Last updated on January 28, 2023 by Wandering our World
When you want to get away from it all, the Greek islands are a great place to go. Boasting pleasant weather, stunning scenery, and history dating back thousands of years, these islands can appeal to travelers from all walks of life, with Rhodes and Corfu being two of the most popular options.
However, since Rhodes is located to the east, just off the coast of Turkey, and Corfu is situated much further west, not far from Italy, you may not be able to visit both of these islands on the same trip. So, if you can only pick one, which should you choose between Corfu and Rhodes?
Well, while these islands have some similarities with their lush green forests and mountainous inland areas, coupled with family-friendly coastal resorts, traditional villages, and beautiful beaches, they also have some sizable differences.
Rhodes is more than twice the size of Corfu, and it’s famous for its fascinating past, with its medieval old town filled with centuries-old buildings and structures. It also takes cultural and culinary cues from nearby Turkey. On the other hand, Corfu has more of a Mediterranean vibe, and is a slightly quieter island that stands out for its amazing beaches and relaxing, romantic atmosphere.
Of course, such a brief comparison simply isn’t enough to convey the unique differences and special charms of each of these islands. So, that’s why below we’ll be taking a much closer look at Rhodes vs Corfu.
We’ll compare these islands in a range of key areas, from their beaches and best activities to their food, general vibes, and suitability for romantic honeymoons and family vacations. By the end of this guide, we’re sure you’ll know which one to choose!
- A Quick Overview
- Which Is Easier To Get To?
- Which Has Better Weather?
- Which Has Better Beaches?
- Which Is Best For Activities?
- Which Is Better For Nightlife?
- Where To Stay According To Your Budget?
- Which Is Best For A Honeymoon?
- Which Is Best For Food?
- Which Is Cheaper?
A Quick Overview Of Corfu vs Rhodes
Corfu: A Quick Overview
Let’s start off with a look at Corfu. Located off the western edge of the Greek mainland, not far from Albania and Italy, Corfu is part of the Ionian islands group in the Ionian Sea. It’s also known as Kerkyra and played a big part in Greece’s ancient past.
Visitors often remark on the presence of various forts and castles around Corfu – built to defend the island against repeated invasion attempts – as well as its natural beauty; Corfu has some of the prettiest beaches of any Greek island, along with many square miles of forests and mountains to explore.
The main island and its small satellites cover around 235 square miles of land (610 square kilometers), and many of the island’s inhabitants reside in its capital city of Corfu Town, which is situated on the eastern coast. Along with this main town, Corfu is also home to plenty of sleepy, traditional villages.
The island’s culture and architecture have been shaped by its intriguing past, with echoes of Venetian rule – which lasted from the 14th to 18th centuries – still present in many of the main town’s famous landmarks and cultural hotspots.
The historic sites and elegant architecture are highlights of any visit to Corfu, and many travelers also enjoy the laid-back and peaceful feel here, with the island being a very popular spot for honeymoons and couples’ getaways.
Rhodes: A Quick Overview
Rhodes is a large Greek island – the largest of the Dodecanese group – situated far to the southeast of the mainland. In fact, Rhodes is much closer to the mainland of Turkey than it is of Greece – 226 miles from Greece and 11 miles from Turkey, to be precise.
Famously shaped like a spearhead, Rhodes covers 540 square miles, or 1,400 square kilometers. This makes it significantly larger than Corfu. However, because of their respective shapes, Corfu and Rhodes have similar amounts of coastline – approximately 135 miles for Corfu and 137 miles for Rhodes.
Rhodes has a lot of history behind it. It was inhabited as far back as the Neolithic period and was a key strategic location for various rulers and empires throughout the ages. It also has strong mythological connections with the Ancient Greek god of the sun: Helios.
Indeed, one of the island’s most iconic landmarks was the Colossus of Rhodes – a 108 foot tall statue built in 280 BC.
