Introducing Benitses village, a traditional village located on the east coast of Corfu island, 12 kilometres south of Corfu Town. Benitses village is a quiet little place where guests are greeted by fresh salty air, a warm smile, and the radiance of the Corfiot sun.
Wild flowers blossom throughout the old village, while leafy vines adorned with berries and fruit decorate the exterior of outdoor cafes. Our lovely fishing village, Benitses, is known for its refreshing local culture, wherein visitors experience the richness of the island directly from the people who live there. You’ll find locals chattering in slender alleyways, their laughter echoing off pastel stucco houses and their smiles lifting your spirits.
The natural beauty of Benitses Corfu is most obvious in its crystal clear waters: the shores of Benitses village range from aquamarine to cerulean, and if you have a sharp eye, you can spot small fish swimming around their island home. One of the reasons that the water is so beautiful is because of a seaweed-like sea plant named posidonia. While not too appealing for swimmers, posidonia filters toxic substances, heavy minerals, and carbon dioxide, making the water fresh and clear all-year-round.
In beautiful Benitses, time slows down, encouraging you to lose yourself in your own Mediterranean fairy tale. As you gaze out over the horizon, you can see the dreamlike mountains of mainland Greece and Albania.
While Benitses has a long history of rigid tradition, international tourism has added a touch of modernity to the village. This balance of old and new makes Benitses, Corfu, the ideal destination for those seeking the comfort of old-world charm as well as the refreshing nature of that which is new and developing.
Benitses is the result of two worlds colliding, combining in a way that is unique and gorgeous. It is precisely this enchanting contrast that draws thousands of travellers to Benitses village each year.
With traditional houses and old buildings scattered throughout the fishing village, you can wander the streets and melt into your Greek dream-come-true. Whether you’re passing one of the holiday resorts or simply sitting in a nice tavern, you’ll be welcomed with a warm smile. You’ll struggle to find friendlier people anywhere in the world than Benitses, Corfu.
Explore the rest of this page to learn more about Benitses, Corfu, where Bella Vista Beach Hotel and Studios is located. You will find information about our beaches, tourist shops, and the many attractions in the surrounding area. We hope to see you soon at your home away from home, Bella Vista Beach Hotel and Studios!
Nestled between the towering, tree-covered mountains of inland Corfu and the dazzling Ionian Sea, Benitses has long played an important role in Corfu island. This is proven by the abundant fresh water springs, Roman baths, and convenient location in the centre of the island.
Just 12 kilometres south of Corfu Town and 9 kilometres south of the international airport of Ioannis Kapodistrias, Benitses is right in the middle of sunny Corfu. It makes it a fantastic base for exploring the rest of the island.
You can also find ruins of an aqueduct, several kilometres and an adventurous hike from Benitses, Corfu. However, this aqueduct was not built by the Romans, but by the British.
In 1537, the Turks tried to seize Corfu Town in one of many failed attempts. Instead of taking the capital, the Turks raided the entire island, taking up to 20,000 people from rural areas, including Benitses village, as slaves. They sold them in Egypt and Constantinople.
Due to the sudden departure of so many Corfiot inhabitants, there weren’t enough people to cultivate the land and tend the olives (the island’s dominant product). As a result, the Venetians – who were in control of Corfu at the time – offered land and other privileges to anyone from Ottoman-occupied Greece who wanted to move.
It is thought that around 70% of Benitses’ modern day inhabitants have ancestors from Epirus, mainland Greece, as this was one of the places that led the immigration wave.
There are many theories as to why Benitses is called Benitses. Some say a pirate named it after falling in love with its beauty, while others claim it was the name of the pirate’s ship! In reality, an official document from the period of the Angevins reveals the true origins.
According to the document, written in the 13th century, Benitses village used to be called Penitisai. The name derives from the ancient Greek word penio (πηνίο): literally translated in English as coil. However, the word is mostly known for being relating to waters and rivers. The winding tributaries that descend from the nearby mountains of Agii Deka and Stavros used to merge into two small rivers which reached the sea in the spot where Benitses marina now stands.
Benitses was one of the first Corfiot villages to start attracting international tourists. In the 60s and 70s, a slew of celebrities sought the sunshine in Benitses village, causing a boom in popularity. British travel agencies started shipping over tourists in the 1970s and the once-quaint fishing village quickly became a mecca for young tourists who wanted to dance all night long. They flocked to Benitses, set on partying, soaking up the sunshine, and unabashedly enjoying the Benitses Corfu nightlife.
The influx of rowdy young adults was poorly received by the residents of Benitses, and it nearly obliterated the village’s fishing industry. Traditional values held by the locals were threatened by capitalistic ideals driven by the allure of short-term profit.
In the late 1980s, the village of Benitses was abandoned overnight by the travel agencies. Kavos became the new party hotspot.
