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Lefkada Travel Guide
Lefakada History

The history of Lefkada is similar to the one of all the Ionian Islands. After the fall of Constantinople in 1204, it fell under the jurisdiction of the Despotate of Epirus, then it was occupied by the Venetians and from 1477 until 1684 by the Ottomans. Lefkada was then successively occupied by the French, the Prussians and finally the British, up to 1864.      

The final phase of Lefkada’s unification with Greece took place on May 21st 1864. Many years later, around the 1960s, the Greek mogul Aristotle Onassis bought the islet of Skorpios, just across from Lefkada, making both destinations famous among royal families and world known celebrities and personalities. His vacations with Jackie-O, Alexandros and Christina in Skorpios were legendary and so were his frequent visits to the village of Nydri.

Lefkada Mythology

The island of Lefkada or Lefkadia owes its name to the steep, white cliffs of its southernmost cape Lefkata. There are many myths linked to this cape. This is where Apollo made his sister Venus jump from, in order to be released from her love for Adonis. Indeed, Venus was freed of her feelings and when she told her brother, he said that this happened because Zeus was using this exact rock as a place of rest and relaxation between his love-adventures. Many historical figures were actually released from their passions by jumping from the legendary rock, like the poetess Sapfo, who allegedly ended her life there because of her unrequited love for Faonas.

It’s also worth mentioning that the famous German archeologist Wilhelm Dörpfeld, who conducted a long series of excavations on the island, concluded that Lefkada was actually the Homeric Ithaca, home of Ulysses. The most striking proof was that Homer described Ithaca as an island reachable by foot and this could clearly be Lefkada, since it is connected to the mainland via a narrow land bridge.   

Lefkada Island

Lefkada is without a doubt an irresistible Ionian Island that captivates visitors with its dazzling authenticity. Magical beaches with crystal, turquoise blue waters, evergreen forests, traditional villages built on mountain slopes, incredible cuisine and warm hospitality. It has an excellent tourism infrastructure with numerous luxurious hotels, rooms to let, private villas and campgrounds. The island is about 70% mountainous and its highest peak is Stavrota (1182 m. altitude). The western part is steep, with many sandy beaches, but there are also many plateaus, valleys and hills with lush vegetation. There are olive trees, cypresses, pines and a rare oak variety. Finally, there are many springs, streams, small falls and an unbelievably beautiful lagoon, which is an important wetland and home for many bird species.

The capital town of Lefkada

The island’s capital is a serene Ionian town with picturesque houses, narrow streets, a busy port and many attractions.

The Venetian castle of Agia Mavra, right next to the artificial channel, was built by the Sicilian Orsini in 1300 to protect the town from any kind of raids. Today it houses many cultural events and receives hundreds of visitors.

There are many important churches in the capital city of Lefkada. The older ones, like Agios Spyridonas, Agios Dimitris, Agios Minas and Virgin Mary’s, are all built before 1700 and boast incredible frescoes from renowned Ionian artists.

The Archaeological Museum is definitely worth a visit since it houses important findings from excavations that took place in various spots on the island. You will have the chance to see ceramics, sculptures, jewelry, tools from the Early Helladic period and grave gifts. There is also a rare collection of Ecclesiastical icons. (For more info please call: +30 26450 23678)

The ancient city of Lefkada is located about 6km east of today’s capital, where visitors will be able to see remnants from the city, the theater and the peripheral Walls.


Nydri is about 17km southeast of the capital town. It has a beautiful beach and a magical view to the nearby islets of Madouri, Skorpidi, Meganisi and, of course, the famous Skorpios. Small boats depart from the port for unforgettable excursions around those islands. Nydri is highly developed and one of the first hot spots of the island. It has many hotels, rooms to let, taverns, bars and cafés.
Just across from Nydri visitors will see the evergreen cape of Agia Kyriaki with the homonymous church, the column of the Nymphs and the grave of the famous archeologist Dörpfeld.


