Eglouvi to Karya monopati route

The old monopati route running from Eglouvi to Karya across a low pass below Profitas Ilias. Paired up with Lefkada Trail day 3 Karya to Eglouvi this makes a great loop trail from either Eglouvi or Karya. Go out on one and back on the other – a great hike – one of Lefkada’s best.

4.4km. 10.7km if paired with route back over Profitas Ilias.
200m ascent. 760m ascent for the full loop, 560m with the shortcut.
Moderate.

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There is an infrequent bus to Eglouvi and more frequent to Karya from Lefkada Town.

Tavernas and accommodation in Karya. Tavernas in Eglouvi.

The trail starts from the centre of Eglouvi. Here are three tavernas and a great small square shaded by a plane tree. A great place to seat and eat or drink, but today we are going walking. Head off down the road towards Karya. The road goes around a few bends and after almost 1km a track goes off left. This is the well-marked start of the monopati.

Take the track off left from the road down to Karya from Eglouvi

After 20m a second sign shows the monopati itself goes off left climbing through the trees. The monopati goes parallel to the track before starting to climb up the hillside. The monopati is well marked with yellow and red paint marks.

The monopati climbs up the hillside marked with yellow and red paint

Climb right up and over the low pass. On the far side there are a few easy rock scrambles and then a great traverse across the steep hillside. You get fantastic views across to Skaros, Nidri and down to the Inland Sea. A truly wonderful monopati.

After a couple of kilometers you reach a telephone mast. Follow the path around the mast and it becomes a quiet tarmac road. Almost immediately a red and yellow painted arrow on the road shows a track going off steeply down into the trees. Head down that track to reach Karya. If you are planning to walk back on Lefkada Trail day 3 Karya to Eglouvi you can take a short-cut by instead continuing along the quiet road for about 500m until you meet that trail heading up from Karya at the fork in the road. The shortcut saves the 200m climb back up from Karya, but you miss the nice tavernas in Karya.

The yellow and red marker shows the path heading down to Karya.

The path down to Karya heads down through the wonderful pine forest above Karya. It is a little steep in places but reasonably easy down through the trees. The yellow and red markers show the way. Keep going until you reach the back roads in Karya.

Inventive yellow and red paint markers on the trail.

When on the road head down left and then immediately right. A short track heads off immediately left behind a house.

A track heads off immediately left.

At the bottom the short track rejoins a road. Take the road turning first left, first right, first left, and first right again. Then straight down, round a bend left, and down to the main square in Karya. If you miss those turns just head down and you will get to the square.

The main square is delightful with great tavernas and bars clustered around a square with plane trees providing shade. This is a popular place to come, in the evening especially.

The Lefkada Trail day 3 Karya to Eglouvi trail starts at the spring in the north west corner of the square. Head back here to Eglouvi, this time climbing to the top of Profitas Ilias. You can also walk back up the road, but not nearly as interesting.

Nidri – Dimosari waterfall – Neochori loop

Hike from the port of Nidri, to the nearby Dimosari waterfall at Rachi, and then up the hills coming back down through the pretty Neochori village. You can use this route just to go to the waterfall and then back to Nidri – or hike up above Nidri for great views. Most of the route is shady running through trees. You need good walking shoes both for the clamber over rocks to reach the waterfall and for the short very steep ascent going up from the waterfall path.

11.8km
406m ascent
Moderate (Easy if just going to the waterfall).

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Nidri is a good base to stay in Lefkada. Many boats moor on the town quay. There is a regular bus from Lefkada Town.

Numerous hotels, tavernas and accommodation in Nidri.

The walk starts from the port in Nidri near the statue of Onassis. Head 50m south along the quayside and then right through the alley to Nidri main street. Cross the main street and take the road opposite with a small yellow sign to the “waterfall”.

Take the road from Nidri high street following the small “waterfall” sign.

Keep going straight up the road, past a parking area, until you reach the Nidri bypass. Carefully cross this road (cars go very fast) and take the road on the other side, to the right of the coffee shop. You keep straight on along this road following occasional signs to the waterfall. Keep straight on through the small Rachi village. Pass olive and lemon groves, a small football pitch, and a delightful stream – until you get to the waterfall parking area. If you are driving to Nidri you can park here as an alternate start for this trail.

Head up the path past the Plane Tree café and shop (a nice peaceful spot for a refreshment break) and on up the path towards the waterfall. The path runs over and under impressive big boulders until it reaches the waterfall. People bring swimming costumes and swim in the pools. It can get quite busy in summer. After enjoying the waterfall head back the way you came until just before the Plane Tree café.

Very steep path heading up on left of large water tank

Just before the Plane Tree café, as you head back from the waterfall, there is a large concrete water tank on the right of the track. On the left side of the tank a path starts climbing straight up the very steep slope. There is a rope to help with the first steepest part. It is a bit daunting but the very steep bit is short and you soon join a wonderful monopati to take you safely up through the remaining cliffs. If you can manage the start you will have no problems with the rest.

The monopati climbs up out of the waterfall gorge.

The monopati climbs up and out of the waterfall gorge until it meets a track. Turn right up the track and go for about 200m until another grassy track goes right into an olive grove. Follow the track through a few hairpin bends until you reach a quiet road. Turn left and follow the road going under a massive plane tree near a spring.

The road passes under a massive plane tree near a spring

Follow the road until you reach a T junction with a larger road. Turn right about 50m and take the first unsurfaced track going left slightly up by a house. After 50m the track forks and you take the left fork. The track traverses across the hill through the trees with great views down to Nidri. After 500m the track forks again, take the left track going slightly down almost parallel to the right-going track. After 80m the track turns into a rough path over rocks descending towards a stream in the trees. Cross the stream and take the path going up the opposite bank (marked by blobs of red paint). The path wiggles through the trees to a more open olive grove. Head diagonally up and left until the path becomes a track again. That track joins another and then traverses across the hills above Nidri.

