Afionas is famous for its tavernas with views of the sea, the sunset, and the Diapontia Islands, where you can try the famous wine from the area. This charming village is built on a 133-meter-high hill with a breathtaking view of the sea. The peninsula of Afionas is located between Arillas and Agios Georgios Pagon bays, around 37 kilometers northwest of Corfu Town. There were about 250 people living there in 2021. Afionas’ population has remained relatively stable over the years. The majority of the people there work in agriculture, fishing, or tourism. The number of people living in Afionas can increase significantly during the summer because of all the tourists who come to see its beautiful scenery, traditional charm, and long history.
Afionas is one of Corfu’s most beautiful villages, with colorful houses, old mansions, and many picturesque alleys that have remained unchanged over time. It is well-known for the spectacular views it provides, particularly at sunset, as it overlooks Arillas Bay, Greece’s most western point. There is also a nice view of Gravia Island and the Diapondia Islands: Mathraki, Othoni, and Erikoussa.
The Diapontia Islands are a small group of islands in the Ionian Sea northwest of Corfu. The Diapontia Islands have a long history dating back to ancient times. They were an important strategic location for trade and commerce and were ruled by various powers over the centuries, including the Venetians, the French, and the British. The Diapontia Islands are a popular destination for tourists seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience. The islands have a slower pace of life and are known for their beautiful beaches and clear waters, making them ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Othoni is the largest of the Diapontia Islands; it is Greece’s westernmost point and home to several picturesque villages and beautiful beaches. Othoni has a land area of 10 square kilometers. Mathraki is the smallest, covering only 3 square kilometers, while Erikousa covers an area of 6 square kilometers. The islands are known for their rugged coastlines, crystal-clear waters, and unspoiled natural beauty. These small islands have a total population of about 900 people.
Hiking, swimming, snorkeling, diving, fishing and sailing. are popular activities on the Diapontia Islands. They can be reached by boat from either Corfu Town or the nearby port of Saint Stefanos. During the summer, there are daily ferry services to the islands, while in the winter, the frequency of ferries decreases. The Diapontia Islands offer a variety of accommodation options, including hotels, guesthouses, and apartments. Visitors can choose to stay in traditional villages or near the beaches. For those who prefer to stay close to nature, the islands also have a camping area.
Afionas is one of Corfu island’s oldest settlements. According to archaeological evidence, the area was first inhabited in the sixth century. Many scholars associate Porto Timoni with the Homeric city of the Phaeacians. The hike to the twin bay “Porto Timoni” and further to Cape “Akra Arilla” with the chapel “Agios Stylianos” is one of Corfu’s most beautiful and popular hiking trails. During the walk, you can see the ruins of fortifications built in the Middle Ages to protect the city from pirate invasions. The defensive wall and embrasures opposite the village are still standing today. The turrets were built with stones, a special white mud, egg white, and lime. There are also remnants of kilns that were possibly used to manufacture amphorae in the area.
The area also has a lot of clay, which can be seen in the caves. The cape is unique in that most of the caves opened in the sea communicate with the land. From here, the soldiers swam into battle and walked to the observatory. This natural shield of the area was known only to the inhabitants of the village and was used on occasion to prevent the Ottomans from reaching the village as well as to deter pirates who attempted to plunder the place.
The church of Agios Ioannis of Lampataris, built in 1636, is located in the village center. On June 24, the church will hold a celebration. On the eve of the feast, the villagers participate in a local custom known as “lampata,” in which they light fires and jump over them. The memorial to Hector Gialopsos, who was born in Afionas, is located next to the church. Visitors to Hector Gialopsos’ memorial can pay their respects and reflect on the bravery and courage of this local hero. Hector Gialopsos was a Hellenic Navy ensign who died in the Imia crisis in January 1996. Hector Gialopos was not directly involved in the crisis. The Imia Crisis was a political and military conflict between Greece and Turkey in 1996 over a group of small, uninhabited islets in the Aegean Sea known as Imia. The dispute escalated into a military standoff between the two countries, with both sending troops and naval vessels to the area. A torpedo from the Cold War can be found behind the memorial of Gialopsos. NATO once had a secret submarine base in Paleokastritsa.
Below Afionas is the well-known Porto Timoni beach with the two bays. They are essentially two beaches separated by a narrow strip of land. Limni is to the left, and Porto Timoni is to the right. The bay is a natural wonder, with crystal-clear turquoise waters and breathtaking views of the surrounding cliffs and rugged coastline.
Porto Timoni can be reached by narrow paths descending from the village of Afionas or by sea from the bay of Agios Georgios Via orchards, small farms, and olive trees, the trail meanders its way down the hill. The walk takes about 20–30 minutes and is moderately difficult, with some steep and rocky sections. You’ll also pass by the ruins of fortifications built in the Middle Ages to protect the village from pirate raids. Continue on the same path to the tip of the peninsula to find the small church of Agios Stylianos in a cave. When you reach the bottom of the hill, you will be rewarded with stunning views of Porto Timoni’s two bays. The bays are separated by a narrow strip of land that can be crossed on foot during low tide. The water in the two bays differs. One bay has calm, shallow water, while the other has deeper water with stronger currents. Overall, Porto Timoni is a must-see for anyone visiting Afionas or Corfu’s northwest coast. Its natural beauty and secluded location make it a hidden gem well worth the effort to reach.
Photo credits: terbeck on Visualhunt.com, Corfu Perspectives Guided Tours