The eastern coasts of the island are characterised by dazzling consecutive beaches, friendly and accessible, small bays and natural harbours and many small and bigger islands that are called “Prigkiponisia” (Prince Islands).
The villages are located one next to another and are important tourist resorts of the island that provide many different options to the visitors. But they still manage to preserve their beautiful traditional features.
The tour begins from Karyotes, village with a “salty” taste because this was the place where the New Saltpans of the island were from 1684 to 1988. Their remains are still visible at the village’s beach together with the chapel of Agios Panteleimon, almost within the sea.
The Fort Torreta (or Fort of Alexandros) on the small islet Forti, the smaller Fort Konstantinos on the islet Fortino and the Castle of Agios Georgios on the coast across the channel complete the landscape.
Karyotes is a relatively new village. On the hills, towards the inland, the visitors can seek the Old Village of Karyotes and enjoy the view from the chapel of Agios Nikolaos.
Lygia comes next. It was once a traditional fishermen village, but today it is a modern tourist resort. Small beaches are found next to the road where you can enjoy your swim. There are also many hotels and rooms to let that offer high quality services.
Lygia is still one of the most important fishing centres of western Greece. It preserves a picturesque character at the small port that is full of fishing boats and every year welcomes the moon of August with a big feast, bringing back memories and reviving long forgotten ways of fishing. Around the port there are many famous fish taverns that offer the fresh goods of the sea and provide a pleasant rest to the guests.
A little up the hill you can find Katouna, a lordly village with beautiful stone houses and churches like the ones of Panagia and Agios Varvaros and a square with fine alternatives for food and coffee. The village also offers rather classy and high quality options for your accommodation.
The small settlement of Episkopos is next. It is said that five Fathers of the Church reach its port in 325 AD after the First Council of Nicaea while escorting the Bishop of Lefkada. Therefore the village was named Episkopos, which means “Bishop”. The Holy Fathers became monks at the Monastery of Agioi Pateres (Holy Fathers) on the mountain of Skari and at the monastery of Faneromeni.
West of the village the nature lovers can enjoy the beauty of Akoni, through the path that runs along its river up to its gorgeous waterfalls.
Right after that the tour leads to Nikiana. It is a modern tourist resort with numberless high quality accommodations for all incomes and tastes, taverns and restaurants with many food alternatives, inspired cafés and beach bars around the small port and consecutive small, easy accessible beaches that attract many visitors.
At the Limni beach of Nikiana there is also the possibility for disabled people to enjoy swimming because the local club has installed a special access ramp to the cool sea water.
At the location of “Sotiro”, where the old church of Metamorfosi used to stand, W. Dörpfeld had found ancient ruins of the shrine of an unknown deity. Centuries later, the first oath of the Greek Revolution was made, in 1807, by prominent Greeks like Kapodistrias, Kolokotronis et al., as it is reported by the monument at the site of Magemenos.
Nikiana is located at the foot of the mountain Skari (the Homeric Mount Niion) that is a great feature of the island with its rare oak forest. The mountain has an extended network of paths that offers the hiker images of the eastern and the central part of the island that are beyond description.
Both at the edge and at the top you can find a treasure of religious monuments, such as the historical monastery of Agioi Pateres (built in a rock and founded by the three aforementioned Holy Fathers, a significant religious centre of the island) and the monastery of Agios Georgios (founded in 1611, one of the richest monasteries of the island and a centre of spiritual awareness with noteworthy clerical and secular teachers like Methodios, Anthimos Mitrofanis, Georgios and Panagiotis Zampelios etc) but also scattered (ruined or not) small churches that cause awe to the visitors. This is why Mount Skari is sometimes called the Mount Athos of Lefkada.
At the western edges of the mountain two traditional settlements are located, namely Alexandros and Kolyvata. These two settlements, which are almost untouched by time, are centuries old and there are also some scattered ruins that indicate that there were even older bigger villages. In the last years many of the beautiful houses have been renovated, picturesque guesthouses have been created and the local cultural club has been organising high quality events in order to attract people and lively up these gorgeous settlements.
The tourist facilities are of high quality and offer the guests a huge spectrum of choices for their food, entertainment and accommodation.
