.

Easter Table

The best Easter Dishes

Traditional Greek Easter dishes take centre stage such as:

  • Ovelias (roast lamb): The star of the Greek Easter table. A whole lamb seasoned and meticulously slow-roasted on a spit. The succulent meat symbolizes the sacrificial lamb, a tradition steeped in history. It is often accompanied by crispy Greek fried potatoes for a complete feast.
  • Ovelias
  • Magiritsa Soup: A savory delicacy made from lamb offal, rice, and aromatic herbs such as dill and parsley. Prepared as a symbol of breaking the fast after the Lenten period, it is often enjoyed as the first meal following the midnight Resurrection service.
  • Mageiritsa Soup
  • Kokoretsi: A traditional Greek dish made from seasoned offal, typically lamb or goat intestines, wrapped around skewered organ meats such as liver, heart, and lungs. These ingredients are seasoned with herbs and spices, then roasted over an open flame until crispy and flavorful.
  • Kokoretsi
  • Tsoureki (Easter bread): Made from a rich, sweet dough flavored with aromatic spices such as mahlab and mastiha, then braided into a distinctive shape. Tsoureki is often adorned with sesame seeds or slivered almonds and has a soft, fluffy texture, making it a beloved treat for sharing with family and friends during celebrations.
  • Tsoureki
  • Paschalina Koulourakia: (Easter cookies): Buttery, crumbly cookies that are typically shaped into twisted or braided rings, and sometimes formed into shapes like figure-eights or coils. They are often flavoured with vanilla or orange.
  • Koulourakia

Special mention: The Easter Eggs. Hard-boiled eggs dyed red to symbolize the blood of Christ and the resurrection. These eggs are a ubiquitous symbol of Easter in Greece and are exchanged among family and friends  and then the game of Tsougrisma (egg tapping) takes place as a sign of good luck and renewal.

Easter Eggs

Also, don’t forget to taste these local dishes of Corfu:

  • Pastitsada: the undisputed king of Corfiot cuisine, a slow-cooked beef stew infused with rich flavours. Tender chunks of beef are simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce seasoned with onions, garlic, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves.
  • Pastitsada
  • Sofrito: Thinly sliced beef takes centre stage, simmered with white wine, garlic, parsley, and white pepper until tender and bursting with flavour. Unlike Pastitsada’s rich tomato base, Sofrito focuses on highlighting the natural flavours of the meat.
  • Sofrito

For a better insight in Greek Cuisine, check here our special guide!

Have a chance to taste the cuisine of Corfu and Greece during Easter in our Top-10 list of restaurants in Corfu:

  • Avalle Bistro: Seafood, Mediterranean, Greek Cuisine, Grill, Healthy Food
  • Chris Place: Greek & Mediterranean Cuisine, Vegetarian & Vegan Options

Check for more Corfu restaurants on Tripadvisor.

7.  Accommodation Options in Corfu during Easter

Corfu offers a diverse range of accommodation options catering to various budgets and preferences, ensuring a comfortable and memorable stay during your Easter exploration.

Here is our top-5 hotel list for Corfu:

Seek more Greeklist exclusive Hotel deals for Corfu and HotelBrain here!

8. Unique church services during Easter

During Orthodox Easter , the island comes alive with unique church services that blend ancient traditions with modern celebrations.

During Holy Thursday,  special morning service, the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil, takes place. This liturgy remembers the Last Supper, where Jesus established the sacrament of the Eucharist. In the evening, the  reading of the Twelve Gospels is a unique element on Thursday night. These twelve passages recount the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion, preparing the faithful for the somber mood of Holy Friday.

Jesus on Cross

Holy Friday is a day of mourning. Α solemn ceremony called the Veneration of the Cross takes place. During this ceremony, the faithful venerate the cross, a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice. Another unique element of Holy Friday is the Epitaphios, a beautiful floral decoration symbolising the tomb of Christ. The Epitaphios is adorned with flowers and icons, and is paraded  through the streets during the night while the faithful are chanting mourning chants.


One of the most significant moments of the Easter period is the midnight liturgy on Holy Saturday, where worshippers gather to celebrate the Resurrection with candlelight processions, hymns, and the symbolic lighting of the Holy Fire from Jerusalem. The bells rang while the faithful chant Hristos Anesti! (Christ is Risen) accompanied by fireworks.


