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To Kassiopi and the north coast of Corfu

Home -> Europe -> Greece -> Travelogue Greece -> 29 June 2015

Monday 29 June, to Kassiopi and the north coast of Corfu

A covered source at XanthatesToday we first travel inland through the mountains. We are looking for the Estavromenos church which according to our travel guide is very special. But first we pass a special structure just outside the village of Xanthates. There is a source here where the water is led upwards via a couple of taps. The whole is covered but what the reason for it is, we have no idea. There is a sign indicating what you are not allowed to do, such as washing your car.
The Nymphes Estavromenos church The Nymphes Estavromenos churchThe Estavromenos church stands in an old olive grove and has the shape of a cross but otherwise it has few characteristics in common with other Byzantine buildings, one side looks like a Buddhist stupa from Ceylon. Whoever designed and founded the church in the 17th or 18th century is unknown, but perhaps it was a seafarer or merchant who had also visited Ceylon. This village is also known for the cultivation of kumquat, the Chinese dwarf oranges that occurs only on Corfu and not in the rest of Greece.
Roman bath house near AcharaviFrom Nymphes we drive through the mountains and small villages that are built against the slopes to Acharavi near the coast. There we go to the folklore museum which is unfortunately closed today but on the other site of the road you can see the foundations of a Roman bathhouse. Here they have done a little more with the money than at the Doric temple in Roda because at least a roof has been made above it. Also the place is less overgrown but the gate is closed and we can not get any closer.
Kassiopi, view of the castle The port of KassiopiThen we drive on to Kassiopi, a place that is on our list but where we have not got to yet (we are too busy`doing little) The town is surrounded by a bay that is partly dammed. Inside is the port where the boats are moored on the side. You can step out of the boat directly onto the terrace. There are also boats for tourists to rent, for about € 100 per day. On a hill above the bay we see the remains of a Venetian castle, which we also want to visit.
Cannons in Kassiopi Outdoor seat in KassiopiThere are some people walking in the town but it is not as touristy as we expected and there is plenty of space on the terraces that go around the bay. So we keep our usual coffee break. If you follow our stories a bit, you know that we can often be found on a terrace during our holidays, especially when the weather is nice. We try to keep our overnight stays as cheap as possible, just to keep money for these visits.
Then we walk through the village, which is one of the nicer ones we have seen on Corfu, and head towards the castle.
Gate to the Kassiopi castle Walls of the Kassiopi castleBetween the houses we walk up the hill and then arrive at the entrance to the fort that was built in the 14th century on the remnants of an older Byzantine castle, of course built by the Venetians. The gate has been restored but otherwise there are mainly external walls to see, the terrain inside is more of a wild garden with many plants, flowers and olive trees where you can walk through. But once it was one of the 3 most important castles that had to defend the island against pirates and Turks, although it has also been abandoned for several centuries, after which local legends arose about fire-breathing dragons that would have destroyed the castle.
The castle is quadrangular in shape and there were once 19 watchtowers. The circumference of the whole is just over a kilometer and as long as our walk lasts.
Kassiopi from the castle Homemade cloths, KassiopiThe hill where the castle is located is not very high, but it is easier to walk down back to the village than it was going up in the heat. At a house we see women embroidering or doing a similar handicraft and she makes brightly colored cloths that are hung on a clothesline. They are definitely meant to end up in a souvenir shop.
Church of Panayia Kassopitra, KassiopiOn the way back we pass the church of Panayia Kassopitra that was built on the spot where until the 5th century a temple stood for Zeus. Even the Roman emperor Nero would have sung here for Jupiter (the Roman version of the Greek god Zeus). Of course there is also a miracle attached to this place, but what makes the building special now is that two floors of houses have been built on top. There would also be two altars, one for the orthodox and one for the Catholic faith. But we have not checked that ourselves.
The monastery of Theotokos Kassopitra, Kassiopi In the monastery of Theotokos KassopitraBehind the church stands the Theotokos Kassopitra monastery where many icons can be seen, including those telling the story of the unjustly punished Stefanos whose eyes were stuck out for a crime he had not committed. He could also have chosen to have his hands chopped off, but he would have preferred to lose his eyes. His mother brought him here and at night he had a vision after which he was healed and got new eyes. It really happened, on May 8, 1530 and of course May 8 is still the most important holiday for the monastery.
Terrace in Kassiopi The coast at KassiopiBack at the coast we have become quite thirsty again from the long walks and the heat, it is at least 35 degrees and there is no breath of wind. So on to a terrace, where we sit for a long time to recover. We have done and seen what we wanted for today so after this we only have to find a nice beach. But near Kassiopi these are mainly pebble or rocky beaches.
The Kanoni beach The Kanoni beachThe peninsula where the castle is located, is surrounded by rocks but there are also a few beaches that you can easily visit by boat, although scrambling over the rocks is also an option. From a distance it looks nice. The Kanoni beach is slightly easier to reach but, however beautiful, we prefer to go for our own sandy beach. The water here also seems to run deep very quickly.
Elisabeth in the sea, Apraos bayThe disadvantage of the beach in the Apraos bay on the north coast of Corfu, where we regularly go, is that it is not running deep at all, only after 100 meters, but because of that the water is very nice and warm while you still have the feeling of cooling off. And ideal to lie quietly half in the sea without high waves. Although, it must be certainly hightide because the waves are a bit higher than usual.
In the evening we drive back to Roda but stop in Acharavi for some food. At home (every place where we spend the night we call home) we browse through the travel guides to determine what we are going to do in the coming days. We have been on the road for over 3 weeks, but the end of the holiday is coming near.


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