The Best of Corfu’s Hidden Natural Treasures
P art of Corfu’s charm lies in its capacity to treat you to the unexpected: A turn in the road can open up vistas of rolling hills, vertiginous villages and the bluest waters you’ve ever seen.
There’s so much more to Corfu than meets the eye; dig a little deeper and you will uncover one of Greece’s most lush and verdant islands that was almost made for hiking enthusiasts (there are marked trails everywhere you look). Discover strikingly sculpted cliffs that plunge down towards the sea, some bare and others covered in greenery, hilltop monasteries and castles offering eye-wateringly beautiful sea views, mountains, paradise-like beaches and coves, and ancient olive groves.
Incredibly green, Corfu owes its sensational natural beauty to the winter rains, the relatively temperate summer temperatures and its fertile soil. Out of season (April, May and June), Corfu offers superb walking opportunities when the island is literally covered in a blanket of impossibly pretty wildflowers. Various international treaties that have conferred a special preservation status on parts of the island mean that much of it is safeguarded from any development taking place. For instance, such areas include Lake Korission with its immaculately preserved cedar forest the beautiful Lagoon of Antiniotis, as well as the enchanting Erimitis region, known for its dense vegetation, stunning lakes and secluded beaches.
There are many more areas and spots that deserve special mention. Among them, we find:
THE KAISER’S OBSERVATORY: Offering stunning dramatic views, this is where the German Emperor would sit to admire the sunset from the village of Pelekas.
MOUNTAINS: Located in the island’s north, Pantokratoras is the highest mountain on Corfu. It offers beautiful treks, breathtaking views as well as lovely Venetian villages, which are relatively unaffected by tourism. Situated in the southern part of Corfu, the mountain of Agioi Deka also boasts stunning views and fascinating walking paths.
WATERFALLS & CAVES: There are impressive waterfalls in Kyprianades and in Nymfes. As for caves, Anthropograva and the Cave of Loutses stand out for their impressive stalagmites and stalactites. They’re all found near the village of Klimatia in the northern part of the island.
LAGOONS & SALT MARSHES: The lagoons of Chalikiopoulos and Antiniotis and the Salt Marshes of Lefkimmi each have their own distinct ecosystems and attract many visitors.
Offering 217 km of verdant coastline, Corfu is a paradise for beach lovers. Thirty beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag, ranging from long sandy stretches through to private pebbly coves. Naturally, choosing from such an impressive array is a difficult, albeit pleasant task. Here is our narrowed down list of some of the most naturally stunning beaches on the island:
SIDARI: Famous for its enchanting sandstone formations and its neverending stretches of sand. On its western side, the fjords and the famous Canal d’Amour can also be visited. It is situated in the northwestern part of Corfu.
GLYFADA: One of the most popular beaches of the island, Glyfada is located 15.5 km west of Corfu Town. It is awarded with the Blue Flag for its crystal-clear waters while the large surface of soft sand is surrounded by trees-covered cliffs and imposing rocky formations where Domes of Corfu, Autograph Collection is located.
MYRTIOTISSA: Situated between Ermones and Glyfada, on the southeastern side of the cape of Agios Georgios, Myrtiotissa offers what is hands down one of the most picture-perfect beaches on the island. To get to the beach, you’ll need to walk for about 20 minutes – or have a 4×4.
HALIKOUNAS: This long and isolated sandy beach is found near the village of Agios Matheos. A thin strip of land separates the beach from the protected Korission Lagoon. From there, make sure you walk across the wooden bridge to the rare cedar and orchid forest.
ISSOS: This magnificent southern beach is known for its golden sand and crystalline waters. Its sand dunes extend as far as the cedar forest of Korission Lagoon.