It’s exactly two o’clock, when the floating bridge opens and lets the yachts pass from mainland Greece into the Ionian Sea. Every hour on the dot, a floating procession sails into the canal, on its way to Lefkas, the first island on the west coast of Greece. I am on a sailing trip around the Ionian Sea and for the next few weeks these waters will be my home. But first I’m ready to explore all the things to do in Lefkas.
At the entrance of the canal, next to the floating 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 Lefkas 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 Lefkas 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!
From Lefkas 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 to spread your towel!
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! We’re off to Ithaca next!
Have you been to Lefkas? Or any other Greek island? Which one is your favourite?