Are you (planning on) visiting Lefkada? In this article ‘The complete travel guide to Lefkada’ you will find the answer to the most asked, basic questions about this beautiful Greek island. Including a complete 5-day itinerary.
Lefkada is an island. But because