Ionian islands walking holiday

Ionian islands walking holiday

  • Mar - Nov
  • Small Groups
  • 10-14 days
  • Customizable

"A unique hiking adventure amongst pristine forrests and emerald green coves…Searching for Odysseus!"

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This 7 to 10-day Ionian islands walking holiday in the lush green Lefkada, Kefalonia and Ithaca will offer you the opportunity to explore their overwhelming nature and dramatic coastlines with breathtaking views… their old network of footpaths… steep cliffs and stunning white beaches with turquoise waters… traditional mountainous villages… delicious local food and wine… friendly and experienced local guides…

All three islands are covered with evergreen trees and lush vegetation as the Ionian is one of the greenest regions of Greece. Rain is not infrequent, however the rewards for the traveler are captivating sunsets, colourful rainbows, a dreamlike landscape and stimulating smells of herbs and flowers.

Lefkada, especially in early spring and autumn, is a herbalist’s paradise. Due to the high percentage of rainfall, it boasts a high biodiversity rate, being the home of many rare plants and herbs. We have arranged for an expert herbalist to give you a unique tour into the island’s flora!

Every step in the Ionian paths is a step back in history. Ithaca, Kephalonia and Lefkada have been “claimed” by archaeologists to be the homeland of Homer’s protagonist, Odysseus. Numerous archaeological sites can be discovered while walking, hidden in ancient olive grooves and caves.

The Ionian islands have also been a crossroad for various civilizations. From the Venetians, the English, the French, to the Turks and many more, the influence of the different cultures are evident today in the landscape, architecture and local culture. One of the highlights of the week is the visit to Assos Castle in Kefalonia, build by the Venetians and considered to be one of the finest examples of military architecture in Europe, characterised “even stronger than Gibraltar”!

Mythical Ithaca, our last stop of the week, is more a state of mind… than just a destination. You will walk through its remote and beautiful paths searching for the homeland of Odysseus while tasting one of the finest cuisines the Ionian islands have to offer.

Here is an example of what you will experience during our Ionian islands walking holiday:

Join our Ionian islands walking holiday and you will:

images Discover a unique hiking adventure amongst pristine forests and emerald green coves,

images Explore an infinite network of traditional marble-paved mule-tracks and hidden valley paths,

images Explore their overwhelming nature and dramatic coastlines with breathtaking views,

images Visit monasteries, Byzantine chapels with rare frescoes, ancient monuments

images Swim and snorkel at stunning white beaches with turquoise waters,

images Walk to magical parts of the islands that you would never discover on your own,

images Learn about the local herbs and plants, birds and other members of the animal kingdom, above and under the water!

images Sample organic, home-made food locally produced wherever you eat,

images Experience customs and traditions, cultural happenings, local feasts with Cycladic music and dance,

images Stay at traditional family-run guesthouses,

images 7-day, 10-day or 14 day walking holiday adapted to fit your schedule… possibility to combine this walking holiday with visiting the Zagori area and Nikos gorge…

The carefully chosen walks during our Ionian islands walking holiday are graded as easy to moderate. We will walk mainly on paths of moderate gradient with ascents of up to 500m in a day. We will walk up to 5-6 hours in the day including stops to rest and for lunch. Being predominately limestone some parts of our paths can be quite rough and stoney.

Flexible itineraries are available based on the needs of our guests. We can organise a more challenging or a more relaxed-pace itinerary offering you more time to relax and enjoy the sea and sun of the Ionian. 7, 10 and 14 day itineraries are offered as well as a self-guided option.

We have reserved for you a lovely authentic family-run guesthouse at a very central location.  The owners are very hospitable and helpful and are known to provide the most delicious breakfasts. We’ll send you full details.

The combination of natural beauty and culture but also the hospitality of her residents will make this holiday unforgettable for you.

Solo travellers are welcome. It’s always more fun to walk with a group of like-minded travellers.

We organise our walking holiday in Kefalonia, Lefkada and Ithaca all year round apart from July and August when it’s too hot.

The best time to visit:

  • March: blossom is out.   
  • April to mid June: for wild flowers, sunshine and moderate temperatures. The Easter period is recommended as it’s one of the most important celebrations in Greece and you’ll have the chance to experience traditional feasts and gatherings.
  • September to end of November: for warm seas, gentle weather and autumn flowers. Grapes and olive harvests.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@nofootprint.gr

IONIAN ISLANDS WALKING HOLIDAY FEES

7-day or 10-day walking holiday staying at traditional family-run guesthouses:

All prices are per person for two people sharing a standard double room.

