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Hidden Gems of Corfu

Hidden Gems of Corfu

Overview

The beautiful island of Corfu is a well-known summer tourist destination, but its inland remains less popular and visited than its seaside resorts. The Hidden Gems of Corfu will show you authentic and picturesque places in the lesser-known parts of the island, including the highlights of the Corfu Trail. You will start with a walk along the wetlands of Lake Koryssion following the Trail, and then cross the island from the west to the east. Near Benitses you will be able to explore the Benitses Aqueduct before you reach the summit of Agii Deka during a long walk following the Corfu Trail again. You will have time to wander in the Unesco town of Corfu with its maze of streets and ancient buildings. Then you will head north and explore the northern section of the Corfu Trail: from Rekini across the Pantokrator to Agios Spyridonas.

Highlights

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Corfu/Messonghi

After arrival at Corfu Airport, you will be transferred to your hotel in the village of Messonghi located on Corfu’s east coast, 19 km south of Corfu town. Messonghi is a quiet fishing village with a lovely sandy beach and relaxed atmosphere.

Day 2: Messonghi Circular Walk | 16 km

A taxi takes you in the morning to the start of the walk on Issos Beach on Corfu’s western side near the Korission Lagoon. The juniper-covered coastal area is a wildlife haven. You may spot many different species of birds in the spring and autumn, such as egrets and kingfishers. In the saltwater lake, there are terrapins as well. From the lake, you head back to the east coast via Chlomatiana. You walk uphill along olive groves and vineyards. In Chlomatiana there is a nice restaurant called Archontiko with amazing views of the sea. There follows a pleasant descent through olive groves back to Messonghi.

  • Walking for the day: 4-5 hours, 16 km ↑175 m ↓180 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Rossis (Messonghi)

Day 3: Benitses Circular Walk | 15 km

From Messonghi you take the public bus to the coastal town of Benitses (~20 min). From here you ascend through a nice, shady forested area. You come along historic irrigation British-built waterworks dating back to the 19th century. Through lush green olive groves, you ascend to the village of Agioi Deka where you can top up your bottle with fresh spring water. Via rural country roads, you descend to Pikantika and Achilleio, two picturesque villages. A steep ascent via a beautiful, romantic trail leads you to the lovely viewpoint at the church of Agia Kyriaki. From here you descend steeply through dense forest to Benitses. You may relax in one of the numerous cafes in the old town square before taking the bus back to Messonghi.

  • Walking for the day: 5 hours, 15 km ↑600 m ↓600 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Rossis (Messonghi)

Day 4: Stroggili – Sinarades | 17 km

A transfer in the morning takes you to Stroggili where you join the Corfu Trail. A pleasant footpath takes you onto Agioi Deka’s slopes, the second-highest peak of Corfu (676 m). You follow historic mule tracks past traditional mountain villages and a beautiful monastery. Once you reach Sinarades, you catch a bus to Corfu town. Your hotel is located in the old town of Corfu, a World Heritage Site.

  • Walking for the day: 6 hours, 17 km ↑785 m ↓705 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Cavalieri (Corfu town) or similar

Day 5: Corfu Town Rest Day

A day in Corfu town allows you to enjoy this historic city fully. You will explore picturesque paths, colourful and charming alleys, admire the architecture influenced by the Venetians, and you may visit the dominating 16th-century fortress. There is a fascinating archaeological museum as well, and dining possibilities are excellent.

Day 6: Rekini – Spartilas | 12 km

From your hotel in Corfu town, you will be transferred to Rekini, where you begin your walk along the foot of the Pantokrator Mountains in Northern Corfu. Following the Corfu Trail once more, you walk through an area of Corfu that time seems to have been forgotten. Quiet cobbled trails, sleepy villages like Sokraki, famous for its ginger beer, rural Corfu at its very best! Those walking in spring will be spoilt by the display of orchids on the slopes of Mount Pantokrator. The walk ends in Spartilas, where there are several cafés. While sipping a drink, you enjoy the deep blue sea and Albania on the horizon. From Spartilas a taxi picks you up and takes you to Barbati.

  • Walking for the day: 4-5 hours, 12 km ↑575 m ↓220 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Pantokrator (Barbati) or similar

Day 7: Pantokrator Mountain | 21 km

Today’s finale takes you to the saddle of the Pantokrator for stunning views of the nearby Albanian mountains. You start at 350 m altitude and ascend via old mule tracks and dirt roads to a high saddle. You come across three mountain villages. Mengoulas is an abandoned village with ruined stone buildings. Even more interesting is the almost abandoned Byzantine village of Old Perithia, with six old churches and a couple of nice taverns. You may have a terrific lunch here, before making the final descent to the coast. The track runs through a green valley and forest. The very last section along wetlands near the coast is quite spectacular. Your walk ends in Agios Spyridon on Corfu’s northern coast. This is also the very end of the Corfu Trail. From here you are transferred back to Barbati.

  • Walking for the day: 7 hours, 21 km ↑400 m ↓750 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Pantokrator (Barbati) or similar

Day 8: Departure

Transfer to the airport and departure. Or you may extend your stay in Corfu.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in a family-owned hotel by the beach in Messonghi, 4-star hotel in the old part of Corfu town and 3-star hotel in Barbati with a pool, in double or twin private en-suite rooms. The rooms at hotel Rossis and hotel Cavalieri are standard. The double rooms at hotel Pantokrator are with sea view; the single rooms are with garden view. From 30 April until 11 May and from 6 October onwards the hotel in Messonghi will be different than the standard hotel, which may affect the final tour’s price. Usually, this will be the Apollo Palace Hotel or Messonghi Beach Hotel. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a property of equal standard. We will provide full accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Accommodation is on a bed & breakfast basis. Lunches are available along the way. You can have dinner at your hotel or nearby restaurants.

Difficulty & terrain

This is a moderate walking tour interspersed with more strenuous sections, 4-5 hours per day (excluding breaks) on hilly to mountainous areas (read more about difficulty grades). The walks are mostly unsurfaced tracks: cobbled mule paths, footpaths, and short sections on tarmac roads. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime.

When to go

This trip is available from 30th April until mid-October. The best time for walking is between the end of April and June, when nature is at its best, and in September-October when the seawater temperatures are still delightful. It gets very hot in the summer months, and it is recommendable to start walking very early to avoid the heat. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Our recommended airport for this tour is Corfu.

Inclusions

Included

  • 7 overnights with breakfast as detailed in the itinerary
  • Luggage transfer when changing hotels (one piece of luggage per person, max 20 kg)
  • Private transfers as per itinerary except for public buses
  • Complimentary private transfers from/to Corfu Airport (one arrival and one departure transfer per party)
  • Digital detailed route description and maps in English (no paper documents are provided) & GPS tracks
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and public transport
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • The standard hotel in Messonghi – Rossis – is not available until 11 May and after 6 October. We will book an alternative place for you in this period, which may affect the tour price
  • Single room supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights

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