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Sights and Amazing Things to Do in Benitses

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Last updated on February 14th, 2024 at 12:05 pm

Attractions to See in Benitses – Visit the Sights of the Area

There are many things to do in Benitses for visitors, as this cosmopolitan tourist destination offers plenty of activities to all tourists. Located 12 km south of Corfu town on the island of Corfu, holds a vibrant past as a picturesque fishing village.

However, today it has transformed into a busy tourist resort, attracting a multitude of visitors, while remarkably preserving its natural beauty and old-world charm.

Occupying a significant stretch of the central east coast of Corfu, Benitses extends from the enchanting Mouse Island and Perama in the north to Agios Ioannis Peristeron in the south, where the renowned Marbella Hotel can be found.

The old village exudes a traditional ambiance, nestled amidst lush woodlands that create a truly serene backdrop for its 1000 inhabitants.

Meandering through its ancient streets, one might be momentarily transported to a quaint mountain village in Greece, yet the sparkling sea remains just a stone’s throw away.

The coastal road of Benitses is adorned with hotels that cater to the utmost holiday experience. From restaurants to cafes and various shops, every need of even the most discerning visitor is met with utmost care.

Benitses view from the mountain slopes
Benitses view from the mountain slopes

Bounded by the majestic Stavros and Agioi Deka mountains on one side, and the captivating aquamarine waters of the Ionian Sea on the other, Benitses is embraced by natural splendor.

The coastline gracefully curves, forming two idyllic bays that enhance the allure of the landscape.

The village owes its captivating beauty to the very land upon which it has stood for centuries. Historical records authenticate its existence as a settlement that has thrived throughout the ages.

Combined with the warm hospitality of its residents, who possess an appreciation for diverse cultures, Benitses becomes a delightful tourist haven that deserves a prominent spot on your travel itinerary.

During your stay in Benitses, there is an array of captivating activities and sights to indulge in and relish. Here are some of the most enticing options:

1) Do Hiking and biking

Starting from the village many trails on the slopes of the mountain can be crossed on foot or by bicycle.

These paths are hidden in the lush vegetation and lead to the villages of Gastouri, Stavros, and Agioi Deka, and some trails go to the water sources with their aqueduct.

By these paths, there are many small churches scattered on the slopes of the mountain, such as Agia Paraskevi, Agia Triada, Agios Nikolaos Vrysiliotis, Taksiarches, Evaggelistria, and others.

The effort in walking up to Stavros or Agioi Deka or at the knoll of Agia Triada (300 meters high), will reward you with superb views over Benitses and the middle east coast of Corfu.

2) Visit The Sea Museum

There used to be a unique sea museum in Benitses until recently.

It was owned by the former diver Mr. Sagias and had a huge collection of shells, fossils, sponges, corals, and stuffed large fish. One of the largest collections of its kind in the Mediterranean.

Sadly, After the death of the owner in 2018, the museum closed down.

For historic reasons let’s quote some information about the former Sea Museum of Benitses.

The museum’s collection was huge, some of the most important exhibits were the KYPRAIA foultoni shell, the shell Melo Amphora, the HALIOTIS IRIS from New Zealand, one of the most beautiful in the world, TRIDACNA GIGAS probably the largest in the world, other poisonous shells, rare starfish, small and large stuffed fish, rare sharks, piranhas from the Amazon, shellfish and many others.

More than half of these rare species were collected by Mr. Sagias himself. They came from Australia, the Philippines, the islands of Samoa, Fiji Isles, the coral reefs of Australia, and other places.

The shell “KYPRAIA Foultoni” (Cypraea Fultoni) of the Cypraeidae family was one of the rarest in the world and was bought by Mr. Sagias from a fisherman in Mozambique, where it was found in the belly of a fish.

For the shell “Melo amphora” of “Volutidae” family, Mr. Sagias has already applied for entry in the Guinness Book of Records because it is perhaps the largest in the world, it was found on the island Rosemary of the archipelago Ntampier North of Australia.

In the museum, there was also a blue shark bought in Athens from a fisherman.

The museum has been honored for its contribution with an international award by the Italian Institute of Marine Research I.R.E.D.A

3) The Ruins of Roman Baths

Benitses - Roman baths
Benitses – Roman baths

Archaeological excavations in the estate of the Kapsokavadis family unearthed ruins of a Roman villa and the remnants of hot baths dating back to Roman times.

The baths are relatively well preserved and the decorative mosaics on the floor are visible.

Even though they are almost hidden behind some rows of houses, it is not difficult to visit them, the baths are only 50 meters from the main road and can be reached through a narrow passageway between houses, that leads directly to them.

The passageway is not entirely public, the first part belongs to private properties but stays open to enable other people to use it as a passage to their houses too.

