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.

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.

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Map style ©OpenTopoMap (CC-BY-SA)

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.

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.

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Map style ©OpenTopoMap (CC-BY-SA)

2.2km
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.

Eglouvi to Katharia Rachi (A4)

Another superb climb from Eglouvi up Mnimati (at 1,157m Lefkada’s second highest peak) and then out along a ridge to an amazing viewpoint (Katharia Rachi) over Nidri bay. Best combined with Eglouvi to Psili Rachi (A5). As A4 is pretty steep it is best to go up A4 and down A5. This combined route is my favourite from Eglouvi.

4.8km
514m ascent
Difficult

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Infrequent bus to Eglouvi from Lefkada and Karya

Tavernas and accommodation in Eglouvi

Links to trails back down to Eglouvi

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.

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 will follow A4, and A1 will accompany you as far as the windmills. If you only want a nice short walk going just to the windmills this can make a good evening stroll. For those going on up A4 you get two trails in one. Come down A5, as recommended, and get all three.

You will follow red and yellow paint markers and A4 signs all the way to the top 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 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 yellow arrow. Make sure you take the first.

Track off right with yellow arrow marker

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 yellow 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.

For those that can’t face the climb you can drive to the radio masts on Mnimati and walk just the last 1.5km along the ridge. Good on a hot day as the air is usually much fresher up here.

For those going back to Eglouvi head back to the radio masts. Here either go back down the way you came up – or follow the road around to the left a short way to where the Eglouvi to Psili Rachi (A5) trail crosses the road. Go down this to Eglouvi. If you want to get good views to the south use the Mount Elati Five Peak Loop route to take a longer path to the A5 trail.

Eglouvi to Psili Rachi (A5)

A superb climb from the mountain village of Eglouvi up to Mnimati (at 1,157m Lefkada’s second highest peak). Psili Rachi is a viewpoint on one of Mnimati’s ridges. After leaving the area of the village the ascent is on a mixture of unsurfaced tracks and footpaths. The middle part of the route is indistinct at times, so keep a close eye on the GPS or map.

Forms a circular route if combined with Eglouvi to Katharia Rachi (A4). As the A5 route is less steep (mostly) then it is recommended to go up A4 and down A5. Either way, do not miss the excursion out to the end of A4 on Katharia Rachi – as it has fantastic views down to Nidri bay. The two routes are with a few minutes walk as they each near their ends (around the other side of the radio masts).

3.8km
460m ascent
Moderate Difficulty

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Infrequent bus to Eglouvi from Lefkada and Karya

Tavernas and accomodation in Eglouvi

Link to trail returning to Eglouvi

Start in Eglouvi in the main square with the tavernas. You can obtain water at either the tavernas or a tap next to the plane tree. I suggest you take plenty as there is no drinking water on this route beyond this point.

Start of A4 (and A1 and A5) in Eglouvi; even the corrected distances are wrong

Go up and around to the left of the tavernas and down the narrow path off to the right. You will soon see the sign for the start of the three trails. You will follow A5. The trail is marked with red and yellow paint markers and signs along all of its route. Occasionally the red and yellow marks are helped by strings of rocks showing the way.

Walk through the village streets and follow up a steeply climbing narrowing surface road up a very pretty valley. Eventually the road turns to unpaved track as it climbs further up the valley.

After a fair climb the track turns to the right and a monopati branches off sharply to the left. Take this monopati as it traces up out of the valley and onto a ridge. The monopati is a little indistinct at times here so a GPS or good map reading skills is helpful.

As the monopati goes over the ridge and joins a second valley going up it turns back into a track. Follow this up until that track again turns around to the right and a monopati cuts off left.

Follow the monopati up the small valley as it climbs to the top and meets a surfaced road near to the top of Mnimati (and the radio masts). Now you have a choice, as you can follow the road left to pick up Eglouvi to Katharia Rachis (A4), or cross the road and follow the monopati going right across the boulders.

Following the monopati the trail runs a short distance across the high mountain top until it reaches a small peak Psili Rachi.

There are excellent views from here although one can’t help wondering why the path stops here. However you can explore the mountain top as it has many little peaks and tracks with just the goats for company. Or head over to the A4 top with its view down to Nidri.

Cheats can drive up to the radio masts on Mnimati and enjoy high level walks around the radio masts and over to the small peaks for a range of views. It is a pleasant place to escape the heat of the summer.