The decision to walk down the path of Porto Timoni was one the wisest I ever made. The
route was actually a magical journey to another era: back when the wild nature would show its dominance by creating the most amazing landscapes.
That summer morning in the middle of July, I suggested to my friend who had come for holiday in Corfu, to show her the secrets of my island. I feel so lucky to have chosen studying here, but the truth is that I never had the chance to explore the whole island myself. The walk down the beach of Porto Timoni was the ideal opportunity. We drove ‘till the end of the Village of Afionas, located in the northwest side of Corfu, of course using our GPS. The whole route drove us crazy; the road was narrow, full of holes and dangerous turns. However, we didn’t in the least bit regretted it. The view from our windows was magnificent; tall firs, cypresses and age-long olive trees. We could feel the sea breeze and a scent of wild aromatic herbs was all around us. A wild, virgin landscape was waiting for us to explore it.
By the time we had reached the verdant peninsula which separates the St. George from Arillas bay, the hot was unbearable. We sat at the wooden benches, without telling a word to each other. Our only desire was to let the wild wind blow between our hair, let us feel free to discover the next steps of our adventure. We walked towards the small square of Afionas village and took a small path, passing by the small stone houses with terracotta roofs. The path ended near a traditional taverna with a wonderful terrace full of flowers; and that’s when our real adventure begun.
The trail wandered down the headland but Porto Timoni was barely visible at that point. This walk lasts about 20-25 minutes but is very challenging. Sometimes we needed to take an extremely large step to go down the next level. Also the path was really narrow and we would help each other on the way down. Fortunately, we had plenty of water and food with us because we knew that it is worth staying at Porto Timoni sunset.
We soon saw the bay of Porto Timoni. Some locals told us that there were actually two beaches : Limni on the right and Porto Timoni on the left. Moreover, the first bay, Porto Timoni used to be the old port of the village. As the path continues, we saw the dense, green hills, ending upon our hidden destination. Later, aside from the scenery, we noticed some ruins of a 13th century Venetian fortress. A local man told us that archaeologists
thought that a fortification was constructed in 300 BC.
At the end of the route, the glorious beach of Porto Timoni was revealed behind the olive trees. Its crystal clear waters offered a wonderful view and a chance for snorkelling. We stayed in the water for hours, enjoying the sound of waves and the sun. A remarkable fact we noticed, is that each beach in Porto Timoni has different temperature; the first has cooler water while the waters of Limni, the second beach are crystal green and warmer. Both beaches are shallow and with pebbles.
We took thousands of photos to remember this unforgettable experience and after the sunset it was time to go back. We chose to return by boat, to feel for one last time the salty waves crushing on our bodies and the sound of gulls, as we were leaving Porto Timoni, staring at this miracle of nature with awe.
One of the most famous destinations in Corfu is the monastery of Palaiokastritsa. A monastery built in 1225, then destroyed by the Genevans in 1403, and rebuilt in 1469, so that it was destroyed once again by the Turkish in 1537. Despite all that it was rebuilt again in 1572 and is still working until nowadays. A pole of attraction to many tourists as well as locals, so that they can make a wish and throw a coin at the main entrance of the monastery.
Why it is worth visiting
The reason why this monastery is a pole of attraction is its magical location, built on the verge of the mountain of Palaiokastritsa, making it one of the best places of the island. The mesmerized guests are always coming back to see this idyllic view.
How to get there
The monastery is located about 25 kilometers away from the town center. You can go there either by organized excursions, or by renting your own vehicle from a “rent a car” of the island. But, if you are already in Palaiokastritsa and enjoying your time at the beach, you can organize your own excursion, since you are extremely close to your destination, or as an original Corfiot would say, “an uphill and you are there”.
