Lefkada Trail day 1 Lefkada Town to Nikiana

This walk runs from Lefkada Town main square to the small harbour of Nikiana. It takes in the pretty mountain village of Katouna about half way (there are tavernas there and both ends). The trail is inland in the hills above the coast for most of its route. This way you are walking along unsurfaced tracks for much of the route and completely away from the busy coastal highway. You also get some fantastic views.

480m ascent

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Accommodation and tavernas in both Lefkada Town, Katouna and Nikiana.

Frequent bus runs between Nikiana (from Nidri) and Lefkada Town.

Day 1 of the 80km Lefkada Trail.
Days [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

The trail is the first part of the Lefkada Trail. Also great as a one-way hike getting a bus or taxi back to Lefkada Town. It is easy walking underfoot and there is a fair amount of shade with taverna just over half way. It makes a good hot-day walk if you start early. In winter it is good for low-cloud days.

The trail starts from Lefkada main square. Go through the small streets towards the marina. At the main roundabout take the turn past the schools and then out towards the Nidri road. When you pass Lidl go right a short way to a small road going left beside a car wash. You leave leave urban for olive groves and hills.

After 200m take a track off left

After about 200m take a track off left. Keep right as this climbs up the hill. After about 1km the track turns into a surfaced but very quiet road. You start to get views across the Inland Sea and to mountains beyond. You are walking past the site of the ancient city of Nirikos founded in 2000BC, now mostly stones in the trees. Parts of the wall and a theatre have been excavated but currently closed to the public. After 1km keep straight on then join a another road going left.

Passing a very pretty church of Ag. Nikolaos

The road climbs the hill with hairpin bends. It passes the very pretty Ag. Nikolaos church and then traverses along the fir-clad hills of northern Lefkada. The road keeps changing between unsurfaced and concrete (usually on the steep bits). After 1.5km there is a road going left by a brown sign in Greek pointing back the way you came. Take the road left descending the hill.

Brown sign pointing back the way you came – turn left.

After a hairpin right there is a track going off right just as the road hairpins left again. Take that track. Descend through the trees ignoring turnings to the bottom of the valley. The track meets another coming down the valley along a delightful stream. Keep left downstream. You join another track and cross a ford. Then continue on the other bank going downstream. The trail forks right crossing the stream once more over a concrete bridge. Just 40m past the bridge take the second path right going up the hill.

Climb up through fine pine and olive trees

Climb following the path, through fine pine and olive trees, going generally up, ignoring side turnings servicing olive groves. After 0.5km you meet a concrete road. Turn right going gently uphill for 150m to where a monopati turns sharp left back up the hill. Climb the wonderful monopati to Katouna village.

Wonderful monopati goes up to Katouna

The monopati joins the road towards the village main square. At a sign to Karia and Lazarata this trail will go straight on, but first go left into the square and three tavernas. One is open all year closing only during afternoon in winter.

Katouna village square with tavernas

Return to the trail going left and follow the road up through the pretty village. Keep straight on climbing until you get to a large disused building with several large eucalyptus trees outside (which you can see ahead as you come through the village). Keep right then left keeping the building and trees to your immediate left. Just past the building turn right at the slightly staggered cross roads. The track is now unpaved saved for a few concrete sections past villas. As it starts to descend you see your destination at Nikiana port ahead. Skaros mountain, to the right behind the port, is your target tomorrow.

Nikiana port with Skaros mountain to right

Keep right at the first fork near building plots. Leave villas behind and descend the track about 1km to a turn off sharp right. Go right as the track becomes grassier. After another 1km go left at a T junction. After a concrete section down a steep hill go second right down the small valley.

Turn second right down the small valley

Keep going straight on past some villas. The track joins a tarmac road over a bridge. Turn left and walk along the road following the stream until you reach the main Lefkada-Nidri road. Turn right and go a short distance around the bay into Nikiana along the wide verge. Take care as some cars go very fast. There are good swimming beaches around the bay followed by shops, tavernas and hotels along the road and in the small port.

Nikiana port

An alternative to the short section of main road is to go right as you first join the smaller tarmac road. Walk about 1km to a T junction and then go left into Nikiana. This goes past quite a few compounds with noisy dogs.

After a rest in the tavernas you can return to your base – there are frequent buses running between Nidri and Lefkada town that stop near the port. Or stay in one of the hotels in Nikiana if on the The Lefkada Trail and tomorrow you set up Skaros on day 2 Nikiana to Karya.

If on The Lefkada Trail then there are also options to stop in Katouna overnight.

Lefkada Trail day 6 Ag. Petros to Cape Doukato

This walk runs from the mountain village of Ag Petros down to the cape and lighthouse on the south tip of Lefkada. It follows a set of tracks running through the pine forests on the long tail of Lefkada. The trail is mostly monopati and unsurfaced tracks for the the first half of the route – there are fairly quiet (depending on season) surfaced roads as you get near the cape. It gets pretty remote down at the cape.

