GREECE, MATHRAKI ISLAND, CORFU

2018 dates: 19-25 May | 26 May – 1 June | 2-8 June | 9-15 June | 16-22 June (speed week) | 23-29 June | 30 June – 6 July | 7-13 July | 14-20 July (Cassie Patten technique week) | 21-27 July (Cassie Patten technique week) | 1-7 Sept | 8-14 Sept  (speed week)
Prices: from £795 (please note Cassie weeks are from £895)

OVERVIEW

Karavi SwimQuest Greek Swimming Holiday Mathraki is a remote island in Greece and an incredible location for a swimming holiday. The Diapontia Islands (off the north west coast of Corfu) provide a range of distances, from bay swims all the way up to a 6km swim. This tour is ideal for anyone looking to lose themselves in a more relaxed way of life for a week. Mathraki provides a fantastic base from which to explore the surrounding archipelago and the extraordinary Kravia rock formations. Expect basic but comfortable accommodation on this quirky island, fantastic swimming, delicious home cooked food, and unbeatable Greek hospitality from the Argyros family.

essential information

  • Price: from £795pp
  • Relaxing island-to-island and coastal swims
  • Dates: May, June, July, September
  • Minimum swimming requirement 1km
  • Average daily swimming = 4km / day
  • Maximum group size: 10
  • Approx sea temperature range: 20-23  ̊C
  • Non-swimming partners welcome, although they should bring a book or three ... Mathraki is quiet! For any other questions, or if you would like to chat to a member of SwimQuest staff about this Greek trip, please contact Alice or Charlotte. 

    WHAT’S INCLUDED?

  • Accommodation in The Hotel Paradise, the only hotel on Mathraki
  • Swimming, assisted by safety boats where required and always escorted by swim guide/s
  • Breakfasts
  • Traditional home-cooked lunches
  • Safety boats
  • Swim guides
  • SwimQuest dry bag and swim cap
  • VAT

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED?

  • Travel to and from Mathraki Island (see ‘Getting there’ tab for more information)
  • Wetsuits and fins (if required)
  • Evening meals
  • Alcohol
  • Single room supplement (see accommodation tab for single supplements and room options)

MATHRAKI, A PLACE LIKE NO OTHER ...

Few people leave Mathraki without falling for its quirky charm. If you’d like a taste of what the island is like, you may wish to read Alice’s Outdoor Swimmer article - A Day in the Life of a Swim Guide or Sam Mould’s piece of descriptive writing - capturing why it was Mathraki stole a bit of her heart last summer.

where do we stay?

In Mathraki we stay at the family run Hotel Paradise. As Hotel Paradise is the only hotel on the island, it’s not unusual for us to have the hotel (and the island!) to ourselves. Our local hosts Giorgos, Giaannis and Nora provide fantastic home-cooked food and local knowledge, and look forward to welcoming you.

ROOM CHOICES

There are just seven rooms in the hotel. Unless you wish to opt for a single supplement, rooms are allocated on a twin / double share basis. Please indicate your room choice on the booking form when booking. Rooms are subject to availability.
  1. Psilos (£795 sharing, £895 sole use) is a basic but comfortable twin share on the first floor, with air conditioning, and a shared balcony. There is a sea view and this room looks out to the southern side of the hotel.
  2. Varkoysa (£795 sharing, £895 sole use) is a basic but comfortable twin share on the first floor, with air conditioning, and a shared balcony. There is a sea view and this room looks out to the southern side of the hotel.
  3. Diapolos (£845 sharing, £1045 sole use) is a larger, triple room on the second floor. It contains a double bed and a comfortably sized sofa bed. Diapolos has air conditioning and sole use of a balcony. It looks out to the east, over the Diapolos islands. A great room for a couple.
  4. Diakopos (£845 sharing, £995 sole use of either room, with shared bathroom) is a family apartment, with a twin share room and a double room, both separated by a corridor, but sharing a bathroom. Each room has air con and a door out onto alarge front facing balcony. Ideal for a couple and two friends, or a family.
  5. Karavi (£835 sharing, £1035 sole use) is a triple room, with a separate double room and a sofa bed in a kitchenette. Great for a couple or a small family. Karavi has air conditioning in the double room only, and the double room has a door out onto the hotels large front-facing balcony.
  6. Plateia (£810 sharing, £910 sole use) is a basic but comfortable double room on the top floor of the hotel, with air conditioning and a shared square balcony, which has a sea view.
  7. Trachia (£810 sharing, £910 sole use) is a basic but comfortable twin room on the top floor of the hotel, with air conditioning and a shared square balcony, which has a sea view.
Psilos Mathraki Hotel SwimQuest