Vassiliki is a stunning seaside village about 38km south of the capital town. It attracts thousands of visitors due to its lush vegetation and the unbelievably beautiful sandy beach, which is considered as one of the finest in the Mediterranean Sea.

From the small port of Vassiliki there are daily departures to the islands of Ithaca and Kefalonia, while visitors can also embark on small boats to tour the island and also visit one of the best beaches in the world: Porto Katsiki.  
Vassiliki is well known for its infrastructure and visitors will find there many hotels, rooms to let, private villas, as well as taverns, restaurants, bars and clubs. It’s also worth mentioning that Vassiliki has been included in the Top 10 Surfing Destinations of the World.

Lefkata Cape

Allegedly, Lefkada got its name from this legendary cape. This is the southernmost point of the island and a place of great mythological and historical importance. Visitors will see remnants from the Temple of Apollo and -at a close distance- the famous church of Agios Nikolaos from the 17th century, with the astounding wooden carved temple. The vertical cliffs create a sense of awe and admiration to the eye of the beholder!
Other beautiful villages


Nikiana is a picturesque seaside village, about 10km south of the capital town, with many hotels, bars and taverns by the water.

Agios Nikitas

Agios Nikitas, about 14km southwest of the capital, is one of the most beautiful villages of the island’s western part, with golden beaches, incredible coves and picturesque stone paved alleys through small shops and cafes that end up to the coast . Just 2 km from there you will find the beach Kathisma, which is a Must-See. It’s surrounded by steep cliffs and embraces a magical sandy beach with crystal emerald waters.


Karya is a stunning mountainous village, about 17 km from the capital city, built according to the local architecture. Its nature is incredible with streams and lush vegetation. Tradition is well preserved here and you will see women wearing traditional costumes and knitting beautiful embroideries.  

Nearby islands

Between Lefkada and the shores of the prefecture of Aetoloakarnania there are 5 beautiful islets:

MeganisiMeganisi is the biggest one and it’s situated just 4 nautical miles from Nydri. It has three settlements and nestles the famous cave Papanikolis. About 30 meters deep and covering an area of 3.800 sq.m., it is the second biggest cave in Greece.   


Skorpios is the most famous privately owned islet. It was bought in 1962 by the worldwide known tycoon Aristotle Onassis as a place of rest, relaxation and as a base for his summer resort. Today it’s owned by his granddaughter, Athena.


Madouri is standing across from Nydri, at a mere distance of 1 nautical mile. The imposing mansion at its entrance is where the famous Greek poet Aristotle Valaoritis was born. Today the islet is owned by his descendants.


Kastos is a small islet with olive groves. Its eastern side boasts few magical, untouched beaches, like Ambelakia, Fyki and Limni. There is also a sea cave of rare beauty on its northern side, where seals find refuge.


Kalamos is an equally small islet with tall pines that reach all the way to the sea. It has 2 settlements and its Castle-Monastery in Episkopi is definitely worth a visit. 

Eat & Drink
TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Agios Nikitas

TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Nidri

TYPE: Beach Bar,   STYLE: Mainstream
Location: Agios Nikitas

TYPE: Bar,   STYLE: Alternative
Location: Agios Nikitas

TYPE: Café & Bar,   STYLE: Cocktails Bar
Location: Vasiliki

TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Katouna

TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Alternative
Location: Nidri

TYPE: Café & Bar,   STYLE: Alternative
Location: Agios Nikitas

TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Contemporary Mediterranean Cuisine
Location: Agios Nikitas

TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Italian cuisine
Location: Lefkada Town

Practical info
General Info

Lefkada’s climate is typical Mediterranean. The winter is mild with heavy rainfalls and the summer is hot with cool, exhilarating winds. There is abundant sunshine almost all year round.   

The national prefix of Greece is +30, if you are calling from abroad. The area code of Lefkada is 26450 and the local phone numbers have 5 digits. If you wish to call abroad, you have to start by dialing your country’s national prefix and then continue with the desired area code and number.  


Euro Coins: 1 and 2 euro coins (golden and silver) 10, 20 and 50 cents (golden) 1, 2 and 5 cents (copper) 1 euro = 100 cents. The euro paper currency comes in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500.

