Climb up the highest peak on Lefkada passing through lentil fields and high pastures. Stavrotas is without doubt Lefkada’s top mountain: it is the highest at 1182m, it is unencumbered with man made masts or buildings, it has impressive steep crags and screes, and has far reaching views in all directions. If you like mountains and come to Lefkada you must climb Stavrotas. If you can pick a day with clear blue skies and no mist or haze.
There is an alternate shorter yet steeper route: Stavrotas from road above Agios Ilias. You can use one to go up and one to descend as it isn’t far along a quiet road between the two trailheads.
This route starts from 940m leaving a mere 242m to climb. What a reward for such a small effort. However it is not to be taken lightly as the last section of path climbs up over steep rocks. The weather can change quickly at these heights with mists and high winds. In the summer the sun is strong and there is no water. Be prepared.
Start from the road between Eglouvi and Agios Ilias. The road goes round a tight bend just where a track and then a footpath heads up the hill. The footpath is marked with red blobs of paint.
This trail follows the footpath up the first part of this route. However the path is a little indistinct and so a little difficult to follow without a GPS map. A good alternative is to follow the track instead that runs in parallel with the footpath; which is much easier to follow. Or you can go up one and back down the other.
Follow the footpath up around high lentil fields and then up the slope to the left. You go over a low ridge to a plateaux with a track – follow the track right for a short distance where you join a second track coming from the right – this being the top of the alternative track route from the road. Keep going straight across the plateaux.
As you start to climb again the track is blocked and a path starts following the same route as the track but slightly down the hill. Take this path along and up to a small saddle of rocks. The red paint markers help you follow the trail. After the saddle you go left up to the start of the main slope up Stavrotas.
At this point a second path (Stavrotas from road above Agios Ilias) joins from the left with yellow dots. Carry on upwards and slightly rightwards following both yellow and red dots. Sometimes the yellow and red take slightly different routes for short distances but either path works. Climb up through a small field system and up onto the steep rocks of the last part of the climb.
Keep going up to the top. There is a slight false summit just before you get to the real summit. The real one is clearly the highest and has a small cairn, flag pole and shrine box.
The views from the top are the best in Lefkada. You can see up North over Preveza to Paxos and Corfu – South to Ithaca and Kefalonia – east to the Gulf of Corinth – west out over the Ionian Sea.
It is possible to walk along the ridge to the southern peak of Stavrotas. The going is rocky but you can pick a path that is no harder than the climb to the main peak.
Retrace your steps back down the path – possibly taking the track or path over the last part to vary your way down. Alternately go down Stavrotas from road above Agios Ilias in reverse and walk back along the quiet paved road.