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 Walking Tour Itinerary

Day 1 — Arrival, introductions and team meeting

On arrival at the villa, you are welcomed by your trainer, Jimmy Tsirigotis, and your personal coach, Carl Daeche. Meals and snacks are available throughout the day.

Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika -    Olive trees, Corfu  , 1981

Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika - Olive trees, Corfu, 1981

Day 2 — A gentle one and a half hour walk to the neighbouring village of Episkepsi

You awake at daybreak in the Olive Press to the high call of the scops owl. The soft scent of jasmine is drifting through the wooden shutters, blending with the aroma of freshly made coffee, which emanates from the kitchen. Breakfast is served when you’re ready.

After this early start, your trainer Jimmy guides you uphill to the traditional village of Episkepsi. By now the cicadas have struck up their morning chorus. You can feel the sun warm on your skin, and watch as it brings to life the glorious landscape around you. This reaches a climax when you arrive at the village's traditional kafenio (cafe), to be greeted by spectacular views of northern Corfu and the Ionian Sea beyond.

(The artist, Ghika, and his wife took a tumble-down house in an olive grove at Episkepsi and transformed it into a small paradise. Many of Ghika’s works are inspired by the beauty of the island.)

Lunch follows at a local taverna.

Day 3 — A three and a half hour walk that takes in Antinioti Lagoon, Nissos island, and an abandoned monastery in Almyros

Antinioti Lake

Antinioti Lake

You descend the winding footpath from the Olive Press, which is set about by lemon trees on either side. Past Almyros Beach, you cross a small foot-bridge and enter the nature reserve of Nissos Island. Among the foliage you spot a picturesque abandoned monastery, before you reach the Lagoon of Antinioti. The latter is a haven for threatened species such as the Eurasian otter, as well as sixteen types of orchid, ophrys and serapia. Depending on the time of year, you might also see European and Caspian pond turtles, frogs, and endangered Knipowitschia goerneri fish, a species that is also known as the Corfu dwarf goby.

Twitchers will be pleased to know that 150 species of native and migrating birds have been counted in and around the lagoon. These include spotted eagles, cormorants, falcons, egrets, Egyptian vultures, buzzards, Bonelli's and Booted Eagles and kestrels.

In My Family and Other Animals, the author Gerald Durrell dubbed Antinioti Lagoon "the lake of lilies”. Here he describes its beauties:

“it was a mile long, an elongated sheet of shallow water surrounded by a thick mane of cane and reed, and separated from the sea at one end by a wide, gently curving dune of white sand… It was the only place on the island where those sand lilies grew, strange misshapen bulbs buried in the sand, that once a year sent up thick green leaves and white flowers above the surface, so that the dune became a glacier of flowers.”

Lunch follows at a local taverna.

Day 4 — A four to five hour walk to Old Perithia

Old Perithia

Old Perithia

Starting from the Olive Press, you wind up through olive groves along old cobbled footpaths. En route, you pass through old villages until at length you reach the village of Old Perithia, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Many years ago, the village was a thriving community, but after the advent of tourism, its inhabitants drifted to the coastal towns in search of more lucrative work. Their homes were abandoned and allowed to fall into ruin. The result was to create a uniquely atmospheric place whose natural beauties have begun in turn to lure visitors up from the shoreline. 

Lunch follows in the traditional Foros taverna: a restaurant that has received the nod of approval from no less a personage than Rick Stein.

Nestling under the shoulder of Corfu’s highest peak, the village of Old Perithia remains one of Corfu's best-kept secrets. It is known to have existed as a settlement as long ago as 700BC, making it the oldest village on the island.

Day 5 — A three to four hour circular walk from the Olive Press

You set out from the Olive Press and head up into the stone-walled sheep pastures and vineyards, through woods of poplars, eucalyptus and holm oaks. Depending on the time of year, you might walk over carpets of wild daisies and crocuses, or among pink and white almond blossom trees.

Numerous species of birds and butterflies await you on the trail, as well as the occasional pine marten. Then you turn for home across the hills, while admiring the view of lake Spyridon.

You take lunch in a taverna in Acharavi, followed by a leisurely 20 minute walk uphill to the Olive Press.


Day 6 — A three hour-plus hike up Pantokrator Mountain

Setting off from the Olive Press early in the morning, you head up along old donkey tracks and fishermen's paths towards the highest point of the island — the mighty mountain of Pantokrator, which glowers over the rest of the island from a height of 910m. En route you catch sight of jays, swallows and goldfinches swarming overhead. As you’d expect on such a trek, you’re constantly rewarded with breathtaking views.

Lunch follows at a local taverna.

Day 7 — Breakfast at the Olive Press. Departure to Corfu airport.