  • 7 nights – Low Season EUR 797 High Season EUR 885
  • 10 nights – Low Season EUR 1,145High SeasonEUR 1,272

Supplement for single rooms:

  • 7 nights – EUR 105
  • 10 nights – EUR 150

We offer group and special offers at our Ionian islands walking holiday. Please contact us for further information…

The Ionian islands walking holiday fees include:

  • 5 or 8 guided walks
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • 24% VAT
  • Transfer to the accommodation at the islands
  • Transfers to and from our starting and ending walking points
  • Client’s information brief by e-mail
  • An arrival briefing
  • Presentations on the Ionian biodiversity, local flora and fauna
  • 24 hour support on the island for any troubleshooting or advise
  • Transfer from the accommodation to the ship on departure

Book your walking holiday at Lefkada, Kefalonia & Ithaca…

Itinerary

DAY 1: WELCOME TO LEFKADA AND SCENIC WALK TO REMOTE BEACH
Welcome to Lefkada and transfer to our traditional guesthouse at the most picturesque village of Ag. Nikitas. Briefing and opportunity to explore the island’s stunning beaches or the surrounding small islets. The island of Lefkada is surrounded by a total of 24 islets, including the renowned island of Scorpios, property once of Aristotelis Onassis. The options are endless and we’ll be happy to offer you suggestions.

Early in the evening we have planned for you a relaxed walk around the village and bay of Ag. Nikitas. We’ll take the short path towards the remote beach of Mylos, ranked amongst the islands’ nicest ones. Swimming and snorkelling at the crystal turquoise waters of Milos is an unforgettable experience. We will end our walk at a traditional fish tavern by the sea!
DAY 2: CIRCULAR WALK AROUND EGLUVI’S PLATEAU
Today we will explore the beautiful plateau high above the highest village of Lefkada (730m) and until recently the most populated one, Egluvi village. Traditionally villagers used to grow wheat in sophisticated terraces around the village, and after the end of the harvest, they would make their own mix of flours using the windmills that were strategically situated in the nearby high hills. Our walk follows a circular route where you’ll have the opportunity to explore ruined windmills, abandoned terraces and threshing floors, as well as remote chapels, while enjoying panoramic views of the Ionian sea.

While the village of Egluvi today holds less than 30 inhabitants and no wheat is cultivated, the few remaining local families grow in the fertile grounds one of the most renowned varieties of lentils. We’ll have dinner at the village’s main square under the shade of evergreen trees, where you’ll have the chance to try the famous lentils and other delicious local “mezes”.
DAY 3: WILD HERBAL TOUR & HIKE THROUGH ANCIENT OAK FOREST TO TOP OF MT. SKAROS
We will start our walk from the picturesque village of Kolivata where you will meet one of the most emblematic figures of Lefkada Island, Aris the herbalist. Aris will take you on a walk around the fertile valleys of Kolivata to introduce you to the local endemic medicinal plants and talk to you about their traditional uses through the centuries. After this unique herbal immersion we will have a small lunch break at the local tavern, where Maria, the owner, serves mouth-watering dishes with the products she grows in her garden.

We’ll continue to Mt Skaros, famous as the place where Ulysses took his sheep to pasture, and as one of the island’s most precious habitats. Located up in the river-crossed mountain, it is made up of centuries’ old moss-draped trees, especially a very rare type of oak which can only be found in Lefkada and in a handful of other forests in Europe. During the Venetian and Ottoman occupation guards were posted throughout the forest to protect it. At the top you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding islands and scattered picturesque villages.
DAY 4: HIKE TO PRESTINE BEACH & ANCIENT TRAIL VIA A GORGE CONNECTING TRADITIONAL VILLAGES
Today you’ll have the morning free to relax. Early in the evening, we’ll meet at Ag. Nikitas and make our way towards the mountainous village of Drimonas, where the elderly women still wear the traditional dress and the most common means of transportation is by donkey. We’ll take the ancient trail via a gorge towards another traditional village, Exanthia. Ancient cypresses and olive trees will be your companions. After admiring the panoramic views of the green hills of the island and endless deep blue of the Ionian sea, you’ll have dinner at one of our favourite restaurants. You’ll gaze at the incredible sunset, from the hanging balcony amid the clouds, while tasting some unique local flavours.
DAY 5: REST DAY
Opportunity to rest or… take a boat tour and explore the numerous small islets surrounding Nydri… visit the famous beaches of Porto Katsiki and Egremni, voted the best in the Mediterranean (by Conde Naste Traveler),… take a Greek cooking class… visit Lefkada town and local museums… or unwind in a yoga class… Just ask us recommendations!
DAY 6: ARRIVAL AT KEFALONIA AND CIRCULAR TRAIL FROM PICTURESQUE FISCARDO
Boat to Kefalonia and the port of Fiscardo. Stroll around Fiscardo, a picturesque harbour village, unique in Kefalonia as it retains the architecture and ambience of a long gone era, when the Venetians ruled the island. Venetian-style houses painted in pastel colors surround the charming harbour.

