Eglouvi to Karya monopati route

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

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

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

Tavernas and accommodation in Karya. Tavernas in Eglouvi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inventive yellow and red paint markers on the trail.

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

A track heads off immediately left.

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

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

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

Nidri – Dimosari waterfall – Neochori loop

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

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

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

Numerous hotels, tavernas and accommodation in Nidri.

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

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

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

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

Very steep path heading up on left of large water tank

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

The monopati climbs up out of the waterfall gorge.

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

The road passes under a massive plane tree near a spring

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

The track traversing towards Neochori with great views down to Nidri

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

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

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.

Klousouria Gorge loop from Agios Ilias

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

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

4.8km
280m ascent
Moderate.

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

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

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

The taverna in Agios Ilias

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

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

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

Turn left at the track by the wooden pole

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

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

Looking up the gorge from near the bridge

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

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

Great views south over Vasiliki valley

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

Go past a church on the left of the track

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

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.

Mount Elati Five Peak Loop

Stunning walk across the roof of Lefkada. A trail with the best views of the north, east and south of Lefkada with the surrounding seas, islands and mainland. Takes in five peaks on the high plain of the eastern end of Mount Elati – the highest part of Lefkada. And all for a mere 166m of climbing. The easy way to be a mountaineer.

If you want a full-on longer hike then walk up the A4 trail from Eglouvi, go around this trail, and then go back down the A5 to Eglouvi. This makes probably the best mountain hike on Lefkada. In total 600m of ascent and 11.5km long.

You won’t have to climb but do take suitable clothes, boots or walking shoes and carry plenty of water. The weather up here is usually more extreme than down below except being cooler in summer. The sun is stronger though.

4.7km
166m ascent
Easy (but very rocky ground in parts).

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You need a car or taxi to reach the start of the trail. You can walk up from Eglouvi if you are fit.

Links to trails up and down to Eglouvi, or beyond to climb Stavrotas too.

The trail starts from the high road by the antenna at the top of Mnimati at 1,130m. Drive up from either Eglouvi, Karia, Chorta, or Sivros. Take the turning off the high road crossing from Eglouvi to Sivros leading up to the antenna station at the top. Park just before you get to the antenna gates – near to a concrete blockhouse up on the right of the road. Do not block the road or tracks leading off.

Track at the start of the trail leads north-east from the road just below the radio antenna

Take the track heading north-east. There is sometimes a metal fence that you need to locate and untie the wire or rope that holds the track gate closed. Take care and don’t damage the fence (it keeps the cows in). Make sure you re-tie as you found it.

Head along the track with views all the way up to Lefkada town in the distance. After about 300m the track turns sharp left and a marked path goes right. The path is marked with big red and yellow paint marks on the rocks – and is the A4 trail coming up from Eglouvi. Follow that path rightwards all the way to Katharia Rachi – the first peak. The path descends at first to a low pass before climbing up gently to Katharia Rachi after 1.5km. You can’t miss the red and yellow paint marks all the way.

Distinctive read and yellow paint blobs mark much of the trail.

Katharia Rachi is marked with a sign in a small cairn. Also the slope suddenly drops steeply down in front of you and to both sides. You are now at the top of the most glorious view in all of Lefkada. Look north towards Lefkada and Preveza beyond – on a clear day up to Paxos and Corfu. To the east is Nidri, out across the Inland Sea with Meganisi, Kalamos, and the mainland. To the south is Ithaca and Kefalonia beyond. To the south-east on a clear day is the start of the Gulf of Corinth and Patras. Stunning. Sit here and enjoy.

Stunning panorama view from Katharia Rachi

When you have finished looking take the path heading sharp-right almost back the way you came. The same red and yellow paint marks descend down and right down to high pass below you. After about 200m the marked path turns back left and descends more gently to the pass. The path then turns right and goes over a low hill until it reaches a T junction with an unsurfaced track. The paint marks go off right, and you will eventually go that way too, but first turn left and follow the track downwards.

Your destination ahead on Alevrata peak

The track descends to another pass where it ends and a path ascends a peak in front of you. Take that path to the top. At the top you stand on Alevrata with a similar amazing view as you had on top of Katharia Rachi except oriented more to the south. You can now see over the whole south of the island with Ithaca and Kefalonia beyond. Again, sit for a while and enjoy.

When ready retrace your steps down the path back down to the first pass and then back up the track you came down. Follow the track all the way until you pick up the red and yellow paint marks. Follow the track as it winds across the high plateau. There may be wire fences to cross but most have tied “gates” where crossing the track. Leave them as you found them as they stop the cows roaming.

