Off the Beaten Track in Corfu

| October 4, 2011 | 2 Comments
corfu Off the Beaten Track in Corfu

The Old Town of Corfu. Photo by Robin Bazylek.

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Beyond the cheap sun, sea and booze-o image of the package resorts lies a remarkably little-known side to Corfu. This sickle-shaped Ionian Island is one of Greece’s greenest and most mountainous, and its landscapes have been eulogized by everyone from epic poet Homer to novelist Lawrence Durrell. Forget the brochure hype and take the less-trodden trail and within no time you will find quiet coves, coastal viewpoints and hilltop tavernas where you can enjoy home cooking at its best to the backbeat of goat bells.

Beaches

Some of the best villas in Corfu nestle in the cypress-studded cliffs rising above Paleokastritsa in the island’s northwest. Choose this as your base and you will have access to the bay’s grottos and turquoise waters without the day-trippers. Just as lovely is the half-moon bay of Liapades slightly south, backed by thickly wooded cliffs. For more seclusion still, follow the former hippy trail to bare-it-all Myrtiossa. Reached by a dirt track and footpath, the fine sandy bay has beautifully clear water and boulders affording nudists privacy. In his book Prospero’s Cell, Lawrence Durrell describes it as the “loveliest beach in the world”.

beach Off the Beaten Track in Corfu

Gordis Beach. Photo by Gavin Gilmour.

The east coast is undeniably more developed than the west, but you can still find some peaceful spots. Roads wiggle through pine and olive trees to Kalami, Kouloura and Agni, where crescent-shaped coves are lapped by crystal-clear water and Albania seems close enough to touch.

Arguably the best beach in the south is Halikounas, a three-kilometre swathe of soft sand and dunes, which attracts windsurfers, kite-surfers and birdwatchers who come to spot herons and egrets on Lake Korission.

Viewpoints

Corfu’s dramatic northwest is punctuated by vertiginous lookouts. A road swings around the cliff tops to Angelokastro, a Byzantine castle perched high on a rocky outcrop and com