The track traversing towards Neochori with great views down to Nidri

Ignore turnings save for one upward zig zag until you reach Neochori village. After the first few houses you reach the village hall on your left. Immediately after the hall take the road left. This runs down to a pretty church where you turn left again following the road running down from Neochori. Follow the road as it sweeps round to the right and then takes a first hairpin left. Fully around the hairpin a monopati heads right steeply down from the road (ignore the larger track at the hairpin itself). The monopati runs down below the road until it ends at a concrete track. Go right down the steep slope to a track at the bottom, where you go left. The track soon rejoins the road and heads down though the village of Paleokatouna (Ag. Christopher on some maps).

When you reach the taverna take the small road going right (appears straight on as the road turns left). Walk straight down the road going slightly right, then left, then left again (although generally straight on). You meet the main Lefkada-Vasaliki road at the Nidri bypass turning. Take the road heading directly into Nidri and then the first track off right heading down to the sea. Go left and follow the road back into Nidri along the waters edge to your starting point.

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.

4.7km
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.

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.

8.1km
385m ascent
Easy

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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.

Red Church to Kollyvata

A wonderful ascent from the Red Church up to Kollyvata following a superb tree lined monopati and through the forests and ravines of Skaros. This route combines with the trail Alexandros to the Red Church to make an easy but interesting circular route. For a longer trail it combines with Red Church to Skaros and Kollyvata to Skaros to make a large circular loop for fitter hikers. All paths explore the woods, streams, ravines (and shade) of the Skaros Forest.

2.8km
140m ascent
Easy

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Accommodation in Alexandros. Taverna in Kollyvata.

Links to trails to Karya, Skaros and Kollyvata

The trail is marked with red-orange markers along the whole route. At times you have to watch for them carefully. Don’t confuse with red lichen rings that can be similar.

Start with your back to the entrance to the Red Church. Go 50m across the open area directly out from the entrance and then turn right to follow the path. This path soon crosses an unsurfaced track to enter a thick forest.

The forested section is a wonderful monopati that weaves between and under the thick woods. There is a fork where you turn right to ascend the hill. Follow the twist and turns of the path as it climbs up.

When you emerge from the thick forest section you come to a “T” junction with a track. Follow the track right as it ascends up the left side of a gorge. The gorge gradually shallows and, just after the path turns left to cross the steam at the bottom of the gorge, take the turn off right. Pass a brick block building on you left and continue up the track keeping right at the fork.

The track fords a stream (dry in summer) and turns into a monopati. Cross a clearing ignoring paths to left and right and head up over the steep rocks. The monopati climbs up and over the rocks. After a short but easy scramble enter a flatter tree lined section. Keep going straight on ignoring several paths diverging left and right.

Kollyvata town square with Maria’s Taverna

As you pass the first houses of Kollyvata climb the concrete and stone ramp up into the tiny Kollyvata main square. On the right you will find Maria’s taverna. If you are lucky she will be open serving drinks and food. Eating at Maria’s is like visiting an aunt that can cook very well – and loves to do so. If you phone and give her warning you are coming you will get more choice. This is a special place to sit and watch the sun set over Profitis Ilias across the Alexandros plain.

When you have finished at Maria’s you can retrace your steps back to the Red Church. Alternatively take the short walk along the quiet road to Alexandros and then follow down that variation of the trail to the Red Church. If you are feeling fit you can take the montpati up to Skaros and then down to the Red Church. This is quite a hike but does get the fantastic views from Skaros of the eastern side of the island.

Alexandros to the Red Church

A wonderful descent from Alexandros down to the Red Church following a gorge through the Skaros Forest and a superb tree lined monopati. This route combines with the trail Red Church to Kollyvata to make an easy but interesting circular route. Further afield it combines with Red Church to Skaros and Kollyvata to Skaros to make a large circular loop for fitter hikers. All paths explore the woods, streams, ravines (and shade) of the Skaros Forest.

2.9km
60m ascent
Easy

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Accommodation in Alexandros. Taverna in Kollyvata.

Links to trails to Karya, Skaros and Kollyvata

Walk from the town square of Alexandros along the road towards Platystoma. As you go past the Alexandros town sign turn left onto the clear trackway.

The track goes right – looking back toward Alexandros

At a triple fork keep right. Descend through woods past a cave on the right. Follow the hairpins left then right, ignoring tracks going off at the corners until you reach a small bridge over a stream.

Cave just below Alexandros

Go left and start to climb again, following the hairpin right. At this point you pass where the trail Red Church to Kollyvata ascends. So you could join that path to go up to Kollyvata (and beyond to Skaros). But today we will continue to the Red Church.

Follow the track along the left side of a deepening gorge. Red markers now mark the trail as far as the Red Church. At the fork turn right and start to descend again. After a while the path narrows. After 200m turn off left into the trees. Watch the red markers.

The turn right to enter the tree lined path

The trail enters a delightful wooded section with the path threading around and under the thickening trees. After a descent a similar path joins from the right. Go left and exit the forest. Cross an unsurfaced road and follow the track through to an open area where the Red Church is on your left.

The historic Red Church

Take a while to explore the historic church and monastery grounds. The church dates back at least 550 years and has recently been restored. In summers concerts are held in the grounds.

Retrace your steps to go back to Alexandros. Alternatively follow Red Church to Kollyvata for a variation in the last half of the trail and an easy loop. Alternatively start the climb to the wonderful views up Skaros.