Gentle walk through the trees below Syvros to an ancient temple that has been converted into a Christian monastery. A perfect evening walk – or take a picnic and spend the whole day. You can still see stones and columns of the ancient Doric temple of >Dimitra, the goddess of agriculture and fertility. It was converted to a monastery in about 1650. It is still believed to be a good place for a couple wanting a child to visit and pray. Nice too, even if not currently desiring such a happy event. The lush valley is an ideal spot for a temple to agriculture and fertility.
The path is marked to “Agios Ioannis” along much of the route. The last part is a little indistinct and we recommend downloading the GPX file of the route and following it on your phone or GPS device.
4.4km one way – 8.8km both ways. 200m ascent one way – 320m both ways.
Start from the pretty town square in the middle of Syvros. There are two or three tavernas to take refreshment. With your back to the square facing the old schoolhouse go left down the road. Immediately after the first corner take the track/narrow road going left, followed immediately by a second left turn.
Follow the track generally straight ahead until forking left on a path. There are red streamers tied to branches along some of the route, but it is best to follow these turns on a map or GPS. The path goes through trees and olive groves and climbs up to meet a road. Go right and then take the first track off right again (signposted “Springs Pathway”. Drop down a short slope and then turn left towards the Kanali spring. You pass the path marker to “Agios Ioannis”.
Keep half-right past the spring and take the track as it starts to descend down the side of the valley through the trees.
After 2.5km you reach a narrow road – turn right and then immediately right along another track. The track goes around a low hill through olive groves. After about 500m a path goes off right straight up the hill (following with a map or GPS phone really helps here). Take the path as it climbs between trees and bushes to the top of the hill.
At the top of the hill is a clearing with the monastery grounds and a small parking area. Take a wander around the site. You will see the round columns of the ancient temple, and also see stones in the wall of the church that were once part of the old temple. It is also a good place to sit and picnic. The tradition is that couples praying inside the church may hear footsteps outside indicating that a child is due.
Retrace your steps back to Syvros, or arrange for a taxi or friend to pick you up. An alternative is to walk down the quiet road to Kondarena and the main Vasiliki-Nidri road where there are buses.
A huge thanks to the Antelikos Sivros Cultural Club, especially Vasilis Deftereos who inspired this trail. They marked this trail and regularly take groups on it giving a fascinating description of the temple, 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.
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. Also ignore old signs showing the whole trail on an arial photo map – it has changed since then.
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).
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.
There is an option here to considerably shorten the trail and skip the steep mountain section and the highest springs. Go up the path passing directly up and behind 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, crosses a wooden bridge, and goes 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The trail is the fifth part of the Lefkada Trail running from the base of Stavrotas over to the start of the long tail of Lefkada down to the south. The walk crosses the Vasiliki valley descending down past the magical springs and waterfalls of Syvros before climbing back up to Ag. Petros. This sets you up for the final day of the Lefkada Trail day 6 Ag. Petros to Cape Doukato.
The trail is along unsurfaced tracks and paths for much of the route – with just a few kilometres on very quiet roads.
The trail starts where we left off day 4 outside the taverna in Ag Ilias (just below entering the narrow one-way system within the main village). Head down the road towards Syvros. After 400m the road curves to the left where a log-clad house is on the right. Just before that house a concrete track goes right running down behind the house and becoming an unsurfaced track.
Keep right at the fork and continue until you re-join the road. Cross straight over the road and take the unsurfaced track heading down. Keep right descending down the track. For a short distance the track almost re-joins the road on the right, but continues on down. A section of the track is part-overgrown but continues as an easy path before becoming a track again. The track descends steeply on a few zig-zags until it reaches a less-steep section. On the right of the track is a large plane tree and the topmost Syvros spring. You can stop here for a rest and the water is pure and delicious.
Continue down the track you left to enter the spring. After 100m a second track forks right (running down just below the lefthand track gradually getting wider apart). The righthand track is less distinct so look carefully. Where you see some metal-sheet goat-sheds up to your left a track goes sharp right. After 50m a path descends straight down left. There are a number of red paint marks to follow from this point, but many of the red arrows point back the way you came (ignore that fact). Descend the steep track (take care) along a stream bed (with water in winter). At the bottom you pass a junction and then meet a track fording the stream to the left. From this point stop following red marks, and take the track left and down.
After 200m from the ford a path forks off to the left. Take the track through olive trees keeping right at the second fork until you meet a track. Go left along the track for 150m to the second spring. This one too is good to drink. There is usually a waterfall over the moss beside the path – very photogenic.
Head back on the track almost the way you came, but taking the track going left and down across the slope. After 200m turn left to a T junction where you go left again. Round a bend past an old watermill you re-join the road briefly. Turn left down the road and then immediately left again on another track. Keep right then left continuing down until you join the road again. Follow the road a short distance into Syvros village square with its water channels and tavernas. Time for a coffee or more.
When ready leave the square along the road to the right from where you came into the square. Go around the corner of the schoolhouse building and after 50m take the track going left. If you reach the post office you went too far. Down the track keep right and then right again. You soon re-join the road going left down hill. Just past the car service yard a paved path heads off left down to Daphne Spring.
Keep going down the Daphne Springs path for about 1.5km past the spring itself followed by several waterfalls and cascades. The path is delightful. Just below the last waterfall the path crosses a wooden bridge. Note there is another wooden bridge just before the real one leading to a dead-end. After the bridge head down left past a final spring until you re-join the road.
Turn left down the hill, then round a right hand bend to a junction where you turn right (signposted to the cemetery). After 0.5km keep left at the road fork. After a further 1km the road turns sharply to the left and a track goes right (almost straight on).
Take that track going left at the immediate first fork then turning right a little further on. Straight on until it re-joins a road. Go right along the road as it gradually climbs up the valley. After 1.2km the road passes some huge olive trees and an unsurfaced track heads off left up the valley through some trees. Take that track and climb up towards Ag. Petros.
Keep right and then left, generally keeping to the track zig-zagging up through the woods. When you reach a road go right and then straight up, ignoring turnings, up the very steep road into Ag Petros itself.
Here you join the main road down the west of the island. There are tavernas as well as some accommodation for the night.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From the taverna walk in the direction of Nidri and take the first turn on the right up a small surface 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Keep following the track straight on through the pine forest ignoring turns save for keeping left at a fork.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After a short distance the trail takes the left fork track. Watch out as the fork isn’t very clear.
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).
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.
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.