An alternate start is from Vasiliki. Walk across the bay and climb the steep zigzag path straight up to the the pass. Keep over to the right near the top and join the track described below just after the mobile phone masts.

570m ascent
Moderate (but long).

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Tavernas and limited accommodation in Ag. Petros. Almost nothing at the cape.

You really need to use a taxi or have a friend/partner that drives – especially from the cape.

Day 6 of the 80km Lefkada Trail.
Day [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

The trail is the sixth and final part of the Lefkada Trail taking you down to the southern tip. It is a relatively easy walking (but long) and gives a fine range of views as you head down to the cape.

Start off from Agios Petros heading up on the road towards Chortata. Keep going out of the village through the large pines. Be careful of cars as it is a busy road. After 500m there is a concrete ramp up left leading to an unsurfaced track heading back south.

Turn left on the track 500m north of Agios Petros

The track runs across the slope and gently climbs. You get great views out over the Vasiliki valley and beyond to the south coast of Lefkada. Vasiliki has a long-held world reputation for windsurfing and you will likely see surfers in action in the bay. The hill you are on generates regular afternoon breezes which, combined with the sheltered flat-waters, makes perfect windsurfing conditions.

The view down to Vasiliki

After 3km you pass mobile phone masts to the left then right – ignore the forks left then right to those mast – keep straight between them. You then curve right up to the pass between Kouforpodi and Mega Vouno. After you go over the pass (just before a concrete rain-collection tank) you get to a very muddled crossroads with paths going everywhere. You want a clear track going left along the ridge south.

The track heading south just after turning left at the muddled crossroads

The track now follows below the ridge line as you head south. You get great views down the steep fir covered steep slopes to the west coast of Lefkada. After 4.5km you descend to a tarmac road. Turn left along the road. Almost immediately there is a summer-only kiosk selling drinks and snacks. Past this after 400m there is track heading right down the slope. There is a “40km” sign right beside the turning (but not 40km for this trail).

Turn right down the track at the 40km sign

The trail descends down the hill. Keep straight on at all turnings keep heading south and down along the coast. After about 1.5km you reach a track turning sharp right just above a new cluster of small villas. Take that track down past the villas to a road.

Turn sharp left to the track descending down and past some new small villas.

You meet a tarmac road where you turn left. This road runs to the famous Porto Katsiki beach which attracts quite a few visitors in summer. Fortunately you only go 200m.

Turn left onto the track just before the concrete water tank.

The road goes round a corner to the left where a track goes left just before a concrete water tank. Take the track that slowly climbs up across the hill round the top of the bay towards a phone mast near the top.

The cliffs, turquiose sea and beaches of the west coast of Lefkada

When you reach the phone mast take a look back for a great view of the west coast of Lefkada – with its white cliffs cascading down to turquoise seas and golden beaches. Turn back south along the track another 50m for the opposite view south. Now you see your destination with the lighthouse at Cape Doukato with Ithaca and Kefalonia beyond.

The last 5km ahead down to the cape and the end of the trail

Take the short track right to join the tarmac road going right. After 50m the road hairpins to the left and a path takes a shortcut right to join the road again and the next hairpin further down the slope. You now rejoin the road and almost immediately take a turning right towards the cape.

You now follow the road for 5km to the cape. The long tail of the island is very narrow (almost a knife edge in parts) and so only really room for the road. The views are stunning to compensate. Keep one eye watching for cars heading for the cape.

The knife edge road approaches the lighthouse on the cape

Just before you reach the lighthouse car park a track goes off to the left running below and parallel to the road. That track continues past the car park and continues the last few hundred metres over the rocks to the cape itself. If you miss the left turn take the track at the end of the car park and scramble left down to the track before it gets to the cape.

The end of the trail at Doukato Point

Sit down. Have a celebratory drink / chocolate bar / cheese pie – whatever you have. Take in the view across the sea and also consider what you have seen and achieved over the last six days. Well done, you join the roll call of the Lefkada Trail veterans.

Best plan is to arrange for a friend, partner or taxi to collect you from the lighthouse car park. Take a look at the lighthouse and the impressive cliffs to the west of the cape as you wait for the lift. If uber fit you could walk back to Vasiliki sticking to the road – or back to Porto Katsiki beach to pick up an infrequent bus. But I think you have earnt a taxi.

Do tell us about it on Instagram @lefkadatrails or Facebook. We will use your experience to help improve this website and guide future trail walkers. Not only that, but the early pioneer walkers of the whole trail that tell us online will get free T shirts.

Free T shirt for the early walkers of the whole trail

Lefkada Trail day 2 Nikiana to Karya

This walk runs from the small harbour of Nikiana to the mountain village of Karya. It climbs up and over Skaros mountain, past Alexandros, and across the Livadi polje (see below) to the mountain village of Karya. The trail is along monopati and unsurfaced tracks for almost all the route. You also get some fantastic views and walk through hidden wildlife paradises. This is probably one of the most varied trails on this website; it takes you from sea to mountains.

