Lefkada11 things to do and see in Lefkada
Lefkada is one of the most popular Greek islands. There are places like Nydri, Agios Nikitas and, partially, the homonymous capital (Lefkada) somehow “sacrificed” on the altar of tourist modernization; other parts of the territory, on the other hand, have kept their original imprint from the landscape-environmental point of view. In conclusion, an island with a "double soul" where you can relax without necessarily having to give up some worldly outings. For the rest, what has already been said for the other Ionian islands applies: even in Lefkada the "weight of history" plays a secondary role compared to the naturalistic aspects. Unfortunately, only a few traces of the Venetian domination remain, those that miraculously escaped the earthquake that shook much of the archipelago in 1953. Below we see together the main attractions of the island. Happy reading. (Egremnoi beach on the cover)
1 Lefkada city
Lefkada city (or Lefkáda) is almost always the first stop on a holiday on the island of the same name. The reasons are different and complementary to each other: it is the inhabited center closest to the mainland, to which it is connected by a bridge; it is the most important economic, commercial and administrative center of the island; finally it is one of the best equipped tourist ports of the Ionian, with a capacity that exceeds 600 berths. To all this we must add cafes, bars, restaurants and nightclubs in which a significant part of the island's nightlife is concentrated. But there is more. In fact, Lefkada also deserves from an environmental point of view. To see, the lagoon north of the city, an ideal place for birdwatchers. Not surprisingly, this area is included in the “Natura 2000” community project which has the task of protecting this special marine habitat in which various species of birds (coots, herons, cormorants, ducks, etc.) transit during their respective migrations. Gyra is worth a visit as well, a locality very close to the city, famous for its white beach.
2 Castle of Agia Mavra
Near the bridge that connects Lefkada to the mainland are the ruins of Castle of Agia Mavra, the fortress with sighting and defense functions that, for about four hundred years, from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century, protected the island from sea raids, especially the very frequent Turkish ones between the 400th and 500th centuries. The construction of the Castle dates back to the end of the 200th century and, obviously, over the centuries, it has undergone several alterations, ending up becoming a ruin. A ruin which however continues to attract many visitors who are rightly fascinated by the sight of the external perimeter walls, still in excellent condition compared to the little left inside. In short, the Castle of Agia Mavra is a piece of Lefkáda history and, as such, it is definitely worth a visit.
3 Faneromenis Monastery
About three kilometers from the capital, towards the village of Agios Nikitas (see next point), the Faneromenis Monastery is one of the unmissable stops on a holiday in Lefkada. Not only because it is the most important religious center of the island, a destination for pilgrimages and visits all year round (obviously, many more during the summer season), but also for the wonderful view over the city and the nearby lagoon. Founded in the XNUMXth century on the ruins of a temple dedicated to Artemis, the monastery has undergone several restorations over the centuries, one of which was particularly significant following a fire in the second half of the XNUMXth century. Inside it houses an Ecclesiastical Museum with sacred icons and ancient manuscript texts. To be seen!
4 Agios Nikitas
About 10 kilometers from Lefkada city, Agios Nikitas (or Aghios Nikitas) is the only village on the western side to have developed along the coast. Nothing but a pedestrian street that ends at the sea at a small beach (the car must be left at the entrance to the town). On the sides of the main road there are shops, bars and restaurants where you can stop and shop or eat something typical. In short, a seaside resort that has easy accessibility from it (whether you come from the north or from the south) and proximity to some of the most beautiful beaches in Lefkada. Here we report only Kathisma (see photo) particularly famous among young people both for the possibility of practicing water sports and for the presence of clubs that offer disco entertainment directly by the sea. It goes without saying that these places are fully booked in the summer months, while at other times of the year they show a decidedly more relaxed image.
Less than ten kilometers south of Agios Nikitas, Kalamitsi is what is known as a village with a double soul or, better still, with a suspended identity. On the one hand, in fact, there are the rural traditions that still mark the daily life of the inhabitants; on the other hand, the tourist modernity peeps out with a choice of pensions and rooms for rent that is getting wider and wider. For the moment, however, the images of the past still prevail: windmills, churches and above all chickens, goats and donkeys that roam freely in the farms and in the domestic gardens. Special mention for Kavalikefta, the beautiful beach of the town. White sand, crystal clear sea and, most importantly, space for everyone. Not to be missed!