In the years since then, Benitses, Corfu, has regained its idyllic charm. It’s now a haven for couples and has earned a reputation for its delicious seafood.
You can read more about Benitses’ rocky history with tourism on our blog, Benitses: A Story of Love and Hate.
BEING RIGHT ALONG THE MAIN STRIP, BENITSES BEACH IS MORE ACCESSIBLE THAN MOST BEACHES IN CORFU.
If you walk the streets of Benitses today, you can still spot plenty of abandoned relics from the party period, including Spiros on the Beach, once voted the 2nd best nightclub in the world by a top British newspaper.
Benitses is in a rather transitional phase. It currently strikes an intriguing balance: the tourism industry has greatly altered the village vibe, and as compensation, a relatively new movement has begun to preserve the traditional culture of Benitses.
The village has successfully re-established its time-honoured fishing industry, which has, in turn, brought in a new wave of local fishermen. These fresh fish, captured daily, are commonly featured in market stalls along the main road, or at Benitses’ many seafood restaurants.
Bella Vista Beach Hotel and Studios is a short walk from stunning Corfiot beaches, jaw-dropping forests, and dozens of delicious eateries that serve up traditional Corfiot cuisine every day. It acts as the perfect home away from home for sightseers seeking a much-needed break. Blissful solitude, a sense of peace, and a comfortable warmth — both from the heavenly sun and the people that live in Benitses — are to be expected!
Benitses village boasts a variety of renowned restaurants that suit all budgets and palates. Travellers have many options: from fresh seafood restaurants to charcoal grill taverns, traditional Greek cuisine to creperies, kebab shops to pizzerias, relaxing cafés to locally-sourced gelato stands; Benitses has it all!
While the town still has a bar or two, the nightlife in Benitses is not what draws visitors to the village anymore. However, if travellers are looking to spend a fun night out, there are many options in Corfu Town or Kavos.
Benitses, by night, primarily offers visitors intimate bars, taverns, and lounges. Several places on the strip, like the Potamaki Hotel, feature live music, fire dancers, and other performers throughout the summer. You can also find a sprinkling of local shops along the main street that sell souvenirs or handicrafts at reasonable prices.
If you’re up for adventure, there are several travel agencies in Benitses Corfu that offer boat trips, water sports, or car rentals. If you don’t fancy driving along Corfu’s winding roads, you can get the green bus on the main street to the green bus station near Corfu Town. From here, you can get buses all over the island.
Take a stroll around Benitses marina to spot the sailing boats. You might see other small boats there carrying the day’s fishing haul if you go early enough. It’s the perfect location to sit with a book and listen to the sound of the waves.
Benitses village is abundant in beauty. A short distance from the hotel, visitors can take a footpath which leads through the lush greenery and to the old springs of Benitses, Corfu. From there, the bold adventurer can meander through a pristine forest where they will pass by monasteries and olive trees as they ascend to the top of the mountain. Those of our guests that utilise the footpath have often told us that they feel as if they have taken a step back in time.
This footpath (as well as other nearby nature trails) are ideal for hikers and cyclists alike. A number of trails lead to the historic villages of Stavros and Agii Deka, and they provide an absolutely breathtaking view of both the East and the West side of the island. From the top, you’ll be able to see the lush vegetation, including the cypress trees that Corfu is famous for.
RESPONSIBLE AND SUSTAINABLE TOURISM IS KEY
The turbulent nature of tourism continues to evolve in Benitses, where travellers are encouraged to appreciate the traditional culture of the village while also enjoying a lovely Corfiot holiday.
Today’s ecotourism movement encourages responsible travel and forges a mutually beneficial relationship between tourists and the community.
The Blue Flag is an eco-label awarded to outstanding beaches across the globe. In order to receive this prestigious award, beaches and marinas must meet a variety of stringent standards set by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
The FEE encourages the sustainable development of beaches by promoting environmental education, coastal planning, protection, and safety. Additionally, they address water quality and the management of both natural and man-made waste. The water found in Benitses, Corfu, is of excellent quality, and has continuously met all of the rigid standards set by the FEE.
The coast of Benitses, Corfu, is a combination of pristine white sand and small, smooth rocks and pebbles: the perfect shingle beach. Many local coffee bars offer the use of sunbeds and umbrellas to guests with the purchase of a beverage. Some other cafés may offer sunbeds for rent which generally cost €2-3, depending on the season and the specific bar. Travellers also have the option to engage in water sports like parasailing or banana boat rides!
Aside from the sea and the mountains, Benitses offers a wide variety of activities to keep you entertained during your stay in the village.
The following are some of the most popular attractions and things to do in Corfu (Benitses region):
The way to the Roman ruins is marked by a sign at the end of the main strip of restaurants. While only small, the ruins give a glimpse of what life might have been like thousands of years ago.
