Lefkas (Lefkada) island is opposite the west shores of Aetoloakarnania and differs from all the other island because it’s connected with the continental Greece by a floating bridge (50 m.). Lefkas has many alternating sceneries and impresses! It is a mostly mountainous island, but with a lot of vegetation and many beaches: Calm beauty in the cosmopolitan and tourist east side and wild beauty with rocks at the west side, an attraction for extreme sports lovers.
Lefkas Greece is a place who has given birth to many men of culture and art, like the poets Aristotelis Valaoritis and Aggelos Sikelianos, but also the world famous mezzo soprano Agne Baltsa.
Of the most greek famous and tourist parts are Nidri, Porto Katsiki, a world famous beach, and St Nikita and Vasiliki beaches.
In Lefkas town there is a marine operating as a supply station. Lefkas is surrounded by a group of smaller paradise islands: The biggest is Meganisi with almost 1.200 permanent inhabitants. Other small islands are Kalamos and Kastos, while some are private like Skorpios, the Aristotelis Onassis’ island, and Madouri, the island that belongs to Valaoritis family.
Historically it followed the fate of all the other Ionian islands: It was conquered by the Venetians, the Turks, the French and the English and was annexed to Greece in 1864.
The easy access, the green and blue water, the vegetated scenery and the steep and impressive beaches make Lefkas holidays an ideal destination for vacations.
Festivities and Local Traditions
The Phaki (Lentil) Festival is celebrated every August 7th at Karya on Lefkas.
Lefkada is a beautiful island, famous, mostly, for its crystal waters and wonderful beaches. However, here you will come across very interesting sights and locations. You will find the most important sights of the island in Lefkada town, the capital of the island. Here, you will meet the impressive castle of Aghia Mavra, the archaeological site of the ancient town of Lefkada, pretty and neat churches and monasteries, the archaeological and cultural museums, the famous park of Bosketo, with the collection of busts of renowned poets and other artists of Lefkada, the libraries (municipal and Haramoglios), the museum of the phonographs.
Apollon temple at Lefkatas cape: Construction ruins and architectural parts of the temple of Apollon are located at Lefkatas or Doukato cape, in south Lefkada. This sanctuary was widely famous in the ancient world, as it was the place where Pan-Hellenic festivals have been taking place in honour of Apollon, every year. Apollon was the god who protected the marines and the doctor of body and soul. Ancients believed that, if you jump off the rocks of the cape, your soul would get free from the weight of passions and sins. From here, the female poet Sapfo allegedly leapt to her death from the 30 meters high cliffs, when she was abandoned by her beloved Faonas.
Findings of Palaeolithic and Neolithic period: The northern part of the island had been inhabited at the very early days, as the findings of Palaeolithic and Neolithic period (3.500 bc) prove. The findings were discovered from the excavations of the architect and archaeologist Wilhelm Dörpfeld in the “Hirospilia” (pigcave) of Evgiros and you can see them at the Archaeological Museum of Lefkada. In the valley of Vassiliki, the Archaeological Service has discovered ancient ruins of towers, probably, belonged to an ancient town and to the settlements of Klismatia, Marmara, Pyrgi and Marantohori.
Kastro (castle) or Kastromonastiro: The castle “Kastromonastiro” (meaning “fortified monastery”), is located near Episkopi settlement, on Kalamos island, but not many things are known about this magnificent monument. Today, only ruins from the high stone walls with the beautiful interior arches are preserved. It is also said that the mother of Georgios Karaiskakis (fighter of the Greek Revolution for Independence in 1821) has been buried here.
Nirikos: Nirikos was the name of the ancient city of Lefkada, located in the current Kalligoni, 2km outside and east of the town. The archaeological site includes the ruins of the surrounding settlement of ancient Lefkada, abandoned around 1300, dated from archaic to roman times, two cemeteries of the ancient town, graves, farmhouses and harbor facilities.
Tombs of Pro Hellenic period at Steno: In the valley of Nydri, the archaeological site, extended from the feet of Skaros Mountain to Magemenos, includes tombs of Pro Hellenic period at the place called Steno, graves and construction ruins. These ruins were discovered during the excavations of the famous architect and archaeologist Wilhelm Dorpfeld and date from the prehistoric to the roman years. Wilhelm Dorpfeld proposed the theory that the island of Lefkada was the Homeric Ithaca and that, in Nydri, was Odysseus palace. He loved Lefkada so much that he wished to be buried here. His tomb is located at the edge of the hill of Vlihos peninsula, over the church of Aghia Kiriaki.
Aghios Ioannis Prodromos (Saint John Baptist) at Kastos: Big temple on Kastos island, built in the mid 19th century. At the foundations of the church, there is a dome-shaped stone room, probably belonging to an early Christian tomb.
Aghios Ioannis Prodromos (Saint John Baptist) at Meganissi: The small monastery of Aghios Ioannis Prodromos is located at a pebbled beach on the west of Meganissi. This monastery does not have to show great frescoes or architecture style, but it has great historic value. It is considered to have been founded before 1477, but without any evidence. It is said that was destroyed by pirates who threw the icon of the saint in the sea, which was drawn out by a fisherman. In 1800, the monk Ioannis Patrikis coming from a rich family, sent a nun to rebuilt it and she lived there until her death. Her grave is located between the foundation of the old and new wall of the sanctuary.