Psilos, Hotel Paradise

Varkoysa Mathraki Paradise

Varkoysa, Hotel Paradise

Diapolos Mathraki Paradise SwimQuest accommodation

Diapolos (triple) Hotel Paradise

Diakopos twin share room SwimQuest Mathraki

Diakopos (twin share) Hotel Paradise

Diakopos Mathraki SwimQuest accommodation

Diakopos twin and double Hotel Paradise

Diakopos twin share room SwimQuest Holidays Mathraki

Karavi (double) Hotel Paradise

Traxia SwimQuest Holidays Mathraki Accommodation

Plateia (double) Hotel Paradise

Trachia (double) Hotel Paradise

Trachia (double) Hotel Paradise

swimming in mathraki

Your itinerary for the week is entirely based on the weather and your ability. On this page you will find some of the swims which you may complete during your week on the island. Most days involve a morning and an afternoon swim, returning to the hotel for a home-cooked lunch in between. If you are keen to participate in some but not all of a swim, that’s fine, let the guides know and you can hop back on the boat and just relax. We do not provide a day by day swim itinerary as the guides will structure the week carefully to ensure you get the very best swimming in the conditions you have each day.

Technique coaching

Cassie Patten teaching swimmingTechnique coaching is an important part of the week and is provided by your swim guides on every trip. You will be filmed at the start of the week from below and above the water, and the guides will work with you to analyse your stroke so that they can help you to improve as the week progresses.  You can of course take the footage home with you.

TRACHIA ISLAND TO KODRAGAS (2.5KM - 3.5KM)

SwimQuest Greek Swimming Holiday TrachiaTrachia is a small island off the North coast of Mathraki. The locals say that many of the buildings on Mathraki island were made using stone from Trachia. A beautiful, otherworldly swim, especially when the sea is flat. Keep an eye out for Mathraki’s turtle as you near Kodragas harbour! This swim can be extended with a loop around Trachia, conditions allowing.

PLATEIA ISLAND TO MATHRAKI (2.5KM - 3.5KM)

Plateia SwimQuest Swimming HolidaysAnother islet off the West coast of Mathraki Island, Plateia (meaning ‘table top’ in Greek) sits on the edge of a sea ledge, just before the sea floor shelves off into the deep starry blue. Swim from Plateia Island back towards Mathraki’s southern coast, enjoying watching the rocks rise and fall beneath you.

KARAVI ISLAND TO ARILLIS (3.5-4 KM)

Karavi SwimQuest Greek Swimming HolidayKaravi sits just off the coast of Corfu. On this swim, we boat over to Corfu’s coast, swim along the length of Karavi’s imposing cliffs, and then make a swim crossing towards Arillis bay, where we usually stop for lunch on Corfu mainland (much to the amusement of Arillis’ holiday makers!)

MATHRAKI TO KRAVIA ROCK (3KM)

Kravia Rock swimQuest Greek Swimming HolidayFrom the hotel balconies, you can see a tooth shaped rock jutting out of the sea. On a very still day, this crossing is spectacular ... fly along in the beautiful big blue and respect the ocean as you inch closer to the beautiful rock, before swimming in and around it’s arches and pebbles micro-beaches.

DIAPOLOS EXPLORE - 2KM

Exploring a cave around DiapoloThe Diapolos Islands are ripe for exploring. Spend 30 minutes with your hat and goggles watching the fish and bobbing along Diakopos’ north bay (keep a beady eye out for octopus here) and then make a short crossing to Diapolo and take a peek inside the caves.

MATHRAKI HOTEL TO HARBOUR - 2.5KM

Mathraki’s east coast SwimQuest Greek Swimming HolidayMathraki’s east coastline is a beautiful yellow-orange sand beach. Take your time to swim the 2.5km from Mathraki Harbour back along the coast towards to hotel, in time for a well deserved ice cream at the finish!

MATHRAKI WEST COAST 2KM - 5KM

Mathraki West Coast swimming holiday SwimQuestMathraki’s west coast is more dramatic than the east coast, with tiny pebble beaches and striking white rocks. If the wind is coming in from the east, this is an ideal swim to complete in the calmer waters. Time to stretch into that stroke and enjoy.

