Gorgeous white sandy beaches, exquisite little harbour villages, friendly locals and charming hillside settlements unequivocally sum up the island of Lefkada (also known as Lefkas).
Nestled between its better-known Ionian neighbours, Corfu, Kefalonia and Zakynthos, Lefkada is connected to the mainland by a causeway over lagoons and an iron bridge. Lush, green and fertile, the island is replete with cypress trees, olive groves and vineyards, particularly on the rugged west coast.
Known as the ‘jewel of the Ionian’, Lefkada is an unfairly overlooked spot to make your next Greek getaway. There’s a calmer, slower pace of life here that makes sightseeing and sunbathing super relaxing.
Check out our offering of delightful villas on Lefkada that you’ll love to make your base while visiting the island.
Food – Lefkada’s gastronomic offering is second to none. The island is peppered with handsome and traditional tavernas in which to enjoy local cuisine which is both rich and fresh, from seafood to meats and cheeses.
Peace – even during the height of summer, you’ll still come across pockets of the island that will feel like you have the whole place to yourself. Make the most of this undiscovered island away from the throngs of tourists.
Outdoors – Lefkada is a playground for adventure sports, from anything on the water to daredevil mountain pursuits.
Style and character are everything at Oliver’s Travels, and our collection of handpicked Lefkada villas have this in spades.
We have destination experts who know the ins and outs of all our regions, picking holiday villas in Lefkada that aren’t only unique, but also in the best locations. What's more, our villas are 100% family-friendly, and have the ‘wow’ factor.
Our helpful concierge team are on-hand to make your stay extra special. Whether you want a fully-stocked fridge, a local in-house chef to cook your meals, housekeeping or any other extra service – consider them your holiday genie, who will happily grant your wishes.
Lefkada is an ideal spot to make your next holiday purely for its authenticity. Not many holidaymakers to the island come from elsewhere, but typically Greek mainlanders make this their escape to the seaside. This gives the island a kind of undiscovered feel, meaning you can truly get away from it all.
The island’s main draw is its offering of outdoor pursuits. Beach bums and adrenaline junkies will both be catered for here, with a beautiful combination of stunning beaches, ranging from sandy to rocky, cliff-backed and forest-edged that make way for sunbathing, scuba diving, sailing and savouring.
But it’s not all bronzing and bathing – history buffs will get a kick out of the plethora of ancient sites, such as monasteries dating from the period of Ottoman rule and even temples from ancient history.
Food and drink
Just like its neighbouring islands, in Lefkada you can expect excellent seafood. Mussels, scallops, octopus and squid make their way to menus all over the island, and savoro is one of the Island’s most known specialities. It is a freshly caught fish cooked with garlic, onions and rosemary.
Not such a fan of fish? Make sure to try sofigado, a delightfully sweet and sour beef stew. Its savouriness is offset with the sweetness of quinces and petimizi - a type of grape-must leftover from the fermenting process when making wine. Speaking of which, Lefkada is dotted with gorgeous wineries that produce fantastic vintages that you’ll be dying to take home.
Things to do
The beaches of this pretty island are the obvious main draw, but there is so much more to Lefkada than just lazing about on the sand. The island is diverse, comprising mountains, lakes, barren rock faces and dense green forest.
There really is something for everyone and you could be here for days and not see it all. The island’s wine-producing status is little known but that makes it all the more special and intriguing. The six principal wineries are home to a delicious range of wines and stopping by for a tasting is an unmissable activity.
Check out our blog on the Best Greek Islands and see how Lefkada fairs against its neighbours.
Why it's perfect for families
Great for babies: There are beaches all over the island that are backed by pretty pine forests, providing a perfect natural shade canopy for tots to sleep under in comfort, allowing you to enjoy the sand nearby.
Great for kids: The eastern side of the island is home to many sheltered beaches with tiny waves that only lap the shore – perfect for little swimmers to perfect their doggy paddle!
Great for teens: Surf lessons with an experienced guide are a great way to occupy teens for a good few hours. They’ll be in safe hands and come home with awesome skills!
Rent a boat and enjoy the sights of the island from the water! You can pick up a small motorboat in many of the seaside towns and make a day of it, sunbathing on the deck and jumping and diving into the crystal blue.
Head inland to discover gorgeous mountain scenery such as the Melissa gorge, a pretty nature trail that includes wooden footbridges and old mills, and the mountain town of Karya famous for its traditional embroidery ‘karsaniko’.
