Karya to Profitis Ilias (M4)

Brilliant climb from the excellent hiking base of Karya up to the main peak above the village. There is a church on the top called Profitis Ilias. Warning – there are hundreds of churches on peaks in Greece called Profitis Ilias. This is the 1,009 metre peak just SSW of Karya that provides fantastic views. It is one of the best hikes on the island.

Map data ©OpenStreetMap contributors, SRTM
Map style ©OpenTopoMap (CC-BY-SA)

4.1km
550m ascent
Moderate difficulty

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Bus to Karya from Lefkada

Plenty of tavernas and accommodation in Karya

Links to trails down to Eglouvi

Start from the town square in Karya, with all the nice tavernas and the shade of the plane trees. There are coffee shops too, so either fortify yourself now or take note for your return.

Start of trail up hill between spring and bakery

This trail is marked as M4 from Karya – with red markers and arrow signs for most of the way. Go up the steep path/ narrow lane in the north west of the square, by the drinking well. There is a good baker as the path starts where you can get cheese pies for the top.

Follow M4 red arrows

Follow up through the steeply climbing streets going straight up – but bear a little left at first and then a little right. The path narrows and reaches a turning right up stairs. The M4 red arrows show you the way.

Turn right up stairs

At top of stairs you reach a road. Turn right and go a short distance to a monopati heading up the hill left.

The first section of monopati leaving the road.

The monopati zig zags up the hill passing through ruined stone buildings and past a small church. The path then goes left to meet a road on a sharp bend. Go up the road until a T junction where you turn right. Very soon a monopati starts up the hill on your left.

Second monopati leaving the final bit of road out of Karya

Follow the really nice monopati up the mountain. It passes a wonderful natural amphitheatre full of olive trees. Keep going up through some rocky outcrops (but with a good path to keep you safe). The path becomes slightly indistinct as you go over the brow of the ridge – take a mental note of your route if you are coming back this way.

When you reach the top of the ridge the vista west will open up. Below you is a quarry and over beyond that is the old American communications base. Descend a little towards the quarry where you reach a semi-surfaced road. Here you leave the M4 which heads round the quarry heading for Eglouvi. Instead take the road up the hill to your left.

Sci-Fi set or quarry below Profitis Ilias

Climb the twisting road up towards the top of Profitis Ilias. The odd car ventures up here, but it is being undermined by the quarry, and difficult to pass. As a walker you won’t have any problem. Half way up is a path to the right that is an alternative route across a few of the hairpins. But the hairpins of the road are the easiest.

Reach the mountain top and the very pretty church of Profitis Ilias with its amazing views in all directions. Many describe this spot as being close to heaven. You can see all of the Inland Sea from here – on a clear day to the entrance of the Gulf of Corinth.

Church of Profitis Ilias looking back over the last half of this trail

Note that this peak is a drone-free zone. And you can see why many would fly drones here if permitted.

Looking down to Eglouvi and Megalisi beyond from Profitis Ilias

After looking at the views (and eating those cheese pies) reverse your route back to Karya. Alternatively take the trail down to Eglouvi where there are infrequent buses back to Karya. Or walk from Eglouvi to Karya, although you need to be fairly fit to do all three hikes in one day.

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