The Corfu Trail

Corfu coast

Planning your first long distance hike in Greece, but worried about the language, where to stay and tricky mountain terrain? Try Corfu.

Potami river with boats
Potami: day one destination

The Corfu Trail (150 km) is a perfect introduction to Greece beyond the tourist beaches. It meanders across the island from the party resort of Kavos in the south to the highest peak of Mount Pantokrator (911 m) in the north. We walked it in spring, when the fertile hinterland was bright with flowers among the cultivation and the out of season tourist resorts were still closed and silent. 

We dipped down to deserted beaches, skirted Lake Korission, and hiked through endless olive forests, quite unlike anything I’d seen in Greece before. Centuries ago, Saint Spiridon, patron saint of Corfu, had told the islanders not to prune their olives. The result was magnificent, as sunshine glinted through the branches high above and illuminated the swathes of violet blue honesty flowers below. 

Tall olive trees
Oilive forest
Deserted sandy beach

English is spoken everywhere. The large British expatriate community dates way back, beyond the Durrell family in the 1930s, to the nineteenth century when the island was a British protectorate. Ginger beer is available in the cafes, and there is cricket in the summer. 

Bottle of ginger beer
Ginger beer

Apart from the last two days, it’s easy walking, and there’s a good bus service if you want to shorten the route. We didn’t book more than a day ahead, although in early April, accommodation was occasionally hard to find. Tavernas too were sometimes closed. While wild camping is possible, it’s illegal in Greece: always ask if you can.

Lake Korission
Lake Korission
Corfu coast with sandy beach

The best months are May to June, when tourist facilities are likely to be open, but it’s not yet too hot. Early in the year the weather can be unreliable, and we had a couple of days of heavy rain and poor visibility. Over on the mainland, we could see the snow-capped mountains, and the wind from the East was bitter.

We used the Corfu map on the Anavasi app, which was useful in showing our exact GPS location. Another option for mobile phones is the Corfu Trail topoguide which provides background information and GPS, but with a more restricted map. We also took the Cicerone guide and a paper copy of the Anavasi map, available in the UK from Stanfords or the Map Shop. Waymarking is generally good and the trail is well maintained.

Judas tree with deep pink blossom
Judas tree
View of coast towards the mainland
View towards the mainland
Path through olives
Path through olives

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