The route Agios Stefanos - Sidari - Erikoussa

Three small islets belong to Diapóntic Islands and are located to the northwest from Kerkyra. Othoní is the largest and the most distant. Mathráki is the smallest and the closest. Eríkoussa lies further north than others, has circular shape, two kilometres diameter and population approximately 700 people. The island was named because of heather ("eriki"), which grows there everywhere.

The agency "San Stefano Travel" from Agios Stefanos arranges the trips to Erikoussa from the local port on Wednesdays and Sundays. The tickets (19 Euros) are for sale in two offices, located in the settlement (possibly also in Sidari, since the ship stops there). It is possible to visit two islands on Saturdays: Mathraki and Erikoussa (25 Euros), I planned this, but missed to purchase the tickets by our only free Saturday.

The tour was fixed on a Wednesday. Our car stood only whole day unused, I went to the port on foot. The road from the house to the port, on the morning freshness, is passed easily and pleasantly; the road back, on the day heat, was found not such easy and not at all pleasant, I felt sorry about unused automobile.

Our small ship "Nearchos" took aboard several passengers, left the port at 9.30 and headed for Sidari, sailing past the picturesque rocky shore, past Longa beach, Drastis cape. At 10.15 we arrived to the moorage of Sidari, loaded to the brim and headed for Erikoussa.

Click the images to enlarge them.

After passing 15 kilometres (8 nautical miles), "Nearchos" reached the port of Erikoussa in Pórto village at 11.20. There are six settlements on 20 houses in each in all on the island. The map of the island with all its few places is located near the moorage; there are also guide signs to these places.

The splendid sandy beach, long and uncrowded, extends from the port. Several "wild" tourists dwell in their tents at the distant end of the beach. Just here I have spent the greater part of my brief stay in the island, although I am not a great one for beach leisure.

A small hill with the heliport at the apex rises above the port. Next there is a small Saint George church with uncommon dome, which decorates with itself the remarkable view from the top of the island.

At 15.00 "Nearchos" gathered passengers and has gone back, it landed the majority of people in Sidari and passed further. The sea became stormy near Agios Stefanos, swinging our small ship and pouring over its passengers by drops. Finally, according to the timetable, at 16.55 we arrived at the port.


Paxi - Antipaxi

The route Kerkyra - Lefkimmi - Lakka - Antipaxi - Gaios

Paxí (Paxos) island is located at a distance of 13 km (7 nautical miles) to the south from Kerkyra and has an area of 19 sq. km. and a permanent population of 2,2 thousand. Antípaxi (Antipaxos) island is still further to the south, at a distance of 2 km (1,1 nautical miles) from Paxi, an area - 6,5 sq. km., a population - 24. Both islands like Kerkyra belong to the group of Ionian Islands.

The company "Ionian Cruises" realizes excursion cruises to these islands. I purchased the ticket for 30 Euros in the booking office at the entrance of the New Port of Kerkyra city in the day before the trip. However, tickets can be purchased in any travel agency in the island, a payment for transfer from your resort to the New Port or to the port of Lefkimmi will be included in price.

On the appointed day, I got up earlier and left home one and a half hour before departure time - 9.00. On the gates of the port it hang an inscription about the fact that parking in the territory is forbidden; therefore I left the car in the street of adjacent residential area and passed to the ship that was moored not far from the gates. The small vessel "Ionian Sun" took aboard tourists, who arrived generally by buses. Next there was the same ship "Antigoni", which then all the trip passed close to us. The commentaries of guides in several languages accompanied the tour.

After pushing off at 9.20, we sailed around the Old Fortress and started to go along the east coast of Kerkyra. There were seen far away Mon Repos Palace, Kanoni, then Boukaris and Messongi. We stopped in the port of Lefkimmi, where the small group of tourists came onboard. After passing near the southern edge of the island, Kavos, Asprokavos, our ship head for Paxi.

The first stop was Lákka village on the northern shore of island by the picturesque bay filled with yachts. We stayed here one and a half hour, from 11.00 to 12.30. In the village there are many beautiful, covered with the blooming verdure houses. I had a lunch, after purchasing in the local confectioner's shop ("zaharoplastio") the pair of pies (one with spinach and cheese, another with honey and nuts).

Further, our way went along the precipitous west coast of Paxi of high white cliffs.

The shallow caves are found somewhere in these cliffs. We stopped by the largest of them, Ipapantí, named in honor of church, situated above and invisible from the sea. By turn the ships, first "Antigoni", then we, wholly entered into this cave, they stood there a pair of minutes and left by backward motion.

Then we stopped near the three smaller situated in a row Achái caves; we passed between the coast and the high rocky Orthólithos islet; past the Tripitós, which has form of arch.

After going around Paxi from the south (near it there are two islets Mongonísi and Kaltsonísi), we headed for to the east coast of Antipaxi, where several bays with the sandy beaches are located. The captain firstly could not decide on a mooring place; we stopped finally by the cliff near one of the beaches. Here it is possible to come to the sea directly from the ship, to have a swim hereabout in the transparent turquoise water, to climb up to the stones, to swim through a small cave in a cliff. All this pleasure lasted not long, just half hour. We went further at 14.00.

We returned to Paxi, this time we sailed along its eastern shore. At 14.50, we approached Gáios, the capital of the island. The settlement is named in honor of one of the disciples of Apostle Paul - Saint Gaius, who preached in these places. Two islets adjoin the coast here, Panagía and Ágios Nikólaos. The latter together with the Paxi coast form the closed bay in a form of narrow strait. There are two ports in this bay; we moored to one of them, the smaller one.