This works well as a day walk, get a bus/taxi to Nikiana and then back same from Karya. Or walk just part of the trail; Alexandros to Karya being good as a short gentle route.

870m ascent

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Accommodation and tavernas in both Nikiana and Karya.

Frequent bus runs between Nikiana (from Nidri) and Lefkada Town. Also an infrequent bus to Karya to Lefkada Town. You ideally need to use a taxi or have a friend/partner that drives.

Day 2 of the 80km Lefkada Trail.
Day [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

The trail is the second day of the Lefkada Trail. It is a steep climb up Skaros mountain – then easy tracks across to Karya via Kollyvata and Alexandros.

The trail starts in 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.

Trail goes 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 turn 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. To the right is the track we will follow.

Goat huts in the meadows high up on Skaros. The trail follows the track going off right.

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 for about 200m. At a bend in the track a big red arrow points to a monopati heading up right through the trees. Take that monopati and follow the red marks up a small wooded valley to the top where there are several very large ancient oaks.

A big red arrow shows the monopati going left in a corner of the track

Keep following the red marks as you go over the hill joining other paths coming in from the left. Keep right and start to traverse and gradually descend on the other side of the hill. The red marks get less frequent as the path becomes clearer.

The western slopes of Skaros

The trail now follows a classic monopati that traverses across and down the Skaros peaks. The path is very clear and at times you walk over a gently descending stone ledge – a marble walkway. This is possibly one of the best examples of the monopati network that once covered all of the island.

The classic monopati traversing Skaros

After 3km you pass an old monastery to your left and reach a road. Go straight over the road and continue on a second monopati. This monopati runs a short distance down to a second road. Go right down to a car park behind a church and take the footpath running down the left of the church – following a dry stream bed (maybe wet if it has rained recently). At a path junction go left and down a short path beside Maria’s taverna to the road in the centre of Kollyvata.

The trail arrives in Kollyvata at the side of Maria’s taverna

Stop for refreshment if the taverna is open. Maria prefers for you to phone ahead if you want food, but she can usually give you a drink unless closed. Opening hours are irregular unless you have booked.

Turn right along the road out of Kollyvata. At the first junction keep left and go 500m across to Alexandros village. As you enter the village there is a junction with an old school on the left and a concrete watertank on the right. Take the turn right, passing between two old windmill towers and descending into a small valley. Just before you get to the bridge over the stream (likely dry) a track goes sharp left down a concrete ramp into the thick forest. Take that track.

Track turn off the road sharp left down towards the Livada polje

The track descends down a valley to the Livadi plain (or polje). A polje is an area that has no visible outlets for streams, except through the limestone surface. Indeed Livadi is usually flooded in winter. Most paths are on causeway and passable but be prepared for short detours if rains have been very heavy recently. It is a magical place when flooded with lots of wildlife so possibly the best time for this walk. Karya village, your destination, is on the hill on the other side of Livadi.

Livada polje looking back from Karya with Skaros mountain on far right

Keep right on the track as it descends to the bottom of the polje. The track turns to the right and passes some tall trees. Here is divides. If you go left the path runs straight across the polje, crossing one road before reaching a second. If it isn’t flooded go that way. If that way is flooded, instead go straight on along the base of an earth dam (to your right) directly to the road. Take the road left crossing directly towards Karya.

Tracks on causeways over the flooded Livada polje towards Karya (photo taken in December)

As you reach the far side of the polje keep going straight on on the road past some farm sheds and climb the steep wooded slopes up to Karya. The road zigzags up joining another road coming up from the left. A little way after a hairpin left a road turns off right going up. Take that road and keep straight on, through Karya village, past a school, until you get to the village square.

Karya town square

Karya square is a delightful place to rest. There are several tavernas, cafes and shops around the square shaded by large plane trees. Accommodation is available in the village and a bus connects back to Lefkada town.

If you are on the Lefkada Trail day 3 starts tomorrow from Karya square.

The Lefkada Trail 80km Lefkada Town to Cape Doukato

All-new long distance hiking challenge. Walk the entire length of the island from Lefkada Town to Cape Doukato following monopati and unsurfaced tracks. The trail traverses the island spine going over mountain peaks and passing majestic viewpoints. The full 80km is split into six day-stages with breaks in pretty Lefkada mountain villages. The walk is amazing, each day being very different to each other. See the huge variety that Lefkada offers.

OneLefkada Town to Nikiana14.5km480m
Twoto Karya13km870m
Threeto Eglouvi6.5km560m
Fourto Ag. Ilias15.5km930m
Fiveto Ag. Petros10.5km525m
Sixto Cape Doukato20km570m

Many parts of mainland and islands of Greece have long distance hiking trails. Now Lefkada does too. At the moment this trail is unofficial, but still very lovely and easy to follow using the free descriptions and GPX files on this website.

