We had no idea when we visited Lefkada that we would be visiting one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Lush vegetation, white sand beaches, and the bluest water I have ever seen was waiting.
Thanks to its simple connection to mainland Greece, Lefkada is easily accessible for most travelers. Once on the island, there are plenty of things to do in Lefkada for all!
Where is Lefkada?
Before we dig into the best things to do in Lefkada, let’s talk about location. Lefkada is an island in the Ionian Sea on the west coast of Greece. It is a very mountainous and lush island, like many of the other Ionian Greek Islands.
It’s a popular island to visit as it is connected to the mainland by a causeway, meaning you don’t have to hop on a ferry to get here if you don’t want to. It’s a five hour drive to get between Athens and Lefkada. There are also ferry connections to Kefalonia and Ithaca.
How to get to Lefkada island
As far as Greece travel goes, getting to Lefkada is relatively simple. Aktion National Airport is the gateway to Lefkada if arriving by air. This is a small regional airport that mainly services flights to Athens. Though there are seasonal flights that connect to Amsterdam, Paris, Milan and other major European destinations.
You can also rent a car in Athens, or elsewhere in Greece, and drive onto Lefkada via a bridge. There is no ferry to Lefkada from Athens or other ports in mainland Greece.
The Best Things to do in Lefkada
Plan a Beach Day at Porto Katsiki
There are many beaches on Lefkada, but Porto Katsiki is not only the most beautiful one on the island but perhaps in the whole of Europe. The beautiful beach is surrounded by steep, white cliffs and you have to descend 80 steps to get down to it.
The beach features clear, blue waters perfect for a refreshing dip. Bring everything you’ll need for the beach, once you may your way down the steps it’s unlikely you’ll want to hike back up for a bite to eat. If you can only do one thing on Lefkada, make sure it is to head to Porto Katsiki as it’s one of the best things to do in Greece.
Spend a day at Egremni Beach
Once you hit up Porto Katsiki, one of the next best things to do in Lefkada is enjoy Egremni Beach.
Egremni or Egremnoi is a remote beach on the southwest coast of the island. Its remoteness doesn’t mean it’s not popular though. There’s a road that will take you as close as possible (an earthquake in 2015 destroyed part of the road) before beachgoers must transcend a neverending 350 or so steps. Don’t worry, the view is worth it -until you have to climb back up!
Once you get to the beach you’ll enjoy beautiful white pebbly sand the clearest blue water you have ever seen. You’ll want to bring all that you need down to the beach with you as there is nothing on the beach besides a few locals selling water and umbrella rentals.
If you don’t want to park and walk it’s also possible to get to Egremni Beach by boat from Nidri or Vasiliki port.
Check out Nydri Waterfalls
The walk from the parking area to Nydri Waterfalls is only 875 yards but along the trail, you’ll get your first taste of the area’s beauty. Pass through lush greenery, citrus trees and olive groves before entering a ravine leading to the falls. The stunning scene that awaits features the 40-foot waterfalls surrounded by trees and unique rock formations.
You can take a dip in the cool, clear waters below the falls. At the beginning of the trail, there’s a cafe selling refreshments, make sure to grab a drink, you’ll want it on a hot day in Lefkada!
Take a Drive to Cape Lefkada
At the end of the peninsula in the south of the island. A narrow, maintained road leads right to the cape.
If you’re looking for a nice place to take a scenic drive on the island, Cape Lefkada is a great choice. Along the road that leads to the cape, you’ll see spectacular views of the coastline and nearby islands.
Upon arrival, you’ll see white cliffs dropping more than 200 feet to the sea. The area has historical and mythical significance and the cape’s lighthouse was built in 1890. Cape Lefkada is one of the best places to take in one of those Greek sunsets that the region is known for.
Go on a Mountain Biking Adventure
If you are looking for a bit of activity, one of the best things to do in Lefkada is go mountain biking. Lefkada is the perfect destination for mountain bikers because much of the interior of the island is mountainous and rugged with diverse trails suitable for all levels. Whether you want to take a slower ride through rolling terrain or an exciting adventure up and down mountains, there are trails for you.
