Famed for its one-of-a-kind beaches and one of the most accessible islands of the Ionian Sea, Lefkada is the only Greek island you don't need a boat to get to, while its stunning beauty has made it one of the top summer destinations in Greece.
Here we have put together a comprehensive guide to Lefkada to help you experience this magnificent Greek island to its full potential.
A bit about Lefkada
According to a legend, the ancient poet from Lesvos island, Sappho, jumped off the cape Lefkada that was to give the island its name to get rid of her love for Faon. This cape is located at the southern end of Lefkada and is now called Lefkata or otherwise Kavos tis Kyra.
The first examples of civilization on the island can be found in the Paleolithic era, giving travelers the opportunity to visit various points of archaeological interest, such as the ruins of the first city of the island, Nirikos, or the god of Apollo, located near the cape, Kavos of Kyra.
In addition, Lefkada is known for Scorpio, a small islet that was bought in 1963 by Greek shipping mogul Aristotle Onassis. The island is located opposite Nydri, whose inhabitants, in order to honor the Greek magnate who, by buying Skorpios, managed to make Lefkada famous on a global scale, hosting well-known personalities, built a statue in his honor in the village square.
Generally, Lefkada has associated its name with many well-known figures of modern Greek culture, such as Aristotle Valaoritis, Lefkadios Hern, Angelos Sikelianos, and many others.
How to get there
Access to the island of Lefkada is easy in a multitude of ways as it can be reached by car from the Greek mainland, airplane, or ferry boat.
Olympic Airlines operates flights from Eleftherios Venizelos Airport to Aktio Preveza, which is 25 kilometers from Lefkada, throughout the year, with a flight duration of 1 hour and 10 minutes. From there, there is a direct bus connection to KTEL Lefkada.
Alternatively, there are daily KTEL routes from Athens, and many other large cities of mainland Greece, to Lefkada.
There is also a route that connects Lefkada from Nydri, via the Lefkada-Kefalonia-Ithaca line, with Kefalonia. At the same time, during the summer, there are routes from Vasiliki to Fiskardo and Frikes.
Your trip to Lefkada can also take place by conventional ferry. It takes about 4-6 hours. The trip duration depends on how many islands your ship will visit in between.
Kyllini - Patras - Lefkada ferry routes are daily all year round, and in the summer, they double depending on the season and demand.
What's more, there is a daily connection with many Greek shipping companies from the Italian ports of Venice, Ancona, Bari, and Printez. The ports of arrival in Greece are Igoumenitsa and Patra.
Last but not least, from Nydri and Vasiliki, there are daily ferries to Meganisi, Kefalonia (Fiskardo), and Ithaca (Frikes). Small tourist boats also make excursions to the nearby islands and amazing beaches.
When to visit the Ionian sea island
As with every Greek island, the cold winter months are not ideal for spending exploring the island's beauty.
At the same time, however, the high-season summer months, especially July and August, are filled to the brim with tourists that might taint the authentic Greek island experience you crave.
Therefore, we highly recommend you consider the off-beat option of visiting Lefkada in late spring, early winter, or early autumn. Specifically, from May to mid-June and the whole of September, Lefkada island is at its absolute best.
During those times, you will enjoy the great weather and excellent tourist infrastructure summer offer, and also the tranquility and originality that are most commonly experienced away from the tourist crowds.
Of course, no matter when you choose to visit Lefkada, the island will offer you a trip of a lifetime. The best time to visit it is just a detail, and that's what we're here for: paying attention to the details that may change the whole narrative of your Greek trip!
Things to do in Lefkada
Stroll Lefkada Town
Lefkada Town is located near the "entrance" of the island, the bridge next to the castle of Agia Mavra, through which the island is accessed by road.
There are many things to see and do in Lefkada city, such as visiting the Archaeological Museum of Lefkada and the Phonograph Museum.
Also, at a relatively close distance, you can visit the Holy Monastery of Faneromeni, which is located on the road to Agios Nikitas.
One of the best things in the town of Lefkada is an afternoon stroll along the main pedestrian street, where you will find many souvenir shops and traditional products of the island, as well as several cafes and other tourist shops.
Another very touristic part of the city is the so-called "west coast canal" along which you will find many cafes/bars and taverns and generally offers a walk by the lagoon.
Every year, towards the end of the summer, the International Folklore Festival is organized, with groups of dancers from different countries of the world, and one of the highlights that you can watch during those days is the parade of the groups through the streets of the city at the beginning of the festival.
Explore the castle of Agia Mavra for a historical review.
It is located at the entrance of the island and carries no less than eight centuries of fascinating history. This ancient town is more than worth a visit, both for its imposing presence and for the archaeological importance you will find evident in every corner.
Have a cup of coffee under the plane trees in the square of Karya
Lefkada has many beautiful and picturesque villages, with Karya being a local favorite. The cult-classic traditional seaside village square under the plane trees is the ideal setting to enjoy your morning coffee for hours until you set off for one of the island's world-famous beaches.
Go kite surfing
If you are one of those types of people who hate inactive vacations of absolute relaxation, Lefkada has activities to offer you.
In fact, if you are a relatively experienced kite surfer, the beach of Agios Ioannis is the ideal choice, as it gathers athletes from all over the country due to its beauty and the winds that facilitate this particular sport.
Indulge in a visit to Lefkas Earth Winery
Four miles from Nydri and its waterfalls towards Sivota harbor lies Lefkas Earth Vineyard — a favorite among wine lovers.
An optional guided tour takes you through the wine-making process with two grape varieties grown here: Vardea and Vertzami. It results in dry, sweet, or white wines of Red and Rose.
In the winery, you will see historic farming and wine production equipment, olive oil production machines, and walk through wine vineyards.
This is a wonderful experience to have, even if you're not a wine lover; after this visit, you are sure to become one!
