Lefkada is one of the most beautiful islands of Greece. It is located at the Ionian Sea north of Kefalonia and Ithaca. It is a popular summer destination, due to its wonderful beaches, where thousands of tourists enjoy their holidays every year.
A brief history of Lefkada
Lefkada has been inhabited since the Paleolithic era, as it is shown by the archeological evidence in Meganissi island and Nydri in the mainland. There are many legends about the origin of the name Lefkada. The Greek geographer Strabo in his work Geographica wrote, that the word Lefkada is related to the white color of the stone and the rocks of the west coast. According to another legend, the name is related to the Cape Lefkatas in the southern part of the island.
The ancient capital of the island was Nerikos (or Nericus) and is mentioned by Homer in the Odyssey (24 377). Lefkada was transformed to an island by the ancient Corinthians, who wanted to organize their trade in the surrounding area. The people of the island participated in the naval battle of Salamis in 480 BC against the Persians and in the Peloponnesian War. Later, they helped Macedonians in the war against the Romans. The establishment of Nicopolis by Caesar Augustus in 29 BC marked the beginning of the decline of Lefkada.
During the Byzantine era, Lefkada became target of many conquerors. The castle of Santa Maura outside the city was built in the early 14th century to protect the island from pirates. The Ottoman Turks occupied and looted Lefkada in 1479. The Venetian presence began in 1684 and ended in 1797 with the concession of the Ionian islands to Napoleon. In 1798 and for the next ten years Lefkada was under the rule of Russians and Turks. The French returned in 1808 after the Treaty of Tilsit, but in 1810 Lefkada was captured by the British. The British remained on the island until 1864 with the concession of the Ionian islands to the Greek state.
Lefkada received many refugees from Asia Minor in 1922 and was bombed several times during World War II. It was liberated in 1944. In the 1960s, Aristotle Onassis affected the tourist development of Lefkada. Onassis bought the island of Scorpios in 1963 and made the island of Lefkada famous all over the world.
Places of interest
Nydri is the largest resort and the center of tourism in Lefkada island. It has many hotels, nightclubs, taverns and restaurants. The cruises to the west coast of the island and to Kefalonia and Ithaca begin in this town. In the sea in front of Nydri there are the islands of Madouri and Scorpios. Madouri belongs to the family of the Greek poet Aristotelis Valaoritis, who grew up and lived there. Scorpios was the private island of the Greek billionaire Aristotle Onassis and now the island of the Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev.
Syvota is a small and picturesque village in the southern part of Lefkada. It offers berths for the sailing boats and yachts. The village is surrounded by green hills and has a small beach for swimming. There are several rooms to let, a few fish taverns and tourist shops. Syvota is a quiet place to relax and enjoy your summer vacations.
Vasiliki is located at the south coast of the island. The town is a popular tourist destination during the summer. It has nightclubs, restaurants and taverns. The large sandy beach is suitable for comfortable swimming and beach games. Vasiliki is well known to windsurfers and mountain bikers alike.
Famous beaches of Lefkada
The beautiful beaches of Lefkada are beyond imagination. The crystal blue waters, the crowds of tourists enjoying their swim and the water sports characterize the island every summer.
1. Kathisma beach
It is the most impressive beach of Lefkada. It is located on the west side of the island. This sandy beach with crystal and turquoise water is an attraction for thousands of tourists every year. It is an organized beach with sunbeds and a beach bar. There are also hotels that offer a magnificent view of the Ionian Sea.
2. Porto Katsiki
Porto Katsiki is one of the top beaches in Greece and the Mediterranean Sea. The cliffs that hang over the beach in combination with the crystal water form an impressive and exotic spectacle. It is located at the southwest part of Lefkada. Porto Katsiki is organized with sunbeds and a beach bar. Cruise boats from Nydri arrive once per day and encourage the tourists to dive into the blue sea.
3. Agios Nikitas
The beach of Agios Nikitas is located at the homonymous village. It is smaller than the Kathisma beach and suitable for families. Behind the beach are many shops and taverns.
4. Egremnoi beach
Egremnoi is another famous beach of Lefkada. Due to the steep cliffs that dominate the beach, the access is only by stairs or by the cruise boats from Nydri. Egremnoi beach, however, is not organized.