Lefkada (also Lefkas) is the fourth biggest island of the Ionian group and lies between Corfu and Kefalonia. Its name comes from the Greek word for "white" ("leukos") due to the white rocks in the southern coastline of the island. Along with Evia, it is one of the two islands of Greece which can be visited by road because they are connected to mainland with floating bridges.
Lefkada is mostly known for its beaches - the blue color of the sea is so intense that it seems almost unreal.
General information about Lefkada
Major part of the island is covered by mountains and green hills, and the coastline is very rich. The west and east coasts are utterly different but you have most probably seen photos of fabulous large beaches with incredible milky blue color of the sea. The photos are not manipulated for sure and this specific color of the sea is typical for the coast of some Ionian islands, as in Lefkada this applies for all west beaches. The most renowned of them are Porto Katsiki and Egremni.
Although the main road which encircles the whole island is in very good condition, you should be aware that traveling is not that fast, mainly because in the west there are many curves and turns. The sparkling milky blue beaches are away from the main road and most of them are accessible via steep and narrow roads which have frightened many people so far. In some areas a distance of 15 km cannot be taken for less than 30 minutes, especially in July and August when it this is further delayed by cars passing in both directions at the same time.
The largest settlement and capital of Lefkada bears the same name - Lefkada Town. It is a beautiful settlement with Venetian style architecture, nice promenade with cafes and a large marina for yachts and small boats. On the east coast of the island there are many other places ready to welcome visitors who come by yacht, like the lustrous Sivota, the port of Nydri, the Vlicho bay, etc.
Where to stay in Lefkada?
Except for the capital, the most visited resorts on the island are Nydri, Nikiana and Vasiliki. They all tend to overcrowd a bit in the summer months but they offer all kinds of services and choice of accommodation options and places to eat. If you prefer to sleep in a quieter and not that touristic place but yet to be by the sea, you can try Mikros Gialos, Tsoukalades, Lygia or Geni. The small Agios Nikitas is the only settlement on the west coast which is by the sea, the rest villages there are sporadic and located above the sea level but providing magnificent views.
The inner part of the island is rich in old small villages with stone houses, narrow streets and family run tavernas, still keeping the spirit of the past. Many exclusive villas are namely in and around these villages, offering tranquility away from the crowds, sometimes combined with views to the Ionian sea or to Ithaka, Kefalonia, Meganisi and the cluster of uninhabited islands opposite Nydri.
Which are the best beaches of Lefkada?
The picturesque Porto Katsiki and Egremni are the most famous beaches of the island and presented in world top rankings of Greek and Mediterranean beaches. Other popular beaches on the west coast are Kathisma, Gialos and the three beaches of Kalamitsi, all covered with tiny white pebbles and coarse sand. One thing you should be aware while on Lefkada is that those beautiful to watch beaches are often exposed to strong winds, waves and none of them is shallow around the shore. And on the contrary, the east beaches which face mainland Greece are usually shallow and very calm, but they lack that unique shade of blue and they have no sand at all.
The south coast of Lefkada is home to a few scenic wind-sheltered coves with pebbles and blue water where you can enjoy swimming and snorkeling. These are Agiofili, Ammoussa, Paramoussa, Afteli and Mikros Gialos.
The island is also a popular spot for kite surfers and windsurfers. Kite surfers would fall in love with Agios Ioannis beach in the north where the wind is so aggressive that sunbathers and swimmers will hardly dare to stay. In the south part of the Lefkada lies the resort of Vasiliki, very popular place for the fans of windsurf due to a local hot wind which appears in the summer months.
What to do in Lefkada?
The beaches of Lefkada and its capital are more than interesting and capable of filling the time of your stay, but if you still want to see something else, you can also pay a visit to the Monastery of Panagia Faneromeni and the Castle of Agia Mavra. There are also other activities you can involve in, and namely to join a daily cruise.
The most popular daily cruise from the island is called ”7 Ionian islands” - it includes stops at Porto Katsiki or Egremni (Lefkada), Fiscardo (Kefalonia) and Ithaca and passes by Meganisi and three uninhabited islands nearby. You can also make your own sea trip as you take a ferry from Nydri to the small but inhabited island of Meganisi, the trip lasts only 30 minutes.