Get prepared for a lifetime experience in the island of Corfu!
Corfu is one of those Greek islands that is able to offer visitors much, much more than the usual triplet of sun, sand and sea. Yes, Corfu is home to many truly spectacular beaches, some of which Mayor Hotels are blessed to call our own. However, it is also an island that boasts immense natural wealth, offering endless possibilities for alternative experiences that make your time here all the more rewarding. So, if you are a nature lover especially, seeking to discover the destination through its wondrous nature and connect with it, then Corfu is just that splendid place. Expect verdant mountain slopes, immaculate seascapes, a myriad of scattered lakes, sand dunes, nature reserves, even waterfalls that will instil visuals in your mind to last a lifetime.
Corfu trekking trails within nature
The northern part of Corfu is ideal for at least half a dozen trekking trails that take you through the verdant mountain sides as well as some immaculate seascapes of the island. With the tallest mountain, the imposing Mount Pantokrator, reaching as high as 917m, this should be your starting point. Walk along the trails, amidst the cypress trees and discover the mountain villages along the way that showcase a mix between Greek and Italian architecture. Make your way through woodland, up towards the peak along the ridge they call Stavro, and feast your eyes on the Stroggilo valley and Lake Korission that unravel before your very eyes.
Erimitis trail will take you through lush vegetation, along the pristine coast to some riveting, secluded beaches, three lakes (Vromolimni, Akoli & Savoura) as well as some salient wetlands which are sheltered habitats of some species of birds. The trail takes about an hour and a half, starting from Agios Stefanos and ending in Avlaki beach. In case you have a soft spot for waterfalls, then follow the Nymfes trail that takes you on a 45 minute walk into Mount Pantokrator, past Nymfes village until you reach an enchanting spot of a 10 meter high waterfall, followed by two smaller ones, where, as legend would have it, sprites and fairies used to live.
Avlaki beach, at the end of the Erimities trail. Photo credit: @ProjectCorfu
Nymfes Waterfalls. Photo credit: @mykerkyra
Corfu Natura 2000 protected regions
With all its natural wealth, Corfu is bound to have a few Natura protected regions. Specifically those of Lake Korission, Antinioti Lagoon and the Halikiopoulou Lagoon in the wetland area of Kanoni. These nature reserve areas have been marked as protected, in order to maintain their endemic biodiversity. They are home to a variety of bird and fish species, as well as other critters since the protected areas often extend into the immediate surrounding regions.
Lake Korission is somewhat striking in its morphology, where a slender strip of land separates the lake from the Ionian sea, and unites it with the sea by way of a narrow water channel leading up to two gorgeous beaches: Chalikounas and Issos. The protected site extends 6000 acres of land to include a cedar forest and some impressive sand dunes.
Lake Korission. Photo credit: @bioporos
The rich wetland of the Antinioti Lagoon in the north east coast, is also part of Natura 2000, featuring traditional fish farms that try to strike a balance between sustainable fishing and the flourishing of the endemic fish species (primarily mullet, bass & eel). It is also home to numerous bird species as well as the occasional otter, so keep your eyes peeled. Most particular, however, is the Halikiopoulou Lagoon, found in the Kanoni area, which is both central and popular too. Kanoni is known for the Vlacherna Monastery and Pontikonisi (Mouse island) attractions, but you’ll be surprised to know that it is also part of a protected region.
Halikiopoulou Lagoon in Kanoni
Last but definitely not least, the Lefkimmi Salterns, also known as Alikes, close to our Mayor Capo Di Corfu, used to be a natural salt pan while today, the depletion of salt reserves for commercial purposes has breathed new life into the area. It is a refuge for many migratory birds, including the flamboyant flamingo.
Spring, early Summer and Autumn are the best seasons to get adventurous within Corfu’s abundant nature and become fascinated with the plethora of exciting things to see and do.
Flamingos in Lefkimmi