Kos vs Corfu: An Honest Comparison To Help You Choose!

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Last updated on March 25, 2023 by Wandering our World

Looking for a holiday destination in Greece but need help deciding between Kos and Corfu? Well, fear not; we’re here to help you make that difficult choice!

Of all Greece’s stunning islands, Kos and Corfu are amongst some of the best. However they are actually more different than many people realise….

For example, smaller Kos is a more laid-back, easy-going island located in the Aegean Sea, forming part of the Dodecanese archipelago. It’s gets less tourists than Corfu, but subsequently has a little less to do.

But the island’s rich history has given rise to a bustling local culture that’s genuinely unlike anything you will experience elsewhere, and once you spot its gorgeous coastline, you’ll instantly fall in love with this stunning Greek gem.

On the other hand, Corfu is a larger, livelier island located in the Ionian Sea. It’s known for its vibrant culture, archaeological sites, tourist-friendly atmosphere and many things to do.

Much like Kos, Corfu is steeped in history, with some remnants of ancient times still making up a big part of the island today. But it’s grown and has become a tourist utopia where you can sun yourself on sandy beaches, hike through its rugged wilderness and explore the plethora of small villages on its shores.

So we don’t blame you for struggling to decide which would be better for your next vacation. In fact, it makes you human!

Luckily we know both Kos and Corfu well, so below we show you exactly what to expect in each. From which has the better beaches to which is better for adventure, families and even food – we have it all right here.

CONTENTS:

  1. Which Has Better Beaches?
  2. Which Has The Better Landscape?
  3. Which Is The Best For Culture?
  4. Which Is Better For History?
  5. Which Is Better For Adventure Lovers?
  6. Which Has Better Food?
  7. Which Is Better For Backpackers?
  8. Which Is Better For Families?
  9. Where To Stay According To Your Budget
  10. Which Is Easier To Get To & Get Around?
  11. When’s The Best Time To Visit?
  12. Which Is Cheaper?
  13. Which Is The Better Choice?
An infographic pitting Corfu vs Kos and showing some of the key differences that will be discovered later in the article.

Which Has Better Beaches?

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Greek getaway without dipping your toes in the crystal clear waters the country is famously known for.

But picking which island has better beaches is like comparing apples to pears. They both have good options, albeit just a little different.

But if our backs were pinned, we’d begrudgingly say Corfu is the better option simply because of the coastline diversity. Although one plus point for Kos is the fact the popular beaches tend to be less busy than the popular ones on Corfu.

Below we look at the beaches in both destinations in more detail so you can see which one you’d prefer most!

Corfu sea view
iStock.com/Balate Dorin

Kos: The Beaches

In terms of the beaches, Kos has a stunning versatility to its coastline, with long golden stretches of sand being interjected by awe-inspiring cliff faces.

The weather offers a perfect opportunity to soak up some sun, and the beautiful blue waters are lovely for avid scuba and snorkelling fans.

Rental stations for equipment line most public beaches, where you can pick up snorkel marks and more for an active beach day. Or you can simply settle in for some much-needed sun tanning.

For busy families, we’d recommend Tigaki Beach or Marmari Beach, while watersports fans might enjoy Mastichari Beach, and those who prefer to dodge the crowds might want to hike to Paradise Beach.

A natural view of the Kos Island and Kefalos Beach in Greece  under a clear sunny sky
iStock.com/Wirestock

Corfu: The Beaches

Corfu also offers immense diversity in the types of beaches, with the unique terrain of the island creating quiet coves, long, sandy shores and some more rugged and pebbly sections.

Sidari Beach is by far one of their most family-friendly beaches, with plenty of well-kept amenities.

While Agios Gordios Beach is adored by watersports fanatics who want to take to the waves for kite and windsurfing.

In contrast, somewhere like Paleokastritsa Beach offers introverts a peaceful alternative where they can soak up the scenery and snorkel in the crystalline waters.

Corfu, Greece. View of Paleokastritsa beach, Corfu, Greece.
iStock.com/carmengabriela

Which Has The Better Landscape?

There’s no denying that both Kos and Corfu are stunning islands packed with abundant natural environments.

