Kerkyra, the South

The southern part of Kerkyra is the plain strip of land, diluted by low hills.

From Messongi the main road turns inland and goes to the southeast at equal distance from both coasts. Moreover, along the coast it goes a narrow asphalted track. Here the road approaches close the sea, the picturesque surroundings dispose to stop and enjoy the pacifying view with the trees, which hang over amazingly transparent water, with a small boat on the smooth sea, with the opposite shore of mainland melting in the haze.

Along the road there are quiet fishing villages Boúkaris, Petrití, with the almost uninhabited pebble beaches. Generally, the southern part of the island, lacking some sort of particular sights, is notable for the absence of an influx of tourists. Roads and beaches, with rare exception, are deserted.

Click the images to enlarge them.

After Petriti the road ends its way along the coast, and we come out inland to the main route. We turn towards Lefkímmi, the large settlement, formed by integration of several villages; this is the second largest population aggregate in the island. We pass past the old two-story houses, by the road it rise the majestic church Ágii Anárgiri (Holy Unmercenaries). Further we pass across the picturesque bridge through the Chímaros river with lamps and benches.

Then we turn to the left, pass along the river to the place of its mouth and reach the sandy beach Ágios Nikólaos, enjoying popularity by locals.

Leaving behind the settlement, we come to a crossroad. To the left there is the port of Lefkimmi, the main port of the southern part of Kerkyra.

Our ship stopped here on the way to Paxi in order to pick up passengers. At this time there was a fellow, who seems to be a local fisherman, he stood next to us on the moorage by his car, swung by a clutched in his hand octopus, and smash it with all might against the concrete slab. He did it constantly all the time of our stop, only interrupted not for long for rest. This is the process of giving to octopus the necessary gustatory qualities (another method - deep freeze).

The road that goes straight from the crossroad leads to Kávos resort, along the coast with a long sandy beach. The nationality (English) and the bad behaviour of local tourists are always emphasized at the mention of Kavos. I did not meet similar in Greece yet, and it was interesting to visit such kind of reservation.

The English-speaking radio broadcasted above the road through loudspeakers, D.J. told something cheerful. This reminded me of Soviet young pioneer camp. However, there is no one to listen to D.J. and to have fun, the street was empty. Only on the beach it was possible to see infrequent vacationers. In comparison with other places, for example Sidari, Kavos appears sufficiently sad.

To the south from the settlement is located the rocky cape Asprókavos - the southern extremity of Kerkyra, there is a neglected monastery somewhere here. We attempted to pass there, but the stony road proved to be too inappropriate for our car.

We stopped near Kavos by the small cemetery with church in the olive grove. Such places became for us here in Greece some of most favourite, wonderful silence and bliss. Around a half-dried stream flew many wasps or bees, there are great many of these creatures in the island. Beside the several beehives were located. Local honey, together with products of koumquat, is a special product and is sold in each shop.

After making a loop through Sparterá village, we come at Lefkimmi to the main road and go backwards to the northwest. Along the way from time to time there appear turns to the left, which lead to the beaches of the southwestern shore of the island. We visited two of them: Gardénos and Agia Varvára. A boundless strip of sand between the sea and the foot of low hill, a minimum quantity of people - ideal places. Unfortunately, we had no time to stay there for long.

We had no time to visit also other beaches: Maratiás, Ágios Geórgios, Issós; and Chlomós village, which lies to the right from the road at the apex of hill with the gripping view of surroundings. Nevertheless, the trip to the opposite end of the island occupies sufficiently much time.

Further to the northwest Korissíon Lake lies, it connected with the sea by short channel. The coasts of the lake are rich in various vegetation; it was written that even the wild orchid is found. All this blooms in spring, this time it is worth to arrive here in order to estimate the whole of beauty of local nature. In autumn the grass turns yellow, the lake half dries and has sufficiently sad appearance.

We passed from the northwest along the bumpy stony road, laid on the spit between the sea and the lake. A cafe is located in the middle of the road; at the seaside there extends the long and wide, sandy and uncrowded Chalikoúnas beach.


Kerkyra, the West

Around Áno Messongí village there is a branch from the main road; if one passes from the south, the branch goes to the left to the west coast and to the villages, located above it, nearest of which is Ágios Matthéos.

