The Greek island of Corfu, in the north of the country, is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. The island receives nearly 2 million overnight visitors a year, and thousands more cruise ship visitors.
Corfu is a rich destination full of history, culture, and beautiful nature. The island was occupied by the Venetian Republic for several centuries, and the Corfu Old Town shows a fascinating mix of the civilizations that called Corfu home.
There are beautiful natural sights, such as the Blue Caves of Paxos and the spectacular views of Mount Pantokrator. Of course, the island also has countless beautiful beaches.
Corfu is the perfect destination for a beach vacation or cultural tour. However, before booking your trip, you probably want to know about more practical concerns such as safety.
This travel guide will help you prepare for your trip. Keep reading to learn more about the island, including crime statistics.
Is Corfu Safe to Visit in 2023?
Yes. Corfu is a safe destination to visit! It has a low crime rate and a laid-back atmosphere that is welcoming to tourists and discourages any crime.
Plus, Corfu is free of problems you may encounter in other popular Greek tourist destinations, such as protests and assault. The country of Greece overall is considered a safe place to visit. Most countries, such as the United States, issue their lowest possible travel advisory level for travel to Greece.
Problems tourists might encounter in Greece include:
- Bag snatching
- Luggage theft
- Drink spiking
- Civil unrest
However, many of these problems do not happen on Corfu. Corfu is a small island with a low population, so it doesn’t see disruptive protests and civil unrest that Greece’s big cities such as Athens and Thessaloniki experience.
The lower population also means that the crime rate is lower than in more crowded, populous areas of Greece. There are some natural disasters that you should be aware of when planning your trip to Corfu, especially if you want to visit during the summer.
The UK government warned that the summer of 2023 saw extreme heat and wildfires across Greece, causing some areas to issue travel advisories. The island of Corfu was one of those places affected by the wild summer weather.
Corfu saw massive wildfires in summer 2023, and 2,000 people were evacuated for their safety. Due to climate change and rising temperatures, devastating summer wildfires are common throughout Greece, including on Corfu.
Although the government is asking tourists to continue visiting Greece, including Corfu, many people are reconsidering their travel plans. If you are planning to visit the island during the summer, be prepared for high temperatures, big crowds especially when cruise ships dock, and the potential for summer wildfires.
Monitor the forecast and news before your visit to see if there is a risk of wildfires affecting your travel plans. If a fire happens while you are in town, make sure that you continue monitoring the news for any evacuation orders.
Prepare your things to leave just in case. Follow the orders of authorities calmly and patiently. The Greek government is experienced with wildfires and organizes ferry evacuations for locals and tourists when fires affect the islands such as Corfu.
If you want to lower your risk of being in Corfu during a wildfire, try visiting during the shoulder seasons of late spring and early fall. The weather is still beautiful enough to go to the beach (more beautiful, in fact, since the midday temperatures are tolerable), but you avoid the risk of wildfires.
Crime is also lower in Corfu during shoulder season since you avoid the influx of pickpocketing when the crowds come in.
Crime in Corfu
Crime is probably a concern many tourists have when planning their visits to Corfu. Many Mediterranean destinations have a reputation for high crime, especially petty crime targeting tourists.
The good news is that the island has a fairly low crime rate; it has a laid-back atmosphere and doesn’t experience much crime at all, let alone violent crime.
While incidents such as pickpocketing can still happen, the vast majority of people visiting Corfu come back with only positive memories.
The Corfu Police Department has a page in English dedicated to providing tourists with information that can help put their mind at ease. The website says, “Corfu has a very low crime rate, one of the lowest in Greece.” As an explanation, the local police department cites the culture.
Corfu is a relatively small, close-knit community, and criminals are quickly shamed, and nobody wants to emulate them. The police do mention that there is a small risk of some crimes, especially theft.
If you are the victim of theft, you are encouraged to report it to the nearest police department within 24 hours. A written report from the police department will help you with any insurance claims or filing for emergency documents.
Independent statistics back up the assertion that the island has a low crime rate. According to Numbeo, Corfu scores a 12.64 out of 100 on the crime index, which is a very low score.
Although residents are worried about crime rising in recent years, this is a near-global trend fueled by recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the end of lockdowns, not a problem specific to Corfu.
The breakdowns of the crime index for specific crimes are almost universally low or very low (except for corruption and bribery, but that is a crime that is unlikely to affect you as a visitor).
Residents report having the most trouble with crimes such as vandalism, theft, drug abuse, theft from vehicles, and break-ins. Even the levels of these crimes are still low. Levels of violent crimes are very low.
While you should always use common sense when you are out and about, even in your own hometown, Corfu is not a destination where you have to be vigilant. This tranquil island is still very safe for visitors and for tourists.
