The Greek island of Lefkada is a great place for a vacation. Lefkada incredible beaches, great food, cute villages and more just waiting for you!
Lefkada in Greece
One of the most popular island destinations among Greeks is Lefkada Island. Lefkada belongs to the Ionian Islands, on the west side of mainland Greece, along with Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Corfu, Ithaca, and a few other islands.
One of the reasons Lefkada is so popular, is that it is connected to the mainland through a small bridge. Therefore, getting there is easy if you have a car, and it saves on the ferry costs.
However, the main reason that Lefkada is visited by thousands of people every year, are its stunning beaches, that are among the nicest beaches in Greece.
What to do in Lefkada
Like most Greek islands, Lefkada is ideal if you want to chill, spend some time in nature, go to the beach and have an overall relaxed time.
In our opinion, Lefkada’s highlight is the beaches. Lefkada has over 20 beaches, most of which are really among our top beaches in Greece.
Apart from the beaches, you can drive around the island and visit some of the mountain villages. There are even a few museums, of which the quirkiest is arguably the museum of gramophones and radios in the village of Karya!
Beaches in Lefkada
Many of the beaches in Lefkada are really to die for. Unlike the beaches in nearby Ithaca, that are small and often pebbly, most beaches in Lefkada are long and sandy.
The majority of them are large enough for you to find a quiet area, but many of them have facilities such as umbrellas and loungers, or even beach bars and tavernas.
Pefkoulia beach in Lefkada
This is one of the beaches closest to the main town, and was one of our favourite beaches in Lefkada. It was nowhere near as busy as nearby Kathisma when we visited.
Pefkoulia beach seemed to attract a more alternative crowd, including freecampers and naturists on the right hand side. Pine trees reach all the way to the coast, making this one of the most peaceful beaches in Lefkada.
Kathisma beach in Lefkada
Also very pretty, but it was way too crowded for our taste – maybe because we tried to go there on a Sunday. Kathisma is also fairly close to the main town of Lefkada, and it’s quite easily accessible – therefore, it’s very popular with locals and visitors alike.
There are beach bars and tavernas on the beach, and several rooms to rent nearby. Beach sports are also available. If you are after a cosmopolitan experience in breathtaking surroundings, that’s the beach to head to.
Stay for sunset, and compare it with the famous Oia sunset in Santorini – which one did you like the most?
Kavalikefta, Avali, and Megali Petra beaches
The three beaches close to Kalamitsi village are definitely worth exploring. Kavalikefta beach, Avali beach, and Megali Petra beach are all lovely in their own way.
While Megali Petra (Big Stone) has no facilities and offers stunning photo opportunities among the large rocks, Kavalikefta has a small café and loungers.
Avali is quieter – there is a canteen but no other facilities. All three beaches have small white pebbles and amazing turquoise waters. Access is fairly straightforward, but be careful of the winding road starting from Kalamitsi village.
Egremni Beach in Lefkada Greece
Egremni beach is one of the most famous beaches in Greece, and was probably our favourite beach in Lefkada. It’s a long stretch of sand, and the colour of the sea is really incredible.
Egremni used to be accessible through several flights of stairs, which is how we got there in summer 2015. However, after a strong earthquake that happened a few months later, the only way to get to Egremni beach is by boat.
Most boats touring around the island will stop here, yet the beach is so long that you can find a spot with no other people if you walk for a few minutes.
Porto Katsiki Beach
Porto Katsiki beach further down the coast, is another amazing beach in Lefkada. It was quite crowded when we visited, and there were many umbrellas and loungers, which is why it wasn’t our favourite.
Still, this pebbly beach is really stunning, and it’s no surprise that it features in many brochures about Greece. There is a free parking where you can leave your car and walk down to the beach.
Vassiliki Bay Beach
Located to the south of the island, it proudly ranks among Europe's best beaches for windsurfing. Vassiliki Bay is a place of pilgrimage for windsurfers from all around the world, culminating in the yearly International Water Sports Festival.
Apart from windsurfing, canoeing is also available in this long pebbly beach, comfortably enclosed in the embrace of the surrounding green hills of Lefkada.
If you want to stay in the south of Lefkada, Vassiliki is one of your best options as it has plenty of hotels and restaurants.
A little further out from Vassiliki Bay, it is another lovely pebbly beach. It's situated in a cove of sublime beauty and is perfect for holiday makers looking for a bit of privacy and peaceful time on the beach.
The pure blue-green waters of Agiofilli beach are surrounded by impressive white hills that are characteristic of the region. You can reach Agiofilli either by boat or on foot from Vassiliki Bay.
If you head southeast from Lefkada town, you will arrive at the immaculate Lygia beach. Aside from the stunning scenery of this small but picturesque pebbly beach, another reason to make your way here is the booming fishing industry.
This is one of the best spots to enjoy fish and seafood of unmatched quality and freshness on the island.
Another East Coast beach aside from Lygia that's considered among Lefkada's finest is the lively Nydri beach. The resort-oriented coastal town is more than well-equipped to handle all the needs of visitors looking for a lively stay by the sea.
Gently sloping beaches of shingle and pebble meet waters that will warm up relatively quickly in the summertime, in surroundings that offer superb views of the neighboring islands of Sparti, Madouri, and Scorpios.
Several boats depart on a daily basis from Nydri to nearby islands, so if you are planning to go around Lefkada by boat, this might be the best place to stay.
Even more beaches…
To the north of Lefkada town, you'll find beaches worth paying a visit to as well. One of the best examples is Ai Giannis, located just 3 kms / 2.5 miles away from the main town.
