Lefkada (or Lefkas, Levkas, Leukade) is at the centre of the Ionian Islands off the western coast of Greece, between Corfu and Kefallonia. It is the fourth largest of the archipelago, 356 sq km and with 117 km of coastline. Its total population is 23,000 inhabitants. The highest peak is the Stavrota range, the climate is temperate Mediterranean.
At a glance
Lefkada is a big island with many and interesting sights to see. Here are some suggestions for those who come for a short stay in the island.
The coast road (Angelou Sikelianou), with its cafes and bars thronged with crowds in the evening, the alleys with the typical wooden houses built to withstand earthquakes, panelled in coloured corrugated sheeting and the pedestrian walkway of Ioannou Mela – Dörpfeld, where besides the shops, cafes and tavernas you will catch a glimpse – even if only the outside – of some of the town’s grandest churches. And do not miss a visit to the town’s Archaeological Museum and to the modern yacht marina. Near the town: the fort of Aghia Mavra, the lagoon, the closest beaches - of the Castle; of Gyra; of Mili with sensational kite surfing; of Ai Yiannis; and of Kryoneri below the Stavros estate – and the Monastery of Faneromeni also called ‘Lady of Lefkada’, the islanders’ patron, built in a site with magnificent view.
Aghios Nikitas: a charming seaside village just 12 km from town. The beaches Pefkoulia; Mylos; Kathisma; Engremni; Porto Katsiki: these prize-winning beaches are known all over Europe for their beauty, their turquoise waters, towering rocks and white sand, expecting you every summer. The scenery is just as beautiful at other seasons especially early in summer or late in autumn to enjoy it with exclusiveness.
Lygia: some of the island’s best known tavernas are in its little harbor and a stop for a meal is worth the experience. Nydri: this was the first area to be developed for tourism, mainly because it is opposite Onassis’ island Skorpios. Even if you are not fond of places with a lot of people, a walk in the harbour is worth it for the view and you might take an excursion on one of the little boats that cruise round the environs and into the islands of Meganisi, Kalamos and Kastos. The waterfalls of Dimosari: located in a glory of greenery into a path of beauty and freshness, the landscape here has been hymned by Aristotelis Valaoritis, who admired it from the little island opposite, Madouri.
Vassiliki: this beach is the paradise of surfers. Close by, you will find Aghiofili, one of Lefkada’s best beaches but not very well known. Syvota: A delightful fishing village on the bay of the same name and a favourite mooring for yachtsmen. Cape Lefkatas of Niras (or Kyras): a ‘borderline point’ with a grandiose view, it arouses primitive feelings – especially if you are there at dusk or dawn.
The highland villages: the principal village of Karya stands out, with many tavernas, and an interesting Folklore Museum, and worth seeing also are the villages of Alexandros, Kolyvata and Drymonas for their well preserved or ruined stone houses in the neighbourhoods. The Monastery of Kokkini Ekklisia and the Monastery of Asomatou Archangelou Michail: they are both abandoned now, but traces remain of their onetime heyday and wealth of history. Faraggi tis Melissas: this ravine is crisscrossed with footpaths, recently marked, going by water mills, stone bridges, wells and a wealth of foliage. The plateau of Englouvi: an area with a wild beauty of another world that must be seen, this is where the renowned Englouvi lentils are cultivated, and where you can visit the church of Aghios Donatos, and the ‘voltos’, low vaulted stone constructions unique in Greece. If you walk up to the chapel of Prophitis Ilias, you will enjoy an uninterrupted view in all directions of the horizon.