What to do when you get there
One of the places you should visit is the museum of the monastery, situated at the same region at the left of the main entrance. Before leaving, you can take some photos with the Venetian cannon, that is always there to supervise the North sea together with Agelokastro, and to protect the town from enemies. The view of the rocks “ortholithos”, “skeloudi”, and “kolovri” is also remarkable. Browse through the pathway that will lead you to the cross at the mountain’s summit, where the view will compensate even the most demanding visitor.
“Just half an hour away from Corfu Center, near a sea side village, I found a palace”, said my dad, and the next day we went all together at Achillion. And I can guarantee, when he said “Palace” that’s exactly what he meant. There, is situated the palace of princess Sissi of Austria.
Its beautiful location lead princess Sissi to choose to built there her summer residence, which, up to now is an ode to Achilles, thus the name Achillion. Influenced by her love for Greece and her admiration towards Achilles, she turned Achillion into a palace to honor his name.
Today, Achillion is a museum, permitting each and every one of us to have a small taste of the glory of that period. Passing through the main entrance, I was mesmerized by the greatness of the place, and I could only imagine what was next. On the left and on the right there are rooms used either as secondary rooms, or as rooms for pray. Straight ahead there is a pair of stairs in red carpet, and a mirror. And the magic of the place doesn’t stop here…I lift my head up and what I see is a ceiling full of beautiful murals of dancing muses and a painting in the middle (yes! There is a painting on the celling). When I climbed up the stairs I saw the most magnificent painting I ever laid eyes on. Achilles on his chariot, taming his horses.
The rest of the rooms follow the same pattern. Majestic rooms, where everyone would like to live, with extraordinary details, even on the ceiling. Then my way lead me at the outside of the palace.
In front, I saw the royal gardens, they were full of statues of Ancient Greek philosophers, and people that contributed to science and history, and of course the muses that were the source of inspiration for every artist of that period.
At this spot, I found a bar, perfect for a quick coffee, or a cold beverage, so that I got a chance to feel like a princess in my own palace. The view to the sea is superb. And at that time I closed my eyes, I enjoyed the sea breeze, and imagined myself the time that Achillion was the summer residence of princess Sissi.
But my trip at Achillion didn’t stop here. I browsed through the gardens, and admired the great statue of Achilles. It’s a huge statue, standing there through the years, causing awe to the visitors.
But shortly after that what I felt was sorrow and the weird sensation of the inevitable. Achilles, fallen down, beaten by an arrow on his only weak spot, his as known “Achilles heel”. This second statue provokes the visitor to think. Not only a man that was once unbeatable now is fallen dawn, but also he has fallen by something so small like an arrow on his heel. “What if no one is unbeatable in this life we live?”, again the voice of my dad, and tears started from my eyes.
The majestic view thankfully came, and in my mind now, I had only happy thoughts. Maybe that was the goal of the artist. To show us that no one is here to stay, and that we should enjoy each moment of our life. After all, after the rain the rainbow always comes!
And in that way our family trip to Achillion was over. Before leaving we enjoyed once more the view to the sea, and the shadow of the trees.
To conclude, speaking of Achillion, I couldn’t not mention the majestic spots where small tavernas and coffee shops are waiting to amaze even the most demanding visitor.
Corfu Island is a large place with lots of beautiful places to visit. During the past centuries, a lot of monuments, historically significant buildings and sightseeing spots have been built and nowadays are here waiting for you to visit them. Of course, the natural beauty of the island offers a few hidden places that are ideal to discover while riding through the magnificent natural routes along the island, that you could never explore if you wouldn’t rent a bike. Last but not least, the marvellous beaches of Corfu island, with the golden sand and the marvellous combination of crystal clear water and bright blue sky, are so many that without a vehicle you would spend valuable time of your vacation, using the bus! Rent a bike in Corfu and feel free to explore the whole island, without any limits on when or where! Here is a short guide to help you meet and learn about the must not miss places since you decide to visit and stay for a few days in Corfu Island.
