Syvros Springs Walk

A beautiful loop between Syvros and Vournikas and the lush valley that surrounds them; above Vasiliki. The walk passes several springs, streams, waterfalls, and old water mills (the water runs all year). This superb classic route has been recently cleared and revived by the Antelikos Sivros Cultural Club led by the inspiring Vasilis Deftereos. They will happily guide you round and tell you the history of this ancient part of Lefkada. Do not miss the chance of walking with them.

If you do follow the trail yourself; a GPS app and a copy of this GPX trail is almost essential. Confusingly the Springs Walk has been marked using red paint several times taking different routes each time. Most recently a mountain race was run using part of the route. The best advice is to ignore the red painted blobs and arrows at the junctions of roads and tracks, often they point in completely the wrong direction. They are more useful when following a path between junctions going across open mountainside or through olive groves. But even then, don’t worry if the arrows point against your route. If in any doubt ignore the red paint and use your GPS app and GPX trail. Also ignore the signs with satellite view maps of the trail – these are about to be updated with this new improved trail. Follow the instructions here to go on the best “official” route that visits all the springs and takes best advantage of natural shade.

The route is well shaded for most of its route and so can be used in all but the hottest mid-summer days. For optimum shade start at 9am or earlier. It is easily shortened if you don’t want to climb up to the highest spring or prefer to miss the steepest paths. You do need good walking shoes and carry a bottle of water, which you can replenish as you pass the springs (apart from the few specifically marked as do-not-drink).

7.8km
512m ascent
Moderate.

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You ideally need a car or taxi to reach the start of the trail. There is an infrequent bus to Syvros.

Tavernas and accommodation in Syvros and Vournikas.

Start from the Syvros village square. There are tavernas to take refreshment before you start. Head off on the road heading up to Agios Ilias on the north side of the square up the right of the old schoolhouse. At the first turn of the road to the left take a track going off right. After a short distance fork right and then fork left. You re-join the Agios Ilias road up right for a few metres and then take another track off right. Follow the track keeping right at each of two forks until you reach a large, paved area with a spring in an alcove of the wall and a delightful small waterfall over mossy rocks.

The first spring beside a large, paved area.

There is an option here to considerably shorten the trail and skip the steep mountain section and the highest springs. Go straight past the spring and take the track direct to the Gazina Spring (below). From there pick up the rest of this trail. You will miss two great springs and fantastic views, but it makes a much easier trail.

For the full trail, after admiring the spring, head back almost the way you came but keeping right going up the hill. After 100m a track forks off right. After a short distance the track hairpins right and a path continues straight on through an olive grove. The path rejoins another track where you keep right. Follow the track as it crosses a ford where gravel has been taken for local building projects. A track goes right just after the ford and climbs to where a path goes off left following up the course of a stream.

The start of the path heading up along a (usually dry) stream. The red arrows are safe to follow.

For this path only you can safely follow the red arrows and blobs climbing up the hill. You meet a track where you continue to follow the red arrow right. After a short distance you meet another track where you go left up the steep slope.

The track climbs up the steep slope.

Keep on climbing the hill until an almost parallel track to your right finally joins the path you are on. Keep on up for 100m until there is a group of plane trees to your left. In the midst of the trees is a very welcome spring. This is the highest point of this trail. Stop for a while drinking the clear water.

The highest spring on the trail and the welcome shade of the large plane trees.

After a break head back down the track you came up but this time keeping on the left-hand parallel track as it heads down and across the steep hillside. This section gives you fantastic views over the Vasiliki valley. The track passes some goat sheds up on the left but keep going down and across the slope.

The track traversing down the steep hillside with views of the Vasaliki valley. Note the welcome shade provided by an early start on this route.

The track becomes less clear as it traverses across the hillside. After about 1km the track becomes a monopati and becomes very steep and scrambly. Take care. Ignore paths heading down the hillside and keep going across the slope.

Eventually you meet a path with marked yellow blobs going left straight up the hill – don’t go up, keep going across and slightly down. After about 200m you arrive at the Klimatsa Spring with two white columns in the water. This spring is very pretty but the water is currently not safe to drink. The Klimatsa Spring is associated with ancient pagan rites here and on a nearby rock.

