Introducing the quaint town of Benitses, which is located 12 kilometers from the Old Town of Corfu. Benitses is a quiet village away from the bustle where guests are first greeted by fresh salty air, a warm smile, and the radiance of the Grecian sun. Wildflowers blossom from cracks in aged pavement. Leafy vines adorned with berries and fruit decorate the exterior of outdoor cafes. Our lovely island village, Benitses, is known for its refreshing local culture, wherein visitors experience the richness of the island firsthand, from people who live there. Our neighbors animatedly chatter in slender alleyways, their voices and laughter echoing brightly off pastel stucco houses.
The shores of Benitses exist in varying shades of blue, from aquamarine to cerulean. Lying on the white pebble shores of our beaches, travelers gaze out at the horizon where crystalline waters meet the dreamlike mountains in the distance. Here in Benitses, time exists in an idyllic vacuum, creating the perfect conditions to lose yourself in your own Mediterranean fairytale.
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 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 beautiful. It is precisely this enchanting otherness that draws thousands of travelers to Benitses each year.
Explore the rest of this page to learn more about Benitses, Corfu, where our hotel is located. You will find information about our beaches and the many attractions in the surrounding area. We hope to see you soon at our lovely little home away from home, Bella Vista!
BENITSES WAS ESTABLISHED DURING THE 13TH CENTURY, AND HAS BEEN CONSIDERED A SMALL FISHING VILLAGE EVER SINCE.
Benitses is nestled between the towering, tree-covered mountains of Corfu and the dazzling Ionian Sea. Conveniently located 12 kilometers from the Old Town and 9 kilometers from the international airport of Ioannis Kapodistrias, Benitses is a centrally located oasis. One of the oldest Corfiot villages, Benitses is known for its splendid natural beauty and its dreamy atmosphere. Benitses has long been privy to tourism, and for decades, has attracted the attention of international visitors.
Benitses’ name is derived from the ancient Greek word pinio (πηνίο): literally translated in English to coil. The winding tributaries that descend from the nearby mountains of Aghii Deka and Stavros meet and branch into two smaller rivers that give Benitses its name. The fresh spring water that runs through the village of Benitses drew early people to the area. Ruins of traditional Roman baths are still present in the village today.
The natural beauty of Benitses caught the attention of British tour operators during the 1970s, and as a result, Benitses quickly became a mecca for young tourists. They flocked to Benitses with set on partying, soaking up the sunshine, and unabashedly enjoying the nightlife in Corfu. The influx of rowdy young adults was received poorly by the residents of Benitses and nearly obliterated the village’s fishing industry. Traditional values held by locals were exchanged for capitalistic ideals driven by the allure of short-term profit.
The seclusion of Benitses beach offers guests more privacy than other beaches in Corfu; This is an attractive quality to those seeking a peaceful Grecian away from the crowds.
Benitses village is no longer privy to the waves of mass tourism characteristic of the 70s and the 80s, though, as you stroll into the village, you might notice remains of abandoned discos as they lean tiredly against marketplaces and restaurants. 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 local, traditional culture of Benitses. The village has successfully re-established its time-honored 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’ seafood restaurants.
Bella Vista Hotel & Studios are a very short walk from stunning Corfiot beaches, and naturally act 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! In addition, the town boasts a variety of renowned restaurants that suit all budgets and palates. Travelers 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. However, if travelers are looking to spend a fun night out, there are many options in Corfu Town or Kavos. Benitses, by night, primarily offers visitors quiet, intimate bars, taverns, and lounges. The village of Benitses also features a sprinkling of boutique shops along the main road that sell souvenirs or handicrafts at reasonable prices.
The village of Benitses is abundant in beauty. A short distance from the hotel, visitors can take a footpath which leads to the old springs of Benitses. 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 utilize 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 Aggii Dekka, and they provide an absolutely breathtaking view of both the East and the West side of the island.
