Lefkada is one of the most renowned island destinations in Greece and belongs to the Ionian complex, which constitutes of seven different islands in the west part of the country. All Ionian islands are famous for their amazing lengthy beaches with deep blue-green waters, rich forests as well as the characteristic influence of the Venetian occupation in their culture – visible in the architectural style, traditional dishes, and customs. Lefkada is linked to the mainland by a small bridge but is also an excellent option for island hopping from other nearby islands, such as Kefalonia and Zante.
# What to see
Lefkada is a rather large island and a delight to explore. Besides the coastal settlements, the mainland hides amazing traditional villages, while nature is breathtaking, with overgrown forests of pine and oak trees. Its size allows visitors to choose between touristic attractions and remote destinations alike. The capital, Nikiana kai Nydri offer excellent options regarding dining, shopping, and nightlife, while for those who want to experience a more authentic side of the island life, Eglouvi, Asprogerakata and Agios Nikitas are picturesque small settlements with rich cultural background and traditional charm. For the adventurous ones, the mountain of Skaroi offers an incomparable view to the Ionian sea – a great chance for hiking!
# Where to swim
If one thing Lefkada is famous for, that must be its amazing sea; the beaches of the island are regarded as some of the most impressive worldwide. Porto Katsiki is the most remarkable one, where a long path over the steep rock leads to a breathtaking lengthy pebbled beach with dreamy blue waters. The beach of Egremni is another spectacular option, with exotic colors – but beware of the 300 stairs that take you there. Kathisma is easily accessible and equally wonderful, while Agios Nikitas is small but idyllic. Vassiliki beach is an ideal option for windsurfing lovers, while for those who prefer a less crowded environment, Tsoukalades, Kalamitsi, and Mikros Gialos and perfect choices. The island, however, has numerous excellent beaches, so get your inner explorer going.
# What to eat
Lefkada has a wide range of local products that are renowned for their premium quality and taste. The traditional antipasti, salami, and sausage, combine sweet and spicy flavors and are produced in small quantities. Englouvi lentils are also very famous and worth the extra cost, while the thyme honey is of unique taste, as well as the local olive oil and wine. The traditional dishes are rich and definitely worth the try: housmeri (an olive pie), savoro (a fish dish with raisins), stifado (rabbit meat cooked with sweet onions), kokkinisto (chicken meat in tomato sauce) to name but a few will certainly make your mouth water. To wash off the saltiness, do try the local soumada drink (fizzy beverage made by bitter almond essence) as well as the pasteli and mantolato desserts, made with nuts and honey – a divine end to an unforgettable journey.