The starting point of our island-hopping journey through the Ionian Islands was Lefkada. A relatively undiscovered gem on Greece’s west coast boasting stunning beaches, mouth-watering local dishes and affordable prices. This island blew us away and it’s a place I’d recommend to anyone seeking the unspoiled essence of the Greek Islands. Therefore, I prepared this comprehensive and inspirational Lefkada travel guide to inspire and help you plan a trip to this island!
Use the index below to guide you through the post and discover the best things to do in Lefkada, great hotels, restaurants and more. If you plan to visit other Ionian Islands, make sure to check this article with itinerary suggestions. Now, let’s embark on Lefkada dream!
Where in Greece is Lefkada
Lefkada, also known as Lefkas, is located on the west coast of Greece, more specifically in the Ionian Archipelago. Nestled between renowned Ionian islands like Corfu and Paxos to the north and Kefalonia, Ithaca, and Zakynthos to the south, its central location makes it an ideal stop for any island-hopping itinerary in the region.
It’s a relatively calm island, mostly frequented by Greeks. It’s main differential is its unparalleled accessibility. Unlike most islands, it’s possible to get there by car directly from mainland Greece. Or by ferry-boat coming from other Ionian Islands. More on that later. Now, let’s talk about when is the best time to visit the island.
Best time to visit Lefkada
The weather in Lefkada is relatively warm all year round, but Spring and Summer are typically the best time to visit the island. The end of spring (May to June) and late summer (September to early October) are particularly great periods to travel, as the crowds are fewer and the rates lower compared to the ones during peak summer. In May and early October, rainfall tends to be a bit higher, but definitely not a problem.
Traveling between June and August will allow you to experience the best of Lefkada. Long, balmy days, a lively ambiance and a tourist infrastructure operating at its peak are to be expected. However, keep in mind that during those months, travel costs tend to be higher. And beaches tend to be more crowded. August, in particular, sees a surge due to it being the quintessential summer vacation month for many Europeans.
With that in mind, I’d suggest picking the latter part of May, all of June, the beginning of July, or the entirety of September to visit Lefkada. Additionally, I’d steer clear of late July and August. We visited Lefkada during the first week of July and had a really good experience!
How long to stay in Lefkada
Lefkada is a vast island brimming with stunning beaches and quaint villages. If you aim to explore it well, I recommend staying for 5 to 7 nights. However, if you’re short in time, a brief 3 to 4 day visit can offer a glimpse of its greatness. We stayed in Lefkada for 3 full days and thought it was far from enough to enjoy the island to the fullest. Thus, I would definitely recommend spending more days on the island if you can!
Best things to do in Lefkada
Lefkada is renowned for its jaw-dropping beaches. Which are often classified as the most beautiful in Europe and sometimes even in the whole world. If that wasn’t enough, Lefkada also boasts beautiful landscapes, waterfalls, hiking trails, and charming villages. There are options of things to see and do for nearly every type of traveler. And that is exactly what makes this island so diverse and special!
To help you navigate the best things to do in Lefkada, I’ve put together this interactive map. Take into consideration that blue pins refer to beaches, purple pins to attractions, and orange pins to the best restaurants on the island.
1) Swim in the top 5 beaches in Lefkada
Immersing in the crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea is likely how you’ll be spending most of your time in Lefkada, especially during summer. There are plenty magnificent beaches to visit in the island and I have talked about them in details on this post. You should definitely check it out for some extra inspiration and comprehensive information of each featured beach. But, as a spoiler, let me tell you our 5 top beaches in Lefkada:
Top 5 beaches in Lefkada
Agios Nikitas Beach
2) Visit Agios Nikitas
Agios Nikitas is one of the most charming beach villages in Lefkada and home to one of the most popular beaches on the island, the Agios Nikitas Beach. It’s definitely one of the best places to stay on the island. But if you choose to stay somewhere else (like us), make sure to visit the village at least once!