Many overlook stunning vistas and pass by villages and top attractions. Most aren’t open to vehicles. Some of the most popular trails include Lazarata Drop, Karia Trail, Old Village Drop, Bush Whacker and Fanerwmeni Trail. You can rent mountain bikes and related equipment at Get Active in Nydri.
Get Active is located at 310 84 Nydri in an olive grove behind the village. Bike rentals are €20 per day. Guided rides are between €20 and €50. Get Active offers various guided rides for all ages and levels.
Hike Eglouvi – Stavrota Peak
On the southwest side of the mountain range in Protected Forest Karyas, Exanthias, Agios llias, Nikoli is this beautiful Greece hike.
Eglouvi – Stavrota Peak is the tallest peak on Lefkada and a hike around this eight-mile loop trail is a great way to see some of the best aerial views of the island and its beautiful coastline. Along the way, you’ll see forest areas, wildflowers and wide-open spaces as far as the eye can see.
The best time of year to hike this trail is between April and November, however if you go in the heat of the day during July and August make sure to pack plenty of water, food, and sunscreen. Plan to put at least five hours aside to complete the hike.
Enjoy a Meal and Drink with a View at Rachi Restaurant
If a delicious Greek meal on top of a mountain overlooking the Ionian Sea is on your list of must-do things in Lefkada, look no further than Rachi Restaurant. This peaceful mountaintop eatery in the village of Exanthia is where you’ll wine and dine on an outdoor terrace with the sea as your backdrop.
On the menu, you’ll find seafood specialties and many local dishes made with fresh vegetables picked fresh from the property’s garden including salads, Greek pasta and vegetarian dishes. After dinner, stay a while and enjoy a glass of wine (try the homemade local Vertzami) or coffee as the sun sets.
If you aren’t feeling dinner head right next door to the sister property, FLY ME sun&stars bar for the best cocktails with a beautiful view for sunset.
Spend a Day in Lefkada Town
The main hub and largest town on the island is Lefkada Town. Honestly, it’s far from the most beautiful or exciting Greek town, and it’s mostly known for being home to the bridge that connects the island to mainland Greece. However it also has many of the island’s top restaurants, bars, shops and museums.
Although many of the old buildings were destroyed in an earthquake, some remain intact including Agios Spyridon which was built in the 1600s.
Make sure to check out Mela Street which is famous for its beautiful covered passageways.
Visit the Castle of Agia Mavra
Built in the 1300s, the Castle of Agia Mavra is a fascinating place to visit because archaeological digs are a common sight. The striking former fortification offers a glimpse into the past but also a chance to see what’s still being uncovered.
Agia Mavra Church is also located on this site. It costs €4 to enter. The site is closed on Tuesdays and closes at 15:00 each day.
Go on a Mini-cruise
There are many small islands around Lefkada and a fun thing to do is to take a day cruise around these islands. The most famous island, which is only about two miles away, is the small private island of Skorpios which was once owned by Aristotle Onassis.
The lavish parties of yesteryear are no longer but the island still has charm, and you can visit it by taking a day trip with Greca. The first stop of the adventure is Papanikolis Cave and onto Giovani’s Cave and Lakka Beach on the island of Meganisi.
Here, you’ll enjoy some free time to explore before heading to Scorpios where you’ll enjoy a refreshing swim in the clear waters of a picturesque beach.
There are many boar operators that depart Nidri Port and head east to the islands. The Odysseia is an awesome option, The costs is around €57 per person for the day.
On Meganisi, use some of your free time to climb the hill in Spartochori Village where you’ll enjoy stunning views of the bay.
Explore the Village of Sivota
In the south of the island about 20 miles from Lefkada Town is a stunning Greek village. The village of Sivota is said to be one of the most beautiful on the island. With its beautiful bay surrounded by hills and forest, you’ll find plenty of places to enjoy the views and relax by the sea.
As you explore the downtown area, you’ll find many restaurants, cafes and boutiques. Although it’s a popular place for tourists, the town maintains a peaceful environment where you can rest your tired feet and enjoy the small things like a cup of coffee at a sidewalk cafe or a stroll through the back roads.
There are two lovely beaches along the harbor that are perfect for a dip. One is situated several hundred feet from the Yacht Bar Cafe and the other one is on the south side of the harbour.