Sadly, the Colossus is no longer standing, but Rhodes is still the home of many well-preserved archaeological sites and historic landmarks, like the Acropolis of Rhodes, Palace of the Grand Master, and Monolithos Castle.
A truly fascinating place for those with even a passing interest in history, Rhodes can also boast of golden sand beaches, scenic waterfalls, decorative churches, and an intriguing culinary blend of Greek and Turkish influences in its restaurants and tavernas.
Which Is Easier To Get To?
One of the first things to think about if you’re planning a getaway to the Greek islands is how you’re going to get there, as certain islands are a lot easier to access than others.
And even though Corfu and Rhodes are both among the most accessible islands, you might find that one is simpler and cheaper for you to reach than the other.
Corfu has its own international airport, not far from Corfu Town, which is where most travelers choose to stay, thanks to the plethora of hotels and attractions in the area. A range of affordable airlines fly here from cities across Europe, and there are direct links between Corfu and the UK, France, Germany, and other countries.
Travelers coming from the US might prefer to fly directly to Athens and then catch a short connecting flight over to the island. This is all relatively easy, and there are even ferry routes that connect Corfu to port cities around Greece and Italy, too.
For Rhodes, it’s a pretty similar story. The island has one main international airport which has plenty of links with European cities. You can fly directly to Rhodes from the likes of London, Paris, Rome, and Munich, and Rhodes also has good connections with Cyprus, as well as Tel Aviv in Israel for those arriving from the east.
There are also some ferry routes to Rhodes from Turkey and various places around Greece, like the islands of Santorini and Kos, as well as Athens on the mainland.
Overall, it’s quite simple to get to both Rhodes and Corfu for most travelers.
However, since Corfu is closer to western Europe, flights there should be shorter and potentially cheaper for those coming from places like the UK and US, and you may have to add an extra hour onto your journey if you’re flying to Rhodes from these locations.
Which Has Better Weather?
When most people picture the Greek islands, they imagine soft sands and sunny weather, with bright blue skies and idyllic sunbathing conditions.
However, in reality, since there are so many islands in such different areas, weather conditions can vary quite a lot from one place to the next.
Corfu is one of the most northerly Greek islands of all. It still gets warm temperatures in the summer months, but that warmth can start to dissipate from September onwards, and the winters are quite cool.
This island also sometimes falls victim to medicanes – Mediterranean cyclones – which bring strong winds and rains.
Rhodes, meanwhile, is significantly further south than Corfu. This gives it slightly higher average temperatures for large parts of the year.
Summers last longer here, and even in the traditionally cooler months of the year, like October and November, the days can be quite warm, with low levels of precipitation.
Because of this, you can visit Rhodes outside of the peak tourist season and still have great conditions for swimming, sunbathing, hiking, and other outdoor activities. And the weather on this island is generally better than the climate of Corfu.
Which Has Better Beaches?
The Greek islands are famed for their idyllic beaches; white sands and turquoise waters are commonplace here, and many of the islands are perfect for extended sunbathing sessions, thrilling watersports, and long sandy strolls as the sun goes down. But they’re not all equal.
Some of the beaches are much better than others, and certain islands are blessed with far prettier and more diverse coastal hotspots than others. So, how do Corfu and Rhodes compare when it comes to their coastlines?
Well, if you love to spend time at the beach, you can’t really go wrong with either one of these islands. They’ve both got some fabulous sandy expanses, including some super spots for swimming, snorkeling, and other activities.
However, there are some differences. As the smaller island, Corfu’s beaches are arguably easier to access, with many of the best ones situated around Corfu Town. The beaches here are also quite diverse, offering something for everyone.
Rhodes also has a super selection of beaches, ranging from extra long stretches of sand mere minutes away from bars, hotels, and restaurants to more secluded and cozy coves, nestled beside cliffs or overlooked by ancient castle ruins.
Neither island is exactly “better” than the other in terms of beaches. They’re both simply different.
Although you can more easily find large and long beaches on Rhodes, which are nice for avoiding the crowds and taking long walks, while Corfu has excellent diversity in its beaches.