RESPONSIBLE AND SUSTAINABLE TOURISM IN BENITSES
The turbulent nature of tourism continues to evolve in Benitses, where travelers are encouraged to revere and appreciate the traditional culture of the village while also enjoying a lovely Corfiot holiday. Benitses tends to attract history enthusiasts who are interested in more than the beach–local customs, culture, and religion have much to offer!
Today’s ecotourism movement encourages responsible travel while maintaining visitors’ ability to experience the local culture of Corfu. A mutually beneficial relationship between tourists and the community, ecotourism promotes the idea that sustainable growth and tourism can be viably achieved together, in harmony–not in contradiction to each other.
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 is of excellent quality, and has continuously met all of the rigid standards set by the FEE.
The coast of Benitses 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. Travelers 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 our guests entertained during their stay in the village we call home.
The following are some of the most popular attractions in this region of Corfu:
Achilleion Palace, a quick 3 kilometers from Bella Vista, was built under “Sissi,” an former Empress of Austria. The palace is now a museum open to guests that features opportunities to learn its rich history, then meander through the stunning gardens surrounding the property that overlook the sea and the mountains.
Mount Pantokrator is a destination accessible from the hiking trail adjacent to the hotel. It leads hikers to the mountaintop to take in the beautiful panoramic views of the island. This option allows for the exploration of ancient Corfiot villages and monasteries. Please ask for trail maps at reception!
Cruise ships depart from the harbor at Benitses and travel to surrounding islands and hot spots like Paxos and AntiPaxos. On the way to their destination, travelers enjoy a relaxing boat ride loaded with stunning views of the land and sea.
A nearby hiking trail gives way to a pristine forest and lush green pathways that will satisfy any nature-lover. Guests can follow this trail to the site of an old water spring where they can enjoy a quiet afternoon surrounded by nature.
A privately-owned international seashell collection, meticulously catalogued and organized, is a short distance away from Bella Vista. Informative tours of the collection are regularly led by the friendly and knowledgeable owners of the museum.
The way to Ancient Roman ruins are marked by a path nearby. Guests frequent the remains of traditional Roman baths, imagining what life might have been like for the first people to settle in Corfu.
The Achillio Race is a ½ marathon (10,000 meters) that begins at the School of Kinopiastes. Participants follow a path through the former Achillion Municipality to 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! Click for more detailed information regarding the route of the race, and the the villages it passes through.
From June 21st to June 22nd, there is a local custom honored 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 as they celebrate together with dancing, drinking, and feasting on traditional Greek dishes.
A festival held in honor of Saint Agia Marina, the patron saint of Benitses, is held from July 16th to July 17th. The church of Saint Marina was built on the banks of a river which once passed through the old village of Benitses. 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 mineral 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 view from the monastery is breathtaking, and the ceremony is enlightening and interesting for all of those present!
In August, the Festival of the Sardine takes place. This celebration is held in honor of the fishing industry in the village of Benitses, and its abundance of sardine fish in 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, guests should confirm if it is being held that year prior to making travel arrangements.
The Barracuda Swimming Pool is a private pool; guests are welcome to use it for free so long they purchase a snack or a beverage. (There are many more pools and beaches throughout Benitses that offer the free use of umbrellas and sunbeds to guests with the purchase of food or beverages!)
Benitses is a child-friendly village in Corfu and is very welcoming and accommodating to couples and families alike. Because Benitses is not a party destination, it is exceptionally safe and differs from some of the other areas on the island. Benitses is the type of town where residents leave doors unlocked without hesitation. 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 are 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 city center 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 after reading this page, you will be interested in joining us here in Benitses for a holiday at Bella Vista Hotel & Studios in Corfu, Greece. We offer guests an experience that will undoubtedly include both the dazzling Ionian Sea and the lush green mountains that lie just behind the coast. Travelers take part in recreational activities, the admiration of nature, and sheer relaxation at our lovely hotel. In addition to being absolutely taken with the surrounding area, the many festivals and local attractions of Benitses provide an opportunity for 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 may be needed. We look forward to seeing you soon, and we wish you safe travels to Corfu!