The Byzantine fortress Gardíki is located not far from here; Michael Angel II, the same who has built Angelokastro, built it in XIII century. Fortress has octagonal form, with the small tower in each angle. The walls of fortress contain the stones, which formerly were material for antique temples. Except the walls and tumbledown towers, one can see only a pair of olive trees of gigantic thickness, one of them inside, another outside before the entrance into the fortress.

Further the road leads to the sea, and we will move along it to the north. A number of the small sandy beaches is here located: Alonáki, Kanoúli, Prasoúdi. We stopped on one of them - Paramónas.

Next stop is Ágios Górdios settlement with a populous sandy beach of one and a half kilometre length. The place is very picturesque. High hills, covered with forest, steeply get down to the sea.

From the settlement the road rises to the mountain. After enjoying a gripping view from the top, we pass further to the large village Sinarádes. A belfry crowned by a brown dome rise above the village, it is quite distinctive for Kerkyra. Narrow by-streets are built on by the houses of XVII- XIX centuries, in one of them is located the folklore museum of Méssi region. Here, as it is written, the evidences of country life of the island in XVIII and XIX centuries are assembled as exhibits. Unfortunately, we proved to be before the closed door of the museum.

Passing further to the north, we get to the famous Pélekas village. Here on the apex of hill is located the well-appointed observation point, from here a remarkable panoramic view of all surroundings is opened. It is known as the "Kaiser's Throne". The German emperor Wilhelm II, who has purchased the Achillion Palace after empress Sissi's death at the beginning of XX century, visited this place to delight in sunsets.

All-round panorama from the Kaiser's Throne, Pelekas

Below, in the foot of a high wooded hill, the several picturesque sandy beaches are situated. Directly under Pelekas is the Kontogialós (Pelekas) beach. A little north there is the large and popular Glifáda beach. The slopes of hill in both places are intensively built on by hotels, restaurants and other tourist infrastructure.

Further to the north the nudist beach Mirtiótissa is located, which was named after the Panagía Mirtiótissa Monastery that situated next. So uncommon neighbourhood seems to occurs because of the inclination both the monks and the nudists to inhabiting in the almost inaccessible places. The road is a narrow stony strip with numerous potholes. Before the steep descent a parking place is located, where we left the car for 3 Euros and further passed on foot. As it turned out, displaying special caution, it was possible to pass even further by the car to the beach itself, there were several automobiles below, and several times they crept past us.

It was heat and not easily to pass afoot. The road, making the sharp turn, departed to the final descent to the beach. Having a presentiment of exhausting ascent in the time of return, we did not get down further, stood at the precipice by the turn enjoying view, and went back.

Still further to the north there is the small sandy Érmones beach. The hills, which are steeply descended to the sea, are also built on by hotels here. Further the rocky section of the coast is devoid of beaches until Liapades.

In Ermones the river Rópa falls in the sea; it gave name to the valley, which extend from the south to the north inland - this is one of few plain areas of Kerkyra. It is laid here a rare for these places straight and high-speed road, which leads, inter alia, from the northern part of the island to the waterpark.

The waterpark "Aqualand" is located in the very middle of the island near Ágios Ioánnis village, not far from the capital and from the west coast, equidistant from the northern and southern extremities of Kerkyra. By tradition, we spent here one of the days, resting for trips. The advertisement of this institution is present everywhere in the island: on roadside posts, on buses, in the airport to each who arrived it is handed a booklet of waterpark with the detailed maps of island and city.

The "Aqualand" is bigger, and therefore it is better than any of waterparks of Crete, although it is inferior to waterpark in Cyprus in Agia Napa. Before the entrance there is a large parking place. A ticket costs 25 Euros, hours of service - from 9 to 18. There are various slides here including high-speed, a lazy river, a children's zone. Next the fenced territory of hotel "Aqualand village" attached to waterpark is located, there is a large pool with the waves here, this territory is opened for the visit, but it is closed an hour earlier.

Thus, we completed the circle around the island, and I pass to my two sea tours (because of the bad tolerance by my wife of water modes of transport, I spent them alone).    Further...

Attribution-No Derivative Works (CC-BY-ND) by Andrey K.