It was a pleasure to walk the streets of the city. I have discovered the nice smell of flowers in the gardens, the smell of olive oil coming maybe from the cellars, the kitchens and I suppose also from wood of houses treated with olive oil against the water damage. Some of the houses also had units with perfume that was sprayed in the air. Fun!
the most famous beach in lefkas island is porto katsiki, but the best is Egremnoi, there are many sters so as to reach it but it definetelly worth it!
You must visit also Poros- Mikros Gialos which is a small cozy village with crystal blue clean water
Nydri used to be a humble fishing village, until some day of 1963 Aristotelis Onassis, the famous Greek shipping tycoon and founder of Olympic Airways, bought the small island of Skorpios, just in front of the village. Onassis’ vision was to make Skorpios his private hermitage and turn Nydri into the “Greek Monte Carlo”. The place indeed had its time of glory, when the international jet-set visited the beautiful Onassis’ island and sailed happily to and fro.
Nowadays, Nydri – far from being the Greek Monte Carlo – is a busy resort, rather abused by irregular touristic growth.
Skorpios, which now belongs to Onassis’ grand-daughter, Athina, seems (to me, at least) like a sleeping kingdom. Touristic boats sail around the island, while the guides tickle the tourists’ ears, with stories about the glory and the tragic fate of Onassis’ family. Tourists are not allowed on the island, but they can embark on Maria Kallas’ beach for a short dip.
On the southern end of Lefkada, there is this enchanting landscape, with the steep white cliffs, rising above the crystal blue of the sea. This is the cape of Lefkatas, with the homonymous lighthouse. Ever since the ancient times, people were attracted by the wild, mystic beauty of this place and built a temple for Lefkatas Apollo (again “lefko” means white). The temple was famous in the entire ancient world and, every year, big fests were organized in honor of Apollo, who was considered to be the protector of the seamen and a healer for the body and soul. The lighthouse was practically built on the ruins of this ancient temple, in 1890.
Another story that contributes to the mystery of this place is the one of the ancient poetess Sappho, who is supposed to have jumped from the cliff, driven by obsessive love. This is why, the Lefkatas cape is also known as “Kavos tis Kyras” – the Lady’s Cape.
Lefkata’s cape is the most distant place from Lefkada (about 50 Kms) and it is accessible by car (although the last Kms is dirt road), or by the sea. Most of the boats that carry tourists on daily cruises sail close enough to the lighthouse, so you’ll have the chance to observe it and take pictures. Still, I guess that the only way to feel the energy of this place is to visit it by land, especially on the sunset, when the cliffs reflect the burning palette of the sun.
The village of Syvota is located inside a deep cove that resembles to a fiord. The masts of the sailing boats rise in front of cozy café-bars, taverns and touristic apartments. Although it is very touristic, it remains calm and picturesque. Syvota is also well-known for the fresh fish that one can find in its taverns (the best of which are considered to be “Spyridoula” and “Stavros”).
If you do some internet searching about Syvota, keep in mind that there is another village at the west coastline of Greece, with the same name, so you’d better specify “Syvota - Lefkada”.
It might not be as impressive and cosmopolitan as the city of Corfu, but, to me, the city of Lefkada is the most distinctive of the Ionian islands. Firstly, because of this surprising mixture of land, sea and lagoon, on which expands the old and the newer city. The entry to Lefkada is a floating bridge, which opens up regularly to let the little boats pass through Lefkada’s canal. A traffic light regulates the traffic between cars and boats! When you cross the bridge, you can head either to the inner-city of Lefkada, or to the still beauty of the lagoon of Gira.
The second reason that makes Lefkada city so unique is the old houses covered by colorful metal sheets. The story says that after the big earth-quake of 1825, the city of Lefkada was reconstructed according to the English antiseismic regulation. It was then, that metal sheet facades were added to the houses for insulation and protection.
The third reason is the energy of this city and the cheerful mood of the people. There are innumerous cafes, taverns and restaurants with excellent food. And if you think you heard old serenades, around the corner, it would be a company of “buraneli”, elderly lefkadian people, who love singing and teasing each other!
There’ s definitely a fourth, fifth and probably a hundred reasons to love Lefkada for ever. Every visitor makes his own list of favorites. Just take a lazy walk in the paved narrow streets of the old city, around the central square of St Spyridon. Continue along the pedestrian Ioannou Mela street and let the shopkeepers treat you with olive-oil pie, nougats, liquor “rosoli” and other local delicacies. Pay a visit to the nostalgic Phonograph Museum and end up at the beautiful west quay, along the shore of the lagoon, to enjoy the sunset and some of the most beautiful Lefkadian houses mirrored in the still water. This is it! You will wish to return to Lefkada again and again and again!
When the boat left us on Egremni beach, I was left speechless. The beauty of the beach, surrounded by steep white cliffs is incredible. You can get to Egremni (the name means crags) either by boat from Vassiliki, or Nydri port, or else you have to descent about 350 stairs from the parking place. I didn’t notice any sign of beach bar, or other facilities, but – to tell you the truth – I was totally absorbed by the endless blue of the sea. To be sure, if you are not on a boat cruise, take with you food and water. Umbrella is also advisable, although the cliffs provide shadow for some hours of the day.