Getting there

Lefkada is a very popular destination. One of the main reasons is its easy access, even by car, through the floating bridge that connects it with the mainland. However, this beautiful Ionian island is also connected by air with Athens and Thessaloniki throughout the year, as well as with various European cities during the summer months.

The distinctive characteristic of Lefkada is that you can actually drive there without using a ferry boat, as the island is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel. Visitors can use the public interurban buses (KTEL) or a private vehicle to access Lefkada from Western Greece, Aetoloakarnania Prefecture. The trip from Athens lasts approximately 5 hours.

Aktion is Lefkada’s airport and it’s located about 18 kilometers from the island’s capital. There are daily flights to and from Lefkada from Athens, Thessaloniki and Crete. During the summer months there are numerous daily charters from almost all major cities in Europe.


Lefkada is connected by boat with other Ionian Islands (Kefalonia, Paxoi and Ithaca), as well as by smaller liners with the nearby islets (Meganisi, Kastos and Kalamos).  

The capital town’s marina is one of the most well-developed in the Mediterranean Sea, it has a capacity for 620 yachts and covers an area of approximately 70.000 sq.m. Those who choose to sail through the emerald Ionian waters will highly enjoy the luxurious services provided in this impressive marina.   
Local Transportation

The road network of Lefkada is very good and well extended and the local transportation is frequent and covers most of the island’s hot spots, settlements, villages and beaches. There are buses between Lefkada (the island’s capital) and Vassiliki, Lygia, Nikiana, Nydri and Vlycho, as well as between Lefkada and Agios Nikitas, Karya and Agios Petros.

Taxi Services
Taxis are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can take you anywhere you like. You can either get a taxi from the main piazzas, located in all the major towns, or hail them on the street. You can also call for a taxi and have it pick you up and drop you off at the location of your choice.

There are many car rental agencies in Lefkada, but you are urged to book well ahead if you are planning on visiting the island during the months of July and August (peak season). You need to be 21 years old to rent a car and you also need a valid driving license.

Make sure you check the condition of the car before signing for it. Otherwise you might be charged with damages. Remember that, even though the road network of Lefkada is very good, the mountainous terrain is pretty rough, so you need to be extra careful. Do not park where not allowed –tickets will be given-, do not speed –as you might see animals or pedestrians crossing- and always wear your seatbelt or helmet if you are on a motorcycle or a scooter.

Local services

There are many bank branches in Lefkada, which are open from Monday to Thursday from 8am to 2.30pm and on Friday from 8am to 2pm. However, there are also many ATMs that operate 24/7, scattered throughout the island.

If you are travelling from a non-European country, you can carry travelers’ cheques and exchange them at a bank. If you carry your own currency, you might want to exchange it at the Athens International Airport or any major airport. Do remember that coins cannot be exchanged.

The Greek post is called ELTA. The post boxes for regular snail mail are Yellow and they are separated for international and domestic mail. The Red post boxes are used for Urgent mail. Registered mail is handled by the Post Office and you shouldn’t forget to get a receipt.    

Lefkada Post office:    +30 26450 24225
Vasiliki Post office:    +30 26450 31295

Do not hesitate to call the Police in case there is an accident, a criminal act or you have a serious problem with someone or a public service. If there is an issue with your hotel, you can contact the Tourism Police.  


Useful Numbers

a. Vassiliki 26450 31065
b. Nikiana 26450 72130

You can find international press (newspapers and magazines) in the island’s capital and in several newsstands around the major towns.


There are numerous pharmacies on the island, which are open Monday and Wednesday from 8.30am to 2.30pm and on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8.30am to 2.30pm and from 5.30pm- to 8.30pm.  

An endless sandy coast of electrifying azure waters!

Kathisma is located at the western part of Lefkada and it consists in a vast and wide beach of white sand with transparent, turquoise waters! The scenery is just amazing since the combination of colours composes the absolute exotic coast which, combined with the coast's length and width, creates a sense of infinity! The waters get deep pretty soon making them ideal for various watersports. In its main part Kathisma is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas but never seems packed with people.