Kos is a natural paradise with plenty to see and do for adventure seekers who enjoy the fresh air. The island has a diversified terrain, from mountains to wetlands, and teems with wildlife and natural beauty you’d need to see to believe!

Their diverse bird population makes them a hit amongst bird watchers, and occasionally, you might be lucky enough to spot endangered Loggerhead Turtles and Monk Seals.

When visiting Kos, regardless of whether you’re a nature fanatic or not, you must make time to see the Plaka Forest, Therma Beach Hotsprings and Tigaki Salt Lake.

Corfu is equally as stunning and an excellent place for hiking and spending time in the great outdoors. The abundance of hills and mountains, dense forests and lush wetland areas make it a nature lover’s utopia.

The Corfu National Park rests in the island’s northern part and houses an extensive list of wildlife, from birds to mammals, including the endangered Monk Seal. Mount Pantokrator is the island’s peak, at 906 meters high, with panoramic ocean views.

Most of the hiking trails in the area are relatively easy to access and suit hikers of all abilities, but for those too lazy to walk their way through nature, there’s always cycling and horseback riding too!

As for which is better, well when it comes to natural beauty, Kos and Corfu are neck-in-neck. Still, the vast wilderness that reaches across the island of Corfu and its eco-diversity make it a particular favourite amongst nature-orientated travellers.

Beautiful summer panoramic seascape. Green slopes in close bays with crystal clear azure water. Coastline of north part Corfu island, Ionian archipelago, Barbati Beach, Mparmpati, Greece.
iStock.com/SlavkoSereda

Which Is The Best For Culture?

Thanks to Greece’s turbulent history, it’s challenging to find a region in the country that lacks some form of cultural tourism.

Indeed Kos’ history has seen the influence of Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman cultures which has created a wonderfully unique culture on the island.

It was the birthplace of Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, and thanks to its prime location at the crossroads of multiple countries, it has a history steeped in cultural blending.

Throughout the year, the island celebrates a variety of festivals, including the Traditional Costumes Festival (September), The Hippocrates Festival (July) and the Kos Wine Festival (August), which all celebrate part of the markers that made Kos what it is today.

Not to mention the friendly and welcoming manner of the locals on the island, who love to invite tourists to experience their local cuisine, traditional dances and festivities!

Island Kastri and ruins on Kos, Greece
iStock.com/sborisov

Corfu is an island that was born from folklore and exciting history. The island has seen its fair share of inhabitants, most noteworthy being the rule of the Venetian empire and Byzantines. That influence is still seen today in Venetian architecture found commonly across the island.

Like Kos, Corfu celebrates a plethora of festivals throughout the year. Their Easter Festivities is a unique look into Corfu’s cultural side.

But tourists might also enjoy the Corfu Jazz Festival (September) and Corfu Beer Festival (July).

The locals are known for their hospitality and take pride in their island’s history and culture. Guests are welcomed, if not encouraged to dive into their traditions and get a real taste of Corfu life.

Both islands have plenty to offer, and while Corfu is uniquely vibrant, we think Kos simply embraces their cultural differences more, with more traditions and less outside influence.

Old town landscape in Kerkyra, capital of Corfu island, Greece
iStock.com/Balate Dorin

Which Is Better For History?

Kos is an important centre for archaeological research, with ongoing excavations and discoveries shedding new light on the island’s rich history.

Like most Greek islands, Kos experienced foreign rule on several occasions thanks to its prime location in the Aegean sea. As a result, subtle influences can be noted in the architectural and cultural aspects of the island.

There are plenty of archaeological sites available for public viewing in Kos, including the Askelepieion Sanctuary, Temple of Asklepios and Castle of Neratzia, which give breathtaking insight into the older times.

Tourists can also enjoy a trip to the Archaeological Museum of Kos, which houses some of the most unique historical finds from across the island.

However Corfu is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site nestled amongst many other archaeological finds that’ll have history buffs foaming at the mouth!

The rich history of Corfu is unparalleled and offers a deeper insight into foreign rule in Greece over the centuries.

In fact there are so many historical sites to visit in Corfu that by the end of it you’ll be begging to look at anything but another Byzantine structure!

Corfu Old Town, obviously, is one of the most popular historical attractions, with other notable archaeological sites being the Church of Saint Spyridon, Angelokastro Castle and Paleopollis.