But you better discover more about the monument, along with a photo guide that helps you find them, on the page about Roman Baths

4) A visit to the Achilleion Palace in Corfu is a MUST

3 km. from Benitses at the edge of the village of Gastouri is the Achilleion Palace, a three-story building that was built in 1890 by the Austro-Hungarian Empress Elisabeth also known as Sissy.

The architecture of the building is a combination of the Doric and Ionic styles, with many statues of ancient gods, philosophers, and personalities of the classical era. But above all, it is dominated by the statues of the mythical Hero Achilles, who gave his name to it.

After the murder of Elizabeth by an Italian who stabbed her in Geneva, the Palace was bought by Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany who used it as a summer residence.

During the First World War, it became a military hospital.

As tourism grew during the 80s it became a casino, but today it is a museum and a favorite excursion destination for many visitors, we hope that after reading more about Achilleion Palace you will join them too.

5) Admire The Old Historic Buildings of Benitses

Vandoros old house next to Kefalonitis restaurant-1960
Vandoros old house next to Kefalonitis restaurant-1960

There are some very old and beautiful buildings in Benitses, some of them more than 5 centuries old.

Each one has a history and it is worth the time to spend photographing and admiring them.

Examples are the old tall building at the entrance of the port, the building of the town hall, and some others which unfortunately have changed after renovation.

But you better see them all with the details on the page about the historic old buildings of Benitses.

6) Visit The sandy beaches of the West Coast

If you plan to rent a car, or you have your own, it makes it easy to explore the vast sandy beaches of the west and southern coast, They are close. More on the page about the Corfu beaches

7) Make Daily Cruises to the Greek mainland

Every day there are small boats from Benitses harbor offering daylong cruises to the mainland town of Parga and the village of Sivota (Mourtos), also to other parts of Corfu, and the island of Paxos.

Mourtos (the ancient Sivota) is an area of unsurpassed beauty and unspoiled beaches, with numerous small islands that contain many strange large caves with hundreds of wild pigeons.

The boats can sail inside the caves where the water is incredibly clear so that the bottom can be seen despite the depth which can exceed 20 meters.

During the trip, you’ll get the chance to swim between the islands, imagine how it feels to swim between 3-4 and five small islands.

Paxos and its neighboring island of Anti-Paxos also allow you to explore our nearest, but very different and exotic, neighboring islands.

During your Benitses vacation, you should not miss the opportunity to enjoy such a trip, you can book the trip through your hotel or with some tourist agent offices on the main road across the port.

Also if you go to the harbor at 9 am you can join the boat on your own.

Also at the harbor entrance, during the afternoon there is a ticket for cruises for the south of the island, to Paxos, across the mainland coast at Parga as well as to the north of Corfu and some places in Albania.

8) Have fans with local Festivals and celebrations

July 15th to August 23rd is the season for the most special events and festivals, if you get your holidays this time of the year you will have the opportunity to participate in some of the Corfu traditions and customs which become louder and longer each year.

One of these is the feast of St. John the Lampatari on June 22 in Benitses, a traditional festival in which according to the customs people jump over fires.

Then on August 6th is the feast of Pantokrator that is celebrated on the famous Mouse Island.

August 15th is the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, a great celebration in the nearby village of Stavros.

On August 23rd there are festivals in the nearby villages of Gastouri and Agioi Deka.

There is a Sardine Festival on 10th August at Benitses.

A) The festival of Agia Marina

But the largest feast of all is on July 16th and 17th, the festival of Agia Marina in Benitses.

The Cultural Association of Benitses organizes, supervises, and takes responsibility for this event.

The folklore group of Benitses presents Corfu dances wearing traditional costumes. The Association of Women in Benitses offers traditional food, sweets, and local products. A folk orchestra plays until the early morning, and there are also dozens of vendors selling toys, souvenirs, paintings, and so on.

Because there can be no celebration without eating and drinking all kinds of dishes and especially kebabs and lamb on the spit are available in plentiful supply.

B) The Festival of Sardines

Within the first ten days of August, the festival of sardines was organized.

It was a relatively new festival that was organized only for the last decade, but with increased success and attracted more people every year.

To celebrate Sardines looks pretty far-fetched but if we take into consideration that Benitses once was a fishing village, the largest in Corfu, and that the people in the past lived by fishing they had every right to create a celebration for the most popular fish, the sardine.

But, we have bad news for you, Unfortunately, the festival didn’t make it through financial and other difficulties and stopped!

Let’s hope that shortly, it will arise again.

9) Enjoy Local food and Corfiot cuisine

Some of the best food quality and flavors restaurants on the island are here.

Benitses is now a culinary paradise at surprisingly low prices!

There are restaurants with great diversity, some offering traditional Greek and Corfiot cooking, but also Chinese cuisine, grills with meat or fresh fish, pizza, and many others.

