If you’re looking for a Greek holiday destination for sun, sand and relaxation in 2017, Lefkas is an ideal choice. Located in the Ionian Sea just off the western coast of Greece, Lefkas is one of the lesser known Greek islands and something of a well-kept secret with canny tourists. Lefkas gives you the incredible views, beautiful weather and great attractions of the busier Greek islands without the bustling crowds and traffic. There are a few remaining traditional fishing villages that formerly covered the coast of Lefkas, including famously picturesque Lygia and Agios Nikitas with shingle bays, pine-topped hills and authentic Greek markets to explore. The waters surrounding Lefkas are naturally very warm and have a glistening blue surface, the ideal setting for a pleasant dip in the water and for enjoying water sports with your family and friends. While many other towns and villages on the coastline have been transformed into tourist havens with little kept from their heritage and local culture, much of Lefkas has retained much of its authentic charm, with traditional buildings and rustic scenery that wouldn’t look out of place on the front of a postcard.
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Greek
- Time Zone: GMT +2
- Average flight time: 3h 30m
When to go
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While the beautiful beaches are certainly one of Lefkas’ major draws for tourists, the island has far more to offer than simply lounging around on the beach all day. Lefkas’ most popular resorts are scattered along its eastern coast, with Nidri being the biggest. Whether you’re an avid photography buff or an amateur snapper, make sure you bring along your camera as Lefkas is one of the most photo-friendly islands in all of Greece. Nidri used to be a fishing village and has a lovely authentic Greek ambience with plenty of traditional charm, sailboats and fishing boats to watch anchoring off shore and a number of welcoming authentic fish tavernas, restaurants and family-friendly cafes. There are plenty of great shops in Lefkas where you can find brands ranging from budget-friendly high street names to designers like Dior and Gucci. Some of the main points of interest on the island include the Lefkada Monastery of Faneromeni, the Lighthouse Doukato, Castle of Agia Maura and the Watermill of Lefkadas.
Wine and Dine
Although many of the towns in Lefkas have a quaint, intimate vibe, the cuisine here is vibrant and exciting. Greek tavernas here use high quality, traditional ingredients including honey, citrus fruits and olive oil sourced from the local area. Whether you’re new to Greek cuisine or consider yourself a bit of a conaisseur, there’s no better place to experience the best that Greek gastronomy has to offer than traditional Greek tavernas. In Lefkas tavernas serve only fresh-caught fish and other seafood sourced from local ports, including some amazing speciality dishes to try if you’re feeling adventurous, like squid and octopus. Some of the main dishes in the area include spiced salami and sausage, savoro, or fish cooked in fresh rosemary, onion and garlic, aliada, or fresh fish, and the traditional Greek sweets of nougat and pasteli, or nougat with honey.
Lefkas is a great choice of destination for your family holiday. With many of us too busy to spend much quality time with family during a typical week, the laid-back lifestyle and atmosphere of Lefkas makes it the ideal setting for spending lots of time together as a family and unwinding. Lefkas is a popular choice of Greek island for active families, as the balmy weather and beautiful surroundings make it the perfect place to get out and be active every day. You can take day trips to the beach with your family and do a spot of swimming, run along the beach or bring a ball for a kickabout. If you head slightly further inland, you’ll come across beautiful countryside that’s great for hikes and cycle rides. If your family loves nature, head to the scenic Nydri Waterfalls near to Rahi Village to enjoy the walking trails through the floral fields and green hills of Karadiatika, Neohori and Paleokato. If you’re keen to teach your children more about the history of Greece, there are also several local points of interest including the Palaeolithic and Neolithic ruins in Vasiliki.
Action and Adventure
Lefkas has a reputation as a haven for water sports enthusiasts, the gorgeous weather and warm waters providing the ideal setting for plenty of fun days spent on the water. The prime spot for water sports in Lefkas is the waters off the beach of Vasiliki, an internationally-acclaimed surf spot which is considered one of the top 10 beaches globally, and one of the top 3 in all of Europe. Here the most popular watersports are windsurfing and kitesurfing, while if you head to the beach of Agios Giannis, the waters are mostly suited to kite surfers thanks to the larger waves and strong winds. Other active things to do in Lefkas include water skiing, wakeboarding, double skiing and knee boarding. For families with kids, fun activities include banana boats and inflatables, or sticking to dry land with hiking, trekking or cycling. If you’re looking for the ultimate in adrenaline-pumping experiences in Lefkas, try paragliding to get a bird’s eye view across the gorgeous landscape.
Life's a Beach
Most people come to Lefkas to enjoy the gorgeous beaches, with some of the most famously beautiful beaches in all of Greece located here. Porto Katisi is the most popular beach in Lefkas and is arguably one of the best the Mediterranean has to offer. The beach has very impressive tree-topped white cliffs, warm sands and incredible blue waters. Egremni is around 40 kilometres to the south west of Lefkada Town and one of the most lovely beaches on the island. This beach has a huge expanse of sand and clear blue waters, but families and those with walking difficulties should be aware that there are steep steps to access the beach. For a particularly family-friendly beach, try Kathisma, which is located 15 kilometres to the south west of Lefkada Town. This extensive beach is sandy and has beautiful waters for swimming and paddling, with easy access for children and those with walking difficulties. The most visited beach resort in Lefkas is undoubtedly Agios Ioannis, which is just a few kilometres west of the town area. The beach has good facilities and is easy to access, but it’s worth bearing in mind that this beach is popular with kitesurfers and windsurfers due to strong winds that blow frequently in this area which may not be suitable for some visitors including the elderly and very young.
Lefkas has a pleasant nightlife scene with some great venues for a memorable night out, whether you’re single and partying it up or are looking for some family-friendly venues for fun-filled evenings with your loved ones. Nidri, situated on the east coast of Lefkas, has a wide range of restaurants and bars, with a bustling main street that runs opposite to the harbour road. Down by the waterfront, you’ll find plenty of traditional Greek tavernas that are ideal for family evenings out. There are lounge bars in Nidri, Lefkada and Vasiliki, while you can head to Nidri for a more vibrant nightlife experience with clubbing venues open until 2 or 3am.
The natural beauty and splendour of Lefkas makes it a prime location for a romantic holiday with your significant other. One of the prettiest squares on the island is Platia Agios Spyridon, in the centre of Lefkas town. At the north end of this aquare you’ll find a beautiful 17th century church, as well as a great selection of restaurants and bars perfect for romantic dinners as a couple. One of the most romantic things you can do in Lefkas is visit the Nidri Waterfalls with your loved one and swim or relax beneath the waterfall, watching the water cascade down the rocks. While you’re in Nidri, you could also enjoy hire a boat or join a bout tour, relax on the beach with your partner or take them out for a glamorous time wining and dining them.
Lefkas is beautifully green and surrounded by bright blue water, the physical representation of the outdoors-loving Mediterranean lifestyle. Lefkas has a rich culture and heritage originating from ancient times. It is said that Lefkas was the island that Homer named Ithaca, on which he discovered the Palace of Odysseus. In addition to its role in Homer’s iconic Odyssey, Lefkas is said to be the place that Sappho dived into the sea after she discovered that her love was unrequited. Some of the best cultural attractions in Lefkas include the Castle of Agia Mavra, a castle built in medieval times by the Frankish forces that occupied Lefkas in 1294 which protected the wider region from invasion, and the main religious centre in Lefkas, the Monastery of Faneromeni. Lefkas has a wonderful range of festivals throughout the year, including the Folklore Festival, which has taken place in Lefkas Town for over four decades, and the Lentil Festival, both of which take place in August.