Visiting a museum here might also be a wonderful choice if you’re not in the mood to travel to a dig site, although we cannot recommend it enough.

Overall, Corfu offers a unique perspective into days gone by, with beautifully maintained archaeological sites to take you back in time. When it comes to history, Corfu has Kos beat.

Aerial view of Corfu city, Corfu island, Greece
iStock.com/Poike

Which Is Better For Adventure Lovers?

We’ve already mentioned that Kos and Corfu have beautiful areas of untouched wilderness, but perhaps you’ve failed to see the fun activities that come with it!

Adventure tourism is nothing to laugh at and has thrill-seekers worldwide fighting to find the best destination.

But when it comes to Corfu and Kos, well, there can only be one winner, and that’s Corfu – as we’ll explain in a minute.

However Kos’ beautiful natural landscapes still gives way to many thrilling adventure activities to get your heart racing. Activities on the island include:

  • Mountain Biking
  • Cycle Tours
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Scuba Diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Watersports

These are but a handful of the incredible outdoor activities available on Kos.

And thanks to its mild terrain with easy-to-manage hills, even the most unfit member of the family can tackle a Kos hiking trail.

Happy family - mother, kid in snorkeling mask dive underwater, explore tropical fishes in coral reef sea pool. Travel active lifestyle, beach adventure, swimming activity on summer holiday with child.
iStock.com/B Raro

However Corfu, which we think is the better of the two when it comes to natural charm and landscape, boasts a plethora of adventure tourism attractions:

  • Hiking Trails
  • Snorkelling
  • Scuba Diving
  • Water Sports
  • Paragliding
  • Guided Nature Tours
  • Horseback Riding
  • Dune Buggies

But once again, those are just a small handful of what’s available, but they perfectly encapsulate just how versatile Corfu’s adventure tourism industry can be.

Overall, if you’re looking to get your adrenaline pumping, Corfu would be the better option. Kos is beautiful and fun, but Corfu just has more to offer when it comes to adventure.

Traveler Women enjoying landscape from Porto Timoni viewpoint in Corfu.
iStock.com/Wirestock

Which Has Better Food?

Food is one of the best experiences of visiting new places, and luckily Greece is known for its incredible cuisine.

Of course, depending on where you are, the food is different and culturally unique, using various traditional ingredients. Kos and Corfu are no different and offer unique foods that are both appealing to the eyes and palate.

And thanks to Kos’ rich history and location, its cuisine is an exciting blend of Greek and Turkish flavours.

The island is known for its export of citrus fruits, seafood and delectable wines grown across the area. Some of their most popular dishes are:

  • Pastitsio
  • Avgolemono soup
  • Pitaroudia

Corfiot cuisine blends the rich tastes of Italian, Venetian and Greek foods, creating something entirely authentic to Corfu.

Corfu is known for its agricultural exports too, including olives, olive oil, and citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons. That produce, in fact, played a crucial role in the island’s history too!

Some of Corfu’s most popular dishes include:

  • Bourdeto
  • Sofrito
  • Stifado

Of course food is a personal preference built on individual tastes, but considering its unique aspects, Corfu may just shade this food fight. We just hope you get to try at least one of the mouthwatering cuisines on offer.

Mediterranean dishes
iStock.com/los_angela

Which Is Better For Backpackers?

Backpacking can be an exciting adventure for both young and old and really lets one experience the roots of a country without getting caught up in expensive tourist traps.

Luckily for backpackers itching to hit the Greek isles, you can’t do much better than Kos and Corfu. Both islands are a wonderful experience and soft on the wallet if you plan your trip right.

Kos: For Backpackers

Kos is a beautiful, scenic Greek utopia with plenty of activities and a friendly, welcoming community that’ll help you experience the Kos island lifestyle in all its glory!

The activities around the island are relatively cheap, and if the cost of being in the bigger villages weighs to heavy, you can rest easy knowing one of the smaller seaside and inland villages will offer you a financial reprieve while still letting you explore the marvels of the island.

Kos is a sheltered place with relatively low crime rates too and excellent law enforcement to keep their communities safe.

