How is road cycling on the Greek Island of Corfu? The best climbs in 3 recommended routes

The Greek Island of Corfu could be your next cycling holidays destination: lots of climbs, twisty roads with countless hairpins, beautiful landscape, clear blue water and great weather all year round. But it’s not quite a cycling paradise yet. Check out this article to find out why !

I will recommend you the 3 road cycling routes that we’ve done on the island. With maps and .gpx files. All the best climbs are included: Pantokrator (the highest summit of the island), Spartilas & Sokraki hairpins and the beautiful Lakones village road with amazing views over Palaiokastritsa bay.

When and how to get there?

Weather in the Greek Islands is known to be very hot during summer months (July and August) so I think that spring (April, May, June) or autumn (September & October) are the best for a cycling holiday. We’ve been there in September and had mostly sunny days with 30 degrees Celsius.

Getting to the island is easy.

You can drive your car (like we did) and take a ferry from the town of Igoumenitsa. The roads in continental Greece are really good. We’ve traveled from the Bulgarian border mostly on great quality toll highways.

There are 2 options for crossing to the island: taking the ferry to the south of the island (port of Lefkimmi) or to the north (port of Kerkyra-Corfu town). First one is shorter and less expensive. If you have your accommodation in the north (Palaiokastritsa or Corfu) than the longer, more expensive second route will be better as you don’t have to drive the entire length of the island.

There are also regular international flights to the island – the airport is just on the outskirts of the main town Corfu – Kerkyra. The landing runway near Vlacherna island church is one of the best plane spotting places in the world.

Where to stay?

We’ve chosen to stay in the village of Liapades in Palaiokastritsa bay area (N-W part of the island) which is the area with the most beautiful natural landscape. All of the cycling routes described bellow will start from there.

Our accommodation: Avra Sunset Sea View & Taverna .

Another great option for accommodation would have been Kassiopi, on the N-E part of the island. It’s a charming little town with some of the most beautiful beaches of the island.

The island is not that big so both options are great for a cycling holidays. The North part of the island is more mountainous so more appealing for cyclists while the South is with hills and flats and the quality of the asphalt is really low.

What bike to bring ?

Asphalt quality is not great on the island. Somehow better in the North, quite bad in the South.

You will see in the video above that I’ve described it as shaky, with a lot of cracks, not very comfortable on descents. It is true that if you stick to big, main roads, than everything is ok. But, if you are, like us, always in search of beautiful climbs, twisty roads, away from car traffic then, in Corfu, than you have to accept this compromise about the quality of asphalt.

Our bikes have 25 tires and we’ve managed to ride but if we had brought a 28 tire road bike, or a gravel, and everything would have been a lot better.

3 Road cycling routes:

All of them start from the village of Liapades but you can access them form other parts if you are staying in the North part of the island.

Route no.1 – Spartilas hairpins & Pantokrator summit

  • 94 km long with ~1800 m climbing to be done in total.

Map, altitude profile and .gpx track file download from here:

https://www.bikemap.net/en/r/10001647/#10.84/39.7416/19.8472

https://www.strava.com/activities/5953698912

This route takes you to the biggest climb of the island up to Pantokrator which is the highest point in Corfu at 906 m of altitude. The first part consists of 25 hairpins up to the village of Spartilas.

Although long (17km), the climb is not difficult (5-7% seen on the Garmin) but the final kilometer up to Pantokrator is a quite a challenge: up to 16-18% with a rough pavement surface. There is a small church on the top of Pantokrator and a Cafe Bar where you can have a drink and enjoy the most beautiful view over the Albanian Coast on the other side of the sea.

After descending back to sea level you will take a short detour around the village of Kassiopi and it’s amazing beaches. You can stop also here for a drink on one of the many terraces facing the port. The final kilometers back to the start of the route are on a main road, on the N-E coast. Some car traffic but great views over the sea.

Route no. 2 – Angelokastro & Agios Georgios

  • 49 km long with ~1200 m climbing to be done in total.

Map, altitude profile and .gpx track file download from here:

https://www.bikemap.net/en/r/10001651/#12.1/39.70744/19.69608

https://www.strava.com/activities/5963383587

In the first part you will climb up to Lakones village. Highly recommend a stop at Dolce Cafe (just after you exit the village, on the left side … you won’t miss it) for a coffee with a view over Palaiokastritsa bay and a local sweet.

You can also make a stop at Angelokastro and visit the Byzantine castle, one of the most important fortifications of the island. You will have some walking to do to reach it. Make sure to secure your bike at the entrance.

You will descent over to Agios Georgios sea side resort and than reach the village of Afionas. It’s a nice village, very popular among tourists as it is the departure point for the hike down to the famous Porto Timoni beach. We didn’t stop as it was very crowded… maybe without the bikes would have been smarter to visit.

The last part of the route goes inland, through small mountain villages, with short but very steep climbs and a final fast descent back to Liapades.

Route no. 3 – Sokraki hairpins & Lakones descent

  • 40 km long with ~900 m climbing to be done in total.

Map, altitude profile and .gpx track file download from here:

https://www.bikemap.net/en/r/10001655/#11.83/39.69372/19.74705

https://www.strava.com/activities/5987023020

Hairpins, hairpins and again hairpins! This is what cycling in Corfu is all about and this route even more.

Sokraki road has to be the twistiest one around. 25 hairpins that mix one after another like in a huge spaghetti bowl. So much fun to climb such a thing:

After reaching the top (there is a Cafe bar if you need a stop) the route traverses the mountain and gets you in Lakones village (remember it from route 2?) so that you can descent it this time. The same amazing views over Palaiokastritsa bay but on your right this time around. At the end, I’ve included in the track the road down to the Liapades beach. Small, quiet and picturesque.

2 Comments on “How is road cycling on the Greek Island of Corfu? The best climbs in 3 recommended routes

    • Hello, nice to hear that someone is actually reading this 😉 Thanks! If you have the time you must try the climb up to Sokraki (the first part of route 3), really nice one.

      Like

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