Corfu: The Beaches
If you’re looking for the kind of beaches you see on postcards, with beautiful blue waters and long stretches of powdery sand, Corfu is a great place to be.
Kavos Beach, for instance, is an attractive, popular spot on the south coast that has a vibrant and lively atmosphere all day long.
Many top-rated beaches are also conveniently located near the main town of Corfu, like Pelekas Beach, which backs onto towering cliffs and lush forests, or Agios Gordios, famed for its unique rock formations and family-friendly amenities.
Paleokastritsa is another stunning beach on Corfu. It’s surrounded by huge cliffs that help to shield the water and sand against the elements, creating a cozy kind of cocoon where beach lovers can rest and relax.
Or, for something different, you might like to consider the pebble beach of Barbati, with its crystal-clear waters and awe-inspiring views.
There are dozens of other brilliant beaches to choose from here, including Marathias – loved by locals for its golden sands – or Kerasia, from which it’s possible to see the shores of Albania, off on the horizon. And with so many options, you’ll never get bored.
Rhodes: The Beaches
Rhode also has a wide selection of terrific beaches, many of which are well-maintained and close by to hotels, resorts, restaurants, and other amenities.
Kallithea Beach, for example, is just a short drive from Rhodes Town, with many chic hotels just short walks away.
Tsambika Beach and Elli Beach both seem to stretch on all the way to the horizon, providing plenty of space for travelers to stretch out, play games, or stroll along the sand. In fact many of the beaches on Rhodes are larger than those you might find at Corfu, which may appeal to families, in particular.
Afandou Beach is another stunning spot on the island of Rhodes – it’s a pebble beach, but it’s one of the prettiest you’ll find anywhere in Greece. While Prassonissi Beach is a long trip from Rhodes Town but is worth a detour for its amazing views and secluded, peaceful setting.
There are also good swimming beaches here, like Glystra Beach, as well as protected bays like Vlicha and highly touristic beaches with plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas, like Ialissos and Faliraki.
Overall, both Rhodes and Corfu have dozens of visually impressive and pleasant beaches of various sizes. Corfu’s are slightly more accessible in most cases, while Rhodes’ beaches are often bigger and have better conditions for water-based activities.
Which Is Best For Activities?
When you’re not on the beach or in the waters around Rhodes and Corfu, you can engage in a range of other activities.
In this section, we’ll see how these islands compare in terms of things to do so you can work out which will suit you more!
Corfu: The Activities
A lot of visitors to Corfu tend to stay in or around the main hub or Corfu Town. It’s the largest town on the island, and there’s a lot to do here, like touring the Old Town district – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and admiring the Venetian architecture all around.
There are some interesting historic sites in Corfu Town, like the Old Fortress, the New Venetian Fortress, and the stunning Holy Church of Saint Spyridon, which dates back to the 16th century, as well as museums and galleries – art lovers should prioritize a trip to the Corfu Museum of Asian Art.
You can also tour the elegant Achilleion Palace – named after the mythological hero, Achilles – or leave the city behind to visit some of the smaller fishing villages dotted around Corfu’s coastline. These small settlements tend to be less touristic, with charming, Bohemian vibes.
While many travelers to Corfu like spending time lazing on the beaches or splashing in the pools of their high-end hotels and resorts, there are also plenty of reasons to get out and explore the island; Corfu has many miles of hiking trails, for example, with the Corfu Trail being the most famous – it’s more than 90 miles long and stretches the entire length of the island.
If you’ve got the energy for it, you might also like to climb to the top of Mount Pantokrator, Corfu’s highest point, to enjoy amazing views over the surrounding landscape – it’s even possible to see Albania’s coast on a clear day.
Other activities include boat tours and day trips to nearby islands like Antipaxos and Paxos, as well as wildlife spotting.
Rhodes: The Activities
When it comes to activities in Rhodes, historical sites definitely tend to dominate the travel itineraries of most visitors.