Visit the Monastery of Panagia Faneromeni
In the northwest of the island a few miles from Lefkada Town at Frini is a fantastic monastery to visit.
The Monastery of Panagia Faneromeni is a historic site on top of a mountain and one of the most important religious centers on the island. The original structure was destroyed by fire in the 1800s and today, the reconstructed monastery is home to beautiful gardens, a library and a museum housing old Byzantine relics, manuscripts and gospels. The interior is a fascinating place to explore, and the exterior is where you’ll find stunning views of the town and coast.
A dress code is enforced here. Modest clothing is required and if you find yourself not dressed accordingly, there are cover-ups available.
If you want to get active in the water, one of the best things to do is go windsurfing. Windsurfing is a popular sport in Lefkada because there are so many places where the winds are just right! If you already know how to windsurf, you can rent equipment from several sport shops around the island including Horizon Watersports, Club Vass and Surf Hotel.
The best places to windsurf are Vassiliki and Agios Nikolaos. If you’re a beginner and would like to learn how to windsurf, Nefeli Club offers lessons from €35 per person depending on the type of lesson and level.
You can also stay at the resort at Nefeli Club and combine your accommodation with daily lessons.
Hike the Kolyvata – Antenna Plateau
The Kolyvata – Antenna Plateau is a 7.5-mile loop trail that passes along coastal areas and through a forest. Starting in Kolyvata near Skaros, you’ll follow an old path to the plateau. Along the way, you’ll see incredible views and pass by the 15th-century Lokkini Ekklisia Monastery.
The best time of year to hike this trail is from March to December. It’s recommended to put an entire morning and afternoon aside to complete it so you can enjoy the sights along the way and stop for a lunch before nightfall.
Cool off at Mylos Beach
Getting to Mylos Beach is an adventure in itself, because it’s only accessible via a hike or boat. However, the effort is worth it because this beach is amazing! Since it’s so remote, you won’t get huge crowds here and you’re surrounded by nature. Admire steep cliffs and swim in clear, blue waters.
f you want to hike to Mylos Beach, you’ll find the trail in the village of Agios Nikitas which is in the northwest of the island about nine miles from Lefkada Town. The hike takes about 25 minutes but if you want to get there quicker, you can take a five-minute boat ride from the beach in Agios Nikitas. A boat taxi will cost you around €6.
On the north side of the beach, there are sunbeds for rent for €20 per couple.
Observe Nature at the Sea Lakes of Lefkada
Surrounding Lefkada Town are two lagoons named Divari and Ivaria. The unique ecosystem of this protected area is the perfect environment for many plants, birds and other wildlife. Some of the birds you might spot include loufas, kormoranos, larks, herons, falarides, hawks, owls and tsikniades. Weasels, foxes and hares are often spotted near the lagoons as well.
Early in the morning before sunrise or in the evening before sunset are the best times to spot wildlife.
Sample Local Wine
Lefkada has perfect wine-producing conditions and several wineries around the island produce delicious wines using Vardea ad Vertzami grape varietals. In the south of the island near Fterno, about 15 miles from Lefkada Town is a wonderful winery. The Lefkas Earth Winery offers tours, tastings and the opportunity to purchase their wines.
A tour of this winery offers a fascinating insight into how the wine is made. As you follow your guide through the various buildings, you’ll hear about the various stages of wine production and see the tools and production facilities used.
The tour includes a tasting. The tour and wine tasting are free and a bottle costs between €7 and €9 a bottle. Try the dry white Vardea which is one of the most popular wines made on site.
Get a History Lesson at the Archaeological Museum
Lefkada is full of history dating back thousands of years and the best way to get an overview of that history is with a visit to the Archaeological Museum for just €2 per person. Here, you’ll find four rooms dedicated to the people, culture and history of the island from Paleolithic times to Roman times.
Artifacts on display include coins, fishing and farming equipment, musical instruments, weapons, figurines and items related to ancient funeral ceremonies.
Spend an Afternoon at the Beach Bar
Just looking to hang out for the day? One of the best things to do in Lefkada is hang out at one of the many beach bars. Step away from the ocean and enjoy a few hours soaking up the sun and the drinks at a beach bar.
