The Square of Papou’s
Sitting in the square of Liapades with the Grandpa’s of the village has become a hobby of mine. Their whole life, after a long day at work, they would come to sit in the square to relax. It is a release for them. They sit, talk, argue, swear, laugh, and drink with each other. Now, many of them are in their 70s and 80s and don’t work, but still come to the square to catch up with their friends. Talking with them, you can learn so much. They will tell you so many stories about the past regarding, how they used to live, what it was like etc. For me, it is so much more interesting than many other things I could be doing.
So here in Liapades, there are many beaches. Many of them are wild. This means that there are no restaurants, cafes, sunbeds, or any businesses near the beach. Usually, the road also isn’t too good and you have to walk a little bit. Wild beaches in Corfu are my favorite.
My friend Dimitris and I like to hike and discover. We go to the beach, Iliodoros a lot, which takes over an hour to hike to. We have also created an airbnb experience to this beach called Sun’s Gift: Hike to the Secret Beach. It is very popular amongst the tourists. We have opened up a couple of different paths in the mountain leading to beautiful views and connecting paths. We have also tried to open up paths to other beaches. Beaches that you can only get to by foot, Corfu has many of these. Once we achieved our goal and got down to a beach that isn’t considered accessible by foot. However, we had to swim all the way to a beach that is reachable by foot to get back. So don’t try this!
So instead of searching aimlessly, we decided to take the opportunity we have with these Pappou’s (grandpa’s) in the square and see what they know. They spent their whole lives up in these mountains because of the olive trees so we knew if there was anything to learn about the area, these guys were the people to ask.
On a mission to discover
Our question was, are there any hidden paths down to the beaches commonly known only to be accessible by boat. (Remember we have asked this question to many of our friends in Liapades and everyone said no). The old-timer name Marinis answered with a smirk on his face, “of course”. He then went on to say how he used to go down to Stelari Beach on foot all the time. We thought, Stelari Beach? Stelari Beach seems impossible to get to on foot. We told him to please continue!
He told us near some land he has with Olive trees, there is a steep hill that leads to a little opening in the corner. You go down this hill and continue through the little opening on your left. “It takes about 20 minutes and it is easy,” he said. “How about I show you?” Mr. Marinis said. We were ecstatic he asked and said of course.
A few days later we both took our 4×4 trucks up the mountain, through the olive groves. We got to the closest place we were able to by car then started to go on foot. After about 20 minutes of walking, we arrived to exactly what he said. There was a steep hill with olives on it and you could see a little opening in the bottom left corner.
The area looked very familiar, eventually, I remembered that I had been to that exact spot last winter, while I was running in the mountains, hunting for nice views! Who would have thought that a little bit further and I would be at one of the most beautiful beaches in Corfu.
75 and still going
“Shall we go down?” Marinis said eagerly. Keep in mind that Marinis is 75 years old and from the looks of it this is going to be a difficult hike down. We said, no we won’t go now but we really appreciate him showing us the path. So we started to head back to the trucks. Even the road back to the trucks is very steep and this 75-year-old man had no problem walking it. He was also talking the whole time, continuing on with his interesting stories.
After parting ways with Marinis, it was just Dimitris and I. I immediately said we need to go today. I felt a great need to discover this path, to reach the beach. I felt like an addict needing his dose of whatever he’s addicted to. Dimitris wasn’t convinced and said we can go but there is no rush. I disagreed! I said okay then, I will go with or without you! He eventually agreed and we set a time for 18:00 pm.
However, at 18:00 he was not ready. I waited for 10 minutes and decided to go on my own. I was not patient! In excitement and motivation, I started running up the mountain to the point where the path starts. This is about 3 km but I felt no exhaustion. Eventually, I got to the start of the path and said my prayers, and started. Marinis said that the path wasn’t difficult, but knowing that not many people know about it probably means that it isn’t too safe! Also, I had no idea when the last person took this path. So I was thinking it would be very closed off by overgrown bushes and hard to determine where the path is.
As I went along the path I could agree with Marinis that it wasn’t too bad however it was steep. I noticed these blue ribbons on the trees following the path. This means that there are some people that know about the path on have came down not too long ago! Since the path was steep, I would grab onto the branches of the trees going down. Unfortunately, many of the trees were dead or very dry, making the branches break off very easily. So if you are not careful and put your weight on the branch you will fall with it.
I followed the path pretty easily, which led to some amazing views! Towards the end, the blue ribbons stopped and you have to guess on which path to take because there are multiple paths that the wild goats make to get down. Although wild goats are the best climbers so if you take their paths, it doesn’t mean that you will be able to get down as well.
As I approached the end the only way to get to the beach was to jump about 1.5 meters. I took a leap and BAM I was there. WHAT A HIKE! I would definitely rate it a 10 out of 10. I immediately took off my shirt, shoes, and shocks and jumped into the sea. This time that I went into the sea was different. It wasn’t just refreshing because I was sweating and hot. It was rewarding, satisfying, so many different feelings. It is true that pleasurable things are much more satisfying after something difficult. Delayed gratification is 100 percent true.
Now, I decided to call Dimitris to see where he was. He was also on his way and eventually arrived and had the same reaction I did!
We were basically the only people there. It was evening so everyone had already left. Remember, It is a beach that you can only get to by boat so by this time, most of the people have returned their boat. We sat down and discussed how the hike was and thought of different ideas for the future. What we would like to do is connect all the trails of the mountain that lead to beaches. Also, find ways down to other beaches that you can only reach by boat. Soon after, we started to head back. Most people think that hiking back up is harder, but it is actually safer and I consider it easier. there is less chance to slip, so if your legs are strong enough, then it will be much easier.
After about 30 minutes we arrive back at the truck and head back home with a mix of emotions between exhausted, satisfied, inspired, and happy. Stelari Beach in Corfu is a beautiful Corfu beach already but going down by the trail makes in my list of top 5 beaches in Corfu. It is nothing to try if you are not experienced and don’t know the road but feel free to contact me.
Here is a little video of our hike! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCzDUUp2xFA&t=254s
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