A visit to Lefkada, the gateway to the Ionian Sea

I am on a sailing trip in the Ionian Sea and my first stop is the island of Lefkada.
Even though it is attached to the mainland by a causeway and a mobile bridge, Lefkada is still considered an island and is the gateway to the Ionian Sea. The bridge only opens once every hour to let the boats through, so you’d better get your timing right!

At the entrance of the canal and just next to the bridge stands the fortress of Agia Mavra. First established by the crusaders, its remains mainly date back to the Venetian and Turkish occupations. A lot of it is ruined nowadays, but rambling through the grass and around the walls or having a peek in the little Agia Mavra church is definitely worth the stop.

Just across the causeway is the capital of the island, conveniently called Lefkada town. It’s a friendly, commercial town with a huge marina. I encountered more orthodox priests than tourists on my walk through the city centre, which is always a good sign!
There aren’t a lot of must sees in Lefkada town, but walking the quiet backstreets or along the commercial avenue Ioannou Mela makes for a great pastime. Don’t forget to pause at one of the tavernas or cafés near the salt lagoon. They offer great views!

things to do in Lefkada
things to do in Lefkada

From Lefkada town it’s an easy bus trip to Agios Nikitas. This place on the northwest coast of Lefkada used to be a fishing village and it’s still pretty picturesque nowadays. But as so often happens, the main street has already been lined up with tavernas and cafés to attract more and more tourists. The little side streets and the tiny church square have kept their charm and if the small beach at the bottom of the village gets too crowded, take the 15 minute walk over the hill toward Mylos Beach. Mylos is a beautiful wide stretch of sand backed by white cliffs where there’s plenty of space!

Where Agios Nikitas has managed to keep some authenticity, then the opposite goes for Nidri! Nidri was once a little fishing and agricultural village on the east coast of Lefkada, but is nowadays the busiest tourist destination on the island of Lefkada. The waterfront and the main streets are lined with souvenir shops, fast food counters and ice-cream parlours. It’s not the worst, but it’s not really my cup of tea.

There is one thing that is worth going to Nidri for though:  the waterfalls, a 3 km walk from the village. Clear blue waters in a lovely shady environment make you forget the hustle and bustle of touristy Nidri straight away!

My last stop on Lefkada is the tiny harbour of Sivota.  Sivota consists of a little bay surrounded by green slopes and a few small rocky beaches. A few tavernas and restaurants have been thrown in, but it remains all very peaceful. An ideal place to end my journey on this gorgeous island!

things to do in Lefkada Sivota

Have you been to Lefkada? Or any other Greek island? Which one is your favourite?

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6 Replies to “A visit to Lefkada, the gateway to the Ionian Sea”

  1. Jen

    The main street in Lefkada looks lovely. It’s fun to explore ‘off the beaten’ path destinations and the views look wonderful! Sounds like a great day (but is it possible to have a bad day exploring the Greek Isles?)!

    Reply
  2. Stacey Veikalas

    Wow the water is really gorgeous! Beautiful shots! This looks like a great and a little unknown place ~ something we are always in search of! This will have to go on our list of cool little places

    Reply
  3. Dave Cole

    Those waters are gorgeous! It’s interesting how certain parts of an idyllic spot like this seem rather unaffected, while others have changed greatly with tourism and commerce. Looks like a great spot for a shoulder season visit.

    Reply
  4. Elena

    I’ve heard of Lefkada from my Greek friends. Looks much less crowded than the other Greek islands which makes it much more attractive in my eyes.

    Reply
  5. Claudia

    I have been to Greece many times, but never to Lefkada. My hope is that I get to go to the islands next summer – Skopelos and Skiatos, Rhodes, Santorini and Lefkada too. Your pictures look amazing. I love the look of those rustic tavernas!!

    Reply

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