Karia is the largest town in Lefkada. There are about 1000 inhabitants who live in this inland village famous for the tradition of hand embroidery. To this day the lace embroidered by expert hands of the place are sold in all the bazaars of the island. The center of the village is very beautiful with bars, taverns and cafes almost everywhere. Tables and chairs, on the other hand, are strictly in the shade of large plane trees that stand majestically over the square. In short, Karia offers typically Greek atmospheres that do not know the wear and tear of time. To be seen!
7 Porto Katsiki
Many believe Porto Katskiki to be the most beautiful beach in Europe. What is certain, the trip to Lefkada alone is worth it. We are talking about a place able to excite like few others in the world. A beach of fine white sand, sheltered by a cliff overlooking the sea and, moreover, kissed by the sun until late in the evening thanks to the happy exposure to the west. The waters, needless to say, are crystal clear, completing a scenario that has nothing less than the most celebrated Shipwreck Beach in Zakynthos and Myrtos on the island of Kefalonia. In short, a fairytale place surrounded by other fairytale places. A little further north, in fact, there is Egrimnoi beach (see cover image), another dream place, while continuing south we meet the lighthouse of Cape Lefkada, from whose cliff, according to the mythical tale, the poet Sappho committed suicide. To be seen!
One of the most beautiful places in Lefkáda and probably in the entire Ionian archipelago. A narrow inlet, surrounded by two long strips of land, which give the guest the impression of being in a pond, rather than in the sea. On land, at the foot of the marina, frequented mainly by sailors, shops, bars and restaurants cheer up the days (and evenings) of those who come here. The cuisine, of course, is mainly based on fish, in homage to the seafaring tradition of the locals who, before discovering tourism, lived (but in many cases still lives) from the proceeds of fishing. There is also one small pebble beach to relax and take a bath in the wonderful waters of the island. Not to be missed!
As already said at the beginning, Nydri is one of the most famous and popular places in Lefkáda. The kilometers from the capital are 17, easily traveled along the eastern ridge of the island. The locality, although for years devoted to tourism, still bears many traces of the maritime past. Today, however, mainly sailing boats and yachts commute to the well-equipped city port. Port from which ferries also leave for Ithaca and Kefalonia, as well as excursions by sea to Meganissi, Sparti and Skorpios, the three islets that administratively depend on Lefkada. Of the three, Skorpios is the most famous having been owned by the Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis for years. For some years, however, the island has passed into Russian hands, preserving its reputation as an inaccessible place of the elite. To see, not far from Nydri, the "Early Bronze Age Tumuli", a necropolis from the Bronze Age with 33 tombs. Also in Nydri, finally, the waterfalls at the bottom of the Dimosari gorge are worth a visit (see photo). To be seen!
At the beginning we referred to the possibility, for those who decide to treat themselves to a holiday in Lefkada, to stay (relatively) far from the most touristic centers without depriving themselves of the evening crowd bath. Ligia is one of the best places on the island to combine relaxation and fun. The distance from Lefkada city is just 4 kilometers; about 10, however, from Nidri (see point 9). Above all, Ligia is still one of the most important fishing centers in western Greece. Its port, unlike the others on the island, continues to be frequented mainly by local fishermen who, in truth, also flock to the bars and taverns close to the quay. In conclusion, Ligia is the emblem of that part of Lefkada that continues to live according to tradition, without however denying the tourist modernity. To be seen!
11 Folklore Festival
In addition to being a popular seaside resort, Lefkada was among the first Greek islands to focus on quality events as a driving force for development. One in particular is the one that has given fame and visibility to the territory: we are talking about the very famous Folklore Festival which, since 1962, takes place every yearlast week of August (Sunday to Sunday). They participate folklore groups from all corners of the globe. For a week, Vietnamese groups, African, European and of course, from other parts of Greece parade through the streets of Lefkada. Songs, dances and music at will to enhance the unifying value of art which, by definition, knows no boundaries and is expressed in a universal language. In short, a festival of brotherhood and solidarity that also benefits from a tourist point of view, attracting a myriad of tourists to the island, also from all over the world. To be seen!