Lefkada belongs to a group of seven islands called Ionian islands. They stretch along the western coast of the central part of the Greek mainland and further to the south along the western coast of Peloponnesus and they constitute an independent group with their own special character.
Lefkada, “the white island” (“lefko” in Greek means white), is located between Corfu and Cephalonia. Probably owes its name to the steep white rocks of its southern promontory Lefkatas, or to its snow-white dreamlike beaches. The climate is mediterranean and the weather mild. This island is widely known for its award winning beaches (Porto Katsiki, Egremni, Mylos, Kathisma), the unrivalled emerald beaches with their distinctive sand that resembles in colour ‘‘the egg of a dove’’, in the words of the island’s great poet, Angelos Sikelianos.
Lefkada is inhabited since the ancient times. It was here where Homer set some sections of his poems and it was from Lefkatas, where the temple of Apollo stood, that the poetess Sappho (“the 10th Muse”) is said to have leapt to her death, driven to suicide by her unhappy love for Phaon. In cultural terms, Lefkada is one of the most dynamic areas in Greece. Many Lefkadians have distinguished themselves in the fields of literature, art and sciences. Greece’s ‘‘national poets’’ Valaoritis and Sikelianos were born, lived and worked in Lefkada. Lefkadios Hern also, born in Lefkada, became the ‘‘national poet’’ of Japan!
The island’s capital is the town of Lefkada, with its characteristic multi-coloured timber-framed buildings, and its unique lagoon, home to rare species of birds, and protected by the “Ramsar” Convention. It is also protected by the Ministry of Culture, which has declared its shore a site of outstanding natural beauty.
The charm of Lefkada is complemented by the smaller islands which surround it: Skorpios, once the property of the shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, and beyond it Madouri, the island of the poet Aristotle Valaoritis, Skorpidi, Heloni, Meganissi, Sparti, Kalamos, Kastos and Kythros.
Excursions in Lefkada:
One day in Lefkada:
Kathisma, Egremni and Porto Katsiki After a short morning walk in Lefkada Town, you head off to visit the most impressive beaches on the island, located on the western side. Start with Agios Ioannis, which is very close to the town and constitutes a popular windsurfing spot. Pass from Agios Nikitas, a nice tourist village with many facilities. Continue to Kathisma, a very large and organized beach. Go souther to Egremni, an impressive beach that needs to climb down a small path to get there. Later on, go to Porto Katsiki, at the end of the western coast. This is probably the best and most famous beach iof Lefkada, but be prepared for a crowded spot. The crystal water and impressive landscape attract a lot of visitors to this beach. Cafeterias and bars above Porto Katsiki offer great views.
Two days in Lefkada:
Nidri and Meganisi 1st day as described above. On the second day, take the road on the eastern side of the island and go to Nidri, one of the most tourist villages on the island with a lot of facilities. About 3 km in the inland from Nidri, there are some beautiful waterfalls, a great place for a morning walk. Later on, catch the ferry from Nidri and go for a daily excursion in Meganisi, a lovely islland with beautiful beaches only 30 minutes ferry ride from Nidri. Meganisi has a lot of greenery and lovely coves to enjoy some privacy. It is much quieter than Lefkada and keeps a traditional character even in high season.
Three days in Lefkada: Sivota and Vassiliki 1st and 2nd days as described above. The third day, visit the Castle of Agia Mavra close to Lefkada Town. This is probably the only sightseeing you can do on the island, because it doesn’t have many archaeological sites. There is a lighthouse close to the castle that gives nice views. Then, head the southern part of the island to see two beautiful villages, Sivota and Vassiliki. Sivota is a very pleasant, small village with many yachts in the port. Taverns with fresh fish dot the waterfront. About 10 km west of Sivota, there is Vassiliki, a crowded tourist villages with many facilities. The beach of Vassiliki is large, and when it has wind, this beach is a popular windsurfing spot.