The small, consecutive, friendly beaches of the two villages, with a clear view of Prigkiponisia (the small island between Lefkada and the mainland) are fully organised and provide all kinds of sport and leisure activities (water skiing, jet skiing, fly fishing, canoeing, parasailing, banana boats etc)
Daily cruises start from the port of Nydri to Prigkiponisia, Meganisi, that famous beaches of the western coast and small secret beaches, only accessible by sea, with modern tourist boats. The post of Nydri also connects Lefkada to Meganisi, Kefallonia and Ithaca by sea.
The German archaeologist W. Dörpfeld claimed that Nydri was the location of the capital of Homeric Ithaca. At the site of Steno there are archaeological findings that support this claim. These findings are accessible to visitors.
Nature lovers can visit the fascinating waterfalls of the torrent Dimosaris, near the settlement of Rahi, west of Nydri, within a beautiful landscape, full of plane trees, rocks and waters. Following the path they can enjoy a refreshing swim in the small ponds that are formed by the waterfall and also have a coffee or a drink surrounded by nature.
Both Rahi and the nearby village of Palaiokatouna are full of traditional taverns with Lefkadian delicacies and local wine. There you can visit the only accessible apiary of the island, get to know the secrets of the wonderful society of the bees and taste the honey of Lefkada.
Additionally, you can visit the once abandoned settlement of Neohori, which is now a favourite resort for tranquillity and relaxing, with many renovated houses and a clear view of the eastern coast of the island. Within the settlement you can find the old village, beautiful churches and a network of paths.
The tour leads to Vlyho, a village built alongside the road, at a closed bay of immense beauty which is also one protected water biotopes on the island. It is a natural harbour for small sailboats and yachts that swarm the place every summer. The village offers many options for food and coffee next to the sea and holds a long tradition of “karnagia” (boatyards where watercrafts get repaired and are docked for the winter).
From Vlyho it is almost imperative that you visit Haradiatika, a village that is located within a gorgeous green-clad canyon and offers the opportunity of refreshing walks. There you can pay a visit to the fully renovated monastery of Agios Georgios of Grava and other old churches, but also to the traditional taverns of the village that are famous for their meat dishes and traditional delicacies!
From Haradiatika you can follow the road that leads to the old settlement of Alatro, which used to be a major village and is now almost abandoned, but still provides the nature lovers with the possibility to wander along its old paths and discover the ruins of tens of old churches. In Alatro you can admire the amazing wall paintings of Ai Giannis Riganas and the breathtaking view of that particular spot!
From Vlyho you can also visit the beautiful beach of Desimi (to the east, with camping lots, small taverns by the sea and many water sports and activities) and discover the small caves that are located all around it.
On the opposite side of the bay, there is the green-clad settlement of Geni (on the eastern side of the stunning gulf). From there, the road leads to the small church of Agia Kyriaki, built on the rock across Nydri, which is a favourite site for those who decide to perform their wedding ceremony in Lefkada. That was also the spot that the German archaeologist W. Dörpfeld chose to be buried. He adored the island, identifying it as the Homeric Ithaca.
Following the road to the south, a small detour will take you to a rather big village, namely Katohori that holds a significant religious tradition with its picturesque churches of Agios Dimitrios, Eisodia, Agia Aikaterini et al. The village also has a noteworthy music history. Its tavern is friendly and offers cool evenings and tasty delicacies within basils and mulberries and the snow-white small café provides refreshing relaxation.
The second detour will lead you to Poros, another very old village of the island, the beach of Rouda and the small harbour of Mikrogialos.
Poros has a great tradition in knife-making (the Lefkadian Knives of Poros). Its knives, with lyrics carved on the blade, are famous all over the world.
In the village you can visit the small churches of Analipsi (Ascension) that is full of frescos and Agios Nikolaos over the village with an amazing view of Rouda beach and the whole of the south-eastern part of the island. Furthermore, you can visit the ruins of Ancient Agrampeli, also know as “Pyrgi” (Tower) by the locals that consist of parts of a tower, an ancient oil mill and a tank.
The beach of Rouda, one the island’s favourite beaches, is a complete tourist option along with the small harbour of Mikrogialos. It offers many accommodation alternatives, small taverns, restaurants and cafés, and also an organised beach for swimming.
The tour on the eastern side of the island ends with the semi-mountainous village of Fterno, which has some very important small churches (Agios Georgios, Panagia at the location “Fao” etc) and several delicious options for food and music nights.