Aghios Minas: In the church of Aghios Minas, close to the church of Pantokratoras, you will admire the fine wooden cut templon and the icons of great Eptanesian hagiographers. The church had been founded in 1707, with the permission of Venetians, in baroque style. It has been restored, after serious damages suffered in 1724.
Aghios Spyridonas: The basilica of Aghios Spyridonas, located in the main square of Lefkada town, was built at the end of the 17th century and it is private. It is clearly influenced by the Venetian architecture. The templon was made by a Zakynthian wood cutter, J.Groppa and the icons by the Cretan -Venetian descent- Tomazo Gen.
Monastery of Panagia Hodeghetria: It is the oldest Christian monument, preserved in the island. It is located in Apolpena village, inside the oil grove. It was founded around 1449 and 1450 or according to other sources, around the 11th century.
Monastery of Faneromeni: The monastery of Faneromeni was built in the green pine clad hill, on the west side of the town, in the way to Tsoukalades village. The view of here to Aghios Ioannis, Gira and Castle of Aghia Mavra is wonderful. Its history starts from the first apostolic years and that is why it is one of the most significant monuments of the island and the only monastery still in residence. Here, in a modern building, the new Ecclesiastical Museum of the monastery is housed, including in 3 floors ecclesiastical art and tradition’s exhibits, like icons, vestments, vessels and books. The monastery also exhibits Christian books and has a small guestroom for the pilgrims. It is the patron saint of the “Lefkada’s whole” and her grace is celebrated on Monday of Holy Spirit.
Pantokratoras chapel: The chapel of Pantokratoras is an important Christian monument, located 1km northeast of Kavalos village, with its bell hanging on a huge oak in the front of the church’s yard. At the door, there are windows from ancient Greek temples. Many traditional church towers decorate the churches of Sfakiotes. Some of the most beautiful are: Aghios Dionysios and Aghios Spiridonas in Lazarata, built 150 years ago.
Ellomenio Museum of Greek Musical Instruments: The museum is housed in an old olive press, transformed in an outstanding place of reception and includes traditional objects of folkloric art, farmer’s equipment and musical instruments. It is located in Neohori village and was founded with the initiative of Mr. Panagiotis Tsatsoulas (tel.:0030 2645093097). Folklore
Museum of Lefkadite Canvas Works: The Folklore Museum of Lefkadite Canvas Works “Maria Koutsohero” is a small private museum. Among the traditional exhibits, you will discover the life and character, the persistence, patience and genius of the Lefkadite mountain people who lived under rough conditions and managed to create a folkloric culture (tel.: 0030 2645041590).
Folklore Museum of the Music and Literature Group: The Folklore Museum of the Music and Literature Group “Orpheus” “Pantazis Kontomixis” was founded in 1937 and includes a rich collection of significant and rare objects from the everyday life and business of the Lefkadite people (τηλ.: 0030 2645022778).
Haramoglios Special Lefkadite Library: The Haramoglios Special Lefkadite Library includes thousands of books and printed matter, newspaper articles, magazines, even post cards with Lefkada. Its founder, Aristotelis Haramoglis, begun his efforts in 1974 and managed to collect, from Greece and the rest of the world, everything published on Lefkada from locals or foreigners and everything written by Lefkadites on several issues. Today it possesses rare editions dated back to 1420. The collection is in the Guiness book of records (tel.: 0030 2645021465).
Kontomihio Folklore Museum of the Sfakiotes: The museum is housed in the old building of the Kavalos elementary school, in a place full of pine trees and has opened to the public in the summer of 2004. It includes variety of tools used in different crafts, such as shoemaker, farmer, carpenter, barber, builder, screen maker and woodcutter, recreation of areas within the Lefkadite home, collection of old photographs, woven material and traditional dresses etc. (tel.: Municipality of Sfakiotes 0030 2645061210).
Phonograph Museum: The museum is located near the pedestrian precinct of the old town of Lefkada. It is a small private museum, that includes phonographs, records, rare objects of use, decorative instruments, boxes, seals, currency and old post cards etc. (tel.: 0030 2645021088).
Public Library: The public library, founded in 1953, is housed in a traditional mansion with a garden, the Zoulinos house, located on the west side of the old city. It includes a large number of books and printed matter and houses the richest collection of post Byzantine icons of Eptanesian technique (tel.: 0030 2645022502).
Lefkada Tourist Police Service Tel. 0030 26450 26450, 29379, 29380
Archaeological Museum of Lefkada Tel. 0030 26450 21635
Lefkas marina Tel. 0030 26450 26645
Lefkada Hotel Union Tel. 0030 26450 24539
Leflada Rooms to Let Union Tel. 0030 26450 21266, 21608
Lefkas municipality Tel. 0030 26450 23000
Apollonio municipality Tel. 0030 26450 31930
Ellomenos municipality Tel. 0030 26450 93140
Sfiakiota municipality Tel. 0030 26450 61275
Karya municipality Tel. 0030 26450 41800
Meganisi municipality Tel. 0030 26450 51329
Kalamos municipality Tel. 0030 26460 91281
Kastos municipality Tel. 0030 26460 91484
General hospital of lefkada Tel. 0030 26450 25371, 25376, 38200
Lefkas town Health center Tel. 0030 26450 31065
Vlicho Health center Tel. 0030 26450 95204
Vasiliki Health center Tel. 0030 26450 31065
Nydri Health center Tel. 0030 26450 92228
Official website: www.lefkada.gr
Sources: www.ionian-guide.com, www.lefkada.gr