A fairy – tale beach considered to be one of the best in Greece. Deep, blue, wild. There are about 100 stairs to get from the parking place to the beach, but you can also take a boat from Vassiliki village.
The Castle of Santa Maura , at the entrance of Lefkada, short before the canal bridge that connects the island with the mainland, is one of the most emblematic medieval castles, in Greece. It was built around 1300 by the Frank prince Ioannis Orsini , to protect the capital of the island by the pirates and it was restored by the Turks and later by the Venetians.
Don’t miss the chance to walk on the castle’s bastions –better time is the sunset – and enjoy the view over the city, the sea and the lagoon.
On the eastern bastion, you’ll find the little church of Santa Maura , who is considered the protector of Lefkada ‘ s city. Actually, Santa Maura is the first name of Lefkada’ s city and the name that still use the elderly locals, up today.
This Monastery stands on a wooded plateau, with outstanding view to the city of Lefkada and the lagoon of Gira. It is a real oasis of dew and beauty, as it hosts – except for the religious buildings – a tropic garden and a small zoo, with deer and a lot of species of birds. Children will love it.
Panagia or Kyra Faneromeni is considered to be the protector of the island and celebrates on the day of Holy Spirit, forty days after the Orthodox Easter.
Karya is the biggest village in Lefkada’s mountainous inner land. Built on an altitude of 500m, it is famous for the excellent climate, the cool springs and the beautiful rural surroundings, where locals cultivate chick peas, vetches, grapes “verzami” and olive trees. Also, for the nice taverns and cafes, that set their tables under the shadow of the plane-trees, in the spacious square.
But what really makes Karya special is a long tradition of embroidery , which revolves around the personality of Maria Koutsohero (one-handed Maria). Maria Savraka (or Koutsohero) lived in Karya between 1860 and 1948 and, despite of being handicapped since a very young age, she discovered her own way of embroidering, with her one and only left hand. Her crafts, inspired by the rich flora of her village, had the unique quality of being identical on both sides and they looked so perfect that Maria actually made a school and taught the other girls of the village how to embroider with just their left hand!
If you want to have this experience, you should visit Karya’s Folklor Museum , which housed, once, Maria’s school. The gentle host, Mr. Theodoros Katapodis , will let you sit on the stone benches and show you how the girls were taught to embroider. It’s a very live, experiential museum, about the cultural tradition of Karya. You’ll feel like being invited in a rural lefkadian house of the last century.
Built on an altitude of 730m, Englouvi is the highest village on Lefkada island and, maybe, on the whole Ionian as well. Its name indicates its location, in a poetic way, since it is “en-caged” among the mountains. Yet, when you visit Englouvi, you won’t feel “encaged” at all, but rather charmed by the beauty of the old stone houses and the unique rural monuments that surround the village (wells, windmills, stone huts). This is a live museum created by the harmonic co-existence and interaction of people and nature.
And of course this is the place where the famous lentils of Englouvi are cultivated, in the very same way, as decades ago. The lentils are sowed by hand, in the beginning of each year and they are let “to sleep under the snow” for the whole winter. In springtime, the people from Englouvi hoe the weeds, by hand, with endless patience and, in the summer, they uproot the plants and take them for threshing. They always keep a portion of seeds for the next year. [See a very short video about the cultivation of the lentils, on the website, below]
The lentil fields extend above the village of Englouvi, on “Vouni” plateau, which is arranged in small –sometimes tinny – terraces, supported by stone walls, to prevent the soil erosion. In the same terraces, they cultivate the local specie of “verzami” grape, which gives a dark, full wine. It’s a unique landscape, created by time, nature and endless hours of hard work.
Vassiliki is the little village, where you end up after crossing the west coastline. It’ s busy and touristic, with a lot of café-bars and taverns with fresh fish. It also happens to be the meeting-point for surfers, thanks to the cool breeze that always blows at Vassiliki bay. From Vassiliki port you can take a boat to the famous Porto-Katsiki and Egremni beaches, or the ferry-boat to the islands Ithaki and Kefalonia.
If you search for a little bit of dew, this is the ideal place. A short walk, through the shady gorge of Dimosari, will lead you to the first waterfall, which forms a small pool, ideal for a swim. There is a second waterfall, for those who would like to climb up a little further.
BUT, keep in mind that from the middle to the end of summer the water almost disappears, so you won’ t be able to see anything. Yet, the gorge is always cool and shady to walk and there is a beautiful café- bar at the beginning of the path.
One of the most beautiful sea of the western coastline with the characteristic blue color and pine trees, from which derives its name. Plus, it has an easy access and you can park your car very close to the beach, if you arrive early enough. Part of the beach is fully organized, but there are also parts that are free from umbrellas, sun-beds and crowds – just waiting for you!