Lefkada – an Action-Packed Recreational Playground
The spectacular Lefkada Greek island, also known as Lefkas, is found in the Ionian Sea. It’s the 4th biggest island and also the island closest to the mainland.
Its very name means ‘Whiteness’ and this is actually referring to the white rocks of the cape. This beautiful island is renowned for its magnificent coastline and its white sandy beaches. There are however, plenty of other reasons to visit Lefkada, and whatever your interests – hiking, swimming, dining, shopping, exploring – the island has something for everyone.
Getting Around Lefkada
This fascinating island is linked to the Greek mainland by means of a bridge. This means that the island is therefore accessible by car. There aren’t ferries that connect Lefkada with the mainland of Greece, but the island is connected by ferry with neighboring islands.
Lefkada doesn’t have its own airport, and the closest airport is found in Preveza, a town in Epirus. The airport’s name is the Aktion National Airport, but no flights from Athens International Airport to this airport are received. From Preveza, you’re able to reach Lefkada by KTEL bus, with a rental car or by taxi.
Many people new to Lefkada like the idea of a boat tour that usually sets off from the port of Nidri and which then gives them a good tour around the island. Also, the local travel agencies of Lefkada will organize bus tours in Lefkada too.
Lots of surprises in Store
When you stand in Lefkada and look around, the medieval architecture with cobblestone courtyards greet you and you’ll want to explore the old Venetian buildings. You can walk the cobblestone streets or cycle your way through the town and take in some of the wood and stone structures.
You’ll have to have your camera ready because some of the homes are painted in bright colors such as orange or yellow with blue windowsills and doors. With an explosion of color from the pots of flowers, as you stroll or cycle through the streets or wander into the shops, you get the feeling that you’re in for an exceptional experience.
Nature on a Monumental Scale
Anyone looking for a break needn’t look anywhere else than Lefkada. The island offers nature on a monumental scale and there are a host of different drives that will take you to starting-points of different walks.
In fact, there are walks with paths and viewpoints that will give you some insight into the history and culture of the island.
Walks include visiting beautiful beaches too. The best part about these walks is that you’re never going to miss out on anything as they are organized all year round. Spring and Autumn are the best times of the year for walks, as the weather is cooler and nature is at its finest.
Lefkada, Parga, and Preveza – Linked by Enthralling Road Trips
When you arrive, you find Lefkada to be beautifully picturesque with fern-covered hills and lush woodlands. If ever an area lends itself to an enthralling road trip it’s this area. A road trip along the Ionian coast, from Lefkada to Parga, will be a trip of about 86 km. Then again, another road trip is to the close-lying town of Preveza, approximately one hour away.
Whether you’re staying in Lefkada. Parga or Preveza, each of these exquisite towns is within easy reach of each other.
Apart from its beauty, Lefkada is also one of the most hospitable islands to visit and wherever you go in Lefkada you’ll be put up and given a hearty traditional Greek breakfast. Spending time in one of the many pubs or bars and enjoying local wines with traditional dishes is one of the best possible ways of getting to know the local people.
Paying Your Way
Cash is King on the island of Lefkada, but your debit- and credit cards are welcomed too – certainly at your hotel. You’ll find ATMs and banks which readily accept Visa and Mastercard. Nonetheless, the ATMs are often not working. To make it less frustrating for you, it’s good to have a wad of cash to turn to as it can open doors and make your getaway easier.
Foreign-exchange machines are found in all tourist areas and they accept the major currencies but then there is quite a large fee or commission charged. Cash just spells convenience for you.
Lots to Do – At ANY Time of Year
Shows, music festivals, concerts, theaters, sporting events, museums, exhibitions – if you’ve got a to-do list whilst in Lefkada, you’re never going to have a moment to spare as there’s just so much to do.
Lefkada has a Mediterranean climate. If you’re after hot, dry beach weather then your best bet is to choose June, July and August to visit as these months provide the lowest possibilities of precipitation.
Hot or Cold – the fun simply Changes…
Temperatures can be in the region of 25°C or 77°F. The busiest months on the island are between May and August and that means prices for flights and hotels are more costly. January is the coolest month. December is also cool, with daytime temperatures reaching about 7 to 13°C or 55°F.
The weather may be cool but everybody’s spirits are high and the island is attractively quieter during this period and quite a few of the bars and restaurants actually close. Another bonus aspect is that accommodation is a lot cheaper.
Another upside is that during December Christmas is celebrated with decorations, singing and nativity plays. The island has a festive, colorful, joyful vibe, marking the birth of Christ and in keeping with the Greek Orthodox tradition.
Wine, Dancing and Song – Festivals Promoting Goodwill and Peace..
In fact, Lefkada’s customs involve a lot of singing and dancing, and it’s why you’ll notice that many of the locals can play a musical instrument. They love organizing festivals such as the festival of Agia Kiriaki, in Nidri.
Over new year the people of Lefkada gather in the square where the Philharmonic Orchestra plays and people dance to the music. The Platia Agios Spyridon, in the heart of Lefkada Town, is a square always busy during any of the Greek Orthodox feast days.
Another event that draws a lot of interest is the International Folklore Festival. The festival has been around for many decades and with its dance and music, promotes peace and friendship. It’s like the song by Nicole Hohloch ‘Just a Song for the World’ where she sings ‘just a song for the world, that we all live in peace…’
The festival takes place during the 3rd week of August with many dance groups from around the world taking part, promoting a message of peace and goodwill.