The Achilleion Palace, a quick 3 kilometres from Bella Vista, was built under Sissi, an Empress of Austria. The palace is now a museum where you can explore its halls and learn its rich history, then wander through the stunning gardens that surround the property. There’s a distinctly Greek mythological vibe to the statues, with an impressive one of Achilles, Sissi’s favourite hero, in the garden.
Mount Pantokrator is a destination accessible from the hiking trail adjacent to the hotel. Expect breathtaking views and beautiful panoramic views of the island from the top. You’ll pass by old Corfiot villages and monasteries on the way. Please ask for trail maps at reception!
Cruise ships depart from the harbour at Benitses and travel to various places like the neighbouring islands of Paxos and Antipaxos. You’ll have stunning views along the way, and if you’re lucky, you might see dolphins!
A nearby hiking trail winds through lush vegetation to an ancient spring that was once the life source of Benitses. It’s a wonderful place for if you want to enjoy a quiet afternoon surrounded by nature.
Recently closed down due to the untimely death of the owner, Benitses Corfu used to be home to the largest sea museum in Europe.
A privately-owned, internationally renowned seashell collection, the Corfu Shell Museum was only a short walk from Bella Vista Beach Hotel and Studios. With over 10,000 treasures collected from the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean, this epic sea museum was a must-see for all underwater lovers. It even earned several awards from marine institutions. There is hope that the Corfu shell museum will reopen, but as of yet it hasn’t materialised.
The Achillio Race is a ½ marathon that begins at the School of Kinopiastes. Participants follow a path through the former Achillion Municipality and finish in Benitses Square. The race is open to people of all ages and backgrounds. It attracts athletes from around the world. Immediately following the race, there are typically several performances by local dancers, singers, and musicians!
From June 21st to June 22nd, there is a local custom honoured all over Corfu in which individuals bravely jump over the scalding flames of several fires! Fire is believed to be the most purifying element, and this festival acts as a cleansing act for those involved. It is customary for three fires to be lit, but before locals and tourists jump through the flames, crowns made from olive branches are placed on their heads.
Individuals pray to Saint John and make offerings to him before venturing through the blaze. After, a crown is ritualistically thrown into the fire to drive bad spirits away. Following this, a ceremonial wreath is burned, accompanied by dynamic instrumental pieces. The evening is celebrated by locals and tourists with dancing, drinking, and feasting on traditional Greek dishes.
A festival held in honour of Saint Agia Marina, the patron saint of Benitses, is held from July 16th to July 17th. This celebration features several different religious services, traditional folk dances, and performances of traditional music by local bands that last into the early morning. This local festival is a special chance for guests to take part in the celebration of the local saint of Benitses and to truly experience Corfiot culture.
The community of Benitses gathers the day before the celebration of Saint Paraskevi in order to make preparations for the following day. They prepare sweet breads to be blessed by the priest, and holy water is collected from a fountain at the monastery. The festival continues into the evening with a huge celebration where grilled meats (like souvlaki!) are cooked and devoured.
After all the preparations have been made, festivities culminate on the 26th when a liturgy is presented by the congregation at the mountaintop monastery. The views are awe-inspiring!
In August, the Festival of the Sardine takes place. This celebration is held in honour of the fishing industry in Benitses village, and the abundance of sardine fish found in the surrounding waters.
On the day of the festival, a large quantity of sardines are prepared for villagers and guests. The consumption of the fish is accompanied by traditional live music and dancing. However, because the Festival of the Sardine does not occur every year, you should confirm if it’s being held in the year you wish to come.
The Barracuda Swimming Pool is a private pool located opposite Bella Studios; you are welcome to use it for free so long as you purchase a snack or a beverage.
Benitses is a child-friendly village that welcomes couples and families alike. Because Benitses is not a party destination, it is exceptionally safe – even at night. The community has a playground, and the town square is a common place for children to meet and play with their friends.
Buses to Corfu Town run frequently (approximately every hour during summer), and the bus stop is conveniently located across the street from the hotel. These buses from Benitses to Corfu Town are known as the blue buses, and the travel time from the bus stop near Bella Vista to the old town centre takes approximately 25 minutes. There are also buses from Benitses connecting to the southern region of Corfu, and these run every 2-3 hours.
We hope that after reading this page, you will be intrigued to see Benitses Corfu for yourself, and enjoy a holiday at Bella Vista Hotel & Studios. Mere steps away from the dazzling Ionian Sea and the lush greenery that decorates the mountains, you can never get bored in Benitses.
In addition to being smitten with the surrounding area, the many festivals and local attractions of Benitses Corfu provide an opportunity for both cultural and intellectual stimulation that guests are sure to remember for a lifetime.
Please contact our hotel for booking reservations or any additional information that you may require. We look forward to seeing you soon, and we wish you safe travels to Benitses, Corfu!