Highlight hiking trails in Corfu
Kavos – Lefkimi
The southernmost route of the Corfu Trail (Section 1) takes you from one of the busiest tourist spots in Corfu to one of its least-visited landscapes. Heading southwest from Kavos towards Arkoudilas, you loop around towards the deserted Arkoudilas Monastery and down to Arkoudilas beach. After crossing the long, cliff-backed beach, you climb to the viewpoint above the beach before continuing through greenery on a steep uphill section that leads to Spartera village. From here, the Corfu Trail continues to Lefkimi village (a further 7km), but you can return to Kavos along the main road (3km).
Agios Giorgos (South) – Ano Pavliana
This part of the Corfu Hiking Trail (Section 3) starts from the settlement of Agios Georgios (not to be confused with the Agios Georgios in the north) and introduces you to Corfu’s most important wetlands. Leaving Agios Georgios, you walk the length of Issos beach (whose sprawling sand dunes are home to a cedar forest) and then Halikounas beach. In doing so, you pass along the western edge of Lake Korission, Corfu’s largest lagoon and home to 120 different bird species (including flamingos and pelicans) during the year. Reaching the end of Halikounas beach, you have a few options. You can return to Agios Giorgos the way you came or in a loop around the northern edge of the lake. Choosing the latter, you can stop off at Bioporos Farm, whose restaurant serves delicious recipes made with the farm’s garden produce. Or you can continue north from Halikounas beach to Leivadiotis Winery and from there to the remains of the octagonal-walled Byzantine castle of Gardiki on a hill near Agios Matthaios village. The Corfu Trail continues from here past Paramonas beach to Ano Pavliana but, once again, you have the option of returning to Agios Giorgos along the northern edge of the lake or back along the coast.
Benitses – Pelekas
The footpath that connects Benitses on the east coast (among the first areas to be developed when tourism started on Corfu in the 1950s and now beginning to rediscover its former glow) with picturesque Pelekas in the northwest is a long route of around 18km (Section 5). Our suggestion is to split it into three and choose the one that appeals to you most, giving you time to visit one of the mountain villages you pass on the way. The first suggestion is to start at the old settlement of Benitses (just above Benitses village) and follow a circular route that passes by or through Makrata, Halidiata, Dafnata and Komianata. Another option is to set out from Makrata towards Agii Deka. The lush-green hill rising above Agii Deka inspired Oscar Wilde’s poem Santa Decca, written on Corfu in 1877. Your final option is to start from Agii Deka and follow the 10km route to the villages of Sinarades and Pelekas over on the west coast.
Pelekas – Liapades
One of the longest stretches of the Corfu Trail (Section 6), covering around 22km, takes you through the olive tree-filled landscape of northern Corfu and passes numerous villages. So once again, we’re proposing that you choose part of it. The first option is to set out from Pelekas (after visiting the Kaiser Observatory, the favourite viewpoint of German Emperor William II). The trail takes you down to Myrtiotissas beach, where you continue to the same-named monastery. Heading up to Vatos village, you can then continue to the Theotoky Winery before ending in Giannades village. Alternatively, you can start your walk at Giannades village and follow a footpath through olive groves for around 1.5hrs until you reach Liapades village.
Liapades – Agios Georgios Pagon
From Liapades, the Corfu Trail continues (Section 7) on possibly its most impressive leg as it follows Corfu’s western coast and rises above Paleokastritsa Bay. Our suggestion is to set out from Lakones, the picturesque village above Paleokastritsa, and do either a short walk through olive groves towards the beach or a longer walk towards the villages of Makrades and Krini. From Krini, you can detour on a footpath to Angelokastro, the hilltop castle that protected Corfu in Byzantine times. The views are out of this world. Returning to Krini, follow Corfu’s Donkey Path, winding down towards the sea to Agios Georgios Pagon. There are great views of the beach and Porto Timoni across the bay as you descend.
Footpaths from Palia Perithia
Corfu’s oldest village (13th century), the now abandoned Palia Perithia is found at an altitude of 450m on the slopes of Mt Pantokrator, hidden from view from the sea. It features in two sections of the Corfu Hiking Trail … one is Kaminaki – Palia Perithia (Section 11) and the other is Palia Perithia – Agios Spiridonas (Section 12). The paths are long (12.5km and 11.9km), so they are for more experienced hikers. Something more manageable for many is a 1hr route (each way) from Palia Perithia along a dirt road. At the peak, you will find the Pantokrator Monastery. You’ll be rewarded with probably the most beautiful view on the island (and a cafe). The Kassios Dias Trail Run takes part at this point of the island.
Bonus: Nymfes Waterfalls
A very short hike (not part of the Corfu Trail) of around 1.5km (3km total) outside Nymfes village that takes you to the Nymfes Waterfalls. It’s one of the most tranquil spots in Corfu and a great excursion in spring or autumn (you might not find water in the summer months).
The above walks are mostly taken from the Corfu Trail but have been adapted to be shorter and to allow you to return to your starting point on the same day. You can pick and choose according to your capabilities and time. See the Getting There section below for more details (including distances and more Corfu hiking trails).