We will follow a circular walk starting from Fiscardo towards the northern part of the island. It connects quaint hamlets, passes through cypress and strawberry tree forests, agricultural fields, beautiful secluded beaches where we’ll stop for a swim and a picnic, as well as various historical sites, such as the ancient tomb of Throni, the old village of Psilithrias, a Venetian footpath and Battaria which was a 1940 German anti-aircraft base. Supper at our favourite tavern where you can taste the acclaimed cuisine of the island.
DAY 7: ANCIENT PATH TO ASSOS BAY AND VENETIAN FORTRESS
We will start our walk from the rural mountainous village of Kokolata and follow the ancient tracks, through olive groves and Cypress trees that grow in abundance on this part of the island, towards the village of Kortheas and the beautiful village of Assos. You will enjoy magnificent views of the coastline, of mountains dropping straight into the sea as well as breathtaking views of the rustic village of Assos, its peninsula and the fortress.

We will stop at Assos’ delightful fishing port for a refreshing swim at the crystal clear waters of the bay and lunch before continuing our walk on the peninsula to the ruins of the old Venetian fortress. We will end our day with a visit at the most beautiful beach in the Mediterranean, Myrtos beach, with its white pebbles and turquoise waters.
DAY 8: EXPLORE ANCIENT SAMI ACROPOLIS AND MELISANI CAVE
Today our hike will start from Sami, one of the main ports of Kefalonia. Due to its premium location it has been a center of flowering civilizations since ancient times. Ancient, Roman, Byzantine and more contemporary ruins are in abundance all around the area. The main site is the Acropolis of Sami, which we will reach through a series of scenic trails hidden in lush vegetation. The Acropolis was a powerful and densely populated fortified town, which flourished due to trade, and became an autonomous and independent state with its own coin. The site was inhabited since Paleolithic times. After a lunch break at Sami’s traditional harbor, we will visit Melissani Cave.

Melissani is a lacustrine cave of unique beauty 3.5 km long, 40m wide and 36m high. It constitutes a unique geological phenomenon and was created by a mechanical and chemical process called karstikopoiisi (dissolution of rocks) during which water enters the calcareous rocks, erodes them and creates hollows. During our visit in the cave we will be able to take a small boat to explore the underground lake of Melissani, where very important archaeological objects were discovered. We will end our day with dinner at one of our favourite village taverns.
DAY 9: BOAT TO ITHACA AND CIRCULAR HIKE FROM VATHY TO NYMPHS' CAVE
Today we’ll take the short boat ride to Ithaca. Transfer to our guesthouse at the bay of Vathy, one of the safest natural ports in the Mediterranean. Our circular hike will begin from Vathy and end at the famous Nymphs’ cave, also called Marmarospilia. Apart from its geological interest, the cave has also mythological importance as it is said that Odysseus hid here the presents that were given to him by the Phaeacians among stalagmites. Findings of archaeological research show that in ancient times it was a place of worship of the Nymphs.

Walking on the steps of Odysseus, we will continue our walk passing Byzantine churches and the ancient settlement of Palaiochora, once believed to be the capital of Ithaca. We will make a refreshing stop in the local ‘kafenio’ of Perachori village before taking the path descending back to the Vathy port. The rest of the day will be free for exploring the beaches nearby Vathi and taking in the relaxed atmosphere of the island.
DAY 10: ISOLATED TRACK THROUGH UNSPOILT LANDSCAPE TO HOMERIC FOUNTAIN
Our walk today will start from the small village of Platrithias. We will follow a scenic ancient path through an unspoilt landscape with great sea views leading us to the most important archeological site of the island, Homer’s school and Homeric Arethousa fountain, where Odysseus’ swineherd, Eumaeus, brought his pigs to drink.

Wandering around what is believed to be Odysseus Palace, we will continue our ascend to the highest village of Ithaca, Exogi. From there we will follow on of the most scenic and visually rewarding tracks of North Ithaca, passing from the Plateau of Rousano and descending to the Polis Beach, where we’ll plunge into its crystal clear waters for a refreshing swim! We’ll then visit the village of Anogi with its unique rock formations and take another scenic path down to the little harbor of Kioni, one of the Ithaca’s gems. Time for our well-awarded dinner by the sea.

Map

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