Pretty Klimatsa Spring with two white columns. You arrive down the track on the right and leave down track on the left.

Take the path going back past the spring on the downhill side. Follow a track threading between the old stone buildings of Vournikas, some sadly derelict. It is safe to follow the red paint blobs for this section. Reach a surfaced track and almost immediately the covered Gazina Spring beside a cool pond. Take a look at the stone basins that were used to wash clothes. The water is very good to drink.

The covered Gazina Spring and pond with old stone clothes-washing basins.

After refreshing take a path that goes off down directly below the pond. There are steps at first and then a surfaced footpath. The footpath becomes a surfaced track. Almost immediately turn left and then right. Join a tarmacked road zig zagging down the hill. After two zigzags a track goes off right. After 300m the track crosses another road and then continues down the hill. Just after crossing the road a track goes off left. Go 70m down that track to the Kanali Spring before returning and continuing down the track to the right.

The track is concreted for most of the way. It descends a valley down to another tarmacked road. This is the lowest point of the Springs Walk. Follow the road right as it goes up for about 200m. On the right is a track signposted to the Daphne Spring.

The track goes off right signposted to the Daphne spring and waterfalls.

Take the track, past another spring, and keep right as it becomes a path going up the right bank of a stream passing several waterfalls. This section of the trail is very pretty.

Several pretty waterfalls along the path at Daphne spring.

Climb up beside the stream on this magical path through the trees with wild-flowers and wildlife. After 1.5km you reach a paved area and then climb some steps to a roadway.

Follow the road up right for 200m to a track going off right. Take the track keeping left until you rejoin the road again just before it passes back to the Syvros village square. This is where you started. Take more refreshment at the taverna.

A huge thanks to the Antelikos Sivros Cultural Club, especially Vasilis Deftereos who inspired this trail. They reopened this trail and regularly take groups around giving a fascinating description of the village, wildlife and fauna. Take a look in their small museum too if you get the chance (in the old schoolhouse at the start of this trail). You can also learn Greek dancing at their weekly evening session.

Klousouria Gorge loop from Agios Ilias

Follow an old monopati down into the Klousouria Gorge below Agios Ilias. Superb old monopati that navigates down past rock pinacles into this impressive gorge. Explore the gorge upstream for a while before following the monopati up the other side and looping back through the forests above Syvros. Runs back up to Ag Ilias by a different route.

I think this gorge is in some ways more impressive and has better views than the Mellisa Gorge, which appears in more tourist guides to Lefkada. However the steep drops are not fenced off so not as safe with young children.

4.8km
280m ascent
Moderate.

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You ideally need a car or taxi to reach the start of the trail. There is an infrequent bus to Syros from Lefkada town from where you walk up to Agios Ilias

Taverna and limited accomodation in Agios Ilias. More of both in Syvos.

Start off from the taverna in Agios Ilias. Plenty of places to park the car without blocking the road or side tracks. Head up the road following the sign to Eglouvi and Karya.

The taverna in Agios Ilias

After a short distance pass a church and monument on the left, go round a bend, and meet a road junction where the road divides into the one-way system to navigate the narrow roads through the village. Take the turning left going against the flow of cars (and so this time NOT the road signposted to Eglouvi and Karya).

Turn left to walk the wrong way up the one-way road for cars

Keep going following the road a few hundred metres up a steep slope to a flatter part just after a bend right. After 40m there is a concrete track off left next to a phone/power wood post.

Turn left at the track by the wooden pole

Keep walking down the track ignoring turnings to a gate across the track with a sign “Leader II”. At this point a monopati starts down the left side of the fence leading from the gate. Take this monopati. At first the monopati keeps close to the fence as it passes around the compound. The fence has barbed wire and an electric wire running along the top (don’t touch it!!). Don’t worry as you will soon leave this unpleasantness behind. There may be a metal “gate” to untie, open and leave as found.

As the monopati leaves the fence it starts to drop steeper into the gorge ahead. Very soon fantastic views open up to the left with some wonderful rock pinnacles framing the gorge below. Descend steeper dropping slightly right down along the ledges taken by the monopati where you eventually reach the bottom with a bridge across the stream.

