Lefkada Island
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Lefkada Island – The Most Amazing Summer Destination in Greece

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Lefkas is one of the most beautiful islands of Greece, with many global awards. It has a population of 22,500 inhabitants, and it is the fourth island in size in the Ionian Islands region.

 

You will need time to discover the natural beauty and the history of Lefkas. Routes through the lush mountains, archaeological sites, churches with great history, a beautiful seaside village with quaint harbors, activities in the sea, and swimming in turquoise waters will amaze you.

 

Geography

Lefkas, the ancient Leucadia, more commonly known to the Greeks today as Lefkada, is a geographical ambiguity among the Ionian isles. It has not always been an island, nor is it quite technically one now since it is joined to the mainland by two causeways and their connecting bridge.

Lefkada, the capital and principal town of Lefkas, is linked to Santa Maura’s fortress by the two causeways’ outermost. In times past, as Amaxiki, the city was known to continue in use until pretty recent times. 

 

Lefkada Greece Major Sights & Attractions

Folklore Museum

The Folklore Museum, which is near the church of Agios Spyridon, was founded by the Lefkada musical association known as Orpheus. The museum has a fascinating collection of memorabilia and objects made and used by Lefkas people in times past, including old photographs, maps, dolls, traditional costumes, handwoven items, house utensils, and models windmills, and an olive press. A room of the museum had been converted into a representation of a traditional Lefkadian room.

 

Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum, on Odos Faneromeni, has exhibits dating back as far as the early Bronze Age, including objects found on Lefkas by the German archaeologist Wilhelm Dörpfeld. The collection includes finds from the cemeteries of the ancient city of Leucadia, from the burial mounds at Steni and Skaros in the area of Nidri, the Chrysospelia cave at Eugeros, the Alepotrypa cave at Fryni, the shelter of the nymphs near Agia Kyriaki, and on the isle of Meganissi. 

The most important exhibits are a clay sauceboat found in the mound at Steno, dated to the Early Bronze Age (3000–1900 BC), a black glazed funerary vase decorated in the ‘West Slope’. style, and a clay statuette of a standing female figure, both from the north cemetery of ancient Leucadia and dated to the first half of the third century BC.

 

Museum of Art

The Museum of Art, which is housed in the Public Library, has some rare icons of the Byzantine period and works by Lefkadian painters from the eighteenth century onwards. The two most important paintings are an anonymous fourteenth-century ‘Entry into Jerusalem’ and a ‘St Dimitrios’ by Panagiotis Doxaras. Some Russian icons from the Pontus and gold- embroidered stole presented to the Archbishop of Lefkas by Catherine the Great.

 

Gramophone Museum

The Gramophone Museum has a rich collection of gramophones and other objects related to the everyday life of Lefkadians, including jewelry, coins, embroideries, old photographs, and traditional musical instruments to many records and tapes of the island folk music.

 

Castle of Santa Maura 

Santa Maura’s castle forms a hexagon of unequal sides, with five massive towers at the corners and bastions guarding the gateways leading to the causeways, where there used to be drawbridges. The present structure is a composite of work done by those who held the castle, beginning with John I Orsini, who in 1300 built the original fortress here. 

 

Moni Panagia Faneromeni

Beyond Frini, the road passes Moni Panagia Faneromeni, the most renowned monastery on the island, standing on a hilltop in a grove of pines. The monastery was founded in 1634, supposedly on the site of an ancient sanctuary. The beautiful iconostasis was created by Estathios Prosalendis, whose icon of the Panagia Faneromeni is covered with ex-votos. The monastery was ruined in the 1948 earthquake, and the subsequent reconstruction left little of architectural interest. 

 

Castro San Georgio

On the mainland just to the south of the channel, there are the ruins of a Venetian fortress known as Castro San Georgio, which guarded the southern approach to Amaxiki from the Bay of Drepano. The last time this and the other fortresses across the channel saw action was in 1807 when Ali Pasha moved to take Lefkas.

 

Churches

Agios Spyridon’s church was founded in 1685 by a local magnate who the Venetians had ennobled after reoccupying the island. Other churches are Agios Dimitrios, Agios Nikolaos, Agios Minas, Isodia tis Theotokou and Panagia ton Xenon (Our Lady of the Strangers). Like the one of the same name in Corfu, the latter church was founded by refugees from Epiros, the origin of many Lefkadians.

 

Cultural Festivals

The height of the season is August, when Lefkada has two cultural festivals, one devoted to folk dancing and the other to literature. The latter festival recognizes Lefkas’s role in modern Greek literature, for two of the country’s most renowned poets were born there. Aristotelis Valaoritis (1824–1879) and Angelos Sikelianos (1884–1951). 

 

Lefkada Beaches

Lefkada has many beautiful beaches to visit. But one thing is sure, that you will love them all!

 

Porto katsiki

Porto katsiki is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Massive wite cliffs, a beautiful sandy beach, and crystal clear water attract thousands of visitors to Porto Katsiki every year. It is a beach you must see but can be very crowded in the high season.

The nearest village Athani, is about 9 km from Porto Katsiki. Nearby and worth visiting are the ruins of the temple of Apollo and the church of Agios Nikolaos.