You will have to make transport and accommodation arrangements yourself. There is great advice in a post by Sally and Miles, amongst the first to walk the trail completely independently of us. The island is small and there are several taxi firms – either to take you to and from the trail from your choice of central hotel, or to transport luggage between hotels on-route.

A good strategy is to start the walk based at a hotel in or near Lefkada Town and then to switch to a hotel in Vasiliki once past Eglouvi. If you want one hotel for the whole week then Nidri is most central. Use taxis to take you to and from the trail (all those towns have local taxis). If you have non-hikers in your group they can enjoy the beach and drop you/pick you up in a hire car.

Lefkada hotels are almost all in the coastal towns and villages. Inland there are many cottages and villas for rental, although many are a week minimum and not set up for walkers. You may find more flexibility out of the summer peak. If you have a car then you could rent a villa for a week and arrange transport to each days walk.

Another option is to light-weight camp on trail. Officially wild camping is not permitted but tolerated in many places – especially if beside the trail for the night in a quiet location, of which there are many along this route. There is little water away from the villages as limestone makes streams dry except in winter rains. In summer don’t even think of fire as forest fire is a huge problem and killer in Greece. You will likely want to break for the night at slightly different locations than the villages suggested. Also take care to avoid agriculture as many small patches of land are crops and all olive groves are harvested. The tavernas in villages are often open all day (except mid-winter) and you can eat/drink while passing the villages at almost any time of day – so you can get by without carrying cooking equipment. Just a supply of cold snacks and a cold meal if stuck (and water of course). I am sure I don’t have to say – never leave rubbish behind.

Companies are now offering guided hikes along this trail. Tell us if you are thinking of doing this too, or offer accommodation and trail-transfers packages.

Do tell us if you walk the whole trail. We will give free T shirts for early pioneer hikers who finish and post about it online. Tell us too if you just walk one of the stages. If you think we can improve any parts, or if you have tips for fellow hikers, we would love to know. Instagram @lefkadatrails or on Facebook.

Free T-shirts for early pioneers that walk the whole trail and tell us about it online

The objectives for this route, in order of priority, are:-

  • Traverse from north to south using reasonable day-stages ending in villages.
  • Follow unsurfaced trails and monopati whenever possible. Failing that use quiet roads.
  • Visit the best parts of the interior of Lefkada whilst maintaining progress from north to south without retracing steps.
  • Use trails that are all good day-hikes in themselves, not just making distance.

Dessimi to Poros cape loop

This walk runs right around the glorious Poros cape in the south east corner of Lefkada. The trail starts either from Poros village itself or from Kamari beach on the east side of the cape near Dessimi (both on exactly the same loop path). You can also walk Dessimi to Poros or vice-versa for a one-way route. This description starts from Kamari beach. Walk in the cool of the morning then enjoy the afternoon on the beach. Perfection.

8.8km (13.2km if starting and ending in Dessimi)
500m ascent

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You ideally need a car or taxi to reach the start of the trail. There is an infrequent bus to Poros from Lefkada town and regular bus to Vlycho.

Start the walk in either Dessimi, Kamari beach 2.2km from Dessimi or Poros. Camping and tavernas in Dessimi and Poros.

You can drive to Kamari beach on a track running from Dessimi. Keep to the right all through Dessimi past campsite and car parks and drive along the coast for 2.2km. The track is mostly unpaved but an easy drive in a car if you go carefully. Alternatively park in Dessimi and walk along the track.

After 2km the track passes a bay and turns sharp left, runs down a slope, and then sharp right opening out to a beach (Kamari). Half way down the slope a monopati goes off right up a steep bank (sometimes hard to spot). This is the start of the trail. Best to park near the beach and walk back a short way to the start. You will end up on the beach at the end of the walk.

Monopati turns off right up a steep bank

Climb up the monopati as it twists and turns up the steep slope. This is a classic old monopati and would be an easy path zig zagging up the steep hillside. However this section is often in danger of being overgrown. Several groups clear it now and again. If you can, take a pair of loppers and clip the worst as you walk. It is too good a path to lose to the undergrowth.

The monopati climbs 300m and then goes over the top of the hill by a large antenna. A track runs up the other side of the slope to the masts and beyond – take this track down to the left. The track slowly descends across the hill until you reach the edge of Poros village. Drop into the village to get a drink in one of the tavernas.

After visiting Poros return to the track as it goes out beyond the village. The track climbs up to a saddle and then starts descending again out towards the cape. Ignore a track off right and then three off left.

Wonderful views from the track around Poros cape

The track rounds the cape and starts heading back north again. All the way are wonderful views off to the sea and islands south and east of Lefkada. Gradually descend sweeping in and out of ravines passing down the slope.

The track descends twisting in and out of ravines

Eventually the track reaches sea level at the other end of Kamari beach you started from. Walk along the beach, have a swim in the crystal clear waters, contemplate the beauty of Lefkada.