Pickpocketing and other forms of petty theft are the most common crimes you might run into while in Corfu. These crimes are the most common throughout Greece, as mentioned in travel advisories such as this one from the Canadian government.
Although the theft rate in Corfu is much lower than it is in other parts of the country, crime can still happen.
Pickpockets and thieves tend to operate in places popular with tourists, such as Corfu’s Old Town or on the beaches. The theft rate increases during the summer, which is the high season for Corfu’s tourism.
The larger crowds provide more cover for pickpockets to conduct their crimes unnoticed, and more opportunities for them to relieve someone of their wallet.
Thieves take advantage of distraction and carelessness, so you don’t want to fall into that trap when you are in Corfu. Beaches are often popular places for theft because thieves know that tourists tend to leave valuables unattended when they go swimming.
Leave valuables in your accommodation in a hidden, secure place such as a safe or drawer, not in your bag while you are swimming.
As a general rule, don’t leave your things unattended. It’s common for tourists to be less vigilant in places such as hotel lobbies or restaurant terraces, but that is exactly where thieves are most likely to snatch a suitcase left alone or a phone left carelessly on the table.
When walking around town, be sure to put your valuables in a secure place. Carry a cross-body bag instead of a shoulder bag, since the former are harder to snatch. Put valuables in a zipped pocket of your bag, not a part that is easy to reach into.
Men shouldn’t put wallets in their back pockets when walking through the crowded streets of Corfu Old Town as that makes it easier for pickpockets to grab your money.
Like any popular tourist destination, Corfu also has its fair share of tourist scams. Always check the prices carefully before sitting down to dinner as some restaurants overcharge tourists. Taxi drivers are also common scammers.
Some will refuse to turn on the meter, so make sure you insist on either turning on the meter or agreeing on a price ahead of time.
Break-ins are not very common, but they can happen. The most common form of break-in is theft from resort rooms. Thieves tend to target resorts since they know tourists are staying there and they will be more lucrative targets than locals.
Thieves may even be fellow guests at the resort that take advantage of people’s trust towards fellow tourists!
The best way to protect yourself from hotel room break-ins is to make sure that you always lock your hotel room door and close any other ways a thief might enter your room, such as balcony doors or windows.
In crowded resorts, if a thief has to force their way into your room, they will get noticed. You also want to make your valuables harder to find in case of a break-in. Put your passport and other valuables in a hotel room safe (most resorts provide them).
If your room doesn’t have a safe, ask the hotel if they have a lobby safe and get a receipt. Even just putting your valuables in a drawer or another hiding place can deter a potential theft.
Avoiding Bad Areas
Since Corfu has such a low crime rate, there are no parts of the island that are dangerous. Just use basic common sense, such as not walking down deserted alleyways of Corfu Old Town at night.
Although the town is fairly safe, even at night, you never know what you might find, especially if you are a solo traveler.
Things to Consider
Here are a few additional safety tips for visiting Corfu:
- Be careful of the sun. The weather gets very hot in the summer. Be sure to apply sunscreen, drink plenty of water, and avoid being in the sun in the hottest part of the day.
- When swimming or trying water sports, do so safely. Make sure that you have the right equipment and instructions, especially if you are trying something new. Be honest with yourself about your physical limits. Do not try water sports during rough water conditions or while intoxicated.
- Be respectful of local customs. Don’t wear your bathing suit and cover-up when walking around the town center. When visiting religious sites, both women and men are required to cover shoulders, chests, and knees.
- If you’re renting a car, drive carefully. The roads in Corfu are winding and sometimes steep.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few common questions previous visitors have asked about visiting Corfu:
Is it safe to go to Corfu at night?
The island of Corfu is safe even at night. However, use your common sense and stick to areas where you see other people enjoying an evening stroll instead of going into deserted alleyways.
What should I be careful of in Corfu?
The biggest thing you need to be careful of in Corfu is the sun, especially if you are visiting in the summer. Avoid being outside when the sun is hot and always wear sunscreen.
What should I avoid in Corfu?
Avoid limiting yourself in Corfu by only sticking to one area or, even worse, just sticking to your resort. Make sure to branch out and mingle with the locals when possible.
When is a bad time to go to Corfu?
There is never a time when you shouldn’t go to Corfu. However, be warned that summers can get very hot and crowded, with a higher risk of wildfires.
What is crime like in Corfu?
Crime is practically non-existent in Corfu’s tight-knit community. When crime does occur, it is almost always an example of petty theft or other property crime.
So, Is Corfu Safe to Visit?
Corfu is one of the safest Mediterranean destinations. It has a very low crime rate. Thefts tend to increase in the summer due to an influx of crowds (and since many thieves are tourists themselves), but other than that, there are few potential dangers while you are in Corfu!
So, with so much to see and do, and a mostly safe environment in which to visit, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Corfu has to offer. Happy travels!