Most of the must-see sites are well within reach, and those that aren’t are easy to get to via the public transport network for a small fee.

Happy woman tourist with backpack and greek flag travelling by the footpath in Greece
iStock.com/frantic00

Corfu: For Backpackers

Corfu is a larger and more versatile island with plenty of attractive qualities for backpackers of all ages.

Of the two, Corfu is known to be cheaper, and this is partially thanks to the immense diversity of accommodation and restaurants on the island. What can we say? Tough competition drives the prices down!

It’s easy to find a hostel or AirBNB to rest and relax in, and the tiny seaside and inland villages in Corfu are a treat for people looking to escape the more “touristy” aspects of the island.

Plus, a good chunk of the available activities on the island don’t cost an arm and a leg, so you can still enjoy a wild night out, hike the famous Corfu Trail and live it up on their beautiful beaches without breaking the bank.

In fact if you’d like to dive into this island’s rich culture, hiking the Corfu Trail from start to finish would be your best bet. That takes you across the whole island!

The island is relatively safe too, with plenty of options that make moving around easy, fun and cheap for anybody.

All in all both Kos and Corfu offer a versatile experience, but at the end of the day Corfu may be the slightly better choice for backpackers.

Hiker standing on cliff ledges mountain top
iStock.com/lovleah

Which Is Better For Families?

Dealing with the ups and downs of booking family vacations can be difficult enough without worrying about the small stuff. Kids are a joy, but taking them on holiday can be tough at times.

What if they don’t like the place?

What if there’s nothing to do?

And what if they’re bored?

Well, we say toss the “What ifs?” in the trash and let us explain why you should pick one of these Greek Islands for your next family getaway.

Kos: For Families

Kos is a vibrant community and an island that’s built to entertain. It is known for its gorgeous beaches, which incidentally happens to be one of the most attractive island features drawing families to it.

Plus the wide sandy beaches and shallow waters make for a safe space for small children to play to their heart’s content.

There’s also the thrill of waterparks and bike trails, which make for lots of family-friendly fun if the kids are old enough!

But that’s just the thing. Kos is better suited to families with older children. It’s less touristy than most places and doesn’t share the same flexibility of activities that you might need to keep your toddlers happy.

Older kids are far more likely to enjoy the quiet beaches, wildlife and nature trails.

And when it comes to visiting the water parks and museums, we’ll just be frank and admit we don’t think under 5’s will be old enough to appreciate them.

And while Kos has some lovely resorts and hotels, there aren’t too many kid-friendly options.

Monastery of Agios Ioannis Thymianos at Kos island, Greece. Sea in the background
iStock.com/Nellmac

Corfu: For Families

In contrast, Corfu has plenty of fun-filled activities to keep even the busiest of kids occupied so mom and dad can grab some much-needed downtime.

The island’s well-developed tourism spots make for the perfect place to find a plethora of activities to do. However, while Corfu might be a good spot for a beach getaway, we can’t deny the appeal of hikes, Aqualand and the Corfu Aquarium either.

Corfu also one up’s Kos in that it has more diversity in terms of accommodation. So you can find the perfect little hideaway for you and your family while you enjoy time away from the bustle of everyday life.

Kos is beautiful and definitely has some appeal for family vacations, but truth is, it’s far more suited to a family with older kids than Corfu.

Corfu overall offers more diversity in activities and accommodation, which means you can find the ideal spot for you and your little ones, no matter what type of kid they are or how old they are.

Beach bag, beach toys and a little girl on the beach.
iStock.com/teiladay

Where To Stay According To Your Budget

Corfu

Budget: If you want to be based in the heart of the action rather than by the beach, then staying at New York Luxury Suites in Old Corfu Town could be perfect. The suites themselves are tastefully done, sit in a superb location, and come at a great price. See photos and rates here!

Luxury: With gorgeous sea views, fantastic amenities and a massive infinity pool perfect for photos and utter relaxation, staying at the five-star Angsana Resort & Spa is one of those things we should all do at least once in our lifetime. Luckily this is luxury at a price many can afford. See photos and rates here!

