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Lefkada, the undiscovered Ionian Island

31 Outubro 2022

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Lefkada is still somewhat of a secret island, having been spared the mass tourism of the other, more famous, Greek islands. It is also the only Greek island that can be reached by car as it is connected to the region of Epirus via a bridge.

Overview Lefkada

Boats with island in the back
Bridge connecting Lefkada to Epirus on mainland Greece with the island in the back ground

It is an enchanting island, with some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. It may not be a place to spend 14 days, but a week here and another on neighbouring Kefalonia island. From Lefkada you can also set out to discover the awesome natural beauty of nearby region of Epirus, another undiscovered hidden gem in Greece.

Tavernas on the lagoon in Lefkada town
Tavernas on the lagoon in Lefkada town

As we recommend that you plan ahead before visiting Lefkada, an important decision will be of where to stay on the island. There are many lodgings on the eastern coast in towns like Nydri, a coastal town where most of the resorts and hotels are located. Another area with a number of accommodations is Vasiliki in the far south of the island, although it is a more recent development and not that authentic. We had decided to stay in Lefkada Town and explore the island from there. It was a decision we did not regret.

Lefkada town
Lefkada town

Lefkada Town is a wonderful place. The old part of town is a puzzle of hundreds of tiny streets and alleys with small houses with flowering balconies. You can do everything by foot.

Exploring Lefkada town
Michael exploring the town in search of special places to stay

Landscape near Nydri, Lefkada
Landscape near Nydri, Lefkada, Greece

We set out to discover the rest of the island driving down the eastern coast, the one nearest to the mainland. This closeness to mainland Greece and the verdant little islands make the landscape between the two look more like an Alpine lake than an ocean. The waters are pristine and mostly completely still. Along the road the coast is dotted with small little villages and a few hotels here and there. Verdant hills covered with dense pine forests and olive groves run down to the sea. The many sailboats on the water make for an idyllic scenery. Nydri is the largest town and the one with the biggest tourist infrastructure, although it still beholds an authentic atmosphere.

As we continue south, the landscape turns more dry and Mediterranean. The views from the hillside road open up spectacularly overlooking the islands to the south. We come through the town of Vasiliki, a favourite wind- and kitesurfing place due to the regular winds in the bay. Although it has not been “destroyed”, it has a more commercial feel about it than the other towns on the island of Lefkada.

Landscape near the town of Vasiliki
Landscape near the town of Vasiliki in southern Lefkada island

We head west from Vasiliki, anxious with expectation. Somewhere before us lies the famous Porto Katsiki beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean. On the way we venture off the road in search of a few luxury holiday villas that we heard about. We discover them high above the ocean with spectacular views over the bay of Vasiliki and the Ionian sea. More about them at the end of this post under “where to stay in Lefkada”

We have lunch in one of the tavernas along the coastal road.

Taverna near Porto Katsiki
Taverna near Porto Katsiki, Lefkada

Not far from here the landscape opens up to the ocean, whose colour is indescribable. It is the brightest blue we have ever seen, as if the water was backlit. We have arrived at the famous Porto Katsiki beach. The setting of the beach and the colour of the water are indeed absolutely amazing. As with most beaches in Greece though, it is a pebble beach, so don’t forget to bring waterproof foot wear.

Ocean in front of Porto Katsiki
Ocean in front of Porto Katsiki beach

In contrast to the eastern coast, the western part of Lefkada is sparsely built. The road north takes us through macchia and pine tree covered hillsides with fabulous view. Wildflower honey seems to be the main product of the area with little shops selling it along the road.

Wildflower and sage honey for sale
Wildflower and sage honey for sale

Beach on western coast of Lefkada
One of the many beaches on the western coast of Lefkada

The next morning we enjoy a marvellous breakfast in one of the many fantastic bakeries in Lefkada town and then head west again to visit what had been our initial choice to stay, the little fishermen’s village of Agios Nikitas. The village lies indeed in a picturesque bay with turquoise waters and surrounded by mountains that end directly in the ocean. But it also seems to have lost a bit of its charm trying to protect itself from the tourist crowds. We understand that roads must be closed for cars, but the barriers gives you the feeling that you are visiting an outdoor museum with a beach and a few tavernas.

Bay before Agios Nikitas
Bay just before Agios Nikitas

On the way back to Lefkada town we chose the road through the hills to visit the village of Exanthia, besides being a traditional village it is a famous spot to watch the sunset. The best place to do so is the Fly Me Sun and Stars Bar.

Village of Exanthia
Village of Exanthia

Where to eat in Lefkada town

Although there are some tourists in Lefkada, many of them from the sailboats that stop over at the island, it never seems overcrowded. There are a number of very good and inexpensive tavernas spread out over the narrow alleys in the historic part of the city.

Main square of Lefkada town at night
The main square is the busiest area of Lefkada town

We tried the Eytyxia a good and authentic taverna in the centre of town, although already a bit touristy. Also recommended are the Thymari, a bit more upmarket, and the Nissi Medite Kuzina on the main square, but there are many more to try out. We had the best fish at the Taverna Rakias a bit off the marina.

Freshly prepared delicacies at Taverna EYTYXIA

For breakfast you can opt to have it overlooking the lagoon at the Karma Café or, as we did, choose a good bakery and savour the endless choice of local pastries, sweet or savoury. We recommend the Apxontapiki or the Zesta Xetourismata.

Bakery in Lefkada town
Apxontapiki bakery on high street in Lefkada town

High street in Lefkada town
High street in Lefkada town

The best deserts are served at the Yellow Cake Café right next to Taverna Light House.

Yellow Cake Cafe
Yellow Cake Café

Havana bar
The Havana bar, a nice place to listen to live music and have a drink after dinner

Pretty beach view

The best beaches on Lefkada island, Greece

The best beaches in Lefkada are on the western coast of the island. The most famous being Porto Katsiki, but almost all of the other furthers north are also very nice. The Gialos, Kavalikefta and Avali beaches have larger pebbles, the Kathisma Beach has sand and smaller pebbles. Quite known is also the Mylos Beach.

White sand beach and crystal clear water

Where to stay in Lefkada, Greece

The most beautiful hotel we found is the Pavezzo Country Retreat just south of Lefkada town. Abolutely georgeous.

Pool of Pavezzo Country Retreat
Pavezzo Country Retreat swimming pool

Dining room of Pavezzo Country Retreat
Pavezzo Country Retreat dining room

Holiday cottage with private pool at Pavezzo Country Retreat

Pavezzo Country Retreat holiday cottage with private pool

If you are looking for a villa, take a look at these on the extreme south of the island of Lefkada.

Three villas near Vasiliki
Three villas near Vasiliki, Lefkada

Beautifully decorated holiday home on Lefkada
Beautifully decorated holiday homes on Lefkada

View over the bay of Vasiliki
View over Vasiliki

In Lefkada town you will find the Bohèmian Boutique Hotel Lefkada  and a number of holiday flats such as the Eriel Apartments.

Lefkada town houses

Eriel Apartments bedroom
Eriel Apartments

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