Kefalonia, Lefkada & Ithaki walking holiday

“Seven days of guided walking on the Ionian Sea island of Lefkada. Following in the footsteps of Homer, an idyllic odyssey for any keen hiker. ”

Highlights

Lefkada Island | Greek Ag. Ioanis Antzousis chapel | Faneromeni monastery | Gira lagoon | Ligia | Katouna | Nydri village | Skaros Mountain | Exanthia village | Mylos beach | Lefkatas Cape | Athani village | Alexandros

Description of Kefalonia, Lefkada & Ithaki walking holiday

A 7- or 10-day walking itinerary around the lush islands of Kefalonia, Lefkada & Ithaca in the South Ionian Sea is the ideal holiday for nature and walking lovers.

We'll start from Lefkada, famous for being the homeland of Homer’s Greek hero Ulysses, in The Odyssey. A mountainous, valley rich landscape glistens like an emerald, and segues smoothly with the blues and turquoises of the Ionian all around. Despite the hot Mediterranean climate, its eclectic natural features include plenty of water that shapes it into the walking terrain so loved by many. Natural springs, waterfalls, rivers, canyons and forests all thrive around the mountain terrain, as do flora and fauna. Such as the array of wild herbs, as well as rare orchids and reams of wild flowers.

You'll continue to Ithaca to explore its trails among olive trees and ancient ruins, Byzantine monasteries and churches, sheer cliffs, arid mountains with splendid views, hidden coves with pebbly beaches, charming villages. eventually you'll reach Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian islands. Wooded and mountainous with broad summits rising to 1,627m (Mt Ainos), you will love its lush green hills, much photographed sandy beaches, picturesque villages, sheltered coves, spectacular caves, unprecedented views of the azure waters of the Ionian, delicious local recipes and wine…

Every day on this walking holiday brings another ancient trail, following old cobbled mule paths either up into the mountains, valleys or gorges or along the dramatic cliffs and coastal paths. With plenty of beautiful beaches and coves for rest and refreshment, swimming and sunning, to make your odyssey complete.

This walking holiday in Greece is graded as easy to moderate, with five to six hours of walking every day including stops, and climbs of no more than 500 metres. We are also flexible with our itineraries, depending on the needs and interests of our group members. We can push those muscles or just go for more easy going hikes, it is up to you. We run this Lefkada, Ithaca and Kefalonia walking holiday all year round, except from August, when extremely hot temperatures in Greece make walking very uncomfortable. We highly recommend spring and autumn, however, particularly the former, when the wild flowers and trees blossom, lining your walking routes like beautiful magic carpets.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1:Arrive on Lefkada and check into our chosen family run guesthouse in the island’s main town of Lefkada. After a brief introduction to the island, we have time for a walk around this beautiful coastal town and olive grove filled environs. Highlights include the traditionally Greek Ag. Ioanis Antzousis chapel which is the island’s oldest church. We will also take a short climb up to Faneromeni monastery, with views out across the island and Ionian Sea. As well as the mainland, closely linked by a causeway. Your first day on the island wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the beach, and Ag. Ioannis’s white sands and translucent waters are the perfect introduction to what will become a daily tradition on this holiday. As is dinner at a top taverna, in time for sunset.
Day 2:Today’s walk is to the island’s famous Gira Lagoon a bird filled wetland and a Natura 2000 protected site very close to Lefkada town, which is conveniently located on the migratory path of birds such as such as wild duck, moorhen, flamingos pelicans and, sometimes even swans. Either cycle or walk around the lagoon, both an idyllic immersion into the island’s fine natural heritage. We have time for a second walk today, starting from the charming fishing village of Ligia and hiking along an inland path to Episkopos waterfall, with brooks and birdsong adding to nature’s cacophony along the way. Heading up to the elevated and exquisite village of Katouna, you will have earned a superb taverna dinner with great views and, if we are lucky, great local music too.
Day 3:In the morning the choice is yours – another beautiful bay at Nydri village, or take a boat trip out to a neighbouring island. Our afternoon hike starts in the east coast village of Nikiana and climbs gently to one of the island’s most remote and very tranquil spots: Skaros Mountain, famous for the place that Ulysses took his sheep to pasture and where nowadays the surrounding, ancient oak forest is considered one of the island’s most precious habitats and wild places. After taking in the wonderful Ionian views, we descend back to NIkiana for our traditional taverna dinner.
Day 4:A free day with no planned itinerary, but our local guide is always happy to advise on things to do or places to visit. Such as visiting one of nine satellite islands, either sailing and mooring near the famous Onassis island of Scorpios, or visiting nearby Meganisi or Kalamos. There are ferries to many of these islands.
Day 5:Today we delve into deep traditional Lefkada hiking to the old village Kalamtitsi which, in many ways, feels delightfully unchanged by time, where elderly women still don traditional black dresses and use donkeys to negotiate the mountain paths and roads. Continuing on along trails bedecked with cypress trees and olive groves, we hike through a stunning gorge that leads us to Exanthia village, the perfect picnic spot overlooking more Ionian idylls. Our afternoon ends down on Mylos beach near the village of Drimonas, with top swimming and clear waters for those who like to snorkel. Walk or boat back to Ag. Nikitas village for a taverna dinner in this stunning waterside spot.
Day 6:Today is the day to be blown away by beautiful beaches. Starting on the island’s south tip lighthouse on Lefkatas Cape, where the cliff and seascapes take your breath away. And indeed it is the perilous drops from these cliffs that gave the island its name, where criminals were forced to take the ‘Lefkadian Leap’. We will only be leaping from sandy bays into tranquil waters, however, heading west towards Porto Katsiki and Egremni, considered some of the Mediterranean’s finest bathing spots. After plenty of beach time at Porto Katsiki, we head inland to Athani village in a stunning olive grove filled mountain location. More stunning views, more stunning food at the local taverna.
Day 7:Our last full day on Lefkada, choose a beach to chill at in the morning, and then take an afternoon hike from Kolivata village, heading inland once more to take one more walk through the island’s luscious valleys, forests and olive groves. One stop along the way is at the fascinating village of Alexandros, which was unoccupied for years but recently brought back to life, as explained by our local walking guide living here. Finish the day in Lefkada’s hills over our final group dinner.
Day 8 :Breakfast followed by departure for onward travel or return home.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

