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.

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.

Lefkada Trail day 3 Karya to Eglouvi

This walk runs between the mountain villages of Karya and Eglouvi. It climbs over Profitis Ilias which is a church set on a mountain top with one of the best views in Lefkada. Warning – there are hundreds of churches on peaks in Greece called Profitis Ilias. This is the 1,009 metre peak just SSW of Karya. The trail then descends down the other side to the village of Eglouvi. The trail is along monopati and unsurfaced tracks for almost all of the route.

6.3km
560m ascent
Moderate.

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Accommodation and tavernas in Karya. Tavernas and limited Aaccommodation in Eglouvi

Infrequent buses to Karya and Eglouvi from Lefkada Town. However you really need to use a taxi or have a friend/partner that drives.

Day 3 of the 80km Lefkada Trail.
Day [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

The trail is the third part of the Lefkada Trail. It is a relatively easy short day on the Lefkada Trail – but then tomorrow, day four, is one of the hardest. You can walk it as a stand alone and walk back a different route to Karya. It is a steep climb up Profitis Ilias mountain and a steep rocky descent to Eglouvi.

Start from the town square in Karya, with all the nice tavernas and the shade of the plane trees.

Start of trail up hill between spring and bakery

This trail is marked as M4 from Karya – with red markers and arrow signs for most of the way. Go up the steep path/ narrow lane in the north west of the square, by the drinking well. There is a good baker as the path starts where you can get cheese pies for the top.

Follow M4 red arrows

Follow up through the steeply climbing streets going straight up – but bear a little left at first and then a little right. The path narrows and reaches a turning right up stairs. The M4 red arrows show you the way.

Turn right up stairs

At top of stairs you reach a road. Turn right and go a short distance to a monopati heading up the hill left.

The first section of monopati leaving the road.

The monopati zig zags up the hill passing through ruined stone buildings and past a small church. The path then goes left to meet a road on a sharp bend. Go up the road until a T junction where you turn right. Very soon a monopati starts up the hill on your left.

Second monopati leaving the final bit of road out of Karya

Follow the really nice monopati up the mountain. It passes a wonderful natural amphitheatre full of olive trees. Keep going up through some rocky outcrops (but with a good path to keep you safe). The path becomes slightly indistinct as you go over the brow of the ridge – take a mental note of your route if you are coming back this way.

When you reach the top of the ridge the vista west will open up. Below you is a quarry and over beyond that to the left is the old American communications base. Descend a little towards the quarry where you reach a semi-surfaced road. Here you leave the M4 which heads round the quarry heading for Eglouvi. Instead take the road up the hill to your left.

Sci-Fi set or quarry below Profitis Ilias

Climb the twisting road up towards the top of Profitis Ilias. The odd car ventures up here, but it is being undermined by the quarry, and difficult to pass. As a walker you won’t have any problem. Stick to the road all the way to the top.

Reach the mountain top and the very pretty church of Profitis Ilias with its amazing views in all directions. Many describe this spot as being close to heaven. You can see all of the Inland Sea from here – on a clear day to the entrance of the Gulf of Corinth.

Church of Profitis Ilias looking back over the last half of this trail

Note that this peak is a drone-free zone. And you can see why many would fly drones here if permitted.

Looking down to Eglouvi and your destination for today

Head back down the road you came up. After about 100m there is a large red and yellow arrow indicating a footpath off left. Descend that path down towards the quarry. The path skirts a small field and then almost gets back to the road. Instead go straight down the slope left. The path is clearly marked with red and yellow paint markers.

Cross the quarry keeping to the path. At the bottom you meet another path coming from the right. You head down the dry streambed to the left. Again, follow the painted markers.

The junction of the A3 (coming from Profitis Ilias) and M4 (going to Karya)

The path becomes steep and rocky so take care. As it steepens the path takes the right hand side of the stream or gorge.

Looking back up the steep path

The path eventually meets a road on a hairpin bend. Go down left towards Eglouvi. After a short way paint markers show a path leaving the road and running down into the village. Take this path following back down the A3 trail. If you miss the path the road goes to the village too.

The start of the A3 trail in Eglouvi – or end of this trail for today.

Eglouvi village has three or four tavernas in the main square up a little on the right. Sit in the shade of a wonderful plane tree and relax. There is some accommodation in the village and an infrequent bus to Lefkada Town. Day four of the Lefkada Trail will take you up over Lefkada’s highest mountain and down to the south of the island.

Mount Elati Five Peak Loop

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

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

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

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.

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.

Eglouvi to Profitis Ilias (A3)

A justly popular walk from the mountain village of Eglouvi up to a pretty church on the top of a steep peaked mountain. You can see the church from Eglouvi up on the top of the cliff high above. The trail goes around the cliff to the left but it is still steep and rocky. However the views at the top are just heavenly. Take your camera as the summit is so photogenic. Don’t take a drone as the top is a drone-free zone.