Looking up the gorge from near the bridge

You will eventually take the monopati across the bridge that goes slightly right up the other side of the gorge, but before you go that way explore the gorge upstream. The stream will be dry in summer making this easy – but take care if water is flowing. Don’t do this if heavy rains or thunderstorms are likely as the gorge fills quickly. Go up as far as you wish (and water permitting) – the sides getting more precipitous the further you go. After seeing enough head back to the bridge. If you only came for the gorge then go back up the way you came down – but if up for the full loop head up to the right from the bridge.

Climb up through the trees on a widening monopati until you reach the top and meet a track. Go left around the vineyards, past an olive grove and under a tall fig tree. Starts to descend for 1km working around the low hill to your left. You get some great views over the trees to Syvros and the Vasiliki valley. Ignore the turn off right sharp and go straight on heading back to Agios Ilias village.

Great views south over Vasiliki valley

Head along the track across the slope for another 1km until you meet a ford. The track crosses the ford and heads off right. The ford is over the lower part of the gorge you crossed higher up, at the bridge. It is possible to go back up the gorge along the stream bed (if it is dry). There are a few rock climbs up waterfalls so you need to be happy using your hands and feet. Far easier is to continue along the track.

Go past a church on the left of the track

After a short distance you pass a church on the left. Keep going to meet another track. Turn left straight up the steep concrete track. At the top the track joins the road just below Agios Ilias. Turn left and go uphill until you reach the taverna where you parked your car. One of the big hairpins can be cut across by an initially concrete track.

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.

20km
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.

A look back over the cape and lighthouse

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 right at turnings. You will meet another tarmac road where you turn left and head south again. This road runs to the famous Porto Katsiki beach which attracts quite a few visitors in summer. Take care as the road is narrow and sometimes busy; fortunately you only go 1km. Just as the road starts to drop down hairpins you take a track off to the left 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.

Lefkada Trail day 5 Ag. Ilias to Ag. Petros

This walk runs between the mountain villages of Ag Ilias and Ag Petros. It follows a high mountain track running around Stavrotas before crossing the pretty Vasaliki valley to Ag Petros. This takes you to the top of the tail of Lefkada that runs down to the cape. The trail is along unsurfaced tracks for most of the route.

10.5km
525m ascent
Moderate.

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Tavernas and limited accommodation in Ag. Ilias and Ag. Petros. Vasiliki and Syvros have much more.

You really need to use a taxi or have a friend/partner that drives.

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

The trail is the fifth part of the Lefkada Trail taking you over to the start of the long tail of Lefkada running down to the south. It is a relatively easy day and gives a fine range of views as you come around to the south and west.

The trail starts where we left off day 4 outside the taverna in Ag Ilias. Descend about 1km down the road to Syvros until a concrete track goes down to the right signposted to “Ag Lias” in Greek.

The sign where you turn left down the concrete track.

Take the track down a steep hill and turn right at the bottom (now a stone track). Keep on past the church on your right and along to a ford. The trail takes the track going left across the ford.

The track traverses down the steep slope of lower Stavrotas. Keep left at a fork and descend a few hairpins. After another 1.5km the track goes over the ridge running from Stavrotas and heads back north west. It then descends down into the valley. You get wonderful views all the way around. Eventually you meet a small tarmac road. Turn left down the road for 100m until another track descends sharp right.

The track goes sharp right off the road and descends further down the valley

Go down this track as it descends further into the valley below. At the second hairpin right keep right keeping on the same track. This descends down to the bottom of the valley and crosses a delightful stream across a bridge to a tarmac road.

Meet a road across a delightful stream in the almost abandoned village of Roupakis.

Turn right along the road. After a few bends pass a church and start to climb up the opposite side of the valley. After a hairpin going right there is a gravel track going up sharp left. Go up the track and follow through the trees.

Track goes off sharp left just after the hairpin going right.

The track gently climbs up to the bottom of Ag Petros village. Turn right at the crossroads and go up through the roads into the village centre. Here you join the main road down the west of the island. There are tavernas as well as some accommodation for the night.

Tomorrow is your last day on the Lefkada Trail.

