After doing our research on Corfu, we decided to rent a car and explore the island on our own.
In checking around, we found SunRise Corfu Rental Car was an easy walk from the ship. We reserved a car on-line for only 25 Euros for the day, which included insurance. We were able to get off the ship at 8 a.m. and made our way through the port to the gate. As we were walking through the port area, you could see the rental car company across the street, but we had to walk around to go through the gate as there was only one way in/out of the port.
When we arrived at the car rental, we filled the paperwork out and paid cash. As they were going over the car operation with us, we noticed that there was no gas in the tank. They stated that they expected you to bring it back the same way, empty, which is a little hard to do. The gas station was right down the street which was convenient but it only took cash. We ended up putting too much gas in the car which I am sure that was their plan, taking advantage of the cars that come back with more gas than when they left. But what can you expect for just 25 Euros.
Driving in Corfu was fairly easy, but it also helped that we had a GPS to guide us, as tourist places are hard to find and signs are in Greek. Our first stop after getting gas was Paleokastritsa Beach. This is also a cruise ship stop, but since we were on our own, and one of the first people to get off the boat, we got there before the crowd. That is one of the benefits of getting an early start. We walked around Paleokastritsa Beach, but it was to early, nothing was open, so we got back in the car and headed to the Monastery of Paleokastritsa. If you go later after everything opens, there are boats that will take you to tour the caves.
When heading to the Monastery of Paleokastritsa this is a one lane road. We sat at the light and waited our turn to go up the hill. (see the bus stopped in the picture below, waiting to go up the hill). It’s a one vehicle road, so the light is timed to let the traffic complete it’s route before it changes to the other direction. If you go before the light turns green or stop along the way, you will be forced to either back down or turn around because of the vehicles coming your way. Not much room on this road except for one car. All the tour buses and private tours go to the Monastery so parking is very limited at the top.
After leaving Paleokastritsa, we headed to Angelokastro Fortress. There were numerous road side stands along the way. We stopped and did a little shopping but I wished I had bought more things as the prices in these shops were much better than in old town. So if you are in this area and you are looking for gifts, do your shopping here for better deal.
When we arrived at Angelokastro Fortress we found you had to hike to the top. We were not prepared to hike as we had on sandals so we only were able to take picture. It seemed most people just came to take a picture from below and went on their way.
On our travel many of the towns have very narrow roads. We lucked out in following a bus thru these streets because the oncoming traffic yielded to the bus. Since we were behind the bus, it cleared the way. We seemed to be following the buses all day, and never ran into a bus on these narrow roads as we went through the villages.
Driving around we stopped at St George scenic overlook before heading back to Corfu.
It was worth renting a car for the day, as it was much cheaper than taking a tour and we ended up going to the same places. With renting the car, we were able to stay as long as we wanted at each stop. We explored little towns and shops that are not usually visited on a tour. This is where you get the best deals. After we were done sightseeing we returned to “Old town Corfu” to explore. We were able to get a good parking space along the street. It was very crowded since it is the main attraction point for the cruise lines. Most people when visiting by a cruise ships, only visit Old town Corfu. As you can see they are really missing a beautiful place to explore on their own. Before we knew it was time to return the car and walk back to the ship. At least we did not have to fill up the car as we put way to much gas in the tank.
As we left the port, we were treated to some lovely views of old town from the deck of the ship. This was an easy port to DIY. There are plenty of things to see and do on your own with a little planning. It was much cheaper than taking the tour from the cruise ship. Our day only cost 40 Euros for the car and gas for two people. It would have cost even less, if we would have not put so much gas in the car.
Now that you see how easy it is, would you consider a DIY trip to Corfu?