White sand, crystal waters, cliffs dressed in green.

Megali Petra is another beach not to be missed while on Lefkada. Located at the western part of the island, very near Kalamitsi beach, Megali Petra has been named after the huge rocks that are scattered on its waterfront, meaning "great rocks" in Greek. The beach is partially organized with sunbeds and umbrellas and features a long descending road and a little of walking to reach the shore. A very nice beach with the typical Ionian combination of colours!

An awe inspiring landscape!

Athani beach is the beach located right beneath Athani village on the west part of Lefkada, right before Porto Katsiki beach. Athani beach is pretty difficult to access but it is definitely worth visiting due to its pure beauty and untouched landscape. The beach is not organized, so mind to take supplies with you. After a day at the sea, visiting Athani village and having a small meal or even coffee is highly recommende3d due to the exceptional vies that place offers!

It's just you and the sea!

Gialos beach is found on the western part of Lefkada but though it is located between the popular beaches of the island, it uniquely preserves its calmness and privacy. Partially sandy and partially pebbled, organized at a pretty small part of it, Gialos is the place to be in order to enjoy a tranquil day to the sea. The small cafeteria right above the coast offers charming views to the sea and the rocky formations of the natural landscape will promise that the image of this beach will remain carved in your memory forever!

The lake-like beach right at the entrance to Lefakad
Location:Lefkada Town

Ammoglossa beach is found right before accessing Lefkada town, right next to the floating bridge, and boasts a beautiful coast of golden sand. Its name is taken from its weird shape, meaning Sand Tongue in Greek, since it really resembles a tongue of sand entering the sea. Ammoglossa is very near Lefkada town and is ideal for families as the waters surrounding it are pretty shallow and the scenery looks like more like a small lagoon than a beach.

The absolute windsurfing hotspot!

The settlement of Vassiliki is one of the southernmost settlements of Lefkada and boasts a vast sandy coast overlooking the endless Ionian Sea. The place is ideal for windsurfing, sailing and various other watersports while it also offers a great variety of accommodation, restaurants and shops. A charming small village providing access through ferry boats to nearby islands and mostly the beautiful Ithaca! The beach is pebbled and at its ends the seabed has small stones and rocks.

World wide famous, exotic beach!
Location:Agios Nikolaos Niras

One of the most famous beaches on Lefkada island, Porto Katsiki is really unique for the strange shape and formation of its coast. An amazing white-sand beach hidden right below the steep slopes that comes to the visitor's surprise as they descend the steps to reach the coast. Various rock formations divide the beach in smaller parts but despite its small size, Porto Katsiki is usually packed with people during summer months. Small boats that tour around the island's most popular beaches always have a long stop here, so one can very well use this way of access instead of driving and descending the stairs. One thing is for sure: no matter the way you choose to access it, Porto Katsiki is absolutely between your must-visit beaches!

Green and turquoise symphony!
Location:Poros Village

Poros or Mikros Gialos is the charming coast of the picturesque homonymous south settlement of the island. The scenery is the perfect combination of white, azure and green since the coast is nestled within lush vegetation and is full of white small pebbles. The beach is ideal for total relaxation and unique contact with nature! You will also find a camping iste nearby, various accommodation units and traditional taverns and cozy cafes.

Sightseeing combined with a calm swim.

Nikiana is also at the west part of Lefkada, between Lefkada town and Nidri. The place has grown to be a very popular resort during the recent years and features a beautiful coast of pure, white pebbles and azure waters offering a great variety of cafes and taverns too. Nikiana is also ideal for any kind of watersports and boasts a great view the mainland across. Interesting sightseeing spots in the area are the hermitage of Holy Fathers and the two unique mountainous villages of Alexandros and Kolyvata on Skaros mountain right behind the coast.

The popular summer spot!