The water in Agios Nikitas Beach is crystal clear, making it a perfect place to enjoy summer days as a family. Unsurprisingly, the beach is quite crowded, so make sure to arrive early to find a good spot. There are lots of restaurants and bars around the beach, so you don’t need to bring sun protection or food. Besides enjoying the beautiful landscapes at the beach, make sure to explore the village. It’s a very cute place with plenty nice bars and restaurants. There are great souvenir shops in Agios Nikita, so make sure to spend some time exploring its narrow streets.
3) Lefkada Town and surroundings
Lefkada Town, the capital of the island, is a very lively place located in the north of Lefkada. It is usually regarded as the gateway to Lefkada, as this is the first town you will reach if you are coming to the island by car.
The town is packed with good accommodation options, restaurants, shops, and bars – which tend to get busy at night with tourists and locals. Especially during the high season months. Thus, I wouldn’t recommend staying there if you are looking for a calm and relaxed vibe. But definitely would if you are striving for some nightlife fuzz.
A visit to Lefkada Town can be especially nice in the evenings when you can wander through the romantic Venetian-inspired alleys and enjoy meals at cozy tavernas. It is worth taking a stroll in the beachfront area and visiting the wooden bridge of Lefkada. You won’t regret checking the souvenir shops for some local delicacies such as salamis and liquors which can be brought back home or enjoyed at the beach the next day. If you are visiting during the day, you can also check the medieval Venetian Olive Grove, close to Faneromeni Monastery. As well as the Venetian Castle of Agia Mavra.
4) Nydri and Dimosari waterfall
Dimosari Waterfall is one of the most surprising attractions in Lefkada and a place you can’t miss during your stay on the island. It is located close to Nydri and can be accessed through a 15 minutes easy trek from the parking lot. Which makes of it an adventure suitable adventure for the whole family. Just make sure to pay extra attention to the slippery rocks and wear appropriate shoes for the hike, and it will be alright!
There are a few small waterfalls on the way to Dimosari, but if you keep going until the end of the trail, you will find the main cascade. There, you will be able to bathe and enjoy yourself. Thoughh brace yourself: the waters can be cool, which could be anticlimatic or truly refreshing depending on the temperature of the day. ally, I relished the experience, but didn’t linger too long.
Around 3km away from the waterfall you will find Nydri. One of the most popular villages to stay in Lefkada. This village is quite busy and has a great variety of restaurants, bars, and shops. It also has lively nightlife which makes it a preferred place for youngsters on a summer vacation in Lefkada!
It is a place where lots of boats depart from, including the ferry boat to Kefalonia. From Nydri, you can also take day trips to the nearby islands and beaches by boat. Some of the best day tours can be found and booked with our partner Get Your Guide by clicking here!
5) Cape Lefkada
Cape Lefkada is the southernmost part of Lefkada where you will find a small peninsula with a 14 meters tall lighthouse, as well and breathtaking views of the neighboring islands and the sea. Definitely a must-do in Lefkada, especially at sunset, when you will be able to watch the sun setting on the sea!
6) Beach villages and marinas
Apart from visiting Lefkada Town, Nydri, and Agios Nikita, you should also visit the other charming beach villages in Lefkada. The most recommended ones are:
- Vasiliki which is a perfect spot for those interested in windsurfing and has a great waterfront;
- Sivota which is a regarded village amongst yatch owners and has a beautiful landscapes, as well as a good variety of restaurants by the water.
7) Stavrota Mountains and villages
No trip to Lefkada is complete without a ride through the Stavrota Mountains. Where the agricultural fields and traditional villages of Lefkada are located. And the best region to experience the most genuine side of the island. We drove through these mountains on our way to the Dimosarai Waterfall in Nydri and were completely astonished by the panoramic views we saw from the highest parts of the mountains. It was also very interesting to see another side of Lefkada, which is more focused on agriculture than on beaches. And where the inhabitants seem to be completely disconnected from tourism.
