Starting from Corfu Town, head west to Tzavarátika (Tzávros) junction and fork right (straight goes towards Paleokastrítsa). Between Dassiá and Ýpsos, veer left for the short detour (not well marked – look for the much larger sign of Etrusco Restaurant) to Káto Korakiána village and its National Gallery Annexe (Mon, Thur, Sat, Sun 8.30am–3.30pm, Wed & Fri 10am–2pm & 6–9pm; €2), a Venetian-era villa crammed with works by distinguished Greek artists since 1830. Now that the main collection in Athens is shut until at least 2019 for a ground-up reconstruction, this is your best chance to get to grips with the country’s historic art profile. Aside from a single El Greco Crucifixion and some local portraiture, the well-labelled displays take a chronological amble over three stories through the development of Greek painting (as well as sculpture and mixed-media works); all the key figures (especially Nikolaos Gyzis, Nikiforos Lytras, Yannis Tsarouchis and Nikos Hatzikyriakos-Ghika) are represented. It’s well worth an hour or so, plus there are some covetable art books for sale at the shop.

Porto Timoni corfu

Return to the coast road but leave it almost immediately again, following signposting for Spartýlas and Strinýlas villages on the southwest flank of Mt Pandokrátor.

At Strinýlas, bear right (east) towards the 914-metre summit, Corfu’s highest point – but only attempt this in clear, relatively calm weather, as the final approach is narrow and exposed. Sharing the peak with a regrettable thicket of broadcasting and telecoms antennae is the diminutive, stone-built monastery of Ypsiloú Pandrokratóra (daily except 12.30–2pm April–Oct). The views are as you’d expect.

Pantokrator Mountain North Corfu (1)

Back at Strinýlas, turn right towards the north coast via Eríva and Láfki hamlets, emerging near Aharávi. Time for a swim now – if you favour sandy beaches, Almyrós just northeast of Aharávi towards Kassiópi is the best locally. If you’re a pebble partisan, wait until the various bays of ‘Kensington-on-Sea’, between Avláki and Agní, while if you can’t wait to eat, the tavernas of inland Paleá Períthia are not far away.

Ágios Stéfanos cove isn’t tops for bathing – just a single pebbly area on the north side – but does have the widest choice of tavernas for lunch and the easiest parking (under olive trees at the northern approaches). After lunch, and perhaps a swim at nearby Kerasiá beach (mixed pebbles/sand), continue south along the corniche route to leave the coast road at Ágios Márkos junction.

The handsome eponymous village rewards a stroll, and the through road provides a useful shortcut, via Áno Korakiána, Skriperó and Doukádes, to the west coast. Below Doukádes, join the main road to Paleokastrítsa for excellent sea- and cliff-scapes – the most convoluted on the island – in flattering afternoon light, making sure not to miss the little Theotókou monastery on the final headland.

Palekastritsa North Corfu view girls with canoe

Resist the temptation for a second dip here, proceeding instead southeast via Liapádes, Kanakádes and Mármaro along the bucolic secondary road skirting the Rópa valley on its west. In Kelliá hamlet, take the turning down to fabled Myrtiótissa beach – at its best late in the day or season – for another swim.

From here, it’s just a short way to the Kaiser’s Throne above Pélekas village, a natural rock formation adapted as a viewing point by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1908 and a favourite sunset venue ever since. Afterwards, descend to the village for an early dinner – again, ample choice – or return to Corfu Town.