Guide to Lefkada (Lefkas)
What’s so special about Lefkas?
Lefkas or Lefkada as it is also known is acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful islands in the Ionian Sea off the west coast of Greece. It is fabled in Greek history as the site of Odysseus’ home Ithaca and the place where the poet Sappho committed suicide. The island has many links too with the goddess of love, Aphrodite. Over the centuries it has been an Ottoman possession on a number of occasions and in places still bears reminders of these times. Today it is a much revered holiday destination with the Onassis family having a holiday retreat on the island of Skorpios. The island is reached by a stone causeway and when that is impassable, by a floating bridge.
How do I get to Lefkas?
There are flights to Aktion International Airport, also known as Lefkada Airport, from many European destinations including London and Manchester. Almost all flights there are seasonal charters with the only scheduled flights being domestic ones from Athens
and Sitia in Crete
. The airport is around twenty minutes away from the capital Lefkada and can be reached by bus, taxi or hire car.
What is there to see and do on Lefkas?
The natural beauty of the island is its main attraction, from the fjord at Nidri, the longest in Europe outside of Norway, to the beautiful islands and islets off the coast of Lefkas. You should visit the cliffs at Cape Lefkada to see where the poet Sappho threw herself to her death. Porto Katsiki has an idyllic and photogenic beach backed with white limestone cliffs. It’s a trek down from the top but many boat trips from Vasiliki and Nidri come up to the beach.
What should I buy when on Lefkas?
The souvenirs tend to be the usual Greek ceramics, copies of Sappho’s poetry and statues of Odysseus. The little handicraft stalls near the tourist resorts also sell delightful shell and stone jewellery.
What should I eat at the local tavernas?
Try to avoid the typical tourist fare of burger and chips. Many of the local tavernas offer Greek meze with fish meze very popular along the harbours. There is a delicious, locally produced, wine called ‘land wine’ which is cheap and appears in most supermarkets and as the house wine at the tavernas.
What do people do there for entertainment?
As with many Greek destinations, much of the entertainment revolves around church celebrations. Easter is the main religious festival for the Orthodox Church and the villages have parties including singing, dancing and dramatic presentations. Outside of this, the sleepy way of life takes over. Whilst there are a number of bars and clubs, this isn’t Faliraki, and the definition of a good time on Lefkas is sipping a cocktail whilst watching the sun go down.
Lefkada, or Lefkas as it is sometimes known, is a conundrum, technically an island, but try to walk the causeway and floating bridge that links it to the Greek mainland and you’ll see that it’s really a peninsula.
Another interesting day out is to take a hire car out to Cape Lefkada where the famed Greek female poet Sappho is believed to have thrown herself to her death. Once you’ve exhausted the treats of Lefkada, you can get on a ferry and head to nearby Kefalonia to find out more of the background to Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
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