The name Lefkada means white cliffs yet the island of Lefkada is the complete opposite of the traditional idea of a Greek ‘sun baked’ rock in warm seas. The seas are still warm but be prepared for vistas of sandy beaches backed by pine forests and lush vegetation.
Lefkada is one of the Ionian Islands lying off the west coast of Greece, yet you do not have to catch a ferry or fly onto the island because at the north eastern tip of the island is a marvellous feat of engineering in the form of a toll free floating bridge. The bridge closes to road traffic every hour to enable the many chartered and private yachts to sail along the Lefkas canal into town.
You can reach Lefkada using a variety of transport; for example, by road – either by hire car or by coach using the Greek coach network to get to the island. This service operates connects Lefkas to many of the major towns and cities in Greece, including Athens. Approach the island by boat – a romantic way to arrive is either on one of the several Ionian inter island ferries from Cephalonia, Ithaca and Meganissi or in your own chartered yacht – Lefkada is a huge starting point for many of the local yacht charter companies; or by plane; the nearest airport is on the mainland at Preveza and a taxi or coach journey will take around 40 minutes into Lefkas coach station.
To tour the island either hire a car or use the local transport, alternatively there are organized coach tours that may be booked to take you around the island.
Once on the island there is a wide choice of accommodation from rented rooms above a taverna to apartments, camping and hotels. The main towns Lefkas, Nydri and Vasiliki however, advertise rooms to rent and hotels along the roadside around the island.
Leading from the large marina into the town is a warren of narrow streets. Explore them; the majority of them will take you past small shops and boutiques into the large central square of Platiou Agiou Spyridona that is named after the 17th Century church. The many restaurants and cafes will let you take time out to enjoy the atmosphere and ‘people’ watch.
Leave Lefkas town and take the circular island coast road south to the tourist and yachting resort of Nydri. The main street and its many side roads that lead down to the quayside are a shoppers’ haven for smart as well as holiday clothing, leather shoes and sandals, beach games, international newspapers and a smattering of small supermarkets, wine shops, tempting cake and bread shops for the self catering visitor. There are plenty of tavernas, cafes and restaurants in which to while away the hours. Ferry companies operate from Nydri to the local islands including Meganissi, Ithaca and Cephalonia. Day trip boats will take you around the local islands including the Onassis island of Skorpios whilst the glass bottomed boat will let you view the marine life beneath your feet.
WiFi, ATMs and internet cafes are available in Nydri as they are in Lefkas town.
South of Nydri is a large lagoon with some restaurants that are worth visiting on the far side. A short drive up into the mountains behind the town will give you splendid views looking across the sea towards the green islands of Meganissi and Skorpios.
Lefkada has many underwater sources which help to contribute to the greenness of the island and it is worth taking a detour from Nydri to visit the Dimossari Waterfalls. Walk through the woods to see the 17 metres high falls. Although the water is generally reduced to just a trickle during the summer months, it is possible to bathe in the pool during spring and fall.
Continue south around the island to the fishing village of Vasiliki which as well as being a yachting haven has become a magnet for wind surfers. The village has plenty of accommodation, bars and tavernas to be found behind the beach.
Head north back towards Lefkas and view the west side of the island. Along this route are many beautiful beaches with stunning azure blue seas; one such beach is at Porto Katsiki, it is near to the village of Athani and it is well worth a visit. Climb down the cliff steps to the beach and then sit and enjoy watching the sunlight dancing on the crystal clear blue water. Further north is the long expanse of beach at Kathisma.
The coastal road continues on to Lefkas town however there are many small roads to for you to take into the mountains where village life continues almost as it did years earlier. Karya, one of the larger villages is actually made up of three villages and is famed for its lace and texitles. Another pretty moutain village is Kalamitsi where it is said that the best sunsets on the island are to be viewed.
For sunsets, stunning beaches, coastal resorts, inviting blue seas, tiny mountain villages and spectacular scenery visit Lefkada and feast on the banquet of beauty that is waiting for you to make your vacation dreams come true.