 

Agios Nikitas

It is a beautiful scenic beach with turquoise waters, right after the settlement of Agios Nikitas. There are many small cafes around to drink your coffee and restaurants to enjoy your fish, overlooking the fantastic gulf of Agios Nikitas. 

 

Milos

This beach is not accessible by car, but very easy to visit by using taxi boats from Agios Nikitas, paying a tiny fare. Another way is to walk through a path from the village of Agios Nikitas. 

 

Pefkoulia

It is an organized beach to the characteristic big rock which separates that beach from the nudist beach.

 

Kathisma

At a distance of 2 km from Agios Nikitas, this fantastic beach is a favorite of many holidaymakers. There are loungers and parasols to offer the visitors a relaxing beach experience. In the holiday season, this beach has many bars for refreshments and snacks. Don’t forget to wear something on your feet because the hot sand can be hard to walk on.

 

Kalamitsi

It is located near the village of Kalamitsi. It is a lovely beach with white pebbles and large rocks.

 

Gialos

This is a 10 km long beach with golden, pebbly sand and rock formations and cliffs. Gialos is a less crowded and less organized beach. For people like some privacy, this beach is still unknown by most tourists and is the place to go.

 

Egremni

Egremni is an enormous long beach on the west coast that can only be reached by boat or by walking down about two hundred and fifty steps. Have your camera ready because the views you have walking down those steps are unique. The azure blue waters look stunning, while the warm summer wind creates exciting waves. The only con is that after a long day at the beach, you have to climb all those steps again.

 

Agios Ioannis and Milos beach

This beautiful long sandy beach is a ten minutes drive from Lefkada town. The south end is named Agios Ioannis, and another part is called Myloi or Milos beach with its old windmills. The first part is better for swimming because Milos beach is used for wind and kite surfing. 

 

Nidri beach

About 17 km south of Lefkas town, we find the busy tourist resort Nidri. The narrow pebbly beach of Nidri is always crowded with tourists. The beach itself may not be that fantastic, but the views you have of the surrounding minor islands are stunning.

Enjoying a day on Nidri beach is never boring with people water skiing, paragliding, windsurfing, and not to forget, the luxury yachts of the rich and famous mooring outside the harbor of Nidri. Make sure you have a pair of binoculars with you!

 

Mikros Gialos

Near Poros village, we find Mikros Gialos’ beach with its large pebbles and crystal clear waters. The beach is situated in a little protected bay where many little yachts find shelter for the night.

You can park on the road near the beach to have lunch at the little tavernas.

 

Vassiliki Beach

Long Beach, near the village of Vassiliki known for its excellent windsurfing conditions. A well-organized beach with a restaurant, cantina, hotel and also a parking area. There is even a camping site nearby.

 

Tip:

To be able to visit most of the Lefkada beaches you will need a car. Renting a car is much safer than renting a motorbike. With all the accidents that have happened in the past, I can not recommend going around Lefkada on a motorbike.

 

Lefkada Villages

Here we will give you a flavor of some of Lefkada’s villages you can visit or stay during your holidays in Lefkada. From picturesque mountain villages, laid back fishing villages to the more vibrant coastal resort, Lefkada has it all! If you visit Lefkada, you’ll be overwhelmed with its beauty and what it has to offer.

 

Coastal Villages of Lefkada.

Ligia

At a distance of 5 km from Lefkas town, we reach the village Ligia. The long coastal road passes through the middle of the village. Ligia has a small fishing harbor with a few fish restaurants. In the summer, they serve fresh fish every day. 

 

Nikiana

Following the coastal road, the next village is Nikiana. Nikiana also has his little harbor and restaurants. Nikiana is very busy in the summer months. There is a vast choice of accommodation but not so many shops and restaurants.

Nikiana is a favorite of the Greek tourists. Because they all come in their own car, they don’t mind the lack of shops and restaurants. In the mountains, at a distance of 5 km from Indiana, you can find the monastery of Agios Pateres. This centuries-old monastery is built in a cave and is well worth visiting.

 

Perigiali

Next, at a distance of about 15km from the town of Lefkada, we find Perigiali. A lovely fishing village and seaside resort. The city is built on a slope giving all the apartments and hotels fantastic views of the Ionian and the island of Scorpios, Sparti, and Heloni.

There are also a few fantastic villas in Perigiali, all with their own swimming pool. To book one of these villas, click here. There is only one mini-market and a friendly kafenio ( coffee shop). The nearest shops are within walking distance from the village of Nidri. Perigiali has his beach called Passa, a favorite of the locals because of its crystal clear waters.

 

Nidri.

Nidri is for many years considered the main tourist resort of Lefkada. There is so much choice in Nidri accommodation, from rooms for rent, Studios, apartments to luxury hotels.

Nidri also has a vast choice of good tavernas, some waterfront, others on the pretty village main road, offering the hungry holidaymaker a fabulous array of food and drink. The locals are amiable here, and there are lots of shops, tavernas and bars, and a beautiful church, making this a charming village and a pleasure to stay in.

