A few years ago I went on a trip to Cyprus. On a coach excursion into the Troodos Mountains, our guide enthused about the ‘amazing’ walking that the region had to offer. I think, though, that any walking tour of more than a couple of days in the Troodos would be mind-numbingly boring. All I saw (admittedly from the coach window) was ridge after ridge after ridge of dense evergreen forest. Get to the top of one ridge? All you see is another identical one ahead, blanketed with pine trees (and only three or four species of these). In the end, you can’t see the trees for the wood. Comic author Bill Bryson shared the tedium of forest trekking in his book ‘A Walk in the Woods’, which documented his failed attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail, a couple of thousand miles of monotonously tree-bordered paths and trails. Although he purportedly gave up because he found the physical effort too much, reading between the lines you get the distinct impression that he just found it too boring. That’s never the case when you walk the Corfu Trail, the 220 kilometre trekking route which starts near Kavos in the south and takes a winding course to the island’s northernmost point on the Agia Ekaterini Headland.
Though a relatively small island, Corfu possesses a diversity of scenery that astounds, and the walk – which takes around ten days to complete – takes in many of its varied landscapes. Not only does each day offer a distinctive character, but even on a single day’s walk you never remain in any one type of terrain for much more than an hour. And at every corner, a new scene assaults the eye – a stunning view, a little church, a grove of ancient olive trees, a meadow carpeted with wild flowers. The Trail takes in wild beaches, juniper-forested dunes, dense oak woodland, a karst plateau where nomad cattle roam, deep gorges, wetlands, mountain summits and bucolic plains. Except in a couple of spots and when unavoidably following a road, the hand of modern man hardly encroaches. Only old monasteries, ruined olive presses, picturesque villages and ancient fortresses intrude on nature. Couple the changing landscapes with overnight stays in low-key hotels, simple but comfortable studios and tavernas with rooms, and Corfu increasingly seems an ideal destination for your next walking holiday. And on Greece’s most verdant island, a walking holiday is truly a ‘green’ holiday.
You can find out more about the Corfu Trail at the site www.thecorfutrail.com and you may purchase the essential guidebook, written by the Trail’s creator, at www.corfutrailguide.com