When planning our September 2022 trip to Corfu, Greece, a hike to Giali Beach was on the top of our must do list. While researching where to go, I came across this beach looking at Google Maps. The beach looked beautiful and once I saw that there were ropes and ladders involved I was all in and so was Steve. I do want to mention that this is an extremely difficult hike. I would group it with Angel’s Landing and Havasu Falls climb down to Mooney Falls. The ropes and ladders though are much more extensive and you will be descending for a longer distance.
We arrived by ferry from Igoumenitsa, Greece which is on the mainland. You can only get to Corfu by ferry or plane. We had rented a car on the mainland so it worked well for us to just keep the same car, drive it onto the ferry and then drive off when we arrived in Corfu. The ferry took a little over an hour and it was actually relaxing and fun to see Corfu as we were arriving.
Once off of the ferry we drove to Giali Beach. The roads in Corfu, and especially to this beach were very narrow and curvy. I was glad Steve drove as it took some expert maneuvering to avoid running into anything! By narrow, I mean many of these roads did not have room for cars to pass by each other so if you meet a car, one or the other would have to pull over when able. A bit nerve racking.
A big tip is to bring a map or print one out ahead of time. We lost GPS many times but never got it back after the village of Giannades. Just make sure you stay on the road South of Giannades and drive to the Chapel of Prophet Elias. This may sound archaic, but since I knew that GPS does not always work in Greece, I printed a map before I left home. I was glad I did.
The drive itself was actually quite beautiful. We drove up and down hills, past olive groves, and through quaint small villages. The drive took about 45 minutes by following the route below.
There is not really a trailhead per se, but you will come upon a parking lot behind the chapel of Prophet Elias. The road narrows after that, so it is a good place to park. You could possibly drive further with a 4×4 but we had a rental car so there was no way we would be driving any further.
As with many beaches in Corfu, Greece, Giali Beach has little shade on the hike down and at the beach. A hat is a good idea as it gets hot. Also remember to bring water and snacks as there is no where to purchase anything on the trail or at the beach. There are also no sunbeds. That being said, it is a wonderful, unimproved beach! I would advise carrying whatever you need in a backpack as you may need both hands when descending and climbing back up. You will also want good shoes. Flip flops are not your friend here.
The Trail and Descent To The Beach
The first part of the trail is just walking on a rocky road. Watch your step as it can get slippery.
After about 10 minutes you will come to an area where you could park if you could drive there. Then follow the dirt trail towards the descent to the sea. This part is more shaded and takes about 5 minutes.
Once you arrive at the ropes you can see the beach below. From this point you will be descending with rope and/or ladder assist until you reach some large boulders by the side of the beach. We both decided to put our phones in our pockets as we did not want to slip. Steve did stop at a good spot part way through and took a picture. I am 56 and Steve is 63 and we both tolerated the climb down well, but it was challenging and needed good balance and sure footing. Steve did help me in spots as I was nursing a torn meniscus on my knee. Highly advise backpack, good shoes, and a hat.
All of that being said, it was a beautiful descent down and I would do it again in a heartbeat!
When we reached the beach we were in awe! Giali Beach is one of many beautiful beaches in Corfu, Greece. Definitely worth the trouble getting to it. Your first images of the beach will be as you come off the cliff and walk over and through some boulders.
Then the area opens up to the beach. The beautiful blue waters were enticing and I couldn’t wait to find a spot to set my bag and go for a swim. It was a very hot day. Much to our surprise, this secluded beach was much more crowded than we had expected. As we have found out at many Greek beaches, swimsuits were definitely optional. We also discovered we were the oldest couple on the beach by two or more decades!
It was a quite hot and we found a shaded spot behind some rocks where we left our gear. It didn’t take long to hop in the sea. Note that the beach becomes more pebbly as you get towards the sea and for us, water shoes were a great benefit. We swam for quite awhile. There is a large rock in the water that some swimmers were jumping off. It looked like so much fun and usually I enjoy a good jump, but with my knee I decided not too. My only regret at this beach though was not rock jumping!
The Hike Back Up
I hated to think of the hike back up, but all good things end and we were off. Steve took some very unflattering photos of me as we started the ascent at the lowest ladder. Posted below to show the path. After that he put his phone away and helped me up! I am only 5’1″ so some of the steps were too long for my legs to reach and I did some hand over hand rope climbing. It has been a few years since I have done this and it was a lot of fun. Climbing up was actually easier for me and other than an occasional boost from Steve we were up in no time. The walk back to the car was quite hot but totally uneventful.
Arriving by Boat
If the hike down isn’t you thing, you can also rent a boat and arrive at Giali Beach by water. A few days after this hike, we rented a boat and actually came to this beach again. Although we did not embark, below are some photos of the beach as viewed by sea. I will post our boat adventure on another post.
Where We Stayed
After our hike to Giali Beach we went to our hotel in Agios Stefanos, NW in Corfu. We stayed at Delfino Blu Wellness Boutique Hotel and it was top notch in every category. Every one there was totally amazing. Kostas the owner is the definition of hospitality and this trickled down to his entire staff! The food was amazinging, the views beyond beautiful, the room comfortable and perfect, the facitlity spotless, the pool amazing and great access to the beach. Delfino Blu gives you the option of full board or ala carte. We decided against the full board so we could go into town and eat dinner, although the food and service was so good we ate most of our dinners at the hotel anyway. We may return to Corfu some day just to stay here!
Where We Ate
On this trip, for lunch we often just picked up breads, fruit and cheese on our way to activities which actually was a treat! We were very exhausted after our hike to Giali Beach and were ready to enjoy another thing we love in Greece, Greek food, Corfu style. Each area of Greece we have been to has their own regional style of Greek food and we were excited to try the food here. Dinner this evening was at Delfino Blue, our hotel, and it was wonderful. We enjoyed Saganaki, Greek Salad, Shrimp, Stifaldo and dessert in a lovely dining area with great views. Everything was delicious with exceptional service. A perfect fine dining experience.
Whether you decide to hike or arrive by boat, Giali Beach is a great place to visit when in Corfu, Greece. We absolutely loved this beach adventure and enjoyed both hiking in and boating to it. When in Corfu, I highly recommend going off the beaten trail and checking out this and other similar beaches.
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