Near Kathisma Beach are plenty of fun and hip beach bars to waste away a few hours. We loved Copla Lefkada as they had great smoothies and an awesome pool to hop in.
Enjoy the Rocky Terrain at Paralia Agios Nikitas
All Lefkada beaches are amazing, but we particularly loved swimming around the giant rocks at Agios Nikitas and consider visiting here one of the best things to do in Lefkada. Here you can sunbathe just steps away from a shopping street as well as a few delicious Greek tavernas.
Take a Hike Around Gyrapetra Cape
Gyrapetra Cape is a loop trail suitable for all levels. Along this six-mile trail, you’ll see spectacular views and pass along several beaches including Gyra and Agia and Panagia Gyra. Be sure to check out the Castle Agia Mavra which is along this trail.
Attend the International Folklore Festival
If you’re in Lefkada during the last week in August, check out the International Folklore Festival. For many years, this well-known festival has brought thousands of artists, musicians, singers and dancers from all over the world together to learn about and showcase different traditions.
This celebration of local and international culture opens with a lavish parade followed by a week of performances. Many events take place in the courtyard of the primary school.
The cost to attend is just €5 – €10 per show. During the opening ceremony, each group will provide a sample of their performance so you can better decide which full events to attend throughout the week.
Make Your Base at the Villa Veneziano
The best way to get an authentic local experience is to stay in an intimate, centrally located villa. Villa Veneziano is small, but it has everything you’ll need. A perfect ambiance is created with Venetian decor, lush gardens and stunning views of the Ionian Sea. The best part is the beautiful pavilion that opens to a pool and sun terrace. It’s location in Perigiali on Lefkada’s east coast is just five minutes from Nydri.
Enjoy the lovely public areas around the property including a kitchen, lounge area and outdoor dining area with BBQ facilities.
How to Get Around Lefkada
To enjoy all these amazing things to do in Lefkada we recommend renting a car! Renting a car in Greece and driving is the best way to get around Lefkada. Although it may not look like it on a map, Lefkada is a large island and it can take almost an hour to get from one point to the next in a rental car. Plus the winding seaside roads are extremely fun to drive.
It’s also possible to rent a 4×4, but we typically opt out of these in Greece. I prefer my AC and shade while driving, and often a rental car is cheaper than a quad.
If you are coming from Athens it may be worth looking into renting a car in Athens and driving to Lefkada. Rental rates are often cheaper in Athens than on the islands.
When is the Best Time to Visit Lefkada?
The best time to visit Lefkada is between June and September. I particularly love visiting Greece in June and September and the temperatures are lower and the crowds aren’t at their peak. Most of the photos in this article were taken in late June.
The Perfect Ionian Itinerary?
Every year we try to check out a new chain of Greek Islands. Why? Well because Greece is our favorite country to travel to! During this trip, we visited the Ionian Islands. We started in Corfu, took the ferry to the mainland, and drove to Lefkada.
Where to Stay on Lefkada
READ MORE GREECE TRAVEL TIPS
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Greek Travel Planning Resources
- ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank You’ in Greek: “Yasou” and “Efharisto”
- Currency: Euro – (EUR) – €
- Visa: Schengen visa. Which is 90 days in the European Union out of 180. Many nationalities are granted this on arrival for free. Check with your embassy to see if that is you.
- Weather: The weather in Greece is a Mediterranean climate. This means winters are mild and rainy, while summers are warm and dry with plenty of sunshine throughout the year.
- What to Pack: Warm weather clothes and a swimsuit, don’t forget a good pair of clothes to go and a jacket for cool nights. Read about what to wear in Greece.
- Budget: If you’re in the initial stages of planning, check out our awesome post that breaks down how much a trip to Greece costs.
- Rent a Car: We suggest most visitors consider renting a car for the best trip possible. Try Discover Cars to compare quotes from different rental agencies. Check Price Here!
- Protect Your Trip: Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance! We always carry travel insurance to protect us from injury, theft, or a canceled trip. We use HeyMondo for our insurance needs.
- Tours in Greece: Check out our list of the best tours you can enjoy in Greece!
- Travel Adapter: Make sure you find a good adapter to keep your personal electronics charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land. Purchase one here.