If you want to climb Profitis Ilias from Elgouvi a good alternative to this trail is to loop around via Karya. Take the Eglouvi to Karya monopati route (optionally using the suggested shortcut) and come back on the Lefkada Trail day 3 Karya to Eglouvi. This combination takes you around, up, and back down Profitis Ilias without retracing your path. It is 9km and 500m total ascent if you take the suggested shortcut, 200m more if you go all the way down to Karya. This combined trail is one of the best in Lefkada.

2.2km
300m ascent
Moderately Difficult

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Infrequent bus to Eglouvi from Lefkada and Karya

Tavernas and accommodation in Eglouvi

Links to a trail back down to Karya

Start in Eglouvi in the main square with the tavernas. If you haven’t got water fill up now – there will be no more drinking water until you get back down. I suggest at least a litre a person minimum. There is a tap next to the plane tree or buy from the tavernas.

Walk a little downhill from the tavernas back towards Karya. On your left is a turning with a yellow A3 sign. Take this turning and follow the next yellow A3 signs left, right and right again through the footways of Eglouvi village. The last footway takes you back onto a road heading rightwards up the hill.

The start of the A3 trail in Eglouvi

At the top of the road (just as it turns a hairpin left) another yellow A3 sign points up a monopati heading up a steep valley. Follow up that monopati as it climbs right up to the top on the left side of the steep valley (almost a gorge).

The rail leaves the road just above Eglouvi heading up the steep valley / gorge

The going is pretty steep so take care. You follow yellow and red painted marks on the rocks all the way up.

Climb up the steep path

As you come to the top you start to enter a large quarry area. Keep going up the dry stream bed until you get to a trail junction with the A3 marked going off right. Go right and head over the quarry heading towards the mountain up on the right (your destination). If you did go straight on you would get to Karya.

The junction of the A3 (going to Profitis Ilias) and M4 (going to Karya)

Head up the mountain ahead until you meet a short track heading from a road on your left. It is possible to take that road up to the top, but the A3 trail keeps right along the short track passing a small field. The track then turns back into a monopati climbing further up the mountain. Finally it reaches that road again further up. Walk a short way up the road to the church of Profitis Ilias at the top of the mountain.

The views from Profitas Ilias are equal to the best anywhere

Many describe this spot as being close to heaven. You can see all of the Inland Sea from here – on a clear day to the entrance of the Gulf of Corinth. Gaze back down the cliff to Eglouvi where you started this climb.

Retrace your steps back down to Eglouvi. Alternatively head down to Karya using the Karya to Profitis Ilias (M4) in reverse (note you keep on down the road up to the church until the M4 goes off right – you are joining the M4 higher up than you met it on the way up).

Note that there is a narrow road going all the way to the top of Profitis Ilias. But the road is starting to collapse into the quarry so much safer and nicer to walk.

Stavrotas from road above Agios Ilias

Climb up the highest peak on Lefkada up the shortest route. Stavrotas is without doubt Lefkada’s top mountain: it is the highest at 1182m, it is unencumbered with man made masts or buildings, it has impressive steep crags and screes, and has far reaching views in all directions. If you like mountains and come to Lefkada you must climb Stavrotas. If you can pick a day with clear blue skies and no mist or haze.

There is an alternate longer but less steep route: Stavrotas from road above Eglouvi. You can use one to go up and one to descend as it isn’t far along a quiet road between the two trailheads.

The steep crags and screes of Stavrotas

This route starts from 960m leaving a mere 222m to climb over just over one kilometre. What a reward for such a small effort. However it is not to be taken lightly as the climb is up over steep rocks. The weather can change quickly at these heights with mists and high winds. In the summer the sun is strong and there is no water. Be prepared.

1.1km
222m ascent
Difficult

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You need a car or taxi to drive up to the starting point.

Tavernas and accommodation in Agios Ilias.

Links to trails down to Eglouvi and Agios Ilias

The trail starts from the very top of the road up from Agios Ilias heading towards Eglouvi. As the road reaches the top it goes around one last bend and a track heads off uphill to the left. Park anywhere near here and take the track.

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.

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

It is possible to walk along the ridge to the southern peak of Stavrotas. The going is rocky but you can pick a path that is no harder than the climb to the main peak.

The ridge to the southern (lower) peak of Stavrotas.

Retrace your steps back down the path. Alternatively follow the trail Stavrotas from road above Eglouvi in reverse and then walk back along the quiet paved road to your starting point.

Stavrotas from road above Eglouvi

Climb up the highest peak on Lefkada passing through lentil fields and high pastures. Stavrotas is without doubt Lefkada’s top mountain: it is the highest at 1182m, it is unencumbered with man made masts or buildings, it has impressive steep crags and screes, and has far reaching views in all directions. If you like mountains and come to Lefkada you must climb Stavrotas. If you can pick a day with clear blue skies and no mist or haze.

There is an alternate shorter yet steeper route: Stavrotas from road above Agios Ilias. You can use one to go up and one to descend as it isn’t far along a quiet road between the two trailheads.

