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The Melissa Gorge

A walk of 2,202m, taking 45 minutes and graded 2.5 for difficulty. In the last few years a section of the gorge has been opened up and signed for walkers by the Sfakiotes council. The path running along the banks of the torrent is now stone paved and provided with wooden bridges and benches, where the visitor can relax and admire a landscape of unbelievable beauty, featuring stone bridges and picturesque old watermills. From the town of Lefkada you get here on the provincial road to Sfakiotes. After six kilometres you will come to the monument commemorating the uprising of the villagers against the English Protectorate (October 1819), where you turn right on to the asphalted country road. After three kilometers turn right, onto a dirt track where you can park and start the walk.

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Necessary equipment: the basic recommended items
C J T: Net walking time

C J T  Walking description
00:00 After parking the car (GPS: N38 47 591, E20 40 560, H=295m), Access map. Starting Point of Melissa Gorge hiking route  we descend the grit track, past the reeds growing to the left. We then walk uphill through olive groves and thick bushes. We pass a fork, ignoring the grit track to our right and continuing straight on, the vegetation growing ever more dense.
00:06 After walking on for a while we come to the first arched stone bridge, while after about 50m we pass under the wooden arch, the gateway welcoming us to the specially landscaped gorge. To our left there rises an imposing rock, forming a small, natural cave to which the location owes its name, ‘spring of the cave’. At this point the road is cement paved and to our right gushes up the stream that earlier ran to our left.
00:16 A little farther on we come to the spring (GPS: N38 47 775, E20 40 456, H=255m); we descend the two or three stone steps to our right and have arrived at the first resting point, where there is a stone-paved terrace in front of the stream. Here there is also a picnic area, the spring with cold, clean water, and a beautiful view of the little waterfall (GPS: N38 48 113, E20 40 298, H=255m). Returning to our main route and going downhill we come to a turning to the left, which we ignore. A few metres farther on we come to an olive grove, the path leading us through the trees. As we proceed we see on our right the first old stone watermill, with its overgrown stone roof. We leap over the stream and approach to take photographs. We now return to the main itinerary, passing the turning on the left and arriving at the end of the road, where there is a derelict watermill.
00:21 This is the start of the paved path and we bear to the left to the spot known as ‘kako langadi’. We start by entering a magical landscape of plane trees, cypresses and a variety of wild undergrowth and shrubs. To the sound of running water and birdsong we proceed gently downhill along the paved track. After a few metres we come to another stone watermill, with a big plane tree just next to it. We continue on our way, over a small stone bridge, enjoying the shade cast by the plane trees on both sides of the stream.
00:30 We now descend some steps and come across the remains of another old stone watermill, with a cypress tree standing guard over it from the centre of its roofless floor. Just next to the mill is a rock, with a tree growing from it a vivid illustration of the principle that ‘the life force can overcome any obstacle’, as the tree seems to tear itself through the hard matter of the rock in its determination to survive and grow. A fine natural sight, and a wonderful example of the wild architecture of the natural world. Thirty metres on and we come to the first of the new wooden bridges, next to its original ‘predecessor’. To our left overgrown rocks rise up, and a few metres farther on we come to the second wooden bridge, with the stream now on our left. We descend to the third wooden bridge; natural waterfalls descend the vertical face of the rocks into pools of water. With the stream now on our right we soon come to another watermill and a resting place with two benches, an ideal spot for relaxation and perhaps a moment or two of meditation. We now proceed to the fourth bridge, the stream below it now running abundantly.
00:40 We must exercise caution as we cross the wooden terrace resting on the rock. The path narrows now and only one person can pass at a time, sometimes squeezing between the trunks of the trees which man has wisely refrained from felling or pruning. The signs along the path are clear and give all the indication we need to find our way; the paved surface is not slippery, and the railings and other wooden constructions are in very good condition. As we cross the fifth wooden bridge we observe immediately below it a natural waterfall,its water racing down across the surface of a tall,almost vertical rock. The passage of the water has worn a channel in the rock and created a natural pool where it falls.
00:45 The wooden kiosk with its two benches marks the end of the landscaped section of the path (GPS: N38 48 250, E20 40 604, H=175m); here is an opportunity to rest and take photographs before we set out on our way back. The gorge itself carries on to Apolpaina, on the borders of western Lefkada, but it has not yet been opened up for walkers. It is worth noting how the old watermills harmonize perfectly with the natural landscape; built of local stone and overgrown with plants, they merge harmoniously into the natural setting. We now return to the original starting point of the walk (where the beginning of the path is indicated), reflecting on the beneficial effect of all this unspoiled natural beauty on the body and soul.


   Alternative walk
00:00 From the starting point we take the path to the left towards Apetasti, and proceed with the stream on our right (GPS: N38 48 008, E20 40 199, H=255m); along this stretch the flow of the water is more peaceful, while the gorge gradually widens. We pass through a varying procession of cypress, plane and holm oak trees, with wild flowers
00:04 and shrubs, until the cemented path comes to an end, marking the end of the walk.

Information-Pictures:Prefecture of Lefkada

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For your stay in Lefkada, you can book a room in one of the hotels and Bed & Breakfast inns.
In the town of Lefkada, as well as in many other areas of the island, there are hotels and accommodations of various categories and types (rooms to let, residences, Bed & Breakfast inns, studios, hostels, guesthouses and furnished apartments) that can satisfy every visitor's demands and needs for a pleasant and enjoyable stay.
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Access to Melissa Gorge from Lefkada town is quick and easy through the existing road network. The distance from Lefkada town is approximately 7.5 km and the time that you will need to get there about 14 min.  Route Map. The road route from Lefkada town to Melissa Gorge. The distance in kilometers and time that you will need to get there
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For your convenience, you can use the route map on the field “"Routes”" with information about the mileage, the time you need and the route you will follow, selecting the points of interest.


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