There are some extraordinary ruins and archaeological sites here, and no visit to Rhodes can be complete without touring the likes of the Acropolis of Rhodes, Acropolis of Lindos, and Ancient Kamiros.
There are also castles – like Monolithos Castle – and religious buildings – like the Church of Panagia tou Bourgou or Monastery of Filerimos – to explore. Each one of these sites has its own story to tell, and those who are intrigued by Greek and European history will find a lot to love here.
Historical landmarks are dotted all over the island, but you can choose to base yourself in Rhodes Town and still find plenty to fill your days.
The town is great for souvenir shopping, arguably better and more diverse than Corfu Town, and it has its own museums, marinas, and the 14th century Palace of the Grand Master, too.
For explorers and nature lovers, Rhodes also has its fair share of hiking trails across its many scenic landscapes, along with quaint villages and quiet coastal spots where you can meet locals and see a less touristic and more unspoiled side of the island.
Another amazing attraction is the Valley of Butterflies. This place is only open for a few months each year, so you’ll need to check the dates before you visit, but it’s a truly beautiful spot, filled with lush greenery, breathtaking waterfalls, and dozens upon dozens of colorful butterflies.
Overall, it’s very tough to call a winner in this category. Both Corfu and Rhodes have plenty to offer, with Corfu perhaps being better for hiking and charming villages, but Rhodes standing out more for its historical landmarks and cultural attractions.
Which Is Better For Nightlife?
If you like to while the night away with cocktails and music in a lively club or bar, Corfu and Rhodes’ nightlife scenes might interest you.
Neither of these islands are on par with the party paradise of Mykonos, but both still have their own sets of clubs and evening hangout spots.
On Corfu, the Kavos Strip is the place to be for parties and fun. Home to the island’s best bars and clubs, this place can get pretty crowded with young people from all over Europe, especially in the summer months – head to the likes of Flames and Future for the most exciting experiences.
Rhodes also has a party district in the form of Faliraki. This small coastal resort is building up quite a name for itself among nightlife fans, with some really vibrant bars and clubs like Bondi, Climax, Tiffany’s, and Liquid. There are also some decent bars and clubs in Rhodes Town itself, like Johnny’s Pub and The Union.
Once again. It’s tough to choose between these two destinations. Corfu has a really lively nightlife scene, but it’s very much focused exclusively in the Kavos area, while Rhodes’ clubs and bars are a little more spread out, giving you plenty of options to choose from if you feel like staying up late.
Which Has The Best Hotels
When it comes to this category, there’s no clear winner in our mind.
That’s because you should be able to find a resort or hotel that is perfect for you on either island, as both have plenty of options that cover a range of budgets.
However we have found is that since Rhodes is a bigger island, there are more options than in Corfu. Although that said, both have a fantastic range of luxury resorts, low budget hotels, and family friendly hotels.
Ultimately choosing a place to stay will depend heavily on your personal circumstances. But we do have a few recommendations to try and help out:
Corfu: Our Recommendations
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).
But 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 and sit in a superb location (see photos and rates here).
Rhodes: Our Recommendations
With panoramic sea views and gorgeous infinity pool, it’s hard to beat the 5-star Esperos Village Resort situated in popular Faliraki. With a pool bar and restaurant, tennis courts, and lots more, this adults-only resort feels luxurious, romantic and perfect for couples. (see photos and rates).
For a stay more in the center of town, Midgard Suites is situated in the heart of Rhodes’ Old Town. The hotel is located in a historic building, the balconies have great views and you can even get rooms with hot tubs on the terrace! (see photos and rates).
Which Is Best For A Honeymoon?
Greek islands like Rhodes and Corfu can be dreamy places to spend with a special someone on your honeymoon. These islands have all the ingredients for magical romance, from blissful beaches to stunning scenery, fine food, and cultural attractions.
But which one stands out as the more romantic and refined between Corfu and Rhodes?
