Lefkada

The sparkling gemstone of the Ionian
Porto Katsiki beach Valdemaras D
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A jewel of an island, with dense forests, cosmopolitan charm and famous beaches

You’re bound to have seen photographs of Lefkada’s world-famous beaches. But when you arrive, you’ll quickly realise that they’re even better in real life. Lefkada (or Lefkas) is easily accessible, hospitable and lively – a recipe for the perfect summer holiday. Kathisma, Egremni, Porto Katsiki – amongst the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean – have won international acclaim and are awarded annually with Blue Flags.

Windsurfing, kitesurfing, paragliding, scuba diving, flights in a prop plane, horseback riding, mountain biking, sailing around the surrounding islets, like Skorpios… there’s no end to the activities on offer here. Welcoming Lefkada town will invite you to savour its culture by walking its alleyways, listening to its folk songs, enjoying bowls of Englouvi lentils on the feast day of Agios Donatas and meeting the famous bouranelous, the city dwellers for whom angling is still a major hobby. Immerse yourself in the magical world of Lefkada.

 

What to do on Lefkada

The most popular beaches 

Ready to dive into paradise? This is where turquoise meets azure against a backdrop of white sand, white cliffs or smooth white pebbles. Vast exotic beaches, bays, cliffs that plunge into the sea and a forest of pine trees that tumble intoxicatingly towards the coast. And what a coast! Kathisma, Egremni, Milos, Pefkoulia, Myli, Ammoglossa ... beaches that trip off the tongue. And the island’s number one star, Porto Katsiki. Every swim here seems unforgettable.

Set sail to the islets around Lefkada

At Nydri, row upon row of masts sway to the rhythm of the wind, always poised to cast off. Untie those ropes and set sail in the Ionian’s azure waters for delightful hideaways like Pringiponisa, Meganisi, Kalamos and Kastos. 

Skorpios: Onassis’ island sanctuary

Near Nydri, you’ll find Skorpios, the one-time summer refuge of legendary shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. He bought it in 1963 and decorated it with all types of trees and exotic plants. Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Winston Churchill, kings, dukes, shipping magnates and, of course, Jackie O … all took part in famous parties and celebrations on Skorpios and on Onassis’ yacht, Christina, where they discovered the magic of the Ionian Sea. He was buried here in 1975.

Surfin' Lefkada

Board, boom, sail… and we’re off to windsurf in Vasiliki and Ai Gianni, two beaches loved by windsurfers and home to the International Regatta. If you prefer kitesurfing, Myli, near Lefkada town, is ideal. And if you’re even more courageous, you can paraglide at gorgeous Kathisma beach. Or soar through the sky with one of the Aeroclub’s prop planes or light aircraft.

The legend of Cape Lefkata

When you get here, the legendary energy sweeps you off your feet. At the spot where a lighthouse now stands, 60m above sea level, was the Temple of Lefkata Apollona, where sacrifices were made to the gods in ancient times.

Sacrifices to the gods were eventually replaced by the sacrifices of desperate lovers. The poet Sappho was allegedly the first to jump in 570 BC and the dramatic white cliff is named Sappho’s Leap after her. It has also been called Kavos tis Kyras (Lady’s Cape), after the love-struck girls who also threw themselves to their deaths here. 

From the castle of Agia Mavra to Gyra

When you enter the town, you’ll be welcomed by the castle. In 1300, the Venetian leader Giovanni Orsini received Lefkada as a dowry and began fortifying it with seven bastions on seven sides. Inside, you’ll find the church of Agia Mavra, patron saint of Lefkada, celebrated on May 3 with a huge feast day. From the castle to the northwest side of town, there is a thin strip of land, 7km long that encircles the Gyras Lagoon. The red villa Kalkani, windmills and fishermen’s homes adorn this unique wetland, along with numerous species of protected birds.

Surprises in the alleyways of Lefkada

Like the playful breezes, you will whirl around the town’s alleyways, where you’re in for a whole series of surprises: in the lively squares and sidewalks, stores and churches, 17th and 18th-century architecture, impressive steeples, exquisite temples and Ionian icons. Here, you’ll be struck by the coloured sheet-metal facades of the houses’ upper floors. It’s a unique local ‘life hack’ devised to minimise earthquake damage.

Quaint Agios Nikitas

Cars are prohibited here, so you’ll explore this traditional settlement on foot. It’s a charming little marina, where, amongst the trees, fish tavernas, water’s edge cafes and bars, small hotels and stone-clad cottages abound. From here, you can take a caique to the exotic and beautiful Myli nearby.

 

Hidden gems of Lefkada

The Venetian Olive Grove

The grove, which embraces the western side of town, was planted by order of the Venetians in the 17th century. You’ll enjoy a walk or a bike ride through the immortal olive trees.

Dimosari Waterfalls

Follow the shady path under the planes, until you come upon a unique vision: water cascading with great force over enormous rocks into a radiant blue lake. You won’t be able to resist a dip.

Englouvis lentils 

Small in size but great in flavour. Cooked in large cauldrons by the village women on Agios Donatos’ feast day (August 7) on the plateau above the village. A festival on your plate!


10 ways to let your feet (and mind) wander in Lefkada

Prigkiponisia islets in Lefkada

Experience the best of Lefkada

Meganisi-An island of just three villages and a population of around 1000

Exploring the magical world beyond Nydri on Lefkada

Unmissable beaches, island legends, traditional fishing villages and a sea cave that once sheltered a WW2 submarine are just part of the world that opens...
You know you've arrived somewhere special when you are greeted by a staircase of around 100 steps, carved right into the rockface

The majesty of Porto Katsiki beach on Lefkada

There’s a grandeur and beauty to Porto Katsiki cliff-face setting that no other beach can hope to capture
Kathisma is where wild beauty goes to get a cosmopolitan upgrade

Kathisma beach in Lefkada

Just the setting is enough for Kathisma to wow its visitors … and that’s before they feel its incredible energy
  • The legend of Cape Lefkata
  • Set sail to the islets around Lefkada
  • Porto Katsiki beach
  • Surfin' Lefkada
  • Skorpios: Onassis’ island sanctuary
  • From the castle of Agia Mavra to Gyra
Highlights

Plan your trip

 

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