Lefkada (also known as Lefkas) is surrounded by a total of 24 islets, including the renowned island of Skorpios, property of Aristotle Onassis.
In Lefkada, which extends over 302.5 km², you will find remarkable sights, churches and monasteries, picturesque settlements, green surroundings and wonderful beaches.
The archaeological and folklore museums and the Charamogleios Special Library of Lefkada, which is unique in the world, complete the image of an island ideal for holidays and entertainment.
Lefkada formed part of the coast of Akarnania until the 6th century BC. Nowadays, it is considered an island, as it is separated from mainland Greece by a canal – however a bridge provides access to the island. This, along with the fact that it can be frequently reached by ferry boats departing from other Ionian islands – like Zakynthos, Ithaca and Kefalonia – makes Lefkada a very good base for trips and excursions to the Ionian islands and western Greece.
Lefkada was named after Lefkatas, a cape located at the southernmost part of the island with imposing steep white rocks, and has been inhabited since the Neolithic era. It grew prosperous as a Corinthian colony and formed part of the Despotate of Epirus after Constantinople was seized by the Franks in 1204. Later, Turks, Venetians, French and Englishmen controlled the island, until it rejoined Greece in 1864 along with the rest of the Ionian islands.
• The capital city of the island is also known as Lefkada and welcomes visitors with its beautiful narrow streets, small squares, traditional houses, fine belfries and paved pedestrian streets. It is connected with the opposite coastline of mainland Greece by a bridge and has approximately 8.000 inhabitants.
• The fortress of Agia Mavra, situated at the entrance of the city, was built by the Sicilian Ioanni Orsini in 1300. It is built next to an artificial canal on an islet of the lagoon. Other noteworthy sites in Lefkada town include:
• Bosketo park, which used to be a meeting point for the intelligentsia of the island.
• The coastal road with its lively cafes and music bars.
• The Archaeological Museum with findings dating back to the Middle Palaeolithic era until the 4th century AD.
• The Central Public Library, which, among other things, possesses a collection of Post-Byzantine icons.
• The Charamogleios Special Library of Lefkada exhibiting rare books, gravures and maps and hosting an art hall, where contemporary painting and photography exhibitions take place.
• The Folklore Museum, with a representation of a traditional house of Lefkada.
• The Phonograph and Old Souvenirs Museum, with exhibitions of old phonographs, records, antiques, banknotes, etc.
• The wetlands of Megalos and Mikros Avlaimonas, two natural fish farms near the town.
• The windmills in Gyra and in the small village of Fryni, built on a slope with beautiful views.
Each year during the summer months, the Cultural Centre of Lefkada organises the Festival of Speech and Art as well as the International Folkloric Festival, which takes place in August with the participation of folkloric troupes from countries from all over the world.
In Lefkada, on the evening of Good Friday the epitaphios processions of the various parishes are held, accompanied by a local band, winding through the town’s main streets and ending up in the traditional, Venetian-style, central square.
On Holy Saturday morning, the band plays rousing tunes in the streets of the town, while housewives throw earthenware vessels from their windows.
The town of Lefkada and the nearby beaches are ideal for biking. The lagoon tour (Agia Mavra, Gyra, Myloi, Ai-Giannis, Lefkada) is of unique natural beauty.
Papanikolis Cave was the place where boats and sailing boats found shelter when they were threatened by storms. It took its name after the Papanikolis submarine, one of the most successful Greek submarines during the Second World War, which used the cave as its base. The cave’s chamber is very large covering 3.800m² and is the second biggest cave in Greece. You can visit it by boat and you will be amazed by its colossal hall and its rich decoration of stalactites. In the sunlight, the combination of rocks creates thousands of colours giving a dreamy atmosphere. At the end of the cave there is a pebbled passage, ideal for walking.
Another cave located in Lefkada close to Spartochori is Spilia tou Daimona.
• The church of Agios Spyridon located in the main square of Lefkada town (1685).
• The church of Agios Nikolaos (1687) with a remarkable wood-carved chancel.
• The church of Christ Pantocrator founded in 1700; in the courtyard you can see the tomb of writer Aristotelis Valaoritis.
• The monastery of Panagia Faneromeni, near Fryni. The new monastery is the religious centre of Lefkada. Nearby, you will find the older monastery (1650) built on the site of the temple of Hera.