Copyright © 2014 Castaway Travel, Acharavi, Corfu
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Corfu Walks -
You do not need to be a fit mountain hiker to enjoy the countryside around us; there are many lovely walks into the foothills and olive groves. These are probably best attempted in the cool of the early morning or evening.
Tracks, much used by olive pickers, will always bring you out onto the road eventually, though not always where you expected! You may find yourself under the cliff in the ruins of the old Dandalos Venetian manor house, which once had a drawbridge. Many of these powerful Venetian landlords, like this one, even had their own currency. You are very likely to pass one of the many olive presses at Aghios Martinos or Strongili, which have a distinctive, not altogether attractive smell. There will be a mountain of the crushed remains of the olive stones and flesh, which are used to fuel central heating, as animal fodder, fertilizer, and for making soap.
Only in May after a very late harvest will you still see them working. The rolls of black nets under the trees are unrolled in the autumn to collect the olives as they fall from the trees. Our olives are small and mostly used for the manufacture of olive oil or home salting, elsewhere where they have smaller trees and bigger olives which have to be hand picked for canning and bottling.
Stroll along the back of the beach along the sand dunes to the fish farm and lake of Antinioti, here eventually you can cool off at the beach at St. Spiridon. Bird watchers should look out for a fascinating array of birds, we have a list of those spotted so far; add yours too. The grassy olive groves at St. Spiridon are famous for the enormous number of rare wild orchids that flower there in the spring. Pick some wild bay leaves to take home too. Wending the way along the rough limestone rock seashore you may find the bases of the 2nd world war machine guns, and the underground bunkers that were ammunition stores, or the foxhole caves that were look out posts. The German army desecrated the remains of a feudal manor as a look out post for the whole of the entrance to the Corfu Channel. They were able to shell resistance forces in Albania from there.
In the other direction, only a half hours walk away along the beach, is Roda, a busy little village with lots of shops, tavernas, and water sports. A pleasant change of scenery and an easy walk, the less energetic can always get the bus or a taxi back!
Walking to or from Roda along the main road, just outside Acharavi are the half-
There is a magical deserted monastery at Nymphes waiting to whisk you into another world.
Put on stout shoes and find the moss lined limestone cavern on the way to Old Perithia, at Loutses.
I have detailed here a few easy walks, which will introduce you to a different Acharavi of olive groves, and mountain villages where rural life goes on unaware of the summer buzz down below. Each option passes the new Monolithi taverna run by Nikos, known to many who frequented his Acharavi restaurant on the beach. This is an old Olive press carefully renovated, which make an attractive resting place after climbing the steep hill; it has superb views across the channel to Albania.
Those who are hardened hikers and walkers who want more of challenge; read on, I have also added the Blue Way Marked Paths, courtesy of Mr Fried Aumann of the St Georges Bay Country Club, who spent many an arduous day finding and researching these paths and then having them cleared. They should not be undertaken lightly as some of them are rough and steep paths, but the rewards outweigh the effort involved.