Southern Corfu Drive

This Southern Corfu drive starts and ends in Moraïtika, taking in hill villages, secluded beaches, lovely views, and a visit to Gardiki Castle.

Lizard enjoying the view on CorfuLizard Enjoying the View on Corfu!

The southern part of Corfu is best known for its beach resorts both big and small. This drive, however, takes you through the pretty rural landscape that lies inland, and which many visitors never see.

It also goes to the secluded beaches of the west coast, where you can have a lovely lunch or later in the day watch the sunset from friendly, family-run tavernas.

Start: Moraïtika

From the bustling resort of Moraïtika, head south along the main road, ignoring the major left turning that takes you directly south past Mesongí. Instead follow the main road as it sweeps around to the right. After 3 km (1.9 miles), turn right on the minor road signposted to Ágios Déka and Corfu Town. It runs through a rural landscape of market gardens and olive groves.

Small Villages

After the small village of Strongíli, where there are a couple of roadside tavernas, the road narrows and climbs slowly uphill through the villages of Kornáta and Komianáta. There are good views across the valley to the left and a definite sense of entering another Corfu.

After 11 km (6.8 miles) you come to a crossroads below the village of Stávros. Continue straight ahead, following signs to Kérkyra (the Greek name for Corfu Town). Around the curves, the road opens out to fine views over the coastline between Benítses and Corfu Town.

Áyii Déka

There are no pull-off viewpoints but there are some longer straight stretches of road where you can pull over to the side safely and not inconvenience what little traffic there is. You can also drive on and park at the village of Áyii Déka, which means ‘Ten Saints’, and walk back to the viewpoint for a longer look.

Inland from the town, the mountain of Áyii Déka is 576 meters (1,890 feet) high, the second highest on Corfu after Mount Pantokrator in the north-west of the island. We also recommend a Drive to Mount Pantokrator from Corfu Town.

Ágios Matthaíos

A series of sharp hairpin bends brings you down to the main road at Milia. Turn left towards Sinarádes. After about 1.5 km (almost a mile), bear left on the road to Ágios Matthaíos.

The road is very winding, with several side roads leading to small villages such as Kamára, Ágios Theódori and Káto Garoúna. Keep to the signposts for Ágios Matthaíos. After about 10 km (6.2 miles) you pass through Vouniatádes. Another 4 km (2.5 miles) brings you to Ágios Matthaíos.

Ágios Matthaíos is a market town for the area, with little of interest for tourists. As you come into town, avoid the busy main road through the town centre and bear right following signs for Paramonas Beach, 3 km (1.9 miles) further west. To visit this beautiful beach, when you come to a fork in the road follow signs to the right for Hotel Paramonas and Sunset Taverna, where the road ends.

Prassouda Beach

Alternatively, go left at the fork and continue on the asphalt road which follows the coast below the western slopes of Agios Mattheos mountain, which is 463 meters (1,519 feet) high. It runs through a magical setting of dense olive groves interspersed with glimpses of the deep blue sea. After 3 km (1.9 miles), a turn-off to the right leads to Prassouda Beach, where a pleasant taverna overlooks the wild, rocky coastline. 

After another kilometer or so, a few hundred meters beyond a sign for another beach turn-off, watch for a sign on the right for the fountain built by Serbian soldiers during World War I (it is actually only signposted from the opposite direction, so you will see the back of the sign).

Palaeolithic Cave

After another 100 meters (328 feet), on the left is the Rockshelter of Grava Gardikiou (again, only signposted from the opposite direction.) A path into the woodland to the right of the fenced gate leads to a large cave which was occupied by Palaeolithic hunters and gatherers around 20,000 BC.

The many stone tools and animal bones found there during the archaeological study of the site are some of the oldest artefacts on the island, now on display at the Archaeological Museum in Corfu Town

Gardiki Castle on CorfuGardiki Castle
Photo by Marc Ryckaert

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Gardiki Castle

Some 400 meters (1,312 feet) further on, where the road forks, park in the small field on the left and walk to the nearby ruins of Gardiki Castle. The 13th-century fortress was built by the despots of Epirus, who briefly ruled from the mainland. The outer walls are impressive, but beyond the arched doorway (open access) little remains in the overgrown interior except a view of the defensive walls in what is, unusually, a low-lying castle. 

Back to Moraïtika

Continue back to the main road and turn right. After 3 km (1.9 miles) you come to a T-junction. Turn left, but just beyond the road swings right again and is signposted to Benítses. Follow this road back to Moraïtika. 

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