Lefkada Trail day 4 Eglouvi to Ag. Ilias

This walk runs between the mountain villages of Eglouvi and Ag Ilias. It climbs up and over Mount Elati visiting the high peaks of Katharia Rachi and Stavrotas before descending to Ag. Ilias. This takes you over the highest part of Lefkada; crossing from the north to the south of the island. The trail is along monopati and unsurfaced tracks for almost all the first half of the route – with a quiet road descent on the other side.

15.5km
930m ascent
Difficult (but there are shortcuts).

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Tavernas and limited accommodation in Eglouvi and Ag. Ilias.

Infrequent bus to Eglouvi from Lefkada town. However you really need to use a taxi or have a friend/partner that drives.

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

The trail is the fourth part of the Lefkada Trail. It is one of the hardest days as it climbs high and is long too. The full route takes you over both Katharia Rachi and Stavrotas. Katharia Rachi is the end of a ridge and has the best view in Lefkada. Stavrotas is the highest peak on Lefkada. If the day is too long for you then you can easily skip one or the other of these. But do come back when you have finished the Lefkada Trail and do what you missed on this day. Otherwise, you don’t get the T-shirt 🙂

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. There is a tap next to the plane tree or buy from the tavernas.

Start of three trails in Eglouvi; even the corrected distances are wrong

Go up and round to the left of the tavernas and down the narrow path to the right. You will soon see the sign for the start of three trails. You follow A4, and A1 will accompany you as far as the windmills. You follow red and yellow paint markers and A4 signs all the way to Katharia Rachi for the first part of this trail. They are pretty clear for most of the way.

Walk through the quiet village roads until you see a monopati heading up to the left up the hill. Follow this diagonally up until you reach the windmills.

Approach to the windmills. This trail goes up that ridge on the skyline.

After exploring those and enjoying the view take the track up to the right behind the windmills. Follow to a surfaced road. Turn left and follow around a few bends until there is an unsurfaced track going off right. The track has a read and yellow arrow painted on the road pointing where you need to go. Beware there is a second track a few hundred metres later also with a red and yellow arrow. Make sure you take the first.

Track off right with yellow arrow marker – note now red and yellow

The track approaches a vineyard where a monopati branches off left. It skirts around the vineyard and starts to climb the ridge. The monopati now goes up the crest of the ridge to its top. This is a steep climb but you get fantastic views all the way up – a real classic. There isn’t much shade but it is well worth the effort.

At the top of the ridge the monopati becomes a narrow track going past a very small lentil field (make sure you go round not over). The track turns right to head up to the radio masts on the top of Mnimati, but the A4 monopati actually goes straight on and slightly downwards. Make sure you don’t miss the monopati painted dots.

The monopati is now much easier following down to a small pass and then gently up the ridge to the top of the peak. Finally you get to the sign indicating the end of the A4 on Katharia Rachi.

Below you is a wonderful view down to Nidri – with all of the Inland Sea and islands behind. If you have eaten at one of the tavernas at Geni and looked up – this is the steep crag fringed peak you will have seen above you. A fantastic place to sit and enjoy the view.

The end of the A4 trail. And a great place to sit and take in the view.

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. Follow the painted marks off right.

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 leave the paint-marked trail and take the road going left away from the masts.

Follow the road left away from the antenna

Descend the road for 1.5km until you reach a junction. Take the road left going down towards Ag. Ilias. After a few bends there is a track off up to the right. Here you have a choice whether to climb Stavrotas up above you or to carry on down the road to Ag Ilias. The route up Stavrotas from here is 1km long and 220m of climbing – and then back on the same route. If you do climb Stavrotas, and being Lefkada’s highest mountain you really should if able, you will eventually return to this point on the road.

The track heads into a small high valley with fields and pasture. Very shortly you reach a small hut on the left where the track divides. Take the left track running past the hut on the left hand side. There is often a dog attached to a chain blocking the track – but this is easily avoided with a path that run around to the left and then re-joins the track.

Distant view of trail up Stavrotas. Track comes up in lower left (the road just out of shot), past the hut, up to the ridge line up on the right, and then up left to the summit.

The track turns suddenly to the left and heads straight up the steep slope – at this point carry on straight ahead on the path that goes off right.