I would definitely recommend exploring this area and visiting the villages of Karya and Drimonas. Another must-see village in the mountains is Englouvi, as it is from there that most of the traditional lentils from Lefkada come from. These lentils are such a big deal in Lefkada they even have events dedicated celebration to it every year in August. It is worth noting that the roads up in the mountains in the mountains are quite narrow, so please be responsible and attentive while driving, but make sure to enjoy views along the way!
All of the best points of interest in Lefkada are tagged on our personalized map. Get yours and have all pins listed on our guides + some secret ones seamlessly integrated to your Google Maps.
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8) Alternative activities
Due to its geography and weather conditions, Lefkada is a great place to practice windsurfing, kitesurfing, and paragliding. Thus, if you are interested in these activities make sure to spend a few days in Vasiliki in the south of the island, or Agios Ioannis in the west, and to contact the most accredited agencies for these activities!
Thanks to its unique geography and favorable weather patterns, Lefkada is a hotspot for windsurfing, kitesurfing, and paragliding enthusiasts. If these adrenaline-fueled activities arise your interest, be sure to set aside some days for a visit to Vasiliki in the island’s south or Agios Ioannis in the west. And for the best experience, reach out to the top-rated agencies specializing in these sports!
If you prefer more relaxing activities, you could join one of the several yoga classes offered by different studios across the island. There are even yoga and meditation retreats hosted on the island sometimes, so it is worth checking the calendars if that sounds appealing to you!
To be honest, all of the attractions above are unmissable. However, depending on how many days you plan to stay in Lefkada, you might have to pick favorites instead of experiencing them all. Still, no matter what you decide to visit and do, I am sure you will love Lefkada as much as we did!
Where to stay in Lefkada Greece
I knew Greece was considered one of the best cost-beneficial countries to travel to in Europe. And still, I got positively surprised by the incredibly charming and affordable accommodation options I found in Lefkada. The island is one of those places you can splurge on a great hotel without it costing an arm and a leg. There is no shortage of amazing accommodation options in Lefkada, but here’s the list with the best options:
We stayed at T’Aloni, a very simple yet cozy place in Lefkada. The guest house is connected to one of the best restaurants on the island. Our room was comfortable, modern, and elegant. Plus, it had a great view from the balcony and it cost us less than 70€ a night. We really enjoyed our stay and would definitely recommend it (not sponsored at all). If you prefer to look for other options besides the ones above, you can check with Booking.com. When book through our links, we may earn a small commission. You don’t pay extra for this, so it’s a win-win!
Agios Nikitas, Kalamitsi, Chortata, and Nydri are areas/villages with great accommodation options and restaurants. They are also strategic in terms of proximity with the most sought-after beaches and attractions on the island, and so are considered the best areas to stay in Lefkada.
Where to eat in Lefkada
The allure of Greece isn’t just its azure waters or golden sunsets. It’s also the mouthwatering aroma of its kitchens and the contented sigh after a satisfying meal. The local cuisine, with its fresh, vibrant ingredients, is a delightful aspect of any trip to Greece. And a perfect pairing for summer days under the Mediterranean sun. Throughout our journey across the Ionian Islands, we indulged in the delicious and fresh meals served by local restaurants, paired with fantastic (and cheap!). It’s no exaggeration to say that the traditional gastronomy of Greece had us utterly enchanted. And it’s one of reasons why we keep coming back. 3 times and counting!
For an authentic Greek dining experience, I suggest heading to a local taverna. Embrace the Greek ethos of sharing by ordering an array of small dishes at each meal, allowing you to sample a diverse range of flavors. Elevate the experience by pairing your meal. Pair it with the house’s local wine, which is usually is as affordable as it is delicious – often no more than 7€ for 500 ml. The affordability of traditional Greek cuisine means you can indulge in generous, varied, and soul-satisfying meals without breaking the bank. Allow yourself to dive into a Grecian gastronomic journey!
