Situated in the heart of the Ionian Sea lies Lefkada, an island so famously known for its turquoise waters that it makes its way to the top beaches in the world list every year. Indeed, Lefkada, or otherwise known as Lefkas is part of the Eptanisa, a cluster of seven islands including, Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakinthos, Paxi, Kythira and Ithaki, all distinctively renowned for their exotic beaches. Lefkada’s mesmerizing crystal clear waters coupled with its verdant and impressive mountains truly stands out amongst its neighboring islands as a must-visit destination. Follow along this travel guide to Lefkada, Greece as we touch on the top beaches to visit in Lefkada, things to do, where to stay and more!
How to get to Lefkada, Greece
How to reach Lefkada by car:
Lefkada is the only Greek island that can be accessed by car, without the use of a ferry. The island is connected to mainland Greece by a floating bridge as well as by the Aktion tunnel that does under the sea, allowing the island to enjoy all the advantages of an island without the hassle of taking a ferryboat or airplane. As of recently, the new highway, Egnatia Odos Motorway links Thessaloniki to Lefkada directly, making the ride easier and faster.
How to reach Lefkada by air:
The closest airport to Lefkada is Aktion Airport located in Aktion, a town 4km away from Preveza and 17km from Lefkada. There are weekly flights to and from Aktion during the summer season to domestic destinations as well as to several European cities. Once at the airport, you can rent a car to drive to Lefkada or take a bus. For more information about routes and timetables of the buses click here.
How to reach Lefkada by ferry:
There are no direct ferryboats to Lefkada from mainland Greece. The closest ports to Lefkada are located in Igoumenitsa (95km away) and Patras (176 km away) both found on mainland Greece. From those ports you can rent a car or take a bus to Lefkada. For more information on bus schedules click here. There are two ports on the island located in the towns of Nydri and Vassiliki however they only operate local ferries that go to neighboring islands such as Kefalonia, Ithaki or Meganisi.
Getting around the Island
The best means of transportation around Lefkada is by car as the island is pretty large. Although you can make do without a car, to reach hidden beaches around the island, a car is definitely needed. The roads are easy to follow with many signs that lead to villages and beaches.
Where to Stay in Lefkada
The best place to stay in Lefkada is in the town called Agios Nikitas. Situated on the west coast of the island just a short drive away from the most famous beaches, Agios Nikitas is the ideal place to call home for a few days. This picturesque town is not only hidden from the main road of the island but also car free, perfect for wandering around, enjoying the sounds of nature and for families strolling with toddlers. Keep in mind when packing your luggage for your trip that you’ll need to park your car on the main road and walk into the town. Agios Nikitas has everything you’ll need from taverns and gyro spots to cafes and bars, to souvenir shops and supermarkets. Lastly, this charming town is home to two of the best beaches on the island, Agios Nikitas Beach and Milos Beach. Agios Nikitas Beach is located in the heart of the town, while Milos Beach is a short hike over the mountain. Some other popular villages to stay at include Vasiliki, Kalamitsi and Sivota. If you’re looking to stay at a more cosmopolitan location, just an arm’s length from countless bars, restaurants and shops then Lefkada Town is the best option for you.
The Best Beaches in Lefkada
Porto Katsiki Beach
With its impressive white cliffs and baby blue water, Porto Katsiki is not only one of the top beaches in Lefkada, but in Europe. Due to its popularity, the earlier you arrive at the beach, the safer you are to finding a spot. There is parking is available for a small price as well as a cafeteria near the stairs that sells waters and food. You can either bring your own umbrella or rent one. Pack lightly though because you’ll have to climb down a long flight of stairs to reach the beach.
People from all over the world visit Lefkada every year just to visit the world-renowned beach, Egremni. Due to a big earthquake in 2015, the stairs leading down to the beach collapsed and the only way to access Egremni now is by boat. You can find many day trips from the ports of Nydri and Vassiliki that will take you to Egremni Beach as well as a few others. Its impressive backdrop, white-pebbled beach, and crystal clear waters like you’ve never seen before, will win over your heart immediately. There are no sunbeds or cafeterias on the beach so make sure to bring with you all the necessary equipment and supplies. The beach is the longest one in all of Lefkada so finding a quiet spot to enjoy your privacy will not be an issue here.
Unlike Egremni Beach, Kathisma is the most crowded beach on the island. There are more beach bars you can count, and sunbeds to go around for everyone. The sparklingly blue waters make it all worth it though! Come here early to save a spot and enjoy a day at one of the islands best beaches. Alternative activities such as paragliding are available at this beach. Parking is available for a small fee.
Agios Nikitas Beach
Situated at the foot of Agios Nikitas village, this beach is great for anyone staying near by or for anyone wanting to spend a day at this charming town. This beach is only accessed by foot but has many taverns and cafes near by. Perfect for families, Agios Nikitas is a small yet beautiful beach to visit. Like the other beaches, the earlier you get here the better!