Rejoin your car or walk the 2.2 km to Dessimi where there are beach tavernas.

Mount Elati Five Peak Loop

Stunning walk across the roof of Lefkada. A trail with the best views of the north, east and south of Lefkada with the surrounding seas, islands and mainland. Takes in five peaks on the high plain of the eastern end of Mount Elati – the highest part of Lefkada. And all for a mere 166m of climbing. The easy way to be a mountaineer.

If you want a full-on longer hike then walk up the A4 trail from Eglouvi, go around this trail, and then go back down the A5 to Eglouvi. This makes probably the best mountain hike on Lefkada. In total 600m of ascent and 11.5km long.

You won’t have to climb but do take suitable clothes, boots or walking shoes and carry plenty of water. The weather up here is usually more extreme than down below except being cooler in summer. The sun is stronger though.

166m ascent
Easy (but very rocky ground in parts).

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You need a car or taxi to reach the start of the trail. You can walk up from Eglouvi if you are fit.

Links to trails up and down to Eglouvi, or beyond to climb Stavrotas too.

The trail starts from the high road by the antenna at the top of Mnimati at 1,130m. Drive up from either Eglouvi, Karia, Chorta, or Sivros. Take the turning off the high road crossing from Eglouvi to Sivros leading up to the antenna station at the top. Park just before you get to the antenna gates – near to a concrete blockhouse up on the right of the road. Do not block the road or tracks leading off.

Track at the start of the trail leads north-east from the road just below the radio antenna

Take the track heading north-east. There is sometimes a metal fence that you need to locate and untie the wire or rope that holds the track gate closed. Take care and don’t damage the fence (it keeps the cows in). Make sure you re-tie as you found it.

Head along the track with views all the way up to Lefkada town in the distance. After about 300m the track turns sharp left and a marked path goes right. The path is marked with big red and yellow paint marks on the rocks – and is the A4 trail coming up from Eglouvi. Follow that path rightwards all the way to Katharia Rachi – the first peak. The path descends at first to a low pass before climbing up gently to Katharia Rachi after 1.5km. You can’t miss the red and yellow paint marks all the way.

Distinctive read and yellow paint blobs mark much of the trail.

Katharia Rachi is marked with a sign in a small cairn. Also the slope suddenly drops steeply down in front of you and to both sides. You are now at the top of the most glorious view in all of Lefkada. Look north towards Lefkada and Preveza beyond – on a clear day up to Paxos and Corfu. To the east is Nidri, out across the Inland Sea with Meganisi, Kalamos, and the mainland. To the south is Ithaca and Kefalonia beyond. To the south-east on a clear day is the start of the Gulf of Corinth and Patras. Stunning. Sit here and enjoy.

Stunning panorama view from Katharia Rachi

When you have finished looking take the path heading sharp-right almost back the way you came. The same red and yellow paint marks descend down and right down to high pass below you. After about 200m the marked path turns back left and descends more gently to the pass. The path then turns right and goes over a low hill until it reaches a T junction with an unsurfaced track. The paint marks go off right, and you will eventually go that way too, but first turn left and follow the track downwards.

Your destination ahead on Alevrata peak

The track descends to another pass where it ends and a path ascends a peak in front of you. Take that path to the top. At the top you stand on Alevrata with a similar amazing view as you had on top of Katharia Rachi except oriented more to the south. You can now see over the whole south of the island with Ithaca and Kefalonia beyond. Again, sit for a while and enjoy.

When ready retrace your steps down the path back down to the first pass and then back up the track you came down. Follow the track all the way until you pick up the red and yellow paint marks. Follow the track as it winds across the high plateau. There may be wire fences to cross but most have tied “gates” where crossing the track. Leave them as you found them as they stop the cows roaming.

Track winds across the high plateau

The track eventually climbs back up to the road near the radio antenna at the top of Mnimati. At this point the paint-marked trail follows the A5 down to Eglouvi. Instead follow the road right towards the antennas and your parked car.

Follow the road back right towards the antenna

This trail can be easily linked into the trails A4 and A5 up and down from Eglouvi. You can also head along the short road to the start of the trail up Stavrotas – and go for a sixth peak.

Mellisa Gorge Loop

Walk down into the delightful Mellisa Gorge in the hills above Lefkada town. This gorge is frequently mentioned in guides to Lefkada as a great place for a shady walk beside a stream in the impressive Mellisa Gorge – and indeed it is. However the path through the gorge itself is in extreme disrepair and most of the wood bridges are rotting and very dangerous. Hence you can’t safely traverse into the deepest part of the gorge. But this trail takes you to all the safe parts of the gorge and adds a loop up and back through Kavalos village to make a circular walk.

If you want an alternative gorge have a look at the Klousouria Gorge on the other side of the island.

330m ascent
Moderate (Easy if you just visit the gorge and return)

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Many hotels, tavernas and shops in Lefkada town.