If I were you, I would not leave Greece without trying Moussaka, different Souvlakis, Saganakis, Gyros, and Yemistas. Not to mention the salads, in special the Greek Salad, and the delicious cheeses and charcuterie produced locally. Specifically in Lefkada, you should try Englouvi, a local dish made with lentils harvested on the island. As well as salamis and dishes made with lamb meat – the ones served at T’Aloni restaurant are superb!
We ate very well in Lefkada and enjoyed the taverna experience quite a lot. From this trip, we bring the best memories of evenings spent at tavernas overlooking the ocean and the most beautiful sunsets of all time while enjoying great local wines and great food. We really want you to the best possible gastronomical experiences. So, I curated a list of the best restaurants in Lefkada.
Best restaurants in Lefkada
Here is our selection of the best restaurants in Lefkada:
Our favorite restaurants in Lefkada
Though Amente Restaurant carries a somewhat elitist ambiance that contrasts with the overall feel of the island, it was undeniably one of the finest dining experiences we had in Lefkada. In fact, I’d say it ranks among the top meals ever in Greece!
I arranged a surprise dinner at Amente for Eric’s birthday, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Between the delicious cocktails and a sunset that took our breath away, it was truly a dreamlike experience. The setting offers unparalleled views and exudes a romantic ambiance. In fact, if you’re thinking of popping the question, this spot would be perfect! And should you decide to take that leap, please come back and share your story with us. We’d be thrilled to hear about it. 🙂
Another favorite restaurant in Lefkada was the Taverna Ionio, a simple and cozy taverna on the west coast. This taverna has the most beautiful views, a very reasonably priced menu, and a great romantic atmosphere. No wonder why we returned the next day!
We had a few starters, two mains, wine, and beers and paid around 50€ in total – a great price for a fantastic meal. Since Taverna Ionio is close to Porto Katsiki and Egremini beaches, you can combine a visit to the restaurant with a visit to these beaches, either during lunchtime or for dinner, after a day at the beach.
How to get to Lefkada
Lefkada might be the easiest Greek Island to get to. It can be reached by car from mainland Greece. Or by ferry boat coming from some other Ionian Islands or ports in mainland. You can even fly to Aktion airport which is 20km away from the island. Below you will find detailed information on the most popular and convenient alternatives to get to Lefkada:
How to get to Lefkada from mainland Greece
You can rent a car in Athens and drive for about 5 hours to get to Lefkada. That is what we did, adding a stop in Aigio to eat at the charming Touristiko restaurant. The trip took around 6 hours in total. We paid about 30 euros for tolls, including the hefty fee (14 euros) just to cross the bridge in Patras. It’s possible to pay for the tools with cash or international credit cards.
Departing from Thessaloniki in Greece’s northeast? You should know that Lefkada is less than a four-hour drive away. Your journey will take you along the ultra-modern Egnatia Odos toll road. This route is a fantastic way to access the island, so it’s worth comparing flight prices to Thessaloniki. Sometimes it can be more affordable than flying into Athens!
Lastly, if you’d prefer not to drive from Athens or Thessaloniki, consider taking a bus to Lefkada. During the summer months, buses depart from both cities at least twice daily and the journey to the island takes approximately four hours. Tickets are priced around 40€ and can be bought directly from the bus companies.
You can book your bus ticket in advance through Omnio Europe. Get yours now!
How to get to Lefkada by ferry-boat
Most people traveling to Lefkada also plan to visit other popular and neighboring islands, such as Corfu, Kefalonia, Ithaca, and Zakynthos. Thus, it is quite common to get to/to leave from Lefkada by ferry boat coming from/going to the Ionian neighbor islands. Here’s an overview of the most common ways to reach Lefkada by ferry:
Kefalonia or Ithaca, it is possible to travel to Lefkada (and vice-versa) with the West Ferry boats, but these tickets cannot be purchased online. You can check their website for updated schedules and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to book in advance. Which is something I highly recommend doing if you are traveling in the high season. I booked the ticket through email and it worked out very smoothly!