Track winds across the high plateau

The track eventually climbs back up to the road near the radio antenna at the top of Mnimati. At this point the paint-marked trail follows the A5 down to Eglouvi. Instead follow the road right towards the antennas and your parked car.

Follow the road back right towards the antenna

This trail can be easily linked into the trails A4 and A5 up and down from Eglouvi. You can also head along the short road to the start of the trail up Stavrotas – and go for a sixth peak.

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.

Katouna Valley and Forest Loop

Beautiful walk from Katouna village climbing up along a stream, climbing over a hill for wonderful views, and back down to Katouna. Best in spring when there is water in the streams and all the flowers are out – but great all year round. There is a fair bit of shade and so works on a hot summer day if you start early. There are several alternative loops around Katouna but this one minimises time spent on surfaced roads.

7.2km
335m ascent
Moderate

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Tavernas and holiday lets in Katouna.

One of several possible circular paths from and around Katouna. Use a good map and follow almost any of the tracks and quiet roads on the hills around Katouna. This route avoids most of the surfaced roads whilst visiting many of the pretty parts.

Infrequent bus to Katouna from Lefkada town.

Starts from the the village of Katouna up on the hill above the Lefkada town to Nidri road. Park in or near the small town square. There are good tavernas in and around the square for provisions for your walk or refreshment afterwards. There is a spring part way round the route but best to carry water in case it is dry.

Taverna in Katouna village square – start (and end) of the trail

Walk up the road on the right hand side of the taverna and turn almost immediately first right on a track between the houses. Go about 100m along this track until a monopati forks off right dropping down the hill. Follow the monopati down.

The monopati forks off right

Descend the monopati until it reaches a narrow road. Turn right and go down the road for about 200m until a grass track turns off sharp left between the trees. Be careful as there is another very short track heading off left into an olive grove just before the track you want.

Grassy track turns sharp left off the road.

The track meanders down to the bottom of the valley through trees, across grass meadows and olive groves. The track is slightly indistinct in parts but easy to follow if you watch out or follow a GPS map. You reach a well-laid gravel track running along the bottom of a valley. From this point you go through three path junctions as you go up the valley. If you turn away from going up the valley before passing those three junctions you should check the map.

Start by turning left up the valley. Almost immediately the track hairpins to the right and another track goes leftwards (up the valley). Follow that left-hand track continuing up the valley. After a short distance the track fords over the stream and gradually turns to the left. At that point a grassy track forks off right continuing to follow the stream on its left-hand bank.

A grassy track forks off right just after fording the stream.

Follow the grassy track up the left bank of the stream. It becomes more distinct as it goes. As it hairpins right across the stream another track turns off left. Take the track, keeping on up the stream. You have now now successfully navigated the three junctions.

The track soon turns into a grassy path and then turns left to start climbing up out of the valley. The path climbs up and to the left up a steep slope – which in winter and spring can be a little muddy underfoot as a side-stream flows along it for part of the way. Eventually you reach a track. Turn right and follow up the track.

The track is rather wonderful as it runs through mature forest climbing up the hill. You start to get views back to Katouna and the east coast of Lefkada. After about 1.5km you join a bigger track as it hairpins. Keep on left up the hill. After another 0.5km you join a quiet surface road. Go left up the hill.

Follow the road now for about 1.5km as it climbs up to a higher valley and then up that valley to a pass. About half way there is a welcome spring on the right side of the road. The spring has a tap with drinking water – but best not to drink direct from the stream. There is also a lovely old bridge from before the monopati was turned into a road. After resting here continue up the road to the pass.

Roadside spring with the old monopati stone bridge

At the top of the pass four surfaced roads and two unsurfaced tracks meet. You want the unsurfaced track going slightly down almost directly straight-on from the surfaced road you just came up. It is the right-most of the two unsurfaced tracks and runs immediately to the left of the small farm and goat huts. Consult the map if unsure. You are at the highest point of the trail. You could get driven here by taxi and just walk down to Katouna – making this an easy walk for a hot day.

The unsurfaced track on the left side of the small farm.

After a short distance down the track keep left at the fork. Follow the track as it traverses around the steep hillside. Enjoy wonderful views across to Skaros mountain with its pine and oak forests. Also down to the Inland Sea on the east coast of Lefkada. This part of the track makes all that climb up worthwhile. It ends at a quiet surface road. Turn right down the road.

Views of Skaros and the Inland Sea

The road is almost as good as the track as it winds 2km down along the ridge and hills back down to Katouna. Turn right at the fork, then keep straight on at the next junction – then turn left at the last T junction heading into Katouna village. When you get into the houses of the village bear right between the houses to reach the square where you started. Enjoy one of the two or three tavernas in and around the square.

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.