The western coasts of Lefkada are quite different from the eastern ones. This is why you could never get bored on this island! The change of the landscape and the scenery and the multiple choices make it exciting!
Our tour on the western side of the island starts from the town of Lefkada. The beach of Mili and Agios Ioannis cover the whole of the north-western part. From the town of Lefkada you can take the road to Apolpena, a beautiful village with many newly built houses that is located at the edge of the plain and is the gateway towards the western and the central part of the island. Its name probably came from “Apollon Penes” (Apollo the Poor).
A beautiful cavern was discovered west of the village, namely Alabaster Cave, which is full of stalactites. There is also “Hirospilia” (Pig Cave) with archaeological findings that date back to the Neolithic Age.
As you continue the road past the monastery of Faneromeni on your right hand and you enjoy the amazing view of Gyra and the town, you reach the first western village called Tsoukalades. The name derived from the pots (“tsoukalia”) that the locals used to make because the ground there was rich in clay. It is a very charming village that has maintained many traditional elements but has also managed to evolve in order to provide the guests with high quality services in the field of accommodation (the amazing view of the Ionian Sea and the wonderful sunsets that the visitors can enjoy are very helpful assets), food and coffee, with many alternatives to choose from.
West of the village the visitors can enjoy a swim at the almost virgin beaches of Tsoukalades, namely Skala Gialou and Kaminia, that are accessible by car through an astonishing pine tree forest. Many other smaller beaches are accessible only by sea, like Kato Skali and Kokkinos Vrahos. The church of Agia Anastasia, at the centre of the village, is a cool resting point with water wells and plane trees, while the chapel of Agios Georgios to the east, high above the village, has an excellent view of Lefkada and the Ionian Sea. Tsoukalades is the seat of a very active cultural club that organises many cultural and sport events all year long and participates in every cultural event on the island.
The tour continues with the famous pine tree forest of Pefkoulia, with trees reaching all the way down to the sea. Green and blue are combined and the photographic cameras work overtime because nobody can resist the temptation of taking pictures of this scenery. At the site of Vigla, just before the unique seaside village of Agios Nikita, a brief stop in order to take some pictures is considered almost required.
To the left, still unseen from the road, lies a huge organised beach at the location of Potisies and Pefkoulia. It ends at the small preserved traditional settlement of Agios Nikitas, where cars are forbidden.
Walking down the paved main street of the village, you reach a small but beautiful beach for a swim. Agios Nikitas is the main tourist resort of the western coast, with really fanatical visitors. It has many hotels, restaurants, taverns, cafés and bars.
From the centre of the village begins a path that goes over the green-clad hill west of the village and reaches one of the most fascinating beaches of the island, namely Mylos. On the way to the beach, you come across an old Germany observatory from WWII that is now one with the surrounding vegetation. Agios Nikitas used to be the harbour of the village Drymonas.
Our next stop is at Kathisma beach. It is the most popular and organised beach of the island. It is huge and offers the opportunity of playing with the waves, Kathisma has also many accommodation options and there are restaurants and cafés to meet every taste, too. The music from the beach bars is intense and loud and you can test your courage with heights by paragliding from the hilltop over the beach.
The road leads to Kalamitsi, but, before that, you can make a detour to visit two village that are historically closely connected with Agios Nikitas, namely Drymonas and Exanthia. Located on the mountainside of Mega Oros to the east, with a view of the Ionian Sea to the west, they are two of the oldest traditional villages in the island. Stone houses, paved streets and the Ionian Sea with blue and golden red colours every sunset. Old settlements, forgotten by time, like Hontriada, a grid of legends and traditions, and Mid-August celebrations, which remind us of fine old summers in Panagia, the Old Village of Exanthia, are charming and will make the visit to these beautiful villages unforgettable.
Kalamitsi comes next, another colourful village with the same view of the endless Ionian Sea and unique sunsets. Here you can visit the old monastery of Panagia in Kipi and the old watermills and then enjoy your swim at the three gorgeous beaches, i.e. Kavalikefta, Megali Petra and Avali.
The village of Hortata is next, which along with Agios Vasilios, Nikolis, Manasi and Agii Theodori located on the western mountainside of Stavrota used to form the district of Damiliani. These villages are still known to the people of Lefkada by their mocking name “United States of Lefkada”. They are small villages, one next to the other, almost abandoned nowadays with habitants remaining. They have not lost their traditional features and are a unique destination for hiking on their countless paths.
Small churches, some of them preserved and some forgotten and abandoned, and the chapel of an old famous monastery of the region, i.e. Agios Nikolaos, are reminders of the great religious tradition of the area. At the site Spilia in Hortata there are findings from the Copper Age, something that proves the old history of the place. From Hortata you can reach the central plateau of the island.
The south-western part of the island starts at Komilio. It is a new village at that particular location. The residents were relocated there when they were forced to abandon their old village that was up the hill after an earthquake.
It is worth visiting the upper settlement of Dragano, or else Panohori, and the church of Ipapanti with the impressive bell tower, as well as the chapel of Agios Anatolios. To the east of the village there are also water wells from the era of the Venetian Rule.
Athani as a district extends vastly and has three of the best beaches on the island. Two of them are worldwide famous. These are the beaches of Gialos that is many kilometres long and accessible by car, Egremni (accessible only by sea after the 2015 earthquake) and the perfect Porto Katsiki.
In Athani and on the road to Porto Katsiki there are many accommodation facilities and taverns that almost reach the edge of the cliff. All of them provide the guests with a wonderful view of the sunset.
While you are in Athani, you should visit the small chapel of Panagia in Rahi which is located on the road to Gialos and Agios Kirikos, an old catholic monastery, full of history and mystery, with an ongoing archaeological excavation at its yard.
You should not neglect to visit the monastery of Agios Nikolaos in Nira that has been renovated and has been hosting nuns once more since 2013. It is a very old and historical monastery. It is worth mentioning that the nuns produce their own sweets and other products that the visitors can buy in order to support this isolated monastery.
Near the monastery there are ancient stone beehives, the use of which has not yet been precisely studied, and the small beach of Plaka on the eastern side, in the beginning of the gulf of Vasiliki.
And, of course, there is the Cape Lefkatas, the “White Stone” of Homer, that gave its name to the island. It is a cape with many names, i.e. Lefkatas, Doukato, Kavos tis Kiras, Nira, intertwined with legends and traditions. According to one tradition, this was the place where Sappho, the great lyrical poetess on antiquity, jumped off the cliff to relieve herself from the burden of unfulfilled love. This is why the cape also holds the names “Kavos tis Kyras” (Cape of the Lady) or “Pidima tis Kyras” (Jump of the Lady). Before and after Sappho there were many more desperate souls that chose to end their lives on the cutting rocks of the cape due to love. According to some sources, there was also an ancient shrine dedicated to Apollo and games were held there in honour of the god.
Untamed striking beauty, traditional villages, green and blue colours in absolute harmony and the most famous beaches in Lefkada are found here!