Lefkada, also known as Lefkas, is a spectacularly beautiful island in the Ionian Sea, known for its exotic white sandy beaches and laid-back lifestyle.
Boasting one of the most wonderful natural landscapes in the country, Lefkada is a dream destination, combining mountains, sea and fertile plains.
The island provides an array of sporting activities for the more active, while the food on offer will have you coming back for more.
Reaching the island is easy. Located next to the islands of Corfu and Zakynthos, visitors can drive to Lefkada by crossing the 50-meter floating bridge linking it with the mainland.
Upon entering the island, visitors come across the old castle of Agia Mavra. It was constructed around 1300 to defend the city against pirate attacks and is one of the best examples of Medieval fortification in Greece.
The main town in the island is located in the north and is also called Lefkada. Here one can find picturesque alleys, small squares, traditional houses, elaborate belfries and paved pedestrian zones. The town is surrounded by a canal and a lagoon, which is part of Lefkada’s protected wetlands and home to rare bird species, such as pelicans and flamingos.
The town itself is a small size, home to a population of some 8,000 people, with most people working in either agriculture or tourism.
Spread over an area of 325 square kilometres, there is a lot to see and do on the island.
One spot that must not be missed is the waterfall in the gorge of Dimossari, on the outskirts of Nydri, located on the island’s east coast. The water drops off a 15-metre high cliff edge into a naturally formed basin, in which people go for a dip, and then flows into the sea. Reaching the waterfall from the main road is a 15-20 minute walk.
In the heart of Lefkada is the mountain village of Karya. The village is a popular excursion destination for nature lovers, surrounded by pines and junipers. Karya is also known for its traditional embroidery “Karsaniko”, which uses a very special handmade textile technique that is also quite unique in Greece.
Dazzling beaches, spectacular sailing
The beaches in Lefkada are exceptional, even by Greece’s high standards.
Porto Katsiki is probably the best known beach on the island. With its pristine and super clear water, it is a magical experience. The name translates into “Goat Port” and is fitting as previously only goats could reach this area. Beachgoers be warned though. There are no parasols for rent here and little natural shade, so it is a good idea to bring your own beach umbrella.
Located on the southwest coast of the island is Egremni Beach. In one of the world’s most photographed landscapes, Egremni beach stretches over 2.5 kilometers and offers rare peace and relaxation. The area can be accessed by car via a long and winding road (plus 350 steps by foot!), or by boat from Nidri or Vasiliki port.
Agios Nikitas Beach. This is for those who want to combine a beautiful beach with a restaurant or cafe. The beach section in the northwest of the island is small but nice. The picturesque bay is located in the village of the same name and is also popular among the locals, offering exceptional seafood restaurants with the catch of the day.
Beyond the beautiful beaches, however, the island offers numerous leisure activities.
Lefkada is one of the top sailing destinations in the Ionian Sea. Sailing around the island provides contrasting conditions. The eastern coast is sheltered from natural elements, and the sea is calm – perfect for less experienced sailors. On the western coast, the island is dominated by cliffs, more exposed to strong winds and sparsely populated – better suited for more experienced sailors.
Kite- and windsurfers, especially, get their money’s worth on Lefkada.
In the windier southern part of the island, such as on Vasiliki Beach, conditions are ideal for kite and windsurfers. Divers and snorkelers are also in for a treat on the island. Nikiana and Vasiliki Beach are especially popular. Because of the crystal-clear water, divers can head to a depth of about 20 meters.
Apart from the beach activities, there are also sports events held by local clubs for residents and visitors. In May, the Green Half Marathon is held, drawing runners from all over the world. The Lefkas Trail Run is also held down the mountain of Skari, while the Lefkada Mountain Bike Open Race is held on the mountainous villages of Sfakiotes.
In the summer months of June, July and August there is little rain and temperatures normally range above 30 degrees Celsius. Those seeking a more active stay on the island will enjoy the cooler weather seen in April, May, September and October. If you are happy just to lie on a sunbed and switch off in the summer heat, the months of June, July and August are best.
How to get there?
Beyond reaching the island by car or bus via the floating bridge, Lefkada can be accessed by ferry from the islands of Ithaki, Kefalonia and Meganisi. The closest airport, Aktion, is located near Preveza, on the mainland, in a 25-minute drive.