Corfu vs. Crete: Which is best?

There’s a reason why Corfu and Crete are perennial favourites for a Greek island getaway. They offer stunning beaches, fascinating historical sites and engaging activities for all. But which should you choose? We dive into the highlights of each to help you decide.

Natural beauty

Paleokastritsa Beach, Corfu


Large enough for variety but with an intimate feel, Corfu is perfect for a picturesque, relaxing getaway with a touch of history. It has a mix of beaches, from the Blue Flag sands of Glyfada to pebbly, secluded coves such as Kerasia. The interior, with its olive groves, traditional villages and rolling hills, is just as captivating.

It’s certainly won over Laura Robertson, Store Manager, Kuoni Metrocentre. “Corfu is easily one of my favourite Greek Islands – so much so that I try to go every year. The relaxed vibe and friendly locals always make me feel at home. I love wandering the winding streets of the Old Town, with its Venetian architecture and quirky cocktail bars. I recommend hiring a car and exploring the scenic routes, quaint villages and secluded coves like Agni and Kerasia along the way.

Elafonissi beach, Crete


Crete, the largest Greek island, offers diverse landscapes ranging from gorgeous coastal stretches to rugged mountains. On the west coast, you’ll find Instagram-worthy beaches such as Elafonissi with its pink sands, while the more visited east coast offers Agios Nikolaos and the tranquil coves of Elounda. Crete’s interior is marked by towering peaks and charming hilltop villages; Samaria Gorge is a top pick for hikers.

Kay Cross, Personal Travel Expert, Kuoni at John Lewis Norwich, has a special place in her heart for Crete. “It ticks all the boxes for a perfect holiday with its sun-kissed beaches, flavourful cuisine and fascinating places to explore, such as the ancient ruins of Knossos and historic Rethymnon. And the sunsets over the Cretan Sea are simply spectacular.”

Culture and history

Achilleion Palace, Corfu


With its Venetian architecture, narrow cobblestone streets and notable sites such as the Church of Saint Spyridon, the Old Fortress and the New Fortress, Corfu Town is bursting with history. Don’t miss Angelokastro Castle with its dramatic clifftop setting.

When in Corfu, you have to visit the Achilleion Palace, a stunning neoclassical mansion built by the Empress Elisabeth of Austria,” says Stephen Murray, Personal Travel Expert, Kuoni John Lewis Reading. The breathtaking gardens and historical exhibits provide a fascinating insight into Corfu’s regal past.”

Spinalonga Island, Crete


As the birthplace of the Minoan civilisation, Crete is steeped in ancient history. Explore the Palace of Knossos (on our Discover Knossos tour), numerous monasteries, the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Rethymnon Old Town and the Venetian harbour.

For Mel Cox, Personal Travel Expert, Kuoni Bluewater, the story of Spinalonga made the greatest impression. "I loved visiting this small island in the Gulf of Elounda. It was a leper colony from 1903 to 1957, which adds a poignant historical layer to its beauty. Having read The Island by Victoria Hislop, based on the real-life events here, I found my visit even more fascinating and deeply moving.”

Activities and attractions

Antipaxos island near Corfu


There’s no shortage of things to do in Corfu, whether you’re into olive-oil tastings or watersports such as diving and snorkelling. You could hike the Corfu Trail, enjoy our Highlights of Corfu or Hidden Corfu tours or even hop over to Albania for the day.

Boating adventures are another popular option, none more so than the day trip to Paxos and Antipaxos – an absolute must, according to Laura. “You’ll spend the day visiting breathtaking spots like the mesmerising Blue Caves and Voutoumi Beach. After a swim, enjoy a delicious meal at a waterfront taverna in the charming village of Gaios, where you can savour traditional dishes like grilled octopus and souvlaki.”

Sunset sailing experience at Blue Palace Elounda


Greece’s largest island is a hiker’s paradise, with an endless coastline made for watersports and a plethora of historic sites. Get a taste of its culinary scene through cooking classes and tours such as The Olive & Wine Groves of Crete, or enjoy a 4x4 exploration of Western Crete.

Be sure to take a sunset boat trip, urges Kay. “During my stay at the stunning Blue Palace Elounda, we spent an evening sailing around the Mirabello Gulf on a traditional wooden Caique. Sipping Cretan wine while watching the sun cast a hypnotic glow over the ocean was a magical experience I’ll never forget.”

Recommended places to stay

Two-Bedroom Beachfront Villa Private Pool at Grecotel Corfu Imperial, Luxury Beach Resort


Couples will love The Olivar Suites for its private pool suites and bespoke experiences such as Champagne picnics. For a classic Greek experience, choose Kontokali Bay Resort & Spa, whose guests return year after year. Grecotel hotels, such as Grecotel Eva Palace, Luxury Beach Resort, are great for families and have a fantastic dine-around programme on all-inclusive.

On his last trip to Corfu, Stephen stayed at Grecotel Corfu Imperial, Luxury Beach Resort, “and it was stunning. The hotel's on-site restaurants are fantastic, and if you want a change, the bustle and tavernas of Corfu Old Town are only about a 20-minute drive away.”

 Grecotel Amirandes, Boutique Resort


Crete is a great choice for honeymooners, featuring romantic hideaways such as the adults-only Domes Aulūs Elounda, Curio Collection by Hilton. Our top pick for a great value all-inclusive is the lively Agapi Beach Resort, with its own beach. Grecotel Amirandes, Boutique Resort is a superb all-rounder with both a stylish dining scene for grown-ups and a family-friendly vibe.

Mel rates Elounda Gulf Villas as one of her favourite Kuoni resorts, especially for its food. “Both its restaurants are excellent. Argo serves à la carte dishes made from ingredients fresh from the resort’s gardens, while Daphni has an amazing wine list.”


Both islands promise unforgettable adventures. Corfu wins for lush greenery, romantic hideaways and easy navigation, while Crete is the champion of varied landscapes, fascinating history and extensive activities. Talk to our experts and we’ll help you find the right one for you.

Falasarna beach, north west Chania, Crete




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PTE Summary: This article featured expert advice from:

Stephen Murray, Personal Travel Expert, Kuoni John Lewis Reading

Mel Cox, Personal Travel Expert, Kuoni Bluewater

Kay Cross, Personal Travel Expert, Kuoni at John Lewis Norwich

Laura Robertson, Store Manager, Kuoni Metrocentre

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