Marvel at the Lighthouse Of Lefkada
Built in 1913, the Lighthouse has an ideal position over cap Ducato, offering breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea and, on clear days, the Ionian islands of Kefalonia and Ithaca.
The waters surrounding the lighthouse offer excellent scuba diving opportunities since visibility can reach 99 ft in some locations.
Rumors surrounding Cape Ducat suggest it is the spot where ancient Greek poet Sappho, who was born on the island of Lesvos in 630BC, leaped to her death because she could not be together with the love of her life.
Admire the waterfalls Of Nydria
Lefkada is surrounded by mountainous terrain, which is characterized by abundant underground water — one more attribute of the lush and fecund landscape.
This mountain water culminates in creating several waterfalls, from small springs to drink in the traditional villages to the vast river on the fringes of Nydri.
This is the name of this area, which is found in the large Dimossari River. Dimossari is the name of the ancient Greek state where several mills had been built.
Be amazed by the Lefkada Sea Lakes
If you drive into Lefkada Town, you will not see many lagoon-like places in the vicinity. They have many diverse migratory birds according to season and also include owls, weasels, and other species they support.
The Sea Lakes is a protected area, but there is plenty of opportunities to wander through the suburbs in search of wildlife - a perfect day trip for nature lovers and a good combination for discovering the delights of Lefkadas city too.
Pay tribute to the Monastery of Saint Nicolas
According to the reports, the Monastery was built after the crusaders visited this island with Saint Nicolas in 1088 AD.
The church started off as a small church in an area seven miles north of Porto Katsiki Beach, close to Lefkada town, the island's capital.
After extensive renovations due to seismic activities, the building was used to house two nuns and is now accessible daily to all visitors.
Taste the mouthwatering local cuisine
Would it truly be a Greek island if it were not filled with mouthwatering dishes and incredible flavors? if it didn't have a local cuisine that could blow the minds of everyone who visited? No, it wouldn't.
Be sure to try the countless fish taverns on Lefkada island, the wonderful sweet and sour flavors, the havara and pinas, the gnocco, the dried octopus in the oven, and also the local open pie based on the fish.
Keep in mind that ladopita, pasteli, and mandolato are the island's traditional sweets, and make sure not to leave the island before tasting them.
The best beaches in Lefkada, Greece
Porto Katsiki Beach
The famous beach of Porto Katsiki is one of the most popular beaches in Greece, but also in Zakynthos, as its clear turquoise waters combined with the wild, natural landscape attract crowds of people every year. The beach owes its name to the fact that it is a difficult place to reach, to which only goats have easy access.
The view from this south island - a half hour from the capital - is stunning from atop a rugged white hill that tumbles to the ocean making for an incredible backdrop. Because of its image-postcard quality, the Porto Katsiki area is an excellent place for sunbathers, sun worshipers as well as photographers.
The beach is embraced by the cape of Lefkada, the sea is rocky, and the sea water is deep enough, as a result of which, it is blue and crystal clear. In any case, if you visit the island of Lefkada, Porto Katsiki beach is a must-visit. After all, it has been ranked among the six best beaches in the Mediterranean, and not by chance!
Kathisma is a quite popular sandy beach in Lefkada, which is quite organized with many beach bars. Kathisma has white sand and fine pebbles, while the sea becomes suddenly deep.
However, this is what usually makes all beaches, and consequently, Kathisma, have crystal clear waters.
Finally, you should know that on one side of the beach there is a cave, where many people often go to take photos (it's quite an Instagram-friendly place), but if you prefer it, be careful, because the wave can get wild at any moment on the other.
Egremni is one of the most unique beaches of Lefkada, where cliffs surround the beach, making the landscape ideal for nature lovers.
Of course, the 2015 earthquake knocked down the steps that led to the beach, and so, with their reconstruction, access to Egremnoi beach is by boat.
Egremni is 2 km long, the sand is fine and blond, and the only thing that is certain is that this exotic landscape will make your soul happy.
Vasiliki beach is located in the bay of Vasiliki and is a well-known and popular choice for those who want to have fun with the waves and the strong winds!
Vassiliki beach is ideal for scuba diving and sailing, while the beach facilities offer the corresponding equipment for rent. The beach does not have sand but rather pebbles, but this does not spoil the otherwise wonderful natural landscape at all. It might even make it more beautiful.
Is Lefkada, Greece, very touristy?
We cannot say that the island of Lefkada has not been discovered by the tourist crowds. That being said, the tourist crowds in Lefkada are much more manageable than in the Cyclades islands, especially Santorini and Mykonos.
All in all, while Lefkada has its fair share of tourists, they have not taken away from its excellence and haven't spoiled its traditional character.
What is Lefkada known for compared to other Greek islands?
Lefkada is among the few Greek islands accessible by car and is connected via a small bridge. Famous for its beautiful beaches and beautiful turquoise waters, Lefkada hosts many interesting museums and traditional communities.
Where do you fly to get to Lefkada, Greece?
Preveza Airport is the closest airport to Lefkada. Preveza can be reached from numerous cities across the globe via the Athenia Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport Athenia Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport ATH.
Aktion-Preveza airport is 20 km from Lefkada, 6 km from Preveza, and 65km from Pargas.
Lefkada island boasts fascinating attractions, traditional houses, picturesque settlements, lush vegetation, pine trees, impressive bays with clear blue-green waters, organized and deserted beaches of amazing beauty, high cultural tradition, and hospitable residents. It is a whole natural attraction!
It is the fourth largest island in the Ionian and the fourth in population, with approximately 23,000 inhabitants, and is connected to Aitoloakarnania by a floating bridge approximately 50 meters long.
If you haven't visited this magical Greek island, one of the best Greek island and mainland destinations, now it's the time!