The 400 years of Venetian rule have strongly influenced Corfiot cuisine which is a mixture of Greek and Italian with a strong emphasis on fish and seafood in general.

Benitses’ culinary scene ensures that every meal is a delightful experience, allowing you to savor the flavors of Corfu fully.

Your holidays in Benitses are an opportunity for you to try some of the most famous local dishes such as:

– Sofrito: thin strips of veal lightly sauteed in a pan with a white sauce of garlic, parsley, white pepper, white wine, salt, and vinegar. Served with rice or mashed potatoes.

– Pastitsada: is the most famous Corfiot dish, cooked beef with garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper, the sauce contains olive oil, tomato, onion, cinnamon, cloves garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and is always accompanied by pasta.
Pastitsada in villages is made with cockerel, but Pastitsada can also be made with fish.

Pastitsada made with cockerel is the local favorite. But everyone has their unique variations of this recipe.

– Bianco: Fish and potatoes cooked in a sauce of finely chopped garlic, parsley, lemon juice, and black pepper.

– Bourdeto: Boiled fish and Scorpionfish are the best, but other fish such as bass can also be used.

They are cooked with chili pepper, chopped onions, and lemon at the end, in the traditional Bourdeto we never use tomato sauce.

Bourdeto is very tasty with octopus too, it is made with more onions and chopped potatoes boiled together.

– Tsigareli: Various wild vegetables and herbs cooked with onion, garlic, and plenty of spicy red pepper and tomato.

Before going home you must remember to buy the traditional Nougat called Mandolato and candied kumquats, you can get these in any supermarket, but also in the proper cake shops.

Captain Octopus Restaurant - Easter-2019
Captain Octopus Restaurant – Easter 2019

Some restaurants worth trying are:

CAPTAIN OCTOPUS Seafood restaurant, right opposite the port entrance on the inner road.
PAXINOS Restaurant Grillroom, at the beginning of the road that leads to the old village.
ROSE GARDEN, with Chinese cuisine, is located in the center of the old village.
Pizza KAVOURAS offers excellent Italian-style pizza made in a wood-fired oven, located at the port.
STRATOS Restaurant-Grill Room, on the main street facing the harbor.
CHICKEN GEORGE At the south Benitses, also on the beach.

Of course, there are dozens of other restaurants that are equally good, and you will enjoy finding your personal favorite.

Look here for more restaurants and more details about the Corfiot cuisine here

10) Relax with a coffee, ice cream, or drink

There are dozens of bars and cafes in Benitses where you can enjoy coffee, beer, ice cream, or a drink.

Those in the center of the village are also popular meeting places for the residents.

11) Rest by Lying on the Beach

If you do not want to do any of the above you can just laze on one of the pristine blue flag beaches, where you will find sun loungers and umbrellas.

There are water sports like water skiing, parachuting, jet skiing, windsurfing, pedaloes, and motorboats.

Boats can be hired for sailing and there is an opportunity for diving a little further away.

In Benitses harbor you can ask for information or hire a boat through your hotel.

On the beach next to the harbor, there is a lifeguard that guarantees the safety of the swimmers.

The whole seaside in front of the village is suitable for swimming, but there are only three main beaches in Benitses.

A) Laopetra Beach

The first from North is the beach of Laopetra, just north of the port.

Named after the big standing rock that maybe fell from the mountain to the sea hundreds of years ago and now is still standing giving an attractive character to the area. It is the trademark of the village, something like the Mouse Island is for Corfu.

The name means the people’s rock (derived from the two words, laos=people, and petra=rock) and NOT rabbit rock as incorrectly called by many. The small coves near here are peaceful, with very shallow and warm clear water.

B) Beach at the Port

Benitses holidays - the beach outside the port
The beach outside the port

Then we find the beach outside the port, organized with water sports and sunbeds, its proximity to most restaurants and bars makes it very popular.

C) Chontrakia Beach

And finally the long stretched beach at Contrakia, close to most hotels in Benitses.

Here you can find the most water sports opportunities and you can meet most people as it is the most crowded.

In this photo, you can see a view of the beach in the Benitses Chontrakia area in the early morning.

Benitses beach at Chontrakia
Benitses beach at Chontrakia

12) Get to know the Nightlife

Lately, nightlife has become a low profile, compared to the notorious 80s it is very different and quieter but still pleasant though.

There are some small bars and some nightclubs which can become very lively at times… but the problem is that the kind of tourists who visit Benitses cannot maintain a lively nightlife.

In the picture though is a club from …another era!

Nightclub 1990
Nightclub 1990

Final words

With these captivating options awaiting you, your stay in Benitses is certain to be filled with delightful experiences, and cherished memories.

Surely, for the above reasons and many more, Benitses in Corfu should be a high priority on your travel list!

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