BARBATI – NISSAKI – KALAMI – KOULOURA – KERASIA – KASSIOPI – ACHARAVI – RODA -ETC
Barbati: took its name from the mansion of the noble Barbatis family. It is located 20 kilometers from the town and has a wide pebble beach which gets busy, but the nearby smaller Kaminaki Beach offers a quiet alternative.
Nissaki: is located two kilometers beyond Barbati and is a rocky cove with a small beach and a view towards Lake Butrint in Albania.
Kouloura-Kalami: the beauty and charm of this area are underlined by its historical connections. The Venetian house at Kouloura and the White House at Kalami, where Lawrence Durrell lived for a few years and wrote “Prospero’s Cell” underline the fact that life in this corner of Corfu has a special quality.
Agios Stefanos-Kerasia: exceptionally pretty locations lying at the closest point to Albania, with tavernas and restaurants. They are reached by way of a road which turns right at Sinies (Elaiourgia).
Kassiopi: 36 kilometers from the town, this is the center of the region, and its harbour offers the greatest choice for dining and entertainment. Ancient Kassiopi was founded in 281 BC by residents of the Epirot town of the same name, who were brought here by Pyrros when he captured the island. The name (Kassion Oro) derives from the Temple of Kassios Dias, which was built here in a prominent position. Nero is said to have sung at its altar when he visited the region. The temple no longer exists but probably occupied the site of the Church of the Blessed Virgin Kassiopitras. The oldest fortress on the island also stands here, built by the Romans and extended by the Angevins, an indication of the strategic importance of the site. The fortress was demolished by the Venetians, and the ruins which stand today belong to the castle they built later the site.
Agios Spiridon: the northern, treeless flanks of Mt. Pantokrator drop to shores which are in general rocky, except for the peninsula of Agios Spiridon, where the church of the Saint is located as well as the sandy beach of the same name. Continuing, the main road bridges the outlet of the Antinioti Lagoon and heads for Yaliskari Beach and for the Monastery of Agia Ekaterini (St. Katherine). This monastery was founded in 1713 and in its church remarkable frescoes dating from the 18th and 19th century are preserved.
Antinioti Lagoon: covers 400 m2 (100 acres) and, as well as fish, it provides a home for mammals, amphibians, reptiles and many rare birds ( 96 different species have been spotted here). It is an important wetlands area and has been designated a protected area.
Almiros: a long but quiet sandy beach with good fish tavernas. In the spot known as Ammokoulouma, the burial ground of a farming community of the Hellenistic Period has been discovered and is being excavated.
Acharavi: or Anacharavi, per one tradition was in ancient times named Ivi. In 32 BC the Romans destroyed the settlement and slaughtered all its young people. After this event, it was called ‘Unlucky Ivi’ (‘Ahari Ivi’ in Greek). Located between Roda and Almiros, today it is the capital of the Municipality of Thinali, and has developed as a large tourist resort with numerous hotels, restaurants and bars.
Roda: is a village right on the shoreline, situated at the end of the seven-kilometre long beach of Acharavi and Almiros. Excellent choices for food and drink are to be found here. Of special interest are the remains of a Doric temple dedicated to Apollo,dating from the 5th century BC, finds from which are displayed at the Archaeological Museum. Turning left at the major crossroads in Roda, we skirt the western side of Oros amongst ranges of low, tree-covered hills.
Sfakera: an inland village 4 kilometres south of Roda, which probably owes its name to ‘sfaka’, a shrub common to the region, though history attributes its founding to refugees from Sfaka in Fthiotidas. A by-pass has now taken heavy traffic from the village, to the advantage of its picturesque character.
Pantocrator: the great plateau of Pantokrator lies at a height of 700 metres above sea-level. The summit, with its monastery and communications aerials, stands to the north of the plateau. The monastery was built in 1347 by the inhabitants of the 23 surrounding villages, but it was destroyed around 1537. The church which stands today was built in the 17th century and its facade in the 19th. On August 6th, the biggest festival on the island takes place here, and in the evening people ascend footpaths to the monastery, carrying candles and torches. The ground is rocky, but amongst the low hills little pockets of soil have formed like ‘lakes’ of green. These pockets used to be productive, growing corn and wheat, but today they are used only for the grazing of goats. Signs of former land use exist in the threshing-floors (alonia), the drystone boundary walls, the stone water cisterns and the isolated buildings which once housed the farmers at harvest time. The area is a paradise for walkers, who can roam over it at will, there being no thick vegetation or crags to block the route. And you may gather saffron crocus, that amazing flower used in cooking. The way up Pantokrator is marked by many mountain villages where people live exclusively from animal husbandry and olive culture. There are also many abandoned villages whose residents, once the threat of pirate attacks had diminished, moved down to the lower and more fertile regions.
Old Perithia: Venetian village with roots in ancient times, with stone-built mansions and many churches, it is the most impressive example of the old lifestyle. The name, probably, derives from ‘peri-theo’, that is, ‘see all around’. The village was once the capital of the Municipality of Kassopaion and was extremely wealthy – its fields stretched as far as the settlement known today as New Perithia. It owes its position not only to the fear of pirate attacks but also to the avoidance of the mosquitoes which thrived in the fever belt close to the sea. When, in the 20th century, these threats no longer existed, the village was abandoned. Today, it is a ‘living museum’. During the winter, only a few people live there, occupied with animal husbandry. The last Sunday in July sees a procession, when the icon of the Virgin is carried around the village in memory of the time in 1863 when she intervened to save the village from an epidemic.
Old Sinies: is another abandoned village, located on the southern flanks of Pantokrator. As in the case of Old Perithia, it was founded as a refuge from pirate raids, and abandoned when the coastline became safe.
Strinilas: a mountain village which differs noticeably from the rest of Corfu, both in architecture and in climate, it is situated on the western slopes of the Oros. The village is renowned for its excellent wine, which you can sample in one of its picturesque tavernas.
Zigos: took its name from the appearance of the village, which resembles a pair of scales (zigaria). Perhaps unique in all Greece is the church of Saint Agatha the Sicilian, built before 1536 and celebrating its festival on February 5th. The village has a population of 307 and stands 25 kilometres from Corfu Town.
Spartillas: is located to the south and lower down. It is a pretty village with plenty of running water, and if you get dizzy while driving up the winding road to it, you can stop and take a rest at the spring of the church of the Blessed Virgin.