Corfu, or Kerkyra as referred to in Greek, is one of the most popular islands in the Ionian Sea, western Greece. It is an island full of life and beauty with lots to discover. In addition to a 216 kilometer coastline full of amazing swimming beaches, Corfu offers many unique traditions, along with fine hospitality and exceptional Greek food.
With a population of just over 100,000 people, Corfu is home to a vibrant community made up of locals and a large number of expats. Just about everyone on the island speaks English and the lifestyle is considered to be one of the most laid back and friendliest in Greece.
Corfu has its own hospital, university and airport, providing ideal conditions for year-round living.
Corfu-town is the capital, while the villages of Kassiopi, Paleokastritsa, and Sidari are also popular. It has a well-developed road network and a bus service which reaches every corner of the island with an increased number of bus routes on offer over the busy summer months.
Corfu’s beaches rank among the best in Greece – and the world.
Paleokastritsa, Sidari, Issos, Ipsos and Dassia beaches are just a few of the stunningly beautiful spots to take a dip.
The picturesque mountain villages are ideal for exploration, offering panoramic views and a range of activities such as hiking, cycling and horse riding.
The island’s beauty was featured in the popular British TV series, The Durrells, which was filmed in Kalami Bay, in the northeast at one of Corfu’s most picturesque spots.
Rich in history, the island provides a number of museums. Its cultural heritage is diverse and reflects the many years spent under Venetian, French and British rule before the island was united with Greece in 1864.
The architecture of the Old Town of Corfu along with its narrow streets, the Kantounia, has clear Venetian influence and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other notable Venetian-era buildings include the Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù, the first modern theater to be established in Greece, and those on Liston, the main promenade of Corfu lined with cafes, restaurants and stores.
Corfu’s economy is based on tourism and farming. Agriculture mainly consists of olive oil and grape production, dominated by small, family run operations. Corfu claimed its spot on the global tourism map in the seventies and now draws close to two million visitors every year.
Crime rates on the island are very low (source: numbeo.com), while the cost of living is well below levels seen in other European cities.
Real estate in Corfu
The real estate market in Greece is showing continued strength. Data from the Bank of Greece shows that prices in 2021 advanced 7.1 percent, versus 4.5 percent in the previous year.
Elxis CEO Giorgos Gavriilidis expects prices to continue rising at a pace of around 10 percent in 2022 on the back of strong demand and inflationary pressures, as he recently said in an interview with leading Greek newspaper Kathimerini.
Buying a villa in Corfu
In Corfu, homes catering to all budgets are on offer in a market drawing buying interest from Greek and international investors.
Prices vary depending on the size and age of the home, starting at around 1,500 euros per square meter for old village houses and sometimes even exceeding 5,000 euros for luxury villas close to the sea.
Out of the city and along the beaches, there is an array of homes for sale, meeting all tastes.
Villas providing luxury, comfort and sea views can be found at different points across the island though strong demand keeps the supply of good quality homes low.
Comfortable living standards and low property prices have made the island one of the hottest spots in the world to buy a holiday home, ranking Corfu next to Venice and Abu Dhabi (source: comparethemarket.com.au).
Buying a home in Corfu makes economic sense. Real estate on the island ranks among the best performing properties in the Mediterranean region. According to data, the annual yield of beach villas in Corfu reaches 4.3 percent, higher than returns seen in Nice, southern Turkey and Spain.
Additionally, the strong tourism market adds value to property for those who wish to rent out their investment when they are not using it. Rates on villas leased to visitors can exceed a daily fee of several thousand euros.
Greece’s government has introduced in recent years a series of incentives in a bid to draw investments to the real estate market.
Non-Dom tax regime
Legislation introduced in 2019 allows individuals who invest a minimum of 500,000 euros in real estate, business or legal entities to transfer their tax residency to Greece. Known as the Non-Dom tax regime, the law states that the investor pays a flat tax of 100,000 euros regardless of the total income derived abroad from any of the from any 57 countries with which Greece has a tax treaty.
Foreign pensioners who transfer their tax residency to Greece and stay in the county for more than six months per year are able to benefit from a 7% flat tax rate on their global income.
Attracting employees, self-employed from abroad
Incentives introduced to draw foreign workers and the self-employed from abroad, as well as Greeks who left the country during the financial crisis, are able to transfer their tax residence and work to Greece. There is an exemption from income tax and from the special solidarity contribution for 50% of income from paid work and business activity for 7 years, provided that this income shall be generated in the country for these individuals.
Greece has introduced a digital nomad’s visa for those seeking to live and work in the country for employers based abroad. Remote workers will need to be able to provide proof of employment and monthly income of at least 3,500 euros in order to have the right of legal residence in Greece.
How to get there
Corfu has an international airport that was recently renovated by Germany’s Fraport, the company that manages the airport. The island is well connected by ferry to many different ports. There are sea links with Igoumenitsa and other Ionian islands, such as Paxi – Zakynthos – Kefalonia – Ithaki – Lefkada – Meganisi. Corfu is also easily reachable for travelers from Italy and central Europe with ferry links to the ports of Venice, Bari and Ancona.
The island has mild, rainy winters and hot, sunny summers. The daily average temperature ranges from 9.5 °C in January to 27 °C in August. In the summer months, the temperature often hits 35 °C though sea breezes commonly cool things down as temperatures also drop overnight.