There are several walks in the gorge and valley – a nice one starting from Lefkada village. Unfortunately none of the paths in the gorge link up so you need to walk into the gorge from different directions. This trail takes in the best bits (at least as far as safety allows).

You need a car or taxi to reach the start of the trail. You could take the Karia bus from Lefkada town and get off at the monument, and then walk the 3km to the start.

Drive up the road out of Lefkada town towards Lazarata. About half way up there is a monument on the right hand side (commemorating the 1819 uprising against the British). Immediately in front of the monument is a narrow road going right. Follow the twisty road for 3.5km until an unsurfaced track goes downhill on the right signposted to the Mellisa Gorge. Park here without blocking the road or other tracks. A few drivers go a little down the track to park, but it is pretty rough for a car.

Start of the trail down to the Mellisa Gorge. Park here without blocking the road or track.

Head down the track going left at the first fork and then keeping on going down the hill. After a few hundred metres you reach a stream with a collapsed wooden shelter followed by a wood arch across the track. More interestingly on the left are signs of an ancient cave that has collapse leaving old stalactites on the cliff wall.

Cliff wall of old collapsed cave system.

Carry on down through the wooded valley down to the start of the gorge. Here is a stone shelter and wooden fences indicating the start of the “official” gorge hike. The gorge runs left and right with dead-ends at the end of the path for each.

Path through the Mellisa Gorge with collapsed hand rail.

First take the path to the left going up the gorge. The narrow stone-surfaced path follows the banks of a lovely stream gently climbing through trees. There used to be a wood handrail but this has almost all collapsed. However the path is easy and the biggest danger is tripping on one of the remaining metal supports. Go a few hundred metres until the path joins a track and then terminates in a grassy area. Good for a rest or picnic. Afterwards retrace your steps back down the path.

On returning to the stone shelter keep left as the stone-surfaced path heads this time downstream. Again, go a few hundred metres as the gorge starts to get narrower and steeper. You meet a track fording the stream and heading off into a valley up to the left (you will go up this track in a moment). The stone-surfaced path heads down into the gorge proper and starts to get very narrow and steep. However the path crosses over increasingly high wooden bridges over the gorge and back again – all of which are in serious disrepair. The wood floorboards are all rotting and several have already broken leaving big gaps. We recommend going no further down the gorge as it is just too dangerous. We will watch to see if they get repaired and update this trail accordingly.

The bridges are now too dangerous to cross – especially where they get higher.

If you came just to see the gorge, go back to the track you came down and hence back to your car. If you are up for the the full loop, head back only as far as that valley that went off left, now right as you are now looking the other way :-). Walk up the track climbing this lovely tree-lined valley.

The start of the valley leading away from the gorge.

Follow the track running up the base of the valley. You pass a huge quarry cliff face up on the right. Ignore the tracks heading into this quarry. Shortly after the track ends in a grassy area. Follow an indistinct path going right straight up the steep hill – just to the left of a small gully filled with thick vegetation.

Head up the steep bank to the left of the thick vegetation

After about 100m the path becomes much clearer before becoming a track zig-zagging up the steep slope. Ignore tracks leading off into olive groves and keep to the main track continuing upwards. After a long climb the track meets a surfaced road. Head left along this road.

Views back across Mellisa Gorge to Lefkada town and mainland

The road climbs, a little less steeply, around the gorge top around to the pretty village of Kavallo. You get great views across the gorge and down to Lefkada town and the mainland beyond. As you approach the village there is a crossroads (or double fork) on the saddle of a hill; take the left turn ahead. Heading into the village you can either keep to the road or take a short track running around to the left – both end up in the village. Once in the village you pass the village church with a distinctive metal lattice bell tower.

Church bell tower in Kavallo

Just after the church, there is a turning off left marked back to the “Mellisa Gorge”. You will turn left down this road, but first walk 50m further past the junction where there is a small taverna on the right. After refreshment head back to the Mellisa Gorge road.

Turn to “Mellisa Gorge” in Kavallo village

The road starts to head back down around the other side of the gorge. It is down hill all the way from here. After going round a few bends, just after passing a cemetery on the right, there is a further turning left again marked towards the gorge. Go down this road as it starts to descend more steeply. After winding down through several olive groves, and passing an old stone watermill on the left, it eventually reaches the track where this trail started.

Katouna Valley and Forest Loop

Beautiful walk from Katouna village climbing up along a stream, climbing over a hill for wonderful views, and back down to Katouna. Best in spring when there is water in the streams and all the flowers are out – but great all year round. There is a fair bit of shade and so works on a hot summer day if you start early. There are several alternative loops around Katouna but this one minimises time spent on surfaced roads.

335m ascent

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Tavernas and holiday lets in Katouna.

One of several possible circular paths from and around Katouna. Use a good map and follow almost any of the tracks and quiet roads on the hills around Katouna. This route avoids most of the surfaced roads whilst visiting many of the pretty parts.

Infrequent bus to Katouna from Lefkada town.