Built in 1890 by Elizabeth of Austria (also known as Empress Sissi) who chose Corfu to construct her own palace to calm down after a few incidents that made her life difficult. Achilleion is dedicated to and also named after Achilles, the ancient Greek semi-god who died during the Trojan war. Sissi picked a place near the village Gastouri, about 10 km away from Corfu Town, to build her palace and no-one could ever blame her about her choice. The wonderful view combined with the natural beauty of the olive trees and the woods at the general area create a great scene to intelligibly travel through the centuries. Ancient greek statues, meet important works of art that reveal the history of Corfu, the history of Greece and of course the personality of the Empress herself who truly loved the island during her stay. If you are still looking for reasons that you should rent a bike in Corfu island, then Achilleion is surely one of them. The imposing palace with centuries of history in it, is for sure a destination that, since you visit it, will fascinate you and give you an experience hard to forget.
A few kilometres further south we meet the village of Benitses. Being a tourist destination for over half a century, you will find restaurants and excellent fish tavernas. Famous for its deep blue sea you can swim at the crystal clear waters of Benitses beach and enjoy a traditionally cooked fish meal at any of its famed fish tavernas. Also in Benitses is located the Sea Museum, a wonderful place for any age, that owns a huge collection of sponges, shells and sea fossils.
Continuing your ride to the South you will enjoy many routes between the high olive trees and forests meeting beautiful species of animals and plants that probably you didn’t meet before. The most amazing landscape though, is the Corission Lake. The largest lake of Corfu island and the most important wetland that is located at the village Argirades, about 35 kilometres away from Corfu Town. A narrow strip of land between the lake and the Ionian sea creates two wonderful golden beaches, Issos and Chalikounas. Large scopes of trees 15 metres tall create stunning forests and you can ride, walk or even swim enjoying relaxing time in the forest or at the beach.
Of course Corfu island has lots of beautiful places to visit, not only at its south part. About 13 kilometres west of the Corfu town, is standing the village Pelekas. Built on the top of a mountain, it is the ideal place to have view from above. Once you get there, a large green plain spreads under you on the one side and the Ionian Sea on the other. The view is truly outstanding and it is highly recommended that you visit it late in the afternoon, so as to enjoy the most beautiful sunset that you could ever see in Corfu island. For sure since you decide to rent a bike in Corfu, ride it and visit Pelekas, especially if you want to live a truly romantic moment with your partner, watching the sun diving in the sea, while you are standing among the trees!
What could anybody say about this place? It has always been a great attraction and one of the most famous resorts of Corfu island. A great combination of trees, sea, rocks and mountains that combined with Angelokastro, a medieval castle on the top of a rocky hill and the orthodox chapel of Mother Mary, where you can walk in the forest, swim in the crystal clear waters, visit the sea caves and the sandy beaches. Also the bars, beach bars and restaurants of Palaiocastritsa are there waiting for you to fulfil all your needs!
Heading North you can ride to the village of Peritheia. This is a ghost-village built during the Venetian times and nowadays is abandoned but the remains are truly stunning. Around 130 stone houses, once owned by the local lords, at the heart of mount Pantocrator (the highest mountain of Corfu island), full of churches and architectural miracles of the past millennium, are going to impress you and let you travel through the centuries. Surely a great place to choose to spend a few hours admiring the remains of one of the first and oldest centres of civilisation in Corfu island.
The famous Canal d’amour (in French translates to Canal of Love) is located in Sidari, at the North of the island. Actually it is an opening in the land, created by the sea and the wind that after thousands of years have corroded the rock. Probably the most romantic place on Corfu, the tradition says that the couples who swim there, remain in love for the rest of their lives! Grab the opportunity and rent a bike, visit it with your partner and explore one of the most beautiful and romantic places that you would ever see!
So if you are still wondering why you should rent a bike in Corfu, those are just a few good reasons to make the decision that will turn your holidays into a wonderful experience. corfumoto.rentals provides you the best bikes to choose from and if you are afraid that you would need lots of time to visit all of them, check out our 3-day rental offer and 7-day rental offer to make sure that you will not miss a thing!