The steep crags and screes of Stavrotas

This route starts from 940m leaving a mere 242m to climb. What a reward for such a small effort. However it is not to be taken lightly as the last section of path climbs up over steep rocks. The weather can change quickly at these heights with mists and high winds. In the summer the sun is strong and there is no water. Be prepared.

2.2km
242m ascent
Difficult

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Bus to Eglouvi from Lefkada. You need a car or taxi to drive up to the starting point.

Tavernas and accommodation in Eglouvi.

Links to trails down to Eglouvi and Agios Ilias

Start from the road between Eglouvi and Agios Ilias. The road goes round a tight bend just where a track and then a footpath heads up the hill. The footpath is marked with red blobs of paint.

This trail follows the footpath up the first part of this route. However the path is a little indistinct and so a little difficult to follow without a GPS map. A good alternative is to follow the track instead that runs in parallel with the footpath; which is much easier to follow. Or you can go up one and back down the other.

Follow the footpath up around high lentil fields and then up the slope to the left. You go over a low ridge to a plateaux with a track – follow the track right for a short distance where you join a second track coming from the right – this being the top of the alternative track route from the road. Keep going straight across the plateaux.

As you start to climb again the track is blocked and a path starts following the same route as the track but slightly down the hill. Take this path along and up to a small saddle of rocks. The red paint markers help you follow the trail. After the saddle you go left up to the start of the main slope up Stavrotas.

At this point a second path (Stavrotas from road above Agios Ilias) joins from the left with yellow dots. 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

It is possible to walk along the ridge to the southern peak of Stavrotas. The going is rocky but you can pick a path that is no harder than the climb to the main peak.

The ridge to the southern (lower) peak of Stavrotas.

Retrace your steps back down the path – possibly taking the track or path over the last part to vary your way down. Alternately go down Stavrotas from road above Agios Ilias in reverse and walk back along the quiet paved road.

Kollyvata to Skaros forest loop

Classic route around the Skaros peaks wandering through ancient oak forests along marble terraced monopati. This trail has a number of elements that make it one of the best on the island. The oak trees many of which are hundreds of years old. The ancient monopati following natural rock ledges across the hills. The vibrant colours of flowers and trees that change with each season. And the views across the island and out over the Inland Sea. If you do one walk on Lefkada do this one.

5.3km
230m ascent
Moderate

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Some accomodation in Alexandros and Kollyvata. Taverna in Kollyvata.

If you are fit divert off this path half way along to the Skaros main peak and hence down to the Red Church. From there you can get back along Red Church to Kollyvata. A long trail but well rewarded.

Kollyvata also connects to Karya for long distance hikes.

No public transport unless you take a bus to Lazarata and walk 3km to Kollyvata from there.

Starts from Maria’s taverna in Kollyvata. Follow the path up the right side of the taverna.

The trail starts up the right side of Maria’s taverna

Turn immediately right at the back of the taverna and follow the path/dry stream bed up through the little village. Soon you come to a wider path running up the right side of the churchyard. That turns into a road continuing to climb the hill. Shortly a path goes off left up and over steep rocks. Follow that path until it crosses straight over a second road and goes down the left side of a small monastery.

The trail now follows a classic monopati that traverses across and up the Skaros peaks. The path is very clear and at times you walk over a gently climbing stone ledge – a marble walkway. This is possibly one of the best examples of the monopati network that once covered all of the island. You follow the footsteps of ancient Greeks.

The classic monopati traversing Skaros

As you climb you start to get views over the oak forests that make up much of the flanks of Skaros.

The slopes of Skaros

Eventually the path reaches a plateau where the path divides. Keep left following the big bright red paint marks. Pass under a group of giant ancient oak trees. Soon after the path with the red blobs starts to descend to the left and another track starts continuing to ascend up to the right. Go a short way up this track to reach the ruin of the Church of the Virgin with fine views out over the east coast.

The ruined church with fine views

After enjoying this ancient sacred spot retrace your steps back to the path with the red blobs and go right down the slope. Keep going down through the trees until you get to an unsurfaced road. Follow the road to your left. (Alternatively turn right and via Skaros peak down to the Red Church and hence back up on Red Church to Kollyvata).

The leftward road gradually descends back along the other side of the peak you have just come over. You now have several wonderful views of the east coast and over to the mainland.

View from Skaros down to the Lefkada east coast and the mainland

The road eventually meets a paved road. Turn left and follow the road around a short distance back to Kollyvata. Use the signs to Maria’s taverna as your guide.

Well worth stopping at Maria’s tiny taverna for a post-walk drink and maybe a meal. Best to ring first and let her know you are coming. Like visiting your favourite aunt who cooks good food.

Red Church to Kollyvata

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

2.8km
140m ascent
Easy

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Accommodation in Alexandros. Taverna in Kollyvata.

Links to trails to Karya, Skaros and Kollyvata

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

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

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

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

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

Kollyvata town square with Maria’s Taverna

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

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