GETTING TO MATHRAKI ISLAND

SwimQuest Mathraki - getting thereAlthough remote, we have chosen Mathraki as one of our locations because it is easily accessible. We appreciate that you want to spend less time travelling and more time swimming! The easiest method of travel is to fly into Corfu, get a taxi across to Agios Stefanos harbour (on the west side of Corfu - please note there are two Agios Stefanos on Corfu) and then get the Mathraki Sea Taxi to Mathraki Island. Tour starts: Saturday at 5pm Tour finishes: Friday at 9.30am (after a sunrise swim)

GETTING TO CORFU

Fly to Corfu
Flying to Corfu is a three-hour flight from the UK. Airlines such as Easyjet, Monarch, and Ryanair provide regular flights from a variety of UK airports. Olympic Airlines provide flights from Greece to Corfu. For a variety of flight options we would recommend www.skyscanner.co.uk or www.kayak.co.uk.
Ferry to Corfu
There are many ferries to Corfu from Italy (Bari, Brintezi and Ancona) and from mainland Greece at Igoumenitsia and Patra. Most stop at Corfu along with more local ferry services so for more information please check with Direct Ferries on www.directferries.co.uk.

GETTING FROM CORFU TO MATHRAKI

Taxis from the airport to Agios Stefanos
There are a number of taxis outside the airport when you arrive. Come out of arrivals and you will see the taxi rank in front of you. An airport taxi to Agios Stefanos harbour is approximately €70-80. Make sure the taxi driver knows which Agios Stefanos harbour you need (emphasise ‘West’ and that you’re heading onto Mathraki). The taxi journey takes approximately 50 minutes. If you would like to pre book a taxi, we would recommend booking via www.corfutransfers.info.
Buses from the airport to Agios Stefanos
Getting to Mathraki

Agios Stefanos harbour

The local bus terminal is a short taxi ride from the airport where there is a regular green bus service that stops off at Agios Stefanos. The bus fare is approximately €4.00. Ensure the bus driver takes you all the way down to the little cafe by the harbour in Agios Stefanos.
Mathraki Sea Taxi (run by our hotel)
To circumvent all local ferry times (which an be extremely unpredictable) our hoteliers on Mathraki Island offer a sea taxi service from Agios Stefanos harbour. We can organise to pick you up on your arrival at Agios Stefanos Harbour and would highly recommend this option. The cost for a return journey per person is €50.
Local ferries
There are infrequent local ferries to Mathraki. Alexandros runs from Corfu Town and takes approximately 3-4 hours, and Pegasus runs from Agios Stefanos and takes 45 minutes. Timings vary from week to week. Please contact the office one week prior to your trip should you wish to take a local ferry, and we will check times with our local hosts.

What do I pack?

  • Alice Todd SwimQuest Swim Guide GreeceAt least 2 swimming costumes
  • Wetsuit (optional)
  • Swim fins (optional, although useful for additional speed and for technique drills if you have some)
  • 2 pairs of swim goggles – one clear and one tinted
  • Towel(s)
  • Small daypack/rucksack to use for your personal equipment/clothing during the day (note you will receive a SwimQuest dry bag)
  • Sandals/aqua shoes / flip flops – for getting wet
  • Insect repellent
  • Fleece or warm jumper
  • Sun hat, sun cream and sunglasses
  • A waterproof watch (optional)
  • A memory stick should you wish to take your video analysis home with you immediately
  • Travel insurance details
  • Trainers / sports gear (optional - if you like to run, there is a lovely 8-10km hill loop around the island – non guided, at your own risk)

Reading suggestions:

The Magus John Fowles

On a remote Greek Island, Nicholas Urfe finds himself embroiled in the deceptions of a master trickster. As reality and illusion intertwine, Urfe is caught up in the darkest of psychological games. Fowles expertly unfolds a tale that is lush with over-powering imagery in a spellbinding exploration of human complexities. By turns disturbing, thrilling and seductive, The Magus, like Mathraki, is a feast for the mind and the senses.  

My Family and Other Animals Gerald Durrell

If you haven’t read this already, this is a perfect opportunity. Just before the Second World War the Durrell family decamped to the glorious, sun-soaked island of Corfu where the youngest of the four children, ten-year-old Gerald, discovered his passion for animals: toads and tortoises, bats and butterflies, scorpions and octopuses. Through glorious silver-green olive groves and across brilliant-white beaches Gerry pursued his obsession, causing hilarity and mayhem in his ever-tolerant family.

Calling all artists!