Starts from the the village of Katouna up on the hill above the Lefkada town to Nidri road. Park in or near the small town square. There are good tavernas in and around the square for provisions for your walk or refreshment afterwards. There is a spring part way round the route but best to carry water in case it is dry.

Taverna in Katouna village square – start (and end) of the trail

Walk up the road on the right hand side of the taverna and turn almost immediately first right on a track between the houses. Go about 100m along this track until a monopati forks off right dropping down the hill. Follow the monopati down.

The monopati forks off right

Descend the monopati until it reaches a narrow road. Turn right and go down the road for about 200m until a grass track turns off sharp left between the trees. Be careful as there is another very short track heading off left into an olive grove just before the track you want.

Grassy track turns sharp left off the road.

The track meanders down to the bottom of the valley through trees, across grass meadows and olive groves. The track is slightly indistinct in parts but easy to follow if you watch out or follow a GPS map. You reach a well-laid gravel track running along the bottom of a valley. From this point you go through three path junctions as you go up the valley. If you turn away from going up the valley before passing those three junctions you should check the map.

Start by turning left up the valley. Almost immediately the track hairpins to the right and another track goes leftwards (up the valley). Follow that left-hand track continuing up the valley. After a short distance the track fords over the stream and gradually turns to the left. At that point a grassy track forks off right continuing to follow the stream on its left-hand bank.

A grassy track forks off right just after fording the stream.

Follow the grassy track up the left bank of the stream. It becomes more distinct as it goes. As it hairpins right across the stream another track turns off left. Take the track, keeping on up the stream. You have now now successfully navigated the three junctions.

The track soon turns into a grassy path and then turns left to start climbing up out of the valley. The path climbs up and to the left up a steep slope – which in winter and spring can be a little muddy underfoot as a side-stream flows along it for part of the way. Eventually you reach a track. Turn right and follow up the track.

The track is rather wonderful as it runs through mature forest climbing up the hill. You start to get views back to Katouna and the east coast of Lefkada. After about 1.5km you join a bigger track as it hairpins. Keep on left up the hill. After another 0.5km you join a quiet surface road. Go left up the hill.

Follow the road now for about 1.5km as it climbs up to a higher valley and then up that valley to a pass. About half way there is a welcome spring on the right side of the road. The spring has a tap with drinking water – but best not to drink direct from the stream. There is also a lovely old bridge from before the monopati was turned into a road. After resting here continue up the road to the pass.

Roadside spring with the old monopati stone bridge

At the top of the pass four surfaced roads and two unsurfaced tracks meet. You want the unsurfaced track going slightly down almost directly straight-on from the surfaced road you just came up. It is the right-most of the two unsurfaced tracks and runs immediately to the left of the small farm and goat huts. Consult the map if unsure. You are at the highest point of the trail. You could get driven here by taxi and just walk down to Katouna – making this an easy walk for a hot day.

The unsurfaced track on the left side of the small farm.

After a short distance down the track keep left at the fork. Follow the track as it traverses around the steep hillside. Enjoy wonderful views across to Skaros mountain with its pine and oak forests. Also down to the Inland Sea on the east coast of Lefkada. This part of the track makes all that climb up worthwhile. It ends at a quiet surface road. Turn right down the road.

Views of Skaros and the Inland Sea

The road is almost as good as the track as it winds 2km down along the ridge and hills back down to Katouna. Turn right at the fork, then keep straight on at the next junction – then turn left at the last T junction heading into Katouna village. When you get into the houses of the village bear right between the houses to reach the square where you started. Enjoy one of the two or three tavernas in and around the square.

Eglouvi to Profitis Ilias (A3)

A justly popular walk from the mountain village of Eglouvi up to a pretty church on the top of a steep peaked mountain. You can see the church from Eglouvi up on the top of the cliff high above. The trail goes around the cliff to the left but it is still steep and rocky. However the views at the top are just heavenly. Take your camera as the summit is so photogenic. Don’t take a drone as the top is a drone-free zone.

If you want to climb Profitis Ilias from Elgouvi a good alternative to this trail is to loop around via Karya. Take the Eglouvi to Karya monopati route (optionally using the suggested shortcut) and come back on the Lefkada Trail day 3 Karya to Eglouvi. This combination takes you around, up, and back down Profitis Ilias without retracing your path. It is 9km and 500m total ascent if you take the suggested shortcut, 200m more if you go all the way down to Karya. This combined trail is one of the best in Lefkada.

300m ascent
Moderately Difficult

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Infrequent bus to Eglouvi from Lefkada and Karya

Tavernas and accommodation in Eglouvi

Links to a trail back down to Karya

Start in Eglouvi in the main square with the tavernas. If you haven’t got water fill up now – there will be no more drinking water until you get back down. I suggest at least a litre a person minimum. There is a tap next to the plane tree or buy from the tavernas.

