I first visited Lefkada in 1993 on an all-in holiday on a beach next to Nidri. We sailed and explored the coast little venturing inland. Nidri was a small port with two places to eat – a smart Italian restaurant and a not-so-smart but nice Greek taverna. We ate at the taverna.
Since then Lefkada has grown and many more come here. The airport at Actio-Preveza cuts transfer times from hours to minutes. Many come and take advantage of the sheltered waters and predictable afternoon winds to sail, windsurf, kite-surf, paddle, jet-ski, or swim in the wonderful Ionian and Inland Sea. But the interior of Lefkada remains almost untouched. Even where tourist development has happened (almost exclusively on the coast) it uses traditional styles and is low-key.
Inland are mountains that soar to 1,200m (so climbable in one day), deep ravines and valleys, and extensive forests of oak and pine. Many old monopati (Greek for donkey or foot path) link the mountain villages and safely navigate the precipices. And the villages have tavernas and stone cottages; many offering holiday rental.
And I would like you to come and enjoy this wonderful island. And in doing so you will help to keep it alive. Some monopati are already lost to the encroaching forests. Every footfall on the path keeps them clear. Every Euro spent in the village tavernas keeps them open. But most of all come and enjoy this unspoilt paradise.
When we started exploring the monopati we were surprised how few are mapped. And although there are two books of walks and some marked trails, there was much more unmapped and undocumented. So we set about rectifying that. We add all monopati we know about to OpenStreetMap so you can see them on your phone or GPS mapping. This website gives the extra information so you can find and walk them.
We are now lucky enough to have a cottage in Alexandros – up on one of the Lefkada plateaus. One path passes our house. Give us a wave if you see us in the garden.
First of all you will find trails of Lefkada. These are a network of routes following monopati, failing that unsurfaced tracks, and as a last resort quiet surfaced roads. The trails take you from either village-to-village or village-to-mountaintop. A few follow the coast, streams and forests – for those hottest summers days.
Each trail is described with map and pictures to help you find your way – and to give you background information on history, geography, fauna and flora. Most paths are point-to-point but are designed so you can easily link them – with two or three forming a circular hike. Alternatively use buses, taxis, or friends with another car. Each trail description give suggestions for linkages or other transport.
There is the Resources section that lists convenient tavernas, hotels and accommodation near to the trails. This is not even close to a full list for Lefkada as there are other websites that fully list, review and book for you. Here we suggest only those that make the trails easier to use and accessible.
Although we prefer to walk the trails – many are good for cycling too. We indicate on trails where cycling is practical – although some daredevils will likely ride them all. All we ask of mountain bikers is to slow down when passing walkers – and we will step out your way if given time and a friendly warning. Also too, take care in mountain village narrow streets. There are many places where you can bomb along and only endanger yourself 😉
For anyone wanting to get actively involved in maintaining and growing the trail network, take a look at the mapping pages. We are always pleased to hear of monopati. We know other groups have been doing this for years – the Lefkada fell runners, walkers, and village associations. We are very grateful to them and gladly build this website on their excellent foundation.