Bring your paints! There will be sufficient downtime to have a dabble, and we are working up a nice collection of Mathraki art now, the island seems to inspire people... Samantha Mould - Mathraki
Speed Week Mathraki

MATHRAKI SPEED WEEKS

Mathraki is a remote island in Greece and an incredible location for swimming. The Diapontia Islands (off the north west coast of Corfu) provide a range of distances, from bay swims all the way up to a 10km swim. If you are capable of swimming 3km / hour or above, and are keen to spend a week swimming with a pod of a similar pace, then this is the week for you.

Just like our usual Mathraki weeks, there will still be plenty of time for relaxing, however there will be a focus on slightly longer distance swims at pace. Mathraki provides a fantastic base from which to explore the surrounding archipelago and the extraordinary Kravia rock formations. Expect basic but comfortable accommodation on this quirky island, fantastic swimming, delicious home cooked food, and unbeatable Greek hospitality from our host family.

For any other questions, or if you would like to chat to a member of SwimQuest staff about this speed week, please contact the office.

2018 TOUR DATES:

16-22 June | Sept 8-14

See top of page for other Mathraki dates, suitable for all abilities. 

USEFUL INFORMATION:

  • Sea temperature: approx. 18 – 23oC
  • Daily swimming distance: 2 – 6 km+, broken down into two swims per day
  • Swimming ability: This week is tailored to swimmers who are capable of swimming 3km / hour plus.
  • Are non-swimmers welcome? Absolutely – non-swimmers are welcome to join the tour and take advantage of peaceful Mathraki, although please note the island is small and remote – so bring a book or three!

WHAT’S INCLUDED?

  • Accommodation in a beach-side hotel (click to visit hotel website)
  • Swimming, assisted by safety boats where required and always escorted by swim guide/s
  • Breakfasts
  • Traditional home-cooked lunches
  • Safety boats
  • Swim guides
  • SwimQuest dry bag and swim cap
  • VAT

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED?

  • Travel to and from Mathraki Island (guests are advised to fly into Corfu airport, we can instruct on onward travel arrangements and can help organise boat transport across to Mathraki)
  • Wetsuits and fins (if required)
  • Evening meals
  • Alcohol
  • Single room supplement (see accommodation tab)

mathraki island technique weeks

SWIM COACHING FROM OLYMPIAN CASSIE PATTEN from £895pp Dates: 14-20 & 21-27 July 2018

Cassie Patten SwimQuestOlympic open water medallist Cassie Patten will join us again in 2018 to share her invaluable tips and knowledge about open water swimming. In addition to winning bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Cassie is a double world silver medallist and cup winner and European Champion. She made history as the first swimmer in the world to both final in the pool and medal in the open water events at an Olympics, and is one of only nine British swimmers to have won Olympic medals in the last 20 years. We work closely with Cassie to allow swimmers of every ability to improve their confidence, speed and efficiency in open water. Because of our small group sizes (max 12), our Cassie Patten tours ensure that every indivdual receives one-to-one advice and stroke analysis from Cassie and the SwimQuest guides, as well as the opportunity to complete some stunning bay, inter-island and coastal swims.

what is mathraki like?

TRIP INFORMATION PACK

Would you like to print out our trip information and have a read at your leisure, or pack the notes ready for your trip? Click here to download a printable pdf version of these notes. Don’t forget, if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

READY TO BOOK?

  • SwimQuest financial protection We’re excited about meeting you on tour. To book your swimming holiday, simply fill in the booking form below. Once you have submitted the form, Charlotte (our bookings co-ordinator) will be in touch to request payment and to help you with any additional requirements. A deposit of 30% is required to secure your place, and the final payment is due 8 weeks prior to departure. Payments can be made by debit / credit card, by cheque, or by bank transfer. SwimQuest is a proud member of the Travel Trust Association, the only travel network in the UK to guarantee 100% financial protection to the consumer, ensuring total consumer confidence. In booking with us, you accept our terms and conditions, which can be found here. If at any point you have any questions, feel free to contact us: Charlotte Benton | +44 7743 233803 | charlotte@swimquest.uk.com Alice Todd | +44 7825 301443 | alice@swimquest.uk.com

    Travel Insurance

    Please ensure you have adequate travel insurance before your tour, including cover for all the activities you are participating in. If you are in doubt that an activity is covered, you will need to contact your travel insurance provider for advice on cover. Fogg Travel Insurance are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and are used to covering escorted open water swimming trips. To book travel insurance through Fogg, please click here.