Corfu and Paxos, you can take the ferry Azimut to Lefkada (and vice-versa). But that is just if you are not traveling by car, since this boat only accommodates passengers. If you are traveling by car and aim to move between Lefkada-Corfu, you can drive from Lefkada to the port of Igoumenitsa in the north and from there take a big ferry boat to Corfu and Paxos in your car.
Ttickets can be purchased directly on the company’s websites or by using the established ferry booking platform Ferry Hopper Alternatively, you can buy the tickets at one of their ticket offices on the islands.
How to get to Lefkada by plane
The national airport of Aktion is located 20km away from Lefkada and represents the closest airport to the island. It gets flights from Athens, Thessaloniki all year-round and from other islands in Greece during the summer months.
The international airport of Preveza is 60km away from Lefkada and gets flights from other destinations in Europe. Depending on your travel plans, it could be worth taking a flight there instead of driving all the way from Athens or Thessaloniki. We always use Skyscanner to search for competitive flight fares and definitely recommend you to do the same!
Arriving at any of these airports, you can get a car to reach and explore the island of Lefkada. We recommend you book in advance to get the best rates and conditions!
How to get around Lefkada
You can get around Lefkada by car, ATV, or motorcycle. But cars are hands down, the best way to get around the island. By clicking here you can check the rental quotes from the best car hiring companies in Greece and get your car upon arrival and book your vehicle in advance!
Renting a car to explore the Ionian Islands will not only allow you to explore villages and access beaches but will also provide you a safe refugee from the extreme sun and heat while commuting between points of interest – which is something an ATV or motorcycle cannot provide.
If you choose to rent a car, my suggestion is that you fill the tank every time you come across a gas station. There are not so many stations in Lefkada, so it is better to ensure you will always have enough fuel to drive around.
Another fantastic alternative to explore Lefkada is by boat. Many of the best beaches on the islands are only accessible from the sea. You can rent a boat even if you don’t have navigating experience or license and it will cost you around 100 euros per day + the fuel you consume. We did not rent a boat in Lefkada but we’ve done this in many islands including Ithaca in Greece. We absolutely love the experience of exploring the seas by ourselves!
What to pack for Lefkada
As you will most probably be visiting Lefkada during spring or summer in Greece, you should be prepared for very sunny and warm days. Hence, my suggestion is that you pack light and fresh clothes, beachwear, and casual shoes. Aim for beach attire and bring a light jacket just in case – chances are that you are not going to need it!
For women: you should pack summer and fresh dresses in various styles, from flouncy to long ones. Skirts, linen pants, fresh tops, and shorts are also great items to bring to Lefkada. Flat and comfortable shoes should be your way to go and you absolutely won’t need high heels or heavy makeup.
For men: You can pack linen shirts and fresh fabric shirts, as well as t-shirts, shorts, and fresh pants. Shoes should be casual and comfortable, with no need for fancy items.
You will also need:
- Beach shoes for pebble beaches
- Sun screen with maximun UV protection
- Sun hats
- A beach bag
- Beach towel or blanket
- Long Sleeve UV Sun Protection Shirt
- Beach tent or a beach umbrella
Other items to pack to Lefkada are beach floats, board games, books, a beach tennis kit, and a cooler bag to bring beverages and snacks to the beaches.
If you are planning on renting a car upon arrival in Athens to drive to Lefkada, a good idea is to stop at a Decathlon store (there is one close to Athens airport and one in Patras) to shop for the items you did not bring in your luggage. If you are tight on time or traveling without a car, you can also find these items on the Greek Islands for heftier prices.
Be aware that there are many bees and insects in Lefkada and that you should bring specific medication if you have allergies. Better safe than sorry, right?
Lefkada is a true gem in the Ionian Sea, and I sincerely hope this guide sparked the wanderlust in you to explore its pristine shores. If you’re already considering an island-hopping adventure across the Ionian Islands, adding Lefkada to your itinerary is a no-brainer. Should you need further insights or have any queries about this enchanting island, drop a comment below.