Skaros mountain from Nikiana loop

This trial climbs up Skaros through the crags above Nikiana looping around the back to descend by track and road returning to Nikiana. The climb is a full 600m up through the oak forest and crags of the eastern flank of Skaros. When you look up Skaros from the Nikiana-Nidri road you see the towering crags. This trail takes a classic monopati to thread through those crags in perfect safety.

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

9.1km
540m ascent
Difficult

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Numerous hotels, tavernas and shops in Nikiana.

This path links with others on Skaros. Follow the track over Skaros mountain and down to the Red Church for superb views over Nidri. Alternatively trek along the amazing monopati to Kollyvata and eat at Maria’s taverna – from there you can call a taxi to get back to Nikiana.

Regular bus to Nikiana from Lefkada town and Nidri. Take the Nidri bus from Lefkada town and get off at Nikiana.

The trail starts from a road above Nikiana. If driving from Nikiana follow the signs to the Crystal Waters hotel and go to the uphill side of the hotel. From there, a surfaced but narrow and rough road climbs straight up the hill. Go round four hairpin bends climbing out the village and heading up the road through olive groves. In the middle of a straight section a track forks off slightly downhill on the left. The track is surfaced in concrete for the first 10m and marked by a painted orange arrow. Park here taking care not to block the road or access tracks. The trail starts along the track. If walking from Nikiana either follow the same road or take one of the numerous tracks.

Start of trail off left from road from Nikiana to Kollyvata

After a few hundred metres the track forks. Keep right climbing gradually up the hillside (ignoring two villa driveways).

Take the right track at the fork

After a few hundred metres more a monopati fork right off the track. Follow this path sloping up the hill.

Take the right monopati at the second fork

The monopati turns right and starts to climb up the right hand side of a stream-bed zig zagging up the hill. The trail is marked with orange and red painted markers from here to the top. The way is very clear but don’t mistake red lichen for paint.

Superb views from the monopati as it climbs up Skaros

After a climb up the right side of the stream-bed the monopati turns right to traverse up along stone ledges heading up to the steep crags above. The monopati zig zags up again before heading back left across the base of a tall crag with a small cave just above the path. The monopati zig zags up through a gully taking a clever and safe route up to the top.

The monopati cleverly twists and turns over rock ledges through the crags.

All the way up there are wonderful views across the Inland Sea. You can see north up to Lefkada town, Preveza and beyond. Directly east are the mountains of the mainland. South you can see down to Scorpios and Meganisi. Take time to savour these views. Also give a cheer for those that made this classic monopati in times gone by.

Amazing view south to mainland and Skorpios

As you come over the top you enter the oak forests of Skaros. Many of these trees are hundreds of years old – although many remain relatively small. These oaks are unique to Skaros.

The path heads up a small valley and over a pass to a short descent down to the sheep and goat huts of the Skaros high pastures. Take a well earned break and consider your choices. To your left is a track climbing to the top of Skaros mountain with great views south over Nidri. Straight ahead past the huts is a track climbing to another pass and then down to the Red Church. To the right is the track we will follow back to Nikiana.

Goat huts in the meadows high up on Skaros

The track right starts from a boulder with an orange “23” and arrow pointing along the track. This refers to the route of the 23km mountain run held every autumn. Follow right along the track (running if you feel up to it).

The track climbs a little and then starts to descend. You get good views to your right over Lefkada town and Preveza. After about 2.5km the track becomes surfaced just before joining the Nikiana-Kollyvata road.

Looking back as the trail rejoins the Nikiana-Kollyvata road.

Turn right down the road to Nikiana. After about 1.5km turn right (both roads go down to Nikiana but only the right one passes the starting point of this trail). Descend down the road through the pine forests to your starting point just before entering Nikiana. The road is very quiet and pleasant however if you have a second car or are using a taxi you can save this walk back down the road. Maria’s taverna in Kollyvata is a good place to wait for your taxi.

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