With beautiful bays and rugged landscape, hiking trails are guaranteed to reveal scenic gems. I expected my Greek holiday to be solely relaxing by the beachside and lazing around idyllic cafés, but I was tempted onto one trail… and fell into the stunning scenery.
Do pay attention to your physical condition and pack plenty of water! Most walks are suitable for all skill levels, but hiking is only as fun as you’re comfortable. Below are some easier walks through old villages and beaches.
Loop around Old Perithia Village
Take an easy pace around the abandoned (and slowly reviving) village at the feet of Mount Pantokrator. Once a wealthy settlement that flourished away from pirate attacks and malaria outbreaks, urbanization in the 1950s led to residents moving out along the coast. Only in the 1990s did the government proclaim it as a National Monument, and individual houses were restored and transformed into taverns – the village is blooming once again under tourism looking for authentic Corfu.
I drew up to the parking lot at the village entrance and explored around the cozy square. Take route towards the church of Agios Spiridon, come across overgrown houses and pass by the cemetery to a dirt road which slowly elevates to great views of the valley. Trees and blackberry bushes emerge out of stone houses that mark this path.
Rocky Cape Ekaterini
If you’re up for a bit more of a challenge, hiking around Cape Ekaterini will reward you with a series of beaches and beautiful limestone cliffs. Starting with Agios Spiridon beach (go early for parking space), look out for the rustic bridge that crosses where Antioniti Lagoon meets Mediterranean Sea. What follows is an open landscape that later plunges into a thick forest of eucalyptus, pines and olives – the triple aroma truly open up your sinuses!
The ruins of Agia Ekaterini Monastery are overgrown with shrubs and tendril plantation in a mystical picture. You can explore its walls or skip past for the rocky formations that lead down to Antioniti beach. Watch your feet! You can keep going forward for Gialiskari beach, which is a more comfortable combination of fine gravel sand and natural rock pool.
Challenging Porto Timoni
One of the shorter but most intense walks on Corfu, it is worth doing this trek at least once. The area around the Village of Afionas is ripe with cypresses, tall firs and olive trees, roads narrow and unpaved. Start your hike near the traditional tavern at the end of the village square (you’ll see its flowering terrace) and follow the uneven terrain down the bay of Porto Timoni.
It’s mostly dense forestry and some Venetian fortress ruins until the quiet Limni and Porto Timoni beaches, two small but beautiful bays separated sitting on either side of the trail. Cool off in the cooler waters of the latter before warming up at Limni beach’s greener waters.
Walking and hiking in Corfu will take you through mountain paths and olive groves, up hills and into villages, sometimes revealing secret spots. Remember to dress appropriately! Walking boots will help with rockier terrain (although you’d do fine with sneakers as long as you watch your feet) and light pants are recommended against the sun, insects and shrubbery.