Well, Corfu might be the slightly more couple-friendly destination, thanks to its fancy resorts, charming villages, and fine dining establishments. It also has a peaceful vibe in many areas that couples tend to appreciate, along with love-themed landmarks like Canal d’Amour.
However, if you and your new spouse adore history and prefer to spend your time together exploring old ruins rather than relaxing in a spa, Rhodes could be the better option. Its historical sites are second to none, and it’s also a super spot for lively activities like watersports and scuba diving.
Overall, both islands can appeal to honeymooners, and the right choice for you will depend on what you and your loved one enjoy doing the most.
Which Is Better For A Family Trip?
How about if you’re traveling as a family with the kids? Well, once more, both Rhodes and Corfu can appeal to families and both are home to kid-friendly attractions – they both have huge waterparks, for example, with lots of fun slides and wild rides.
Many families flock to Corfu each year, and it’s not hard to see why. The all-inclusive resorts and beautiful beaches make this a pleasant place to spend time with children of all ages, and there are lots of spots where your kids can play games, swim in the sea, or enjoy activities like boat rides.
Rhode is also a hotspot for family fun. This island is very well-developed and tourist-oriented, with Rhodes Town, in particular, having lots of amenities that will appeal to families.
The aforementioned Valley of the Butterflies is a great place to go with kids, along with other attractions like the Aquarium of Rhodes.
Overall, we’d say that Corfu is probably more appealing to those with younger children, thanks to its smaller size and family-friendly resorts. The historic landmarks and cultural activities on Rhodes, meanwhile, may be more interesting to older kids and teens.
Which Has The Best Food?
The food is another one of the many highlights of the Greek islands, and both Rhodes and Corfu honor the area’s reputation by serving up a delectable range of dishes for visitors to enjoy, but perhaps one of these islands might tickle your taste buds a little more than the other.
Given that Corfu is quite close to Italy, the cuisine here is distinctly Mediterranean in style. Pizzas and pastas are commonplace, along with the Greek classics and some French recipes, too. Garlic, tomatoes, and red wine are the kinds of ingredients you’ll find in many dishes, from sofrito to pastitsada.
Rhodes, meanwhile, takes some of its culinary inspiration from nearby Turkey. Bulgur is a common ingredient here, and there are various spicy, flavorful dishes based around meats like veal and lamb – one of the local favorites is tsouka, a delicious veal or goat meat casserole.
You can also find other international influences in the restaurants and tavernas of Rhodes, especially in the main touristic areas, where you can grab everything from a slice of pizza to Middle Eastern street snacks and gourmet-grade Greek seafood.
Overall, you’re sure to eat well on either island, but Rhodes arguably has a little more diversity in its culinary scene.
Which Is Cheaper?
Finally, let’s take a look at cost. If you have a limited budget or want to get maximum value from your vacation, it makes sense to choose the cheaper destination. So, which one out of Rhodes and Corfu costs the least to visit?
Well, the total cost of any trip will depend on where you stay and what you do, but using our knowledge of hotel rates, restaurants, and activities, the evidence shows that Corfu is the slightly cheaper option.
On average, it’s cheaper to get to Corfu for many people, too and you’ll spend less per night on your accommodation. Even food tends to be slightly cheaper on the island of Corfu, although it is still possible to arrange an affordable trip to Rhodes, if you choose the right activities and hotels.
Corfu vs Rhodes: Which Is The Better Choice?
To sum up, both Corfu and Rhodes are beautiful islands with rich pasts, vibrant cultures, gorgeous scenery, and stunning architecture. If you’re trying to choose between them, there’s simply no wrong answer.
With that said, we’d say that Rhodes just about has the edge for the average traveler. Very well-developed and tourist-friendly, this place has some truly iconic historical landmarks, fun attractions, and an impressively diverse range of beaches, hotels, and food.
But that’s not to say that Corfu should be ignored. It’s a fabulous island in its own right, with mind-blowing beaches and wonderful scenery all around, appealing to romantics and adventurers of all ages.