Syvros Springs Pathway

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.

The Springs Pathway is now marked with clear signs. Confusingly the route had 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. The new signs make the trail much easier to follow. Still a good idea to have the GPX trail in your phone GPS map app too.

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.

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 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.

Dessimi to Poros cape loop

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

8.8km (13.2km if starting and ending in Dessimi)
500m ascent
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 and regular bus to Vlycho.

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

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

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

Monopati turns off right up a steep bank

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

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

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

Wonderful views from the track around Poros cape

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

The track descends twisting in and out of ravines

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

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

Mellisa Gorge Loop

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

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

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7.8km
330m ascent
Moderate (Easy if you just visit the gorge and return)

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Many hotels, tavernas and shops in Lefkada town.

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

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

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

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

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

Cliff wall of old collapsed cave system.

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

Path through the Mellisa Gorge with collapsed hand rail.

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

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

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

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

The start of the valley leading away from the gorge.

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

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

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

Views back across Mellisa Gorge to Lefkada town and mainland

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

Church bell tower in Kavallo

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

Turn to “Mellisa Gorge” in Kavallo village

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

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.

Skaros mountain from Nikiana loop

This trial climbs up Skaros through the crags above Nikiana looping around the back to descend by track and road returning to Nikiana. The climb is a full 600m up through the oak forest and crags of the eastern flank of Skaros. When you look up Skaros from the Nikiana-Nidri road you see the towering crags. This trail takes a classic monopati to thread through those crags in perfect safety.

9.1km
540m ascent
Difficult

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Numerous hotels, tavernas and shops in Nikiana.

This path links with others on Skaros. Follow the track over Skaros mountain and down to the Red Church for superb views over Nidri. Alternatively trek along the amazing monopati to Kollyvata and eat at Maria’s taverna – from there you can call a taxi to get back to Nikiana.

Regular bus to Nikiana from Lefkada town and Nidri. Take the Nidri bus from Lefkada town and get off at Nikiana.

The trail starts from a road above Nikiana. If driving from 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. Park here taking care not to block the road or access tracks. The trail starts along the track. If walking from Nikiana either follow the same road or take one of the numerous tracks.

Start of trail off 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 turns 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. Take a well earned break and consider your choices. To your left is a track climbing to the top of Skaros mountain with great views south over Nidri. Straight ahead past the huts is a track climbing to another pass and then down to the Red Church. To the right is the track we will follow back to Nikiana.

Goat huts in the meadows high up on Skaros

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 (running if you feel up to it).

The track climbs a little and then starts to descend. You get good views to your right over Lefkada town and Preveza. After about 2.5km the track becomes surfaced just before joining the Nikiana-Kollyvata road.

Looking back as the trail rejoins the Nikiana-Kollyvata road.

Turn right down the road to Nikiana. After about 1.5km turn right (both roads go down to Nikiana but only the right one passes the starting point of this trail). Descend down the road through the pine forests to your starting point just before entering Nikiana. The road is very quiet and pleasant however if you have a second car or are using a taxi you can save this walk back down the road. Maria’s taverna in Kollyvata is a good place to wait for your taxi.