Walking the Corfu Trail
Discover the delights of the real Greece.
Corfu holiday walkers looking for a real challenge can set their sights on the long-distance footpath that runs the whole length of the island.
The Corfu Trail received a roar of approval from walkers and holiday hikers when it opened in 2001 offering a massive 222 kilometres of clearly way-marked walking trails from the north coast of Corfu to the south.
The trail winds through a huge variety of landscapes, taking in well-loved Corfu beauty spots, charming mountain villages, long sandy beaches and pine forested hills with clear way marking all the way both north to south and south to north.
The trail is divided into 11 sections along way-marked trails that take about a day to walk with a variety of terrains, from mountain mule trails to woodland tracks and clifftop paths.
It starts (or ends) at the wild coastline of Cape Agia Ekatirini, the northernmost tip of Corfu island, and reaches the white cliffs of Arkoudillas in the south.
Paths and trails are regularly cleared and bright yellow signs keep walkers on the right route along rough footpaths, cobbled mule paths, dirt tracks, pebble beaches and even some minor roads.
Many specialist tour operators now offer walking holidays along the Corfu Trail as popularity has grown both for hiking holidays and of the island of Corfu.
Most advise walkers to follow the route from south to north and hikers can walk themselves into fitness if they start in the gentle rolling hills of south Corfu before tackling the more mountainous region in the north.
It also means that hill walkers end on a high note, literally as well as metaphorically, with the most spectacular scenery and the biggest concentration of Corfu holiday highlights found in the north of the island where the highest points hits 900 metres above sea level.
Plenty of suppliers now issue guide books and maps of the Corfu Trail so that walkers can plan their route wisely as the path meanders through hillsides scented with wild flowers, along picturesque coastal paths, through olive and citrus groves, across grassy plains with pleasant stops in traditional Corfu hill villages where time seems to stand still.
The holiday island of Corfu has, given its small size, a simply huge variety of scenery. The Corfu Trail takes the walker over the majestic limestone mountains of the Pantokrator massif, through the forest-carpeted hillsides of central Corfu, past centuries old olive groves, through inland wetlands teeming with wildlife, across deep river valleys and spectacular gorges.
All types of landscape can be expected even within a single day's hike and there will always be an open taverna or cafe in one of the many hillside villages on the way, especially in the island interior where many communities have escaped the attention of package holiday forms and hikers can discover the delights of the real Greece, away from the tourist hordes.