After descending to the coast, first I directed my steps on the road, which leads from the settlement northwards. After passing one and a half kilometre of ascent, I found myself in the purpose: this is a place in roadside, from where it is opened a remarkable view of Gaios, the islands and the strait.

After going down back to the settlement, I passed a little along the streets, the picturesque embankment along which is located the endless line of boats and yachts. The Church of Holy Apostles is located on the central square. On the embankment stands the turned green from the time monument to local hero Geórgios Anemogiánnis. In 1821, during the War of Independence, he attempted to set fire to the Turkish fleet, which was located in the bay of Náfpaktos (Gulf of Corinth); but he was caught and martyrized. A little further, a small stony beach is located.

At 17.00, our ship gathered passengers and started the return, about 19.00 - 19.30 it arrived to the New Port of Kerkyra.



Thus, the journey is completed. Our desire to visit the forest Greece was carried out. Kerkyra is, probably, most "green" island in the country. The more moist and less hot climate creates excellent conditions for the various forms of life.

Kerkyra, just as Crete, rightfully can be named the olive island; however, olive trees are here completely different. If in Crete they are small garden trees, like apple trees, which grow basically in cultivated fields, then here they are sufficiently high and spreading "oaks" that form by themselves the forest tracts, which cover a great part of the island.

Even the application of this plant in Kerkyra differs from the customary one. Instead of fruits and oil, the production made of wood of olive tree is in demand here. Beyond the limits of settlements, there are the specialized shops, which sell only such kind of goods (tableware, boxes, statuettes, other details of interior). We fairly spent our money in one of them before the departure. However, these products belong to the standard souvenir set, together with koumquat and honey, and it is possible to purchase them in any souvenir shop in the island.

It doesn't concern the local oil and olives. Frequently under the trees, we saw plastic nets for the olives harvesting, during our stay they were convoluted in cylinders. However, nowhere I met in sale the products, obtained as a result of this harvesting. I think, once the local oil manufacturers did not withstand competition with the counterparts from other regions of Greece (possibly, because of a ban of the European Union on the use of insecticides for dealing with olive fly), left trees to "grow old", and olives are gathered now only for the domestic use.

Another form of life, which is widespread in the island, is insects. Unlike J. Darrell, we did not try to pay attention to this form, but it is not possible to screen it out here. In our apartment besides us, the innumerable quantity of microscopic ants dwelled. As soon as a crumb of food fell on the floor, the ants, which are usually remained unnoticeable, formed long caravans to it, created a gigantic crowd around it. However, these creations are so small that their crowds were hardly perceptible.

Omnipresent wasps are one of the minuses of the island (either bees or both of them, we have not understood). They fly around you even in beach, giving a certain trouble. However, we got accustomed to this.

Omnipresent tourists are another minus. The island is very popular and rather small; therefore, it is quite difficult to find, for example, an uninhabited beach, we did not succeed. There are uncrowded beaches: almost everything in the south, Almiros and Kalamaki in the north. Furthermore, Kerkyra has the high density of the local population, the villages placed noticeably denser here than, for example, in Crete.

Now about the roads. There are several high-speed highways; there are usual two-lane roads. However, the basic mass of them is the asphalted road with one line of traffic in both sides, so that when meeting with the oncoming traffic, it is necessary to brake and to draw close to the roadside, sometimes to stop. Especially exciting experience appears during the passage through any village, which is, as a rule, located on a slope of hill and abounds in sharp turns with slopes. The road becomes maximally narrow here, and a driver begins to have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is necessary to go slowly and carefully; on another - it is desirable to cross this disastrous place as soon as possible in order not to meet an oncoming car (God forbid it will be a bus or a truck).

However, one large plus outweighs all above-listed minuses, it is beauty of the local views, especially coastal ones. The Nature has endeavoured: the high hills, which descend to the sea and covered with olive-cypress forest; the sheer cliffs of whimsical form and colouring; the amazingly transparent sea, which is iridescent by many tints, from the dark blue to the light green. The Man also made a contribution: medieval fortresses, monasteries, churches, belfries, palaces, village houses, even multistory buildings of hotels wonderfully supplement natural beauty with themselves.

The coast of the island is studded with many beaches for all tastes: stone, pebbles, sand. Many of them have gently sloping entrance to the sea.

Kerkyra City is one the best cities where we were. The Old Town is entered in the World Heritage List of UNESCO.

If the prevailing color of houses in Cyclades is blue, then here it is pink. Pink, crimson, orange, bordeaux, brown - together with the white present the entire color range of local architecture.

Concerning the church architecture, the island noticeably differs from the remaining Greece, at least from those places, where we were. There are no churches with a central dome; the only exception I saw is the Catholic Church Panagia Tenedou.

The typical church, and, I think, the pattern for construction of others, is Saint Spiridon church in the capital. It is a usual rectangular two-story house with the gable roof. Next by it, there is a high square belfry, crowned by the oblong brown dome. There are also flat bell gables, common for Greece.

Like in Crete, the miniature churches are found here on pedestals by the road, although not such often.

From Kerkyra one can journey to other islands and to the mainland. The company "Ionian Cruises", besides that described above, realizes excursion cruises with the stop in Parga, and to Albania. One can sail to the mainland by himself if desired, using ferry boat from the capital of the island to Igoumenitsa (the city on the coast of Epirus), and to take a trip with the overnight stay in Ioannina and to Meteora, however, there are many interesting places to go and there is a choice.

In fine, I want to say that Kerkyra is a remarkable island, ideal place to combine beach leisure with obtaining of aesthetic satisfaction.

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