Nidri settlement is among the most popular settlements of Lefkada, located in the middle of its eastern part. Nidri is a very well developed place with amazing infrastructure and many choices for accommodation and entertainment. Its coast, mostly a small fishing harbour, is ideal for families with small children because it provides for short distances to other places of interest, such as taverns hotels and playgrounds.

Definetely the spot for total privacy!
Location:Agios Nikitas

Mylos beach is found between the popular Agios Nikitas and Kathisma beaches and is indeed one of the most idyllic beaches of the island. Even though it is located between two of the most busy beaches on Lefkada, Mylos is almost never full with people since the access to the coast is pretty difficult, through a small trekking path descending the slope. Despite of the rather adventurous access, Mylos should be among the top beaches to visit for absolute relaxation and tranquility. No need to say that the beach is totally unorganized and can be nudism friendly too.

Lefkada's highlight! Be cut our from the world!

The coast in Egremni area is what we should call "the perfect exotic escape from reality"! Even before descending to the beach, the awe inspiring landscape will take your breath away. The vast coast that seems it ends nowhere is surrounded by huge, white slopes, which you have to descend in order to reach the waterfront. The coast is covered by a very thin and small beige coloured pebble, featuring all advantages of sand and pebbles at the same time! The place is absolutely untouched with only a small canteen and a few sunbeds and umbrellas. It is advised that you visit Egremni with supplies for an all-day dash and do not leave until after sunset!

A picturesque fishing settlement with small coves
Location:Agios Nikitas

Aghios Nikitas is located at the western side of Lefkada and it consists in a small, charming fishing settlement which has been highly revived through the last years. Its narrow, stone paved alleys through the small cafes and shops and its cute, small beach attarct a great a number of visitors each year. Around the settlement's main beach you will find small secluded coves for a more private swim within the beautiful vegetation!

Golden sand, a cosmopolitan beach.
Location:Lefkada Town

Aghios Ioannis beach is located very near Lefkada town and it is considered to be one of the most cosmopolitan ones on the island. A perfect place for windsurfing lovers, right after Vasiliki beach, Aghios Ioannis offers a great variety of accommodation units and cafes. The exotic coloured waters, the remnants of old windmills and the watersports clubs make this place one of the beaches you should not miss!

A treasure of white pebbles and azure waters!

Agiofili is located on the southern part of Lefkada, very near Vasiliki village. The coast is covered by white pebbles and the waters are crystal clear with a charming azure colour. The beach is ideal for water sports and mainly snorkeling since the waters get deep pretty soon. The surrounding white cliffs make the scenery extremely scenic and pure and it should be best accessed by boat or taxi boat since the parking area is pretty far from the coast and a considerable time for walking to there is required.


Local Specialties & Recipes
Local Specialities

While on the island do not forget to taste the local dishes, like savori, sofigado, maridopita, rice pie, boiled clams and, of course, fresh fish.

Savori or Savoro fish

The recipe can be made with picarels, ells, mullets or bonito fish fried in a pan and then poured with a sauce made of oli, vinegar, garlic, laurel, rosemary and black raisin. The dish can be served as soon as it is cold, since this is a very effective way to preserve it for more time.

Rice pie

A pie made with rice, feta cheese and sugar ending up with a sour sweet taste for all times of the day, typical of Lefkada. Rice pie is a very rear pie but its taste is very unique and incomparable to anything other dish.

Egg pie

The egg pie resembles a lot to the cheese pie. A more delicate and soft taste as the proportion of eggs and cheese is very different than in cheese pie.


A traditional plate dating back to the Venetic period. Sofigado is made with beef meat without bones that is baked with some oil, onions and various other ingredients like rosemary, petimezi (sweet syrup), vinegar, tomato paste and garlic. As soon as the meat is almost ready, potatoes or quinces are added and are baked with the mixture until the sauce is brownish and thick. A savoury dish with sweet and sour taste.   


A unique pie made with picarel fish (marida in Greek). The heads of the fish are cut off and the bodies are placed on a baking pan right on dough. On top tomato slices, onion slices, cheese, parsley and salt and pepper are added. The pie is baked in the oven and ends up with a spicy taste. Maridopita is exclusively a recipe made in Lefkada and it is suggested mostly in September when the picarel fish is pretty small and thin.