If you’re looking for an adventure then hiking over the mountain to Milos Beach is just the trick! Although you can access the beach from Agios Nikitas Beach with a taxi boat, indulging in a short hike to reach the beach is definitely more rewarding. Follow the signs in Agios Nikitas village to Milos to begin your hike (about 20 minutes) over the mountain. The locals of Lefkada have fought hard and long to keep Milos Beach untouched by beach bars. Enjoy one of Lefkada’s only unspoiled beaches to the fullest early in the morning or close to sunset.
Megali Petra Beach
Pegali Petra, meaning big rock is one of the quieter beaches of Lefkada. Named after the huge rocks found on the shore, Megali Petra Beach is divided into two parts, the organized section with sunbeds and the untouched section. Surrounded by wild greenery, dramatic cliffs, Megali Petra offers seclusion for a relaxing day by the deep blue waters.
Agios Ioannis Beach
If you’re a fan of windsurfing or kite surfing, than Agios Ioannis Beach is the place for you. Close to Lefkada Town, Agios Ioannis Beach is a well-organized beach with plenty of sunbeds, cafes and restaurants. Due to the strong winds, it is not ideal for families with small children.
Lying in a small gulf amongst the mountains of Lefkada, Agiofili Beach is another impressive beach with clear waters and lush greenery. Close to Vassiliki village, Agiofili can be reached by a trek path or by boat. Consider booking a boat trip as they combine 2-3 beaches such as Agiofili, Egremni and Porto Katsikiki, allowing you to check off these must-see beaches of Lefkada all in one day.
Last but certainly not least, Avali Beach is the hidden beach of Lefkada locals don’t want you to know about! This secluded beach looks like it came straight out of the South Pacific, with its turquoise clear waters and exotic landscape and flora. As New York Times put it, “Avali is the place you feel like heaven on Earth.” Right before the beach there is a small café/restaurant that has the most relaxed and Bali-like vibes you’ll find on the island. With home cooked vegan food, relaxing hammocks and board games to play with friends and family, this cozy spot is a haven of itself.
Things to do in Lefkada, Greece
Visit Lefkada Town
A visit to the capital of Lefkada is a nice break from all the beach hoping and a perfect opportunity to get in some of your souvenir shopping. Buying local products such as liquor or sweet preserves unique to the island is always a nice way to remember your travels. Take a stroll though the Venetian-themed center or enjoy a meal at one of the seaside restaurants in this romantic city. A plethora of bars and cafes can be found along the waterfront to last you till the early hours.
Join a Boat Trip
There are several different boat trips running from the ports of Nydri and Vasiliki to neighboring islands such as Ithaca and Kefalonia or remote beaches such as Egremni Beach. We opted for a boat trip to the beaches of Egremni, Porto Katsiki and Agiofili as Egremni was high up on our bucket list and is only accessed by boat. The best way to choose a boat trip to fit your interests and schedule is to stroll along the ports of Nydri or Vasiliki, talk to the sales representatives of each boat and see which trips intrigue you the most.
Visit Dimosari Waterfalls of Nydri
With its ice-cold waters and just a short drive from the town of Nydri, the Dimosari Waterfalls offer a refreshing oasis during the hot summer afternoons. The trek to the waterfalls is only about 15-20 minutes from the parking. The easy trek to the waterfalls includes a small stream, old plane trees for shade and some rocks and curves and is definitely manageable even for families with kids. Test your tolerance for cold water and dive into the waters of the waterfall or enjoy the cool environment after a rewarding trek.
Drive through the Stavrota Mountains
Lefkada may be famously known for its unique beaches, but driving through the island’s mountains will furfure astonish you. The panoramic views of the endless horizon, the quintessential traditional Greek villages and the open roads will only enrich your experience in Lefkada.
Try Alternatives Activities
If there was a time to test your adrenaline than Lefkada is the place! Experiment with paragliding, kite surfing or wind surfing in Lefkada or opt for a relaxing yoga class to ease your day.
Visit Monuments and Museums
For the history buffs out there, there are several monuments and museums to visit in Lefkada as well. Visit the medieval Venetian Castele of Agia Mavra, the prehistoric city of Nirikos or the Monastery of Faneromeni. Learn more about the islands history at the Archeological Museum of Lefkada or visit the famous Agios Ioannis Antzoussis Church, to name a few.
Other useful information about Lefkada, Greece:
- The closest airport to Lefkada is Aktion Airport near Preveza.
- Fill your tank of gas on mainland Greece as you’ll be driving a lot on the island and the gas stations are few.
- The west side of the island is known for its impressive, wild beaches while the east side is known for its family-friendly beaches.
- There are no ferries to and from Lefkada.
- You’ll have to pay a small parking fee as well as a sunbed fee at almost every beach.
- Most of the beaches do not have beach bars so bring water, snacks, hats and umbrellas.