9. Special Easter Customs in Corfu

In Corfu, Orthodox Easter is imbued with unique customs and traditions, among which the Epitaphios ceremony on Holy Friday stands as a poignant and deeply moving testament to the island’s rich religious heritage and cultural identity as well as the festive Pot Throwing custom of Holy Saturday:

  • The Epitaphios Procession: As dusk descends on Holy Friday in Corfu, mournful chants resonate through the historic centre as parishioners and clergy process with the Epitaphios—a symbolic representation of Christ’s tomb—adorned with fragrant flowers and liturgical symbols. Accompanied by the haunting strains of Byzantine hymns and the solemn tolling of church bells, the procession winds its way through the labyrinthine streets, pausing at poignant points for prayers and reflections on the Passion of Christ. This sacred tradition evokes a profound sense of contemplation and devotion among participants, serving as a poignant reminder of the sacrifice of Christ and the hope of redemption, while fostering a deep sense of community and solidarity among the faithful.
  • Botides (Pot Throwing): A unique and lively custom that takes place in Corfu on the morning of Holy Saturday. As the Easter weekend approaches, Corfiots gather old or unused pots, pans, and other ceramic objects, eagerly anticipating the opportunity to participate in this age-old ritual. When the clock strikes 11 a.m., residents emerge onto their balconies and terraces, armed with their collection of pots and pans. With a sense of excitement and anticipation, they gleefully hurl these items onto the cobblestone streets below, creating a cacophony of crashing sounds that reverberates throughout the town.
  • Botides Corfu

10. Day trips by boat from Corfu

Corfu’s strategic location in the Ionian Sea makes it an excellent starting point for day trips to nearby islands. Here are some places close to Corfu that are perfect for day excursions by boat

  • Paxos & Antipaxos Islands: Two enchanting islands nestled in the Ionian Sea, offer a perfect day trip from Corfu. Explore Paxos’ charming villages, picturesque harbors, and hidden sea caves before hopping over to Antipaxos for a day of sunbathing on pristine sandy beaches and swimming in crystal-clear waters.
  • Diapontia Islands: This group of small islands (3 inhabited and 9 uninhabited) includes Mathraki, Othoni, and Erikoussa. Each island offers its own unique charm, with secluded beaches, traditional villages, and scenic hiking trails to explore.
  • Diapontia Islands
  • Igoumenitsa: As a major port city on the Greek mainland, Igoumenitsa offers a bustling atmosphere and convenient ferry connections to other destinations in Greece and beyond. Spend the day shopping, dining, and exploring the city’s cultural attractions.
  • Igoumenitsa
  • Syvota: A picturesque coastal village on the mainland of Greece, beckons with its turquoise waters and verdant surroundings. A day trip from Corfu to Syvota offers opportunities for swimming in secluded coves, exploring hidden caves along the coastline, and savouring fresh seafood at waterfront tavernas.
  • Syvota

11. Local Transportation and getting around in Corfu

Here’s a comprehensive guide to navigating Corfu’s transportation network, ensuring you have a seamless experience while exploring this beautiful island:

  • Blue Buses (Urban Transit): Offering an economical way to get around Corfu Town and its environs, the Blue Buses cover key destinations such as the port, airport, and nearby beaches. Ideal for exploring the city’s cultural treasures and coastal delights.
  • Green Buses (Rural Transit): Connecting Corfu Town to villages, beaches, and attractions across the island, the Green Buses provide convenient access to Corfu’s diverse landscapes and hidden gems. Perfect for day trips and discovering the island’s scenic wonders..
  • Taxis: With a fleet readily available in Corfu Town and major tourist hubs, taxis offer a reliable and convenient mode of transportation. Whether you’re heading to a nearby attraction or exploring off-the-beaten-path locales, taxis provide flexibility and comfort.
  • Car or Scooter Rental: For independent travellers seeking freedom and flexibility, renting a car or scooter is the ideal option. Explore Corfu’s stunning scenery, discover secluded beaches, and immerse yourself in the island’s charming villages at your own pace.

12. Safety and Travel Tips for Corfu

As you prepare to embark on your Corfiot adventure, here are some essential tips to ensure a safe, smooth, and unforgettable experience!