Soft, golden sands and turquoise waters ringed by a variety of bars and restaurants are combined to give the beach its sterling reputation.
The beach is directly in the path of the northerly winds that appear on the island, making Ai Giannis a paradise for kite and wind surfers.
If you are travelling with children, take that into account, as the beach won’t be suitable for swimming on a windy day. Take a quick stop and check out the windmills on the way there.
The main town of Lefkada
You should spend some time in the capital and main town in Lefkada, with its narrow cobbled streets and traditional houses.
While you must definitely visit the Castle of Agia Mavra (see below), there are a number of museums and private collections that you might find interesting.
The main museum to visit is the Archaeological museum, which is home to artefacts from ancient times. Here, you can also explore W. Doerpfeld’s theory that the island that Homer described as Ithaca is actually today’s Lefkada.
Within the same building, you can find several collections on history, art and local tradition. There are many smaller museums, collections and libraries in the town, focusing on ethnography and local tradition.
Visit the Castle of Agia Mavra in Lefkada
As you are reaching Lefkada from the mainland, you will immediately see the castle of Agia Mavra, which was built by Frankish invaders during the 14th century.
The castle was later occupied by the Ottomans, who built mosques, a couple of schools, barracks, and several other buildings inside its walls, as well as an impressive aqueduct.
The Venetians, who arrived in the 17th century, further expanded the castle, and moved the capital city outside its walls.
The British, who occupied Lefkada between 1810 and 1864, when Lefkada became a part of Greece, constructed a port at the north side of the castle. A couple of decades later, in 1883, the small Orthodox church of Agia Mavra was built.
This is a large area to walk around, so bring some comfortable shoes, and don’t forget some water and your sunscreen.
Village Hopping in Lefkada
When you have finished enjoying the beaches in Lefkada, you should also visit some of the villages. Many of them are functioning fishing ports, while others are up on the mountains, offering unique views of the island. Walk around the villages, and explore the surprises that the backstreets have to offer.
Famous all around Greece for its tasty lentils, is right in the centre of the island, at an altitude of 750 metres.
This traditional village has stone houses and narrow cobbled streets, and most of its life revolves around growing and processing lentils, culminating in a large panigiri, the lentil feast, on 6th August.
If you visit Eglouvi, check out also the nearby chapel of Agios Donatos and the Volti settlement, an area full of stone constructions possibly dating from the Venetian Era.
The biggest village in mainland Lefkada is called Karya. Built at an altitude of 500 metres, its climate is pleasant, and it’s a good place to escape to if you can’t stand the summer midday heat.
Karya is full of traditional stone houses, tiny streets, chapels, windmills and large plane trees on its main square. This is an ideal place to have a coffee or meal at one of the village’s lovely tavernas and cafes.
Apart from the gramophone and radio museum in Karya, there is also an ethnographical museum that you should visit if you are interested in Greek traditions.
Finally, if you only visit one church or monastery on the island, make it the Ai Giannis Prodromos monastery, built in 1605. The interior is really stunning.
Another small place that stands out is the elegant village of Poros, about 25 km south of Lefkada Town. There are interesting places to visit here, such as the church of Analipsi, dating back to the 17th century, the 4th-century castle and the old olive press.
Outside the village, you will find the Mikros Gialos bay where you can see the local fisherman bringing in their daily catch.
Other traditional villages you can visit to have a break from the crowded beaches and the high temperatures are Exanthia, Athani and Tsoukalades.
Dimossari Waterfalls in Lefkada
Not far from Nydri, you can find Dimossari Waterfalls. This is the perfect place to chill out and relax on a hot summer day.
You can reach the waterfalls by a short hike through Dimossari gorge. Even if you decide against swimming in the cold water, the landscape is really impressive and very different from the blue beaches in Lefkada.
Getting around Lefkada
The best way to get around Lefkada is definitely by car, if you don’t mind driving on the windy mountain roads. If you are not keen on renting a car, your best bet, and the only way to approach some of the beaches, is to take boat or sailing trips around Lefkada.
You can also take a day cruise to nearby Meganissi and Kalamos islands.
How to get to Lefkada
As explained already, Lefkada is connected to mainland Greece through a causeway. Therefore, getting there from mainland Greece is fairly straightforward – just follow the signs on the national road.
If you want to get from Athens to Lefkada, you can either drive, or take a KTEL bus. Click here for more information and itineraries.
Buses depart from Kifissos station in Athens, and the easiest way to get there is by taxi, or by bus X93 if you are going straight from the airport.
Lefkada is connected with the other Ionian Islands by several ferry and boat services. It’s best to ask around a few days before you are going, as itineraries change all the time.
What time of year is the best to visit Lefkada?
In our opinion, if you want to relax and get away from everything, the best time of year to go to Lefkada is mid-September.
By that time, schools in Greece and elsewhere in Europe have re-opened, and the island will be fairly quiet.
We were there in early September, but some places were quite crowded, especially on weekends. If you are happy with crowds, however, August is your best bet – just book your accommodation in advance.
Where to stay in Lefkada
You can find plenty of rooms all over the island, including the mountain villages. If you are not planning to rent a car, the best places to stay are Lefkada town, Nydri and Vassiliki, as they are quite lively and you can also take different types of boats to explore the island.
Places to visit near Lefkada
Whilst you might be content to stay on the island for your vacation, there are other places you can visit. One such day trip from Lefkada I highly recommend, is to the archaeological site of Nicopolis.
You'll need your own transport, but you'll be amazed at how big this place is. The fact that Nicopolis isn't given a higher profile in Greece is quite sad in my opinion.