The trail is marked in yellow dots and steadily climbs up the slope going diagonally to the right. It is unclear in parts so a GPS map helps. Goats don’t have GPS and make several tracks – but keep going to the ridge up and right. After a climb the path goes over a small ridge marked by two large yellow painted arrows on the rocks.

Large yellow arrows on stones

At this point a second path joins from the right marked with red dots (Stavrotas from road above Eglouvi). 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.

South over Ithaca and Kefalonia

Retrace your steps back down the path until you reach the road where you started up Stavrotas.

Descend down the road about 3km into Ag. Ilias village. If you use your map, there are a couple of paths down this slope as alternates to the road, but very rough and overgrown and indistinct lower down, so hard to recommend (use your discretion and scrambling ability).

The road passes a monastery and bell-tower viewpoint. Near the village the road becomes a one-way system (the roads being super narrow in the village). Best to follow the right hand side where cars also descend. Just as the road recombines there is a very welcome taverna.

Well done, you have just done the hardest day. Take a well earned rest and consider day 5 tomorrow – being much shorter and much less climbing. There is limited accommodation in Ag Ilias. There is much more accommodation and tavernas in Syvros a few km further down the road (walk taking a very good path running to the left of the winding road). Or arrange a taxi or lift back to your base. Day 5 will start back in Ag. Ilias.

Lefkada Trail day 3 Karya to Eglouvi

This walk runs between the mountain villages of Karya and Eglouvi. It climbs over Profitis Ilias which is a church set on a mountain top with one of the best views in Lefkada. Warning – there are hundreds of churches on peaks in Greece called Profitis Ilias. This is the 1,009 metre peak just SSW of Karya. The trail then descends down the other side to the village of Eglouvi. The trail is along monopati and unsurfaced tracks for almost all of the route.

6.3km
560m ascent
Moderate.

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Accommodation and tavernas in Karya. Tavernas and limited Aaccommodation in Eglouvi

Infrequent buses to Karya and Eglouvi from Lefkada Town. However you really need to use a taxi or have a friend/partner that drives.

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

The trail is the third part of the Lefkada Trail. It is a relatively easy short day on the Lefkada Trail – but then tomorrow, day four, is one of the hardest. You can walk it as a stand alone and walk back a different route to Karya. It is a steep climb up Profitis Ilias mountain and a steep rocky descent to Eglouvi.

Start from the town square in Karya, with all the nice tavernas and the shade of the plane trees.

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 to the left 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. Stick to the road all the way to the top.

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 your destination for today

Head back down the road you came up. After about 100m there is a large red and yellow arrow indicating a footpath off left. Descend that path down towards the quarry. The path skirts a small field and then almost gets back to the road. Instead go straight down the slope left. The path is clearly marked with red and yellow paint markers.

Cross the quarry keeping to the path. At the bottom you meet another path coming from the right. You head down the dry streambed to the left. Again, follow the painted markers.

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

The path becomes steep and rocky so take care. As it steepens the path takes the right hand side of the stream or gorge.

Looking back up the steep path

The path eventually meets a road on a hairpin bend. Go down left towards Eglouvi. After a short way paint markers show a path leaving the road and running down into the village. Take this path following back down the A3 trail. If you miss the path the road goes to the village too.

The start of the A3 trail in Eglouvi – or end of this trail for today.

Eglouvi village has three or four tavernas in the main square up a little on the right. Sit in the shade of a wonderful plane tree and relax. There is some accommodation in the village and an infrequent bus to Lefkada Town. Day four of the Lefkada Trail will take you up over Lefkada’s highest mountain and down to the south of the island.

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.

13km
870m ascent
Moderate.

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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.

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.

14.5km
480m ascent
Moderate.

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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.

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.

DayRouteDistanceAscent
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. 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.

We hope that companies will start to offer pre-arranged packages for self or guided hikes. We will add links to these when they do. Tell us if you are thinking of doing this.

Do tell us if you walk the whole trail. We will give big shout-outs for all pioneer hikers. 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.

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). This description starts from Kamari beach. Walk in the cool of the morning then enjoy the afternoon on the beach. Perfection.

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

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

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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.

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.