  • Emergency Numbers: Familiarise yourself with emergency contact numbers, including: local police (100), medical emergencies (166), fire department (199), and the British Embassy (+302107272600) for assistance.
  • General Safety: Corfu is generally considered a safe destination for tourists.
  • Fire Safety: Be cautious with cigarettes and open flames, especially in the forest areas of the island
  • Language: While English runs the show, since Corfu is a popular tourist attraction, learning a few basic Greek phrases can be helpful and appreciated by locals. Don’t forget to say “Kalo Pascha!” (Happy Easter) and “Hristos Anesti!” (Christ is Risen).
  • Accommodation: Book your accommodation early because Easter period in Corfu is considered as a peak season.
  • Walking Safe: Equip yourself with appropriate gear, such as sturdy footwear, water, and sun protection, to mitigate risks and ensure a comfortable journey.
  • Local Etiquette: Tipping is not mandatory in Corfu, but it is a common courtesy to leave a small gratuity for good service. Check here for travellers etiquette to Greece.
  • Electrical Compatibility: British visitors to Greece should ensure they have a travel adapter compatible with Europlug Type C or Type F sockets to effortlessly power their electronic devices during their stay.
  • Church Etiquette: When visiting churches, monasteries, or other religious sites, dress modestly and behave respectfully. Check here for the Orthodox Church Etiquette.
  • Local Currency: The Euro (€) is the official currency in Greece. It’s advisable to exchange some currency before your trip or withdraw cash from ATMs upon arrival to ensure you have local currency readily available for transactions.
  • Supporting Local Businesses: Embrace the authenticity of your experience by opting for accommodations owned by locals, indulging in the flavours of traditional tavernas, and selecting souvenirs crafted by local artisans
  • Greek Coffee: Indulge in the rich and aromatic flavours of Greek coffee, a cherished tradition steeped in history and culture. Served in small cups, this beverage embodies the essence of hospitality and fosters meaningful conversations.
  • Visit Corfu

13. F.A.Q.s for Corfu and Orthodox Easter

  • What does the name Corfu mean?

The origin of the name “Corfu” intertwines Byzantine and Venetian influences. Derived from the Byzantine Greek term “Koryphō,” meaning “city of the peaks,” it pays homage to the twin peaks gracing the skyline of the Old Venetian Fortress in Corfu Town.

  • What is the Greek name of Corfu?

The Island is called Kerkyra (Κέρκυρα) in Greek. The exact origin of this name is debated, but it may stem from the Greek word “Korkyra” which appears in ancient mythology and might be connected to the mythical figure Korkyra, the daughter of the river god Asopus.

  • Is it necessary to rent a car in Corfu?

While not necessary, renting a car can be convenient for exploring the island, especially if you plan to visit remote beaches or inland villages. However, public transportation options such as buses and taxis are also available.

  • Is Corfu family-friendly?

Yes, Corfu is a family-friendly destination with plenty of activities and attractions suitable for all ages, including beaches with shallow waters, and cultural sites that appeal to children and adults alike.

  • Are there mice in Pontikonisi?

Despite its name, which translates to “Mouse Island” in Greek, there are no mice on Pontikonisi. The island’s name likely originates from its small size and rounded shape, resembling a mouse from a certain perspective.

  • When is Orthodox Easter celebrated?

Orthodox Easter (also known as Pascha), is celebrated on a different date than Western Easter due to the use of the Julian calendar for calculating the date of Easter. It usually falls between early April and early May.

  • How do Orthodox Christians greet each other during Easter?

Orthodox Christians often greet each other during Easter with the traditional Paschal greeting: “Christ is risen!” (to which the response is “Truly, He is risen!”). This greeting reflects the joyous proclamation of Christ’s resurrection.

  • Are there any cultural similarities between British and Corfiot traditions?

While significant differences exist, some similarities might be observed in aspects like: Enjoying afternoon tea and  Appreciation for sports.

  • Are there any hiking trails in Corfu?

Corfu offers various hiking trails, from easy coastal paths to challenging ascents like Mount Pantokrator. Explore the Kaiser’s Trail Walk leading through historical sites, or enjoy the scenic views from the Korakiana Trail.

  • What is the significance of the Resurrection service during Easter? 

The Resurrection service, known as the Midnight Divine Lituqrgy or Easter Vigil, is the most important service of Orthodox Easter. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and marks the climax of Holy Week.

  • How did Ioannis Kapodistrias contribute to Corfu specifically?

During his career, Kapodistrias actively supported Corfu’s development. He contributed to establishing the Ionian Academy, a prestigious educational institution, and advocated for economic reforms to improve the island’s well-being.

14. Conclusion

As the celebrations of Orthodox Easter in Corfu draw to a close, one is left with cherished memories of vibrant traditions, rich cultural experiences, and the warmth of community spirit. From the solemnity of the Resurrection service to the joyous feasts shared with loved ones, Orthodox Easter in Corfu offers a profound connection to faith, history, and tradition. As the island bids farewell to another Easter season, the echoes of hymns sung in candlelit churches and the aroma of traditional delicacies linger, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of all who partake in this sacred and joyous occasion.

Until next year, may the spirit of Easter continue to inspire hope, renewal, and unity among all who call Corfu home, and all who are fortunate enough to experience its timeless traditions!


You can also experience the Orthodox Easter 2024 in Rhodes Island!

Check also our travel guides to Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete, Santorini, Nafpaktos, Ioannina and Mykonos!

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