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standard-title A few words about Lefkada

A few words about Lefkada

Lefkada town from above - Photo: N. Zambelis

Lefkada town from above – Photo: N. Zambelis

Lefkada is the fourth island in size of the island group of Eptanisa in the Ionion Sea, Its area is 302.5 sq. km. and it holds a population of 26.000 inhabitants. It lies west and in a very close distance off the coastline of Akarnania, something that provides its visitors with the ability to access it by car, by using the floating bridge that connects the island with the mainland.

Together with the smaller islands of Meganisi, Kalamos, Kastos, the archipelago of Prigkiponisia (Madouri, Scorpios, Scorpidi, Heloni, Sparti, Tsokari), Thilia, Kythros and Sesoula, it forms the regional unit of Lefkada, with the homonymous town as its seat, two municipalities (Lefkada, Meganisi) and two independent communities (Kalamos, Kastos).

Lefkada has a typical Mediterranean climate, characterised by long periods of sunshine, relatively mild winters and hot summers.

The terrain is 70% mountainous. The mountains are quite high, Stavrota being the highest peak with an elevation of 1.182 m., followed by Elati (1.126 m.), Ai Lias (1.014 m.) and Mega Oros (1.012 m.) There are also plateaus, small valleys and canyons, full of vegetation. The island’s remarkable flora includes olive trees, cypresses, pine trees, a special variety of oak trees and aromatic herbs.

The west coast of the island is rather steep and full of extensive beaches, some of which are accessible only by sea. There the visitors will come across the famous beaches of Porto Katsiki and Egremni that each year are praised as two of the best beaches in Greece, Europe and even the world by highly respectable  travel magazines and websites. The southeast coast of the island is more easily accessible and characterised by small beaches, one next to the other, easily reachable to guests, small bays that form excellent natural harbours, such as Vlyho, Syvota, Rouda and Vasiliki, peninsulas and many islets.

In general, the coastline is very interesting, with constant changes of the scenery (beaches, small bays, peninsulas, the magnificent Cape of Lefkatas, steep cliffs and vegetation that reaches the seashore) and it promises unique experiences, whether its guests approach it by sea or by land.

The island has a great number of springs, torrents that sometimes become rapid and form small waterfalls, like Dimosari in the region of Nidri or Akoni over the settlement of Episkopos and impressive canyons like those of Melissa in Sfakiotes, of Roupakia and of Haradiatika.

The two lagoons at the northern part of the island are important natural reserves for many wild birds, but there are also smaller water biotopes in other parts of the island like Vlyho, the Lake of Marantohori etc. There are many small coves in the island of Meganisi that form an exciting fiord-like terrain.

A significant part of the local people is involved in the tourist services sector, because Lefkada is a preferred and bustling destination, especially in the summertime. However, Lefkada does have the potential to become an all year long holiday resort. The island is constantly being developed and offers a wide variety of holiday accommodations, food services and entertainments, not only at the picturesque seaside villages but also at the beautiful traditional settlements up on the mountains.

Water sports have become one of the best features that this island has to offer. Some of the beaches are now internationally famous because of those water sports activities. Kite surfing enthusiasts from all around the world are already familiar with the beach of Ai Giannis, while the bay of Vasiliki is always full of windsurfers who make good use of the constant winds that blow on that part of the island.

Furthermore, visitors can also enjoy snorkelling, scuba diving, water skiing, paragliding, sailing, bicycling and horse riding. And if you want to try something different, there is an extensive network of paths on the island that allows trekkers and hikers to enjoy the beauty of the inland.

Agriculture still plays a major role in the island’s economy. There are many notable products, like the lentils from Eglouvi, the field beans (lathiria) from Karya, the Lefkadian wine and olive oil, and all the fresh fish that are being fished in the clean sea surrounding the island

Lefkada, as a part of the Ionian Islands, has a strong cultural and traditional background. There is a series of cultural events, all year long, but especially in the summertime, that the visitors can attend and enjoy. The most famous is maybe the International Folklore Festival that has a history of over half a century along with the Literature and Arts Festival, both in August.

Traditions and customs, such as the traditional wedding ceremony revival in Karya, the Lentils’ Festival in Eglouvi, at the plateau of Agios Donatos, and also events related to the celebrations of Christmas, the Greek Carnival and Easter are revived every year. All these event are a solid proof that the island is active all year long. There are many dynamic cultural clubs and associations in the island that work hard to preserve the traditions and cultural elements of the island. Among them there is the Philharmonic Society of Lefkada, the second oldest music association in Greece, established in 1850. The participation of youths in all these clubs is a good sign that this effort will not be given up. Traditional arts and crafts, such as needle working and knife making are not only preserved but also promoted.

Last, but not least, there are beautiful libraries, true landmarks of the island, which are open to the public and full of exciting historical documents, valuable manuscripts and interesting books, both old and new. Lefkada is an island that if you visit it once, you will feel the need to come back again and again! Elements such as the easy access, the infinite choices and the quality of the services provided will help making your visit truly unforgettable.

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