Syvros Springs Walk

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.

If you do follow the trail yourself; a GPS app and a copy of this GPX trail is almost essential. Confusingly the Springs Walk has 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. They are more useful when following a path between junctions going across open mountainside or through olive groves. But even then, don’t worry if the arrows point against your route. If in any doubt ignore the red paint and use your GPS app and GPX trail. Also ignore the signs with satellite view maps of the trail – these are about to be updated with this new improved trail. Follow the instructions here to go on the best “official” route that visits all the springs and takes best advantage of natural shade.

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.

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.

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). This description starts from Kamari beach. Walk in the cool of the morning then enjoy the afternoon on the beach. Perfection.

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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.

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.

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.

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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.

Vournikas around Lainaki loop

A loop around the Lainaki mountain starting from Vournikas – a mountain village in the valley up above Vasaliki. The trail starts with a steep climb up and over a pass following an old monopati. After descending down the other side the trail contours around the mountain on a wonderful monopati and track. This gives wonderful views first north-east to Nidri then east and south over the Inland Sea finally looking back North to the high Stavrotas mountain. It is a challenging walk (with a steep climb of 400m to start) but very rewarding.

If you have a friend with another car or use taxis you can skip the steep climb by starting from the road above Alatro. This makes the walk one-way but includes most of the best views.

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9.8km
520m ascent
Difficult

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

Taverna and accommodation in Vournikas.

The trail starts in Vournikas village. A steep road zig zags up the village from the village taverna. Just as you go past the last house on the right the road straight-on turns into a track. If your car is small it is possible to park here – but please don’t block any tracks. The short track runs to Klimatas Spring with two white columns. Take the monopati climbing up immediately behind the spring.

Klimatas Spring with the trail starting immediately behind

The monopati climbs about 400m up to the ridge above the village. The path is very steep; in parts over loose rocks -so please take great care. The trail is marked with yellow paint over the first part to be joined by red paint marks higher up. Take either the yellow or red trail as they are heading in the same direction.

Nearing the top of the climb from Vournikas

As you near the top you see the high pass you are heading for between the rocky summit of Lainaki and the northern mountain Koryfi. At the very top of the pass is a T junction with a track heading for a goat shed to the right. Take the track left for a short distance and then turn right on another track (now heading down the other side of the pass). Almost immediately take an indistinct path heading down across a series of grassy terraces. Keep going down through each terrace.

The grassy terraces on the other side of the pass.

As the terraces start to become much steeper, keep over to the left hand side until you meet a good monopati path (just over a low wall running down along the left side of the last few terraces). Cross the low wall and descend on the very clear monopati down through the trees.

The monopati descends through the trees.

Descend until you see the well spread out houses of Alatro village just below you. At this point watch out for a second monopati turning very sharp right off the monopati you are descending. The second monopati is not quite as clear as the first so good idea to have a GPS map running to alert you to the turn. The second monopati drops steeply down to a surfaced road. Turn right along the road and go round a few bends past a couple of houses. You will reach a track turning right off the road. Note there are more than one tracks going right off the road. The one you want is by a rock outcrop with a power pole on top and a shrine box on the side of the track.

The track going right by the power pole and shrine box.

If you want to skip the steep climb over the pass you can start the trail from this point. You will need to use another car or taxi to get back from Vounikas.

You now start the contouring trail around Lainaki mountain – with the trail slowly descending as it runs around the hill with just a couple of short climbs on the far side. The views all around are superb. The trail starts as a grassy track.

Grassy track heading around Lainaki mountain.

After a short distance the trail takes the left fork track. Watch out as the fork isn’t very clear.

Take the left fork.

The trail becomes a monopati as it crosses the steep hillside. Take care on the rocky parts as the drop below the monopati becomes very steep. This section of monopati is wonderful. After about 1.5km the monopati turns back into a trail by a spring (water not accessible to walkers).

Trail heading south looking over the inland sea.

Keep going along the track for another 1.5km as it descends a little to reach a low pass on the east side of Lainaki. The track meets another at a T junction. Take the sharp right turn up the hill very shortly turning left again to continue following around the mountain. Go for another 1km or so keeping right as the track starts to gently climb again. Go over a low ridge and the track starts to descend again with the Vounikas village now visible at the end of the track with Stavrotas mountain behind.

The last section of track running down to Vounikas village with Stavrotas mountain behind.

Keep going down the track for about 1.5km. Keep going straight on (taking the lower left track at each of two forks in the track) until you come back into Vounikas just above the last house up the road. Turn down the surfaced road to reach the centre of Vounikas and a very welcome taverna.