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Check dates

2017: 18 Apr, 25 Apr, 2 May, 9 May, 16 May, 23 May, 30 May, 6 Jun, 13 Jun, 1 Sep, 8 Sep, 15 Sep, 22 Sep, 29 Sep, 6 Oct, 13 Oct, 20 Oct, 27 Oct
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Kefalonia, Lefkada & Ithaki walking holiday

Environment

We are dedicated to encouraging low-impact tourism and activity holidays, such as walking, and minimising our negative impact on the environment and people.

This walking trail holiday in the island of Lefkada, Greece, has an eco focus. We will inform our guests on the unique flora and endemic and common species they will encounter while walking or swimming around the island of Lefkada. We give guidelines on where to look for them, how to approach them in order not to scare them and disrupt their life, how to observe their behaviours or even capture a unique picture showing to the rest of the world their magic. Guests leave aware of the environmental dangers they face and how to minimise them.

We encourage our guests to behave in an environmentally responsible manner. We walk on designated paths and make sure no litter is left behind. We often arrange clean ups of paths and beaches during the week. We report on paths that are falling out of use and help to clear them.

We encourage our guests and the owners of the accommodations we use to be aware of the threats to the environment (i.e. water waste, plastic bags and bottles) and suggest ways in which they can minimise their negative footprint. We explain our guests the need for water conservation in the Greek islands and advise them on how to minimise their water waste. We encourage our guests to bring refillable water bottles and/or recycle them in designated areas. All our business waste is recycled. All communication is done electronically where possible, saving on paper.

Community

We organise our walking holidays in Greece only for small groups of up to 6 people, outside the high season months of July-August. We thus try as much as we can to reduce negative impacts to the environment and its people and to benefit the local community.

We have the greatest respect for the local people and their customs and are anxious to share our knowledge of Ionian island lifestyle with our guests. In order to limit the social impact of tourism all are guests are introduced to the local customs, religion, politics and history during our walks. We take our clients to local festivals, artists' workshops, and other locals celebrations trying to get them to experience the local way of life. We encourage our guests to mix and interact with the local people which are particularly friendly and hospitable.

Through our walking trail holidays in Greece we support small businesses by supporting locally owned shops, guesthouses, mini-markets, bakeries and taverns. As our holidays take place in spring, early summer and autumn, we bring customers and income to establishments which would otherwise only have visitors in high summer. Guests are advised to visit the local market and purchase locally-produced and home-made products such olive oil, wine, honey, capers and herbs, sun dried fruits and tomatoes, “louza” the local proscuito and other goods.

We buy food for our picnics from the local markets and prefer items locally grown according to the season, thus supporting the local agricultural community. Evening meals are taken in typical Greek restaurants serving local dishes.

Our guests stay at local, family owned guesthouses, staffed by locals with their food being sourced locally. These accommodations have been restored by local workers and retained their unique local character whilst providing all necessary comforts. The guesthouses recently installed solar panels which provide hot water for all rooms all year round.

Lefkada has a unique network of traditional walking paths and Daphne, Annie and Phillip who will be your guides know them very well. They live and work in Lefkada. They are passionate about promoting Lefkada as a walking holiday destination, about the survival and conservation of the paths and local wildlife and sustainable tourism in general.

In general, with all our sailing, walking, scuba diving and conservation holidays in Greece, we’re trying through our activities to encourage travellers to approach places they visits with greater understanding and respect.

Reviews of Kefalonia, Lefkada & Ithaki walking holiday

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 19 Sep 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Great walks, perfect weather, beautiful sceneries and nature. Our guide was very friendly and very eager to share with us his knowledge. Also the food was excellent.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


A reasonable level of fitness is required. Bring a good pair of hiking boots and don't forget your camera!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, we were avoiding typical touristic areas and supported small, locally run businesses such as the traditional guesthouse where we stayed. Our guide was well informed on environmental and cultural issues and introduced us to the herbs, plants, bird species etc of the area.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I had a fantastic time, enjoyed the wonderful walks, the natural environment and the great company!

Reviewed on 07 Aug 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Hard to pick one thing in particular. Each of the walks was special. The holiday was a lovely mix of beautiful walks, experiencing nature, local culture and relaxing on the beach. The food was wonderful.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Good walking shoes and if you have bring walking sticks. It was possible to swim at beautiful beaches at the end of most walks so bring swim gear and sun cream.
Take advantage of the opportunity to meet local people. human contact is always priceless on a trip.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Certainly benefited local people. The hotel was family run. Low environmental impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent. I will be back next year! I would not hesitate to recommend to a friend.

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