Cuttlefish with black risotto

A plate made with cuttlefish boiled with its ink, where rice and various spices are added. The dish has a dark colour and a distinctive taste for those who like trying exquisite flavors.

Oil pie

A local, traditional sweet made with dough filled with a mixture of oil, sugar, semolina and flour, cooked altogether. The pie is powdered with sesame, cinnamon and sugar on top and almonds are placed in each piece.

Local Products
Local Products

Lefkada’s cultural heritage is marked by its authentic cuisine and traditional products. Thyme honey, from Dragano and Athani, pasteli and mandolata, soumada (a beverage from bitter almonds), liqueurs (rozoli and mint), traditional oil pie, oil cookies, lentils from Eglouvi, salami and sausages, pink fish roe from the lagoon, as well as white and red wine, like Giomatari, Keropati and Laggero. Barzamino is a very rare wine variety –cultivated by the Venetians- and it’s considered as one of the best in the country.

Last but not least, you should definitely check out the famous local handicrafts, textiles and embroideries, created with “Karsaniki Stitch”, which is a special technique, completely different from any other in Greece. Finally, tatting is a special Lefkadian tradition, used in various sizes and types of lace with intricate designs originating from the Byzantine era.

Lefkada Events

he traditional Lefkadian customs are preserved intact until nowadays. There are many cultural and religious events that take place every year, in different areas, attracting not only the locals, but also many tourists.

Every year during the months of June and July, the beach of Vassiliki hosts the International Festival of Water Sports which attracts athletes and sports aficionados from all over the world. For more information, please visit www.vassiliki-watersports-festival.com

February: Lefkadian Carnival with parades and accompanying events
May 21: Celebration of   the Ionian Islands’ unification with Greece with various cultural events
July 20: The “Valaoriteia” in Nydri, hosting a  number cultural events
August 7: The Lentil celebration in the village of Eglouvi and the church of Agios Donatos
August 11: The reenactment of the Lefkadian wedding in the village of Karya
August: Speech and Art Festival (since 1955), in the city of Lefkada with cultural and artistic events
August: Folk Festival (since 1962) with traditional dance and music themes from all over the world
December 12: The celebration of the Philharmonic Association
December 27: The annual Orpheus concert

Cycladia Tips
Cycladia Tips for Lefkada

Lefkada is a world known destination, mainly due to its incredibly beautiful beaches with the turquoise blue waters and the white pebbles. The nature of this island is stunning. However, apart from the gorgeous waters, the unique monuments and the mouthwatering cuisine, Cycladia will also share a few secrets about this rare Ionian jewel that will further intrigue you.  

Insider Tips

The town of Lefkada is twinned with the city of Shinjuku in Japan. This is because the famous author Lefkadios Hearn, which has been declared as a national poet in Japan, was born in Lefkada and died in Shinjuku.

Lefkada is Ulysses homeland, according to the advanced theory of the famous archeologist Wilhelm Dörpfeld, who conducted a series of excavations on the island.

NATURA 2000 sites

There are 3 regions in Lefkada protected by NATURA 2000 worth visiting for their unique morphology and natural scenery:

Interesting Info

Shops & Galleries
Shopping in Lefkada

Lefkada has an impressive array of shopping stores with a variety of products, from top designer brands, to impressive jewelry, fine antiques, leather goods and local specialties. During the summer months, the stores usually stay open until very late and beyond the usual opening hours.  

Except from clothes, leather products, shoes and similar goods, you will also find many stores that offer local items, like hand-woven textiles, embroideries with intricate designs, wooden carved objects, silver utensils, as well as local specialties, such as Soumada, Barzamino, lentils, thyme honey etc.

The commercial district of the capital town is on Dörpfeld Street, where you will find numerous stores. All the big seaside villages also have their own local markets, with touristic shops, stores with summer clothes and items, newsstands with international press and many more.