Walking around Paleokastritsa, Corfu

Walking around Paleokastritsa in North West Corfu
The ascent of Mount Arakli above Lakones near Paleokastritsa was one of the original mountain walks which I completed in Corfu. The remarkable footpath that leads up the hillside from the rear of the village was my very first experience of a 'kalderimi', one of the many stone-cobbled ways which before the arrival of the motor car were the main inter-village routes. Regrettably, many of these beautiful footpaths have been destroyed - but this one remains mostly intact. Since those early days more than 20 years ago, I have explored the whole area around Paleokastritsa, and I have found that the region has perhaps the highest concentration of walks on real footpaths on the island of Corfu.

Paleokastritsa Region, North West Corfu
The region centres on the sprawling coastal resort of Paleokastritsa and incorporates the mountain villages of Lakones, Makrades, Vistonas, Alimatades and Krini, plus the lowland settlements of Liapades, Doukades and Kanakades. To the north is the North West Corfu regional footpath network, and to the south and east the West Messis and Ropa Valley network.

Mountain Footpaths north of Paleokastritsa
Nearest to the world-famed resort, the hillside between Paleokastritsa on the coast and the village of Lakones on the sheer mountainside possesses a network of 'kalderimi' footpaths, which before the switchback motor road was constructed provided the only contact between the village and the Paleokastritsa monastery on its sea-girt promontory below. Higher up, behind Lakones, the mass of Mount Arakli (505 m) looms; more kalderimis run around its flanks, linking Lakones with villages on the high plateau: Alimatades, ancient Vistonas and long-abandoned Vitoulades. Walks in this part of the region can involve steep ascents and descents on sometimes rough and rocky footpaths.

Rural Tracks south of Paleokastritsa
South of Paleokastritsa, another walking network is centred on Liapades, from where little-used rural tracks provide meandering walks through the soft quilt of olive groves which cloaks the west coast hills. The two contrasting areas are linked by way of the Corfu Trail, which runs from Liapades Bay over a rocky  shoulder high above the sea to the outskirts of the resort of Paleokastritsa. Walks in this part of the region are mostly on undulating and mostly shady tracks, but there still may be some climbs and descents in places.

Links to other Corfu Walks areas
The Corfu Trail from Lakones and past Bella Vista leads to Makrades, where a tough walk begins which takes you down to Agios Georgios (Saint George North), a centre for walking in North West Corfu, with onward links to Arillas, Agios Stefanos and points beyond. Southwards from Liapades, the Corfu Trail takes walkers to Giannades, and thereafter onto the Ropa Valley and Central Corfu walking networks.

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Maps
Unfortunately, graphics greatly increase the size of a pdf file in this format, and their inclusion would prevent dispatch by email of the document. As a result, this book does not contain maps. The best map of Corfu is Freytag and Berndt's 1:50,000 edition, though it is not 100% accurate, and it does not depict most footpaths.

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