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.

Karya to Profitis Ilias (M4)

Brilliant climb from the excellent hiking base of Karya up to the main peak above the village. There is a church on the top called Profitis Ilias. Warning – there are hundreds of churches on peaks in Greece called Profitis Ilias. This is the 1,009 metre peak just SSW of Karya that provides fantastic views. It is one of the best hikes on the island.

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

4.1km
550m ascent
Moderate difficulty

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Bus to Karya from Lefkada

Plenty of tavernas and accommodation in Karya

Links to trails down to Eglouvi

Start from the town square in Karya, with all the nice tavernas and the shade of the plane trees. There are coffee shops too, so either fortify yourself now or take note for your return.

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 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. Half way up is a path to the right that is an alternative route across a few of the hairpins. But the hairpins of the road are the easiest.

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 Megalisi beyond from Profitis Ilias

After looking at the views (and eating those cheese pies) reverse your route back to Karya. Alternatively take the trail down to Eglouvi where there are infrequent buses back to Karya. Or walk from Eglouvi to Karya, although you need to be fairly fit to do all three hikes in one day.