Corfu is the second largest of the Ionian islands, situated along the northeast coast of Greece. It boasts a diverse heritage, combining Venetian, French, and British influences into a fine mix of architecture, history, and culture. The highlights of running on Corfu include a tour of the Corfu waterfront. We’ve also provided a guide to some of the most runnable sections of the 220 km Corfu Trail.
Corfu Waterfront: Like most of the major tourist locales in the Greek Islands, Corfu has spruced up its harbor and waterfront with an inviting promenade perfect for a quick and easy run right off the ferry. While a sidewalk reaches all the way to the ferry terminal, the best section of the path starts a little further east, in front of the Museum of Dionysios Solomos. From here, the walkway widens and wraps around the bluff to Pl. Enoseos. The gorgeous stone path and wrought iron railings continue south on Leof. Dimokratias, showing off views of coastline and ships bobbing in the gentle light of the bay. Here, there is another brick path through the Garitsa Bay linear park just inland. The coastal path peeters out at the Anemomilos windmill after about 2.7 km.
Longer Option: From the windmill, a bike path continues along Theotoki and Feakon, leading to the Mon Repos Palace. Runners can find a network of lovely tree-lined paths around the palace gardens and out to Repos Beach, where the path terminates at the ancient ruins of Naos Kardakiou temple. ROUTE MAP (full 8.6 km out and back).
The Corfu Trail: A refreshing escape from the hotbed of tourism that draws most visitors to Corfu, the quiet and scenic Corfu Trail stretches 220 km across the island. This long trail covers an astonishing array of landscapes, from dramatic gorges in the north to rolling dunes in the south. A section of the trail is also home to the challenging Corfu Mountain Trail 10 k, 20 k, 40 k and 110 k ultra. (Note: when following the trail, there are both yellow blazed Corfu Trail markers and plastic fluorescent race signs. Make sure you follow the correct path!) When choosing a section of trail, note that the central part of the island offers the easiest terrain. The north is the most technical. The south is fairly gentle, but includes some sections of deep dune sand and traverses over steep cliffs. It’s recommended to order the Companion to the Corfu Trail E-Book to plan your route, or join in a running tour with a knowledgeable local group like Sole of Corfu or Trail Travellers.
Thanks to Corfu Trail creator Hilary Paipeti, we’ve identified several great runs along the trail. Below are some of our favorites. See this Corfu Trail MAP or the Corfu Trail website for more details.
- The West Coast Trail: This three mile route utilizes the Corfu Trail and the Corfu Mountain Trail course for a shady waymarked loop sandwiched between the sea and the the Ropa Valley. Starting from the village of Liapades, the loop follows gravel and stone tracks through rolling hills and olive groves. Start at the Liapades village square and go south through the village. Just out of the village, continue STRAIGHT (do not take the road signed Rovinia). Keep to the road for about 2k, then take a steep track LEFT uphill, just as the sea comes in sight. From here, the trail is marked with bright green Corfu Mountain Trail signs. Follow the signs uphill to a shady plateau, then along a straight, rolling stretch. At the junction, follow the red and white Corfu Mountaineering Club signs. This is now the Corfu Trail southbound. Go to next major junction and turn LEFT and then LEFT again, leaving the Corfu Trail. All tracks to the right lead back to Liapades. The Corfu Trail can also be run south to north from Giannades to Liapades. There is good bus service from Corfu Town to Giannades, and another bus that will take runners back from Liapades.
- Lake Korission and the Assos Juniper Dunes: Just across a sandy barrier beach, the brackish 1500 acres of Lake Korission is a scenic wetlands bordered by forest, dunes, and marsh. The Corfu Trail runs from the northern end of the lagoon to the lake’s outlet, where a wooden footbridge offers passage to the Issos peninsula and Agios Georgios Beach. Beyond this point, the soft dune sand becomes tough for running, but trail users can return from the footbridge on the hard sand at the water’s edge for a round trip of about 9 miles. MAP.
- Kassios Dias Trails: The Kassios Dias Trails, located in the northeast coastal village of Kassiopi, is home to another of the island’s most popular trail races — the Kassios Dias Trail Run. The trails make up a tough run, climbing the inland mountains, through oak forests, and along undeveloped coastline.
- Kombitsi Pine Forest: The 5 mile stretch of Kombitsi Forest traverses is a network of paths through pristine hills and valleys, in the shade of pine and chestnut trees. The paths range from sandy to hard-packed dirt, though they can be muddy in wintertime.