Fans of Greek mythology will love a trip to Cape Lefkatas where it is said Zeus used to sit on the rocks and ponder towards the sun setting on the horizon.
What Oliver loves
Driving in Lefkada is a joy. Roads are quiet and wind up mountain foothills and above gorgeous beaches, providing sensational views in every direction. A leisurely drive to discover new corners of the island each day of your trip is a must!
Towns and villages in Lefkada
Most of the tourists to Lefkada are from Greece themselves, meaning there is an authenticity to the island that you don’t get elsewhere. In Lefkada Town, take pleasant walks through picturesque streets and flowery alleys and when the sun sets, dine beside the lovely marina.
Beyond the famous tourist resorts, you can discover charming fishing villages with tiny harbours and peaceful mountain settlements with ancient traditions in material manufacture and liquor distilling. You’re certain to find souvenirs to take home from the island’s trove of treasure shops.
Oliver’s Hidden Gem
Barely a 10-minute drive from Nydri you’ll find the Dimosari waterfalls in the hills above the town. This network of falls that lead to a bright blue pool within a canyon is an unexpected beauty spot. The water is warm for swimming too!
The island’s principal town greets you as you drive in over the causeway from the mainland. You’ll love the charming, colourful houses, pretty squares and gardens, waterfront restaurants and impressive churches that date from the Venetian period.
Set around a wide bay, the town offers all sorts of water sports to indulge in by day, and then when the sun sets, Vasiliki brims with tavernas and bars. You won’t be left wanting for evening activities in this stylish resort.
A little yet lively resort town on the eastern side of the island with gorgeous views to neighbouring micro islands. It was once a fishing village but still retains its heritage with a myriad of colourful boats that bob on its harbourfront.
Highly regarded for having among the best beaches in the Mediterranean, Lefkada will not leave you wanting for beautiful stretches of sand on which to while away the days. Consistently awarded with Blue Flags, every beach across the island is a total stunner and offers all sorts from windsurfing and paragliding to scuba diving, sailing and even aerial exploration in a prop plane!
Some beaches are backed by cool resorts with a plethora of beach bars to recuperate in after a long day laid on the sand, or if you’re up for the hike, you’ll find hidden coves dotted all over the island where you’ll likely have the beach to yourself.
Oliver’s Hidden Gem
Lakka Beach is a lovely, short, pebbly stretch of beach that is accessible only by boat which you can rent from Nydri. Its blue waters, perfect for snorkelling, are backed by dense forest and there is also a little cave to explore.
Backed by sheer 100-metre cliffs of the brightest white limestone, this beach is a staple feature on postcards all over the island. Defined by its beach of fine pebbles and light blue water, this beach is also the ideal location to catch a brilliant sunset. You can park up on the cliffs above the beach or arrive in style aboard a boat.
Characterised by chalk-white sand and impossibly turquoise water, this beach is one of the most famous in Greece. Accessed by a zigzag of around 400 wooden steps that trail down the cliffside, it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. Egremni is also found in a fairly secluded spot, a good drive away from any towns so you’ll want to load up on supplies for a beach day.
Kitesurfers and windsurfers rejoice! The strong winds that blow around this region are perfect for watersports, or beach bums will love frolicking in the shallows and walks along the golden sand with the views of forested hills on one side of the beach, and the endless azure ocean to another, and the fabulous Lefkada lagoon at the backdrop, replete with pink flamingos.
Lefkada travel: Getting there and around
Fly into Aktion International Airport which is located on the mainland and serves this area of western Greece. You can then travel to the island which is connected to the mainland via a causeway and bridge.
Lefkada is just 22 miles from north to south, with a convenient highway that rings the teardrop-shaped island, making navigating easy as ladopitta pie.
The bus is always a cheap and simple option. Buses services run from Aktion Airport to Lefkada Town regularly, take 25 minutes and are inexpensive.
Lefkada town is easily explored on foot – nice and flat and small enough to take in its splendour in a day or two. Outside of town, the mountainous interior of the island is begging to be hiked, or for those in search of a more leisurely stroll, the island’s endless beaches are the perfect opportunity to feel the sand between your toes.
This is by far the best way to explore the island. The roads are good quality and quiet and there are many secret spots that are best accessed by car, where you can park up and continue by foot. Just be wary of parking restrictions and hawk-like parking attendants! It always pays to read the signs and follow the rules.
There are no ferries that reach Lefkada from the mainland, considering its proximity and the causeway that link them. However, from the neighbouring islands – Kefalonia, Meganisi and Ithaca – there are regular services.