This Mount Pantokrator drive takes you to the top of Corfu’s highest mountain with wonderful views to Albania, mainland Greece, and around Corfu.
At 906m (2,972 ft), Mount Pantokrátor is Corfu’s highest mountain. This drive to the summit takes you along a winding but surprisingly good mountain road, through an ever-changing landscape and a handful of lovely old villages. At the top you’ll be rewarded with stunning views over the coastline in all directions, and a beautiful monastery to explore.
We start and end this drive at Nissaki, about 20 km (12.4 miles) north of Corfu Town on the east coast. It should take about 2.5 hours, and covers a total of 66 km (41 miles).
Leave Nissáki on the main coast road, heading south. After about 4 km (2.5 miles), take the right turn to Spartílas. This narrow, one-lane road passes through olive groves and stone-walled terraces, dotted with ruined buildings and wildflowers. At the stop sign, it joins the road coming up from Pyrgí. Turn right onto this road.
As you climb uphill, there are fine views back over Ípsos Bay. Five kilometers (3.1 miles) of sharp switchbacks bring you to Spartílas. The town is fairly large, with pretty homes and gardens surrounded by olive trees and wildflowers. The road narrows through the town centre, where it is lined with quaint old buildings. Here there is a picturesque pink bell tower with a red dome, the church and town hall. It’s worth a stop to walk back for a closer look.
Leave Spartílas passing more olive groves and beehives making mountain honey. After 1 km (0.6 miles), take the right turn towards Petália, also signposted to Pantokrátor. Now olive and cypress give way to lower growing shrubs and sage and other wild herbs along the roadside, and bright yellow gorse in spring.
After 6 km (3.7 miles) you reach the small village of Strinílas, with a shady taverna at its centre. Outside of town, where the road forks before reaching Petália, bear right to Pantokrátor.
From here it’s another 5 km (3.1 miles) to the summit. Soon the bald crown of Pantokrátor comes into view, topped by the plain façade of the monastery and unsightly broadcasting masts. As you near the top, park on the roadside.
The Monastery of Ipsilos Pantokrátor is lovely inside, with a silver iconostasis and beautiful frescoes on the arched ceiling. But it has to compete with the marvellous views across the water to Albania and mainland Greece, and views all around Corfu. On a clear day you can even see the islands of Páxos and Antípaxos further south.
Return back down the mountain. At the fork, turn right into Petália. As you leave the village there are more views of Albania, looking northeast over the Bay of Apraos.
As the road descends towards the coast, the hillsides become more lush and are dotted with trees. Pass through the hamlet of Trimódi, where old stone houses cling to the hillside. Two kilometres (1.2 miles) urther on is the pretty village of Láfki.
The coastal resort of Acharávi is signposted from the village on the road out of town. After the village of Ágios Martínos, 2 km (1.2 miles) ahead, you find yourself back in the olive groves and you can smell the sea. Follow the signs for Acharávi, which is 3 km (1.9 miles) away. Here you reach the main coast road. Turn right to return to Nissáki, 18 km (11.2 miles) away.