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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.