Walk a little downhill from the tavernas back towards Karya. On your left is a turning with a yellow A3 sign. Take this turning and follow the next yellow A3 signs left, right and right again through the footways of Eglouvi village. The last footway takes you back onto a road heading rightwards up the hill.

The start of the A3 trail in Eglouvi

At the top of the road (just as it turns a hairpin left) another yellow A3 sign points up a monopati heading up a steep valley. Follow up that monopati as it climbs right up to the top on the left side of the steep valley (almost a gorge).

The rail leaves the road just above Eglouvi heading up the steep valley / gorge

The going is pretty steep so take care. You follow yellow and red painted marks on the rocks all the way up.

Climb up the steep path

As you come to the top you start to enter a large quarry area. Keep going up the dry stream bed until you get to a trail junction with the A3 marked going off right. Go right and head over the quarry heading towards the mountain up on the right (your destination). If you did go straight on you would get to Karya.

The junction of the A3 (going to Profitis Ilias) and M4 (going to Karya)

Head up the mountain ahead until you meet a short track heading from a road on your left. It is possible to take that road up to the top, but the A3 trail keeps right along the short track passing a small field. The track then turns back into a monopati climbing further up the mountain. Finally it reaches that road again further up. Walk a short way up the road to the church of Profitis Ilias at the top of the mountain.

The views from Profitas Ilias are equal to the best anywhere

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. Gaze back down the cliff to Eglouvi where you started this climb.

Retrace your steps back down to Eglouvi. Alternatively head down to Karya using the Karya to Profitis Ilias (M4) in reverse (note you keep on down the road up to the church until the M4 goes off right – you are joining the M4 higher up than you met it on the way up).

Note that there is a narrow road going all the way to the top of Profitis Ilias. But the road is starting to collapse into the quarry so much safer and nicer to walk.

Kontarena and Vasiliki Loop

A walk around Sykero, a low hill on the headland south east of Vasiliki with great views over the south of the island. Starts and ends at a taverna in Kontarena which is the first village on the main road to Nidri from Vasiliki. The trail follows a mostly unsurfaced track all the way. This makes for fairly easy walking albeit up and then down a hill. It also makes an excellent mountain bike trail if you prefer.

Special thanks to the Vasiliki Mountain Race Committee for this trail suggestion.

385m ascent

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Numerous hotels, tavernas and shops in Vasiliki. Taverna and some accommodation in Kontarena.

This path forms a loop from Kontarena. It passes near to Vasiliki two thirds of the way around. You can easily make the trail one-way ending in Vasiliki. Alternatively walk up from Vasiliki and make the trail a loop ending and finishing in Vasiliki. The route as described is probably the best for hills climbed and views.

Regular bus to Vasiliki from Lefkada town. Get off at Kontarena at the bus stop by The Plane Tree taverna.

Park in the village of Kontarena near to The Plane Tree taverna and bus stop. If you don’t have water or sustenance for the walk this is your only opportunity.

The village of Kontarena on the Vasiliki to Nidri road

From the taverna walk in the direction of Nidri and take the first turn on the right up a small surface road.

Start of trail off Vasiliki to Nidri road

Head up through the old village. Take the first right, then first left, then first right. Then continue straight up the hill through the houses. The road turns to the left followed by a junction off right. Take the track right.

The trail turns right turn out of old Kontarena onto a track

The track soon becomes gravel as it climbs up a small valley past olive groves and vineyards. Ignore turnings left and right until you start to gently descend with a grass meadow on your right and several very large olive trees. Take the turning on your right climbing up the hill.

The trail turns right by the large olive trees after the grass meadow

The track twists right then left and then again sharp left. It now follows around the hill and you start to get great views south over Ithaca and Kefalonia.

Views out over the islands east of Lefkada

At the fork in the track keep right. As you climb follow the track past two huge villas. Shortly after the track goes right with the way ahead barred by a gate. Climb steeply now up to the top of Sykero (the track going sharp left then right half way up). As you go over Sykero hill you pass a wonderful grassy olive grove. Great place to take a break as you have reached the summit of this trail.

Grassy olive grove at the summit of the trail on Sykero

Continue down the track as it drops steeper and steeper in large zig zags down the hill heading towards Vasiliki bay. You pass a single modern villa. If you are cycling this will test your nerve as you fly down. The steepest bits are concreted.

Heading down towards Vasiliki bay with Stavrotas mountain in the back right

As you near Vasiliki a track joins from the left. If you go down left you will join a track going down to Vasiliki. This is an alternate end point for you. The main trail goes straight on. You gradually start to climb a short way heading for a low pass above Vasiliki. Continue straight on through forest and olive groves.

Heading back up to the low pass. The track on the left connects down to Vasiliki.

Keep following the track straight on through the pine forest ignoring turns save for keeping left at a fork.

Keep left at the fork in the pine forest

You gradually descend on the other side of the pass re-entering Kontarena village from the opposite side than you started out. The taverna makes a good place to refresh.