Kos

Budget: It’s rare to find a nice hotel near the beach that doesn’t have astronomical prices attached to it, but Kalimera Mare is the budget option you’ve been looking for. With a fantastic pool, rooms that have sea views, and situated just steps away from the coast, it’s no surprise this place is often booked up. See photos and rates!

Luxury: Set in Marmari, right beside a private beach so you can expect gorgeous sea views, is where you can find OKU Kos. This five-star, adults only, luxury resort is renowned for its service, facilities and on-site activities. See photos and rates!

pool villa terrace resort
iStock.com/runna10

Which Is Easier To Get To & Get Around?

Kos can be reached by plane or ferry, depending on which direction you’re coming from.

Kos International Airport sees many plane carriers catering to the island locals and for tourist travel. Ferries are usually longer trips, with multiple stops and limited options.

Once you get to the island, though, it’s all smooth sailing. Most tourists tend to stick to the area their accommodation is in, but if you’re more adventurous, you can rent a car, use public buses, taxis or even walk between destinations.

Corfu is also relatively easy to reach by plane and ferry. You’d generally need to book your flight to Athens and then use a domestic airline to reach Corfu’s airport. The ferries, once again, are good on the budget but take relatively longer to get you to the island.

Getting around Corfu is just a question of whether you’d like to use public transport, walk or splurge on a rental for some extra freedom.

Beautiful summer panoramic seascape. Green slopes in close bays with crystal clear azure water. Coastline of north part Corfu island, Ionian archipelago, Barbati Beach, Mparmpati, Greece.
iStock.com/SlavkoSereda

When’s The Best Time To Visit?

Kos is one of those rare hidden gems with beautiful Spring and Summer weather.

While Winter and Autumn can see a plummet in temperature to 12 degrees, it’s still temperate enough to explore Kos’ hidden wonders but maybe a bit too chilly for a swim in the sea.

From May through October, the island warms up a lot, with June through September being the Peak Season. Summer and Spring over beautifully warm temperatures ranging from the low 20s to as high as 33 degrees! Beach weather? We’d say so!

Corfu embraces a more Mediterranean climate, with hot Summers and temperate Winters.

Visitors to Corfu are often surprised by how mild the cold seasons are, which still offer just enough warmth to spend some time lazing about on the beach.

Peak season is during Summer, from July to September, but veteran travellers often recommend newcomers to the island visit in late Spring and early Autumn to experience Corfu’s Goldilocks weather.

Ancient ruins and small island Kastri with traditional orthodox church in Kefalos bay in Kos island, Greece.
iStock.com/cegli

Which Is Cheaper?

Budget is one of the most important things to consider when going on any vacation! Of course, you want to sit back and relax without worrying about denting your bank account too much.

Kos, on average, costs a little over €100 per person per day when you visit.

Kos makes for a relatively cost-effective holiday destination depending on the area you’re staying in and the type of accommodation you choose.

Corfu, on the other hand, averages around €90 per person per day, which isn’t a massive difference.

However tourism in Corfu is generally quite budget-friendly, with plenty of free activities making it easy to keep your wallet stuffed! Maybe you can even spend extra money on buying beautiful souvenirs to make your coworkers jealous!

While Corfu is definitely the cheaper option, with more freedom to lower your costs even further, Kos is by no means unaffordable, and overall both destinations offer a cost-effective holiday.

But keep in mind that when visiting either destination during Peak Season, the prices are a bit higher than what you’d usually expect.  

Panoramic view of Kerkyra, capital of Corfu island, Greece
iStock.com/Aleh Varanishcha

Corfu vs Kos: Which Is The Better Choice?

It’s always tricky to pick between two destinations, especially when they’re as versatile as Kos and Corfu. Their intense natural beauty, stunning sandy beaches and colourful cultures are bound to capture hearts!

But this is a comparison, and we have carefully considered what each destination has to offer and come to our conclusion.

Kos is definitely special, but Corfu is a more diverse island with a thriving tourist industry. As a result, there are more activities, more accommodation, and in general, just more to be seen on Corfu as opposed to Kos.

But at the end of the day, the ultimate decision falls upon you, and which island appeals better to your travel needs.

Author

  • Wandering our World

    Hi and welcome to Wandering our World! This article was written by one of the Wandering our World team - a team of travel enthusiasts who live around the globe.