How to Hike The Corfu Trail
Corfu is known for its amazing resorts, package holidays and relaxing sandy beaches. However, this stunning Greek island has a wild side that is just dying to be explored. Picturesque olive groves, thick juniper tree forests, heather-covered hills, impressive mountain ranges, and glittering blue lakes are all out there just waiting to be explored. If you’re an avid hiker or just someone who wants to see more of this fascinating island, then the Corfu Trail is for you. We’ve put together this guide on everything you need to know about the Corfu Trail from the time of year to go, what to pack and where to walk, so you can make every single step count.
Before start hiking
The best way to make your Corfu Trail hike as enjoyable as possible is to prepare. Although the trail is deemed as easy and suitable for all abilities and ages, it is a whopping 220km in length, so it’s definitely worth keeping that in mind. There are regular stops along the way, with some being located at the beach. Be sure to pack extremely comfortable hiking shoes, suncream and light clothing for the day, a fine wind jacket and a fleece for the night, and that all-important swimwear for the beautiful beach stops. The Corfu Trail can be done all year round as the island is usually blessed with dry, warm weather almost every day. However, choosing to hike between May and October guarantees the best weather and the accommodation for the route are usually cheaper and more readily available than in the winter months.
This beautiful trail winds its way from Kavos in southern Corfu, all the way to Agios Spiridonas in northern Corfu. You will pass through many breathtaking locations, villages, and stretches of shoreline on your way, and will have a set place to stop each night. The Corfu Trail is set out in 10 distinct stages and usually takes 10 days to complete, depending on how long you wish to stay at each stop.
Your walk will start just south of Kavos, and will quickly slope into the olive groves and lush forest before passing the ancient Arkoudillas Monastery and snaking down to the picturesque seashore. The large cliffs here eventually lead you to the perfectly pruned fields of sparta, then through the sun-speckled olive grove paths to the lovely town of Lefkimmi, where you will spend the evening enjoying traditional Greek cuisine and resting up for day two.
Leaving early in the morning, you will work your way through the winding back streets of Lefkimmi, until you reach the open cross country section of the trail. Following this, you will eventually arrive at the green valley of Gardeno, a perfect spot for a commemorative photo or two. From there, you will climb down to the dramatic cliffs of the west coast and descend to the stunning Golden Beach for the afternoon.
Day three leads you along the stunning shoreline, across rolling sand dunes and through a breathtaking juniper tree forest to Lake Korission. This is the perfect place to enjoy an ice cream or cold drink from the summertime tavern and watch as the flamingoes parade in the water. The trail continues just north of the lake along with a few trees scattered tracks and sections of the road until it reaches the village of Paramonas, your stop for the night.
Everything is all about the fascinating Greek culture and villages. You will climb over the coastal ridge and turn inland through the villages of Ano, Kato Pavliana and Vouniatades. The Corfu Trail then heads over the grand Messongi River Valley, through the classic olive groves and accord heathland. You will then head upwards towards Strongili and Komianata, eventually leading to Stavros where you will spend the night relaxing before your hike the next day.
You will then walk one of the best-kept footpaths past the impressive Agii Deka Mountain to Ano Garouna, where you will gain access to climbing to the very summit of Agii Deka, the second highest peak in Corfu. As you descend, you will head past the village of Agii Deka and along cute little minor roads until reaching the town of Sinarades. The last stop on day five will be at Pelekas, located along the west coast from Sinarades.
Your first stop on day six will be at Myrtiotissa Beach, from there, a steep climb will bring you to Vatos, where the landscape finally evens out into a pastoral valley, making for a much easier walk. Follow the valley through Giannades and up through olive tree covered hills past Liapades. From here, the walk gets decidedly more difficult, heading along a footpath in the headland until you reach the much-needed stop of Paleokastritsa.
This day is much calmer than the previous day, with the trail following beautiful cobbled footpaths to Lakones, past the jaw-dropping Bella Vista and down to Krini. You will then zig-zag your way down a fairly sheer cliff to the beautiful resort of Agios Georgios. After relaxing a little in these beautiful surroundings, you will continue the trail up to Prinilas, through Pagi, across the wonderful Megapotamos River and finally over a ridge to Agros, your final stop of the day.
One of the most scenically beautiful walks is on day eight. You will follow quaint country lanes to Rekini, stroll through a deep and lush valley to Sokraki, and walk along quiet paths through magical forestland until you reach the postcard-perfect town of Spartillas.
On this day you will be extremely happy and relaxed as you finally encounter some real mountain terrain. You will follow a footpath up to Taxiarchis Chapel and make your way across the wildest scenery in Corfu, the Karst Plateau, located under the watchful eye of the Pantokrator mountain. As you make your way down to the high col, the Corfu Trail splits, giving you the option of adding an extra day hiking over the northeast coast, or resting for the evening and continuing on for your final day tomorrow.
10-Day Trail Option
If you chose to continue with the 10-day trail, you will then continue over the col and descend down through the pretty town of Old Perithia to Parigori Gorge. You will then be engulfed by a thick forest until you finally emerge to sea views on the Almiros coastline. The very last stint of the Corfu Trail follows this coastline over wild and somewhat bare headland until you come to the final stop on the trail, Spiridonas beach. If you’re not entirely comfortable with the route, don’t worry. As you walk, you will be guided by bright yellow signs marked with CT for Corfu Trail, that have a directional arrow. Between these signs, you can check that you’re on the right path by looking for the yellow paint markers that have been strategically placed along the entire trail.