Most visitors to the island are after peace and beauty, but some people like to enjoy a sundowner on the bar’s terraces. They like to dance to the music into the wee hours. There are a few bars and a club or two and these venues will stay open playing their music till 3 o’clock in the morning.
Capital Club isn’t new to the nightlife scene in Lefkada and if you’re a night-owl, this club will provide all the music you want. When you’re exhausted, you can go out towards the pool and the garden.
Other visitors to the island fancy a quiet dinner in a courtyard around a fountain and gardens with bougainvillea. There are some lovely romantic, relaxed restaurants that offer live music on some evenings with lots of clapping and dancing.
- One such restaurant is Taverna Giorgalakis, with beautiful views and décor and offering a welcoming and hospitable atmosphere. Patrons to restaurants like this have heard of it through word of mouth.
- Taverna Leftakas is another highly sought after restaurant too where you can enjoy well-prepared food from a formidable team of chefs with excellent waiters. As the season’s change, so does the menu. Vegetables come out of the restaurant’s garden and you can enjoy a mix of awesome, interesting tastes and aromas with an extensive choice of wine. There are also excellent views, especially if you’re dining there before the sun sets.
Other highlights to see from the town of Lefkada
Vonitsa and Paleros
Vonitsa and Paleros are wonderful coastal towns that are well worth a visit, particularly as Vonista has an old 10th century castle. Paleros too is just an hour away from Lefkada Town. It’s got some fantastic beaches. Varko Beach for instance, offers such a blissful time and the clear water is idyllic for swimming. There are some taverns close by to keep you fed and watered. So lovely is the beach that it has inspired many painters and photographers.
Speaking of beautiful beaches, the small Ammoussa Beach in the south of Lefkada also has beautiful nature surrounding it. It’s a great beach for those who come with small children and for those who want to snorkel as the water is calm. The beach is actually part of the village Marantochori but is reachable when you’re staying in Lefkada, being about 35km away.
The beach is sheltered, the seawater crystal clear and there are plenty of affordable sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach for you to make use of. Waiters are available on the beach to take your orders for snacks and drinks and there are also showers to wash off all the sand before heading back to your hotel.
For other beaches worth exploring in Lefkada check out this post What to Do in Lefkada: Beaches, Attractions and Day Trips.
The Castle of Agia Mavra
This castle was built in the 14th century but is well preserved and within the castle which was a fortress against invasions, is the church of Agia Mavra with its eye-catching Venetian bell tower.
The Dimossari Waterfalls
These falls are also known as the Nydri or Nidri Waterfalls and are actually found near the village of Nidri. What can be more refreshing than cooling off in the gorge or lake fed by the waterfalls. Lefkada has plenty of underground water which contributes to the island’s lush greenery, and the high mountains on the island are where many waterfalls spring forth.
Lefkaditiki Gi Winery
Wines have always been important to the ancient Greeks, and you can see just how wine is bottled at this winery. You’ll also see different varieties of the sun-dried grapes of which the delicious wines are produced. The winery is found just outside of Nidri and you can go on a tour of the vineyard.
The tour can last about an hour and is interesting and enlightening. You also get to taste the wines. There are also buildings dedicated to the production of olive oil.
Staying in Lefkada – the Best the Island offers
With so many visitors to Lefkada, they have had to increase their accommodation-capacity to cater for the influx of visitors, particularly during the Summer months.
The island offers lots of options for accommodation, whether you are a budget-conscious traveler or you’re looking for the most all-inclusive accommodation you can find.
Modern and elegant, some of the accommodation is surrounded by lush countryside. Access to wonderful beaches and all the island offers is what makes Lefkada such an ideal choice for family vacations.
Crystal Waters – 4-stars of Sheer Luxury
This is a new 4-star hotel in Lefkada that opened in 2018 and it’s close to the beach too, located in the area of Nikiana. The luxurious suites provide every amenity to ensure a scintillating stay. There are plenty of features for children too, so it’s a child-friendly venue.
The hotel offers babysitting and a kid’s club. Other amenities that ensure a fabulous stay are a television and wifi in rooms, room service, complimentary toiletries, shimmering, crystal clear pools with poolside bars, lounges, balconies and much more.
Guests will be spoiled for choice when it comes to dining at Crystal Waters, from delightful Mediterranean flavours and creative Greek cuisine with a touch served at the Duende Restaurant to healthy dishes served with stunning pool and sea views at Emerald Restaurant. A great holiday is also a tasty one. Read our review of the hotel here.
The Secret Boutique Hotel
This stylish hotel in Lefkada Town is air-conditioned with each suite or double room having a private bathroom. The luxury hotel offers delights such as free toiletries, free wifi, room service, and a gift shop. Click here for availability and rates.
Lefkada is a personal favorite Greek island destination – less well-traveled than some of the more well-known islands. It provides a welcome change from the more commercialized jet-set islands such as Mykonos with its luxury resort hotels and its crowds. For many visitors to the island, they feel that words can’t describe the delight of visiting such a beautiful, peaceful place.
There are many locals and visitors who feel they’d like to put a limit to the people visiting the island because it is so beautiful that they’re privately hoping that it remains one of Greece’s more ‘secret places’.