 

Vlicho

Just past Nidri on the edge of Vliho bay, we get to the village of Vlicho. A small town that is also the base for Sail Ionian Yacht Charter company. Vlicho has a big boatyard for repairs and even a chandlery shop. There is a yacht club where boat people can shower and do their laundry. In Vlicho you can also find the local police station.

 

Sivota

The small harbor of Sivota lies in a beautiful bay in the south of Lefkas. The Sivota bay entrance is also the finishing line of the yearly Ionian Regatta held on the third Thursday of September. 

Sivota is a traditional fishing village with many fish tavernas offering excellent seafood. If you love fresh lobster, you have to visit Sivota while you are on your holidays in Lefkada. 

 

Vassiliki

The idyllic Greek village Vassiliki is well known for many watersport activities and extremely popular with windsurfers. Vassiliki lies on the south coast of Lefkada island and is considered the second tourist resort after Nidri. The harbor is quite busy with the ferries to Kefalonia and Ithaca coming and going and the many yachts that dock there.

 

Agios Nikitas

Agios Nikitas can be found on the west coast, at a distance of 14 km from Lefkas town. This is the only village on the west coast situated so close to the sea. It is surrounded by steep cliffs covered with pine trees. 

Agios Nikitas has its own beautiful beach, but the fantastic beaches of Pefkoulia and Kathisma are only a 5 minutes drive away. In and around the village, you find quite a few hotels, studios, and apartments.

There are quite a few bars, tavernas, and supermarkets on the road that runs through the village down to the sea. The local tavernas serve mostly traditional Greek dishes and fresh fish food.

 

Mountain Villages of Lefkada

Evergreen cypress, olive and elm trees, green fields, and flowers are characteristics of the lower land, while higher up the slopes are covered in pine trees.

The people of Lefkada used to build their villages so they would not be visible from the sea. The villages were hidden in the mountains to protect the people of Lefkada from regular pirate raids.

 

Karia

KariaKaria is one of the largest villages in Lefkas. Below the town is a large flat area that is very fertile and is used by the locals to grow wheat, orchards, and vines.

The village of Karia, despite its touristic development, remains a traditional Greek village. You can see older women in traditional Lefkadian dress embroider linen textiles with unusual motifs unique in Greece. This art of embroidery got its name from this village; Karsaniki Velonia.

There is a privately run folk museum. Here you can see how the mountain people of Lefkas used to live. Every year on the 11th of August, a revival of a traditional Greek wedding is celebrated. An event that always attracts many tourists.

 

Vafkeri

Vafkeri lies about 8 km from the east coast and used to be one of the main villages of Lefkada. Unfortunately, most traditional stone houses are deserted, and others have been renovated and used as holiday homes. After the first world war, most of the people of Vafkeri moved to Nidri to find a better way of living.

Vafkeri used to be well known for its red wine, and you can still see lots of old vineyards.

In mountain villages like Vafkeri, it seems time stands still. Sitting outside the taverna at the quiet village square, all you can hear are the Cicadas (locusts) with their remarkable acoustic talents. Vafkeri is a peaceful holiday destination for your summer holidays in Lefkada.

In Vafkeri, there are a few luxury villas with fantastic views of Nidri and Scorpios island. Villa Nausea is a very popular villa complex that you have to book very early in the year.

 

Poros village

Poros is a mountain village about 25 km south of Lefkada Town and has about 300 inhabitants. The church of Analipsi in Poros is worth visiting with its beautiful wall paintings and icons of the 16th century. About 800 meters above Poros are the remains of an old tower and an old olive press. The archaeologist Dörpfeld believed they date to the 4th century BC.

 

Resources 

BaileyG.,(ed),  Klithi:  Palaeolithic  Settlement and  Quaternary  Landscapes in Northwest Greece, vol. 2, Cambridge University Press 1997. 

Bathrellos  G,  Varvara  Antoniou,  Hariklia  Skilodimou,  2009,  Morphotectonic characteristics of  Lefkas  Island during the  Quaternary  (Ionian  Sea,  Greece), Geologica Balcanica 38,  p., 23-33.

Bornovas, J. 1964. Geological study of Lefkas Island. Technical Report, Institute for Geology and Subsurface Research, Geological and Geophysical Research. Athens 10 (1), 142pp. ( in Greek)

Branigan K. 1975, The round graves of Levkas reconsidered, BSA 70, pp., 37-49. Broodbank, C., 2006, The origins and early development of Mediterranean maritime activity, Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 19(2), 199-230.

Morris S., 2001, The towers of ancient Lefkas: Results of a topographic survey 1991-1992, Hesperia 70, 3,  p. 285-347.

 

About The Author, Stefanos Anastasiadis:  I love writing about my favorite travel destinations and home repairs in my blog HomeAdviceGuide. I studied in Corfu Information Science, and since then, I always try to come back to enjoy the fantastic Ionian Islands.

I write when I feel the need to and mostly after I visit a new place. I understand how important it is for holidaymakers to find accurate information about each travel destination. This is why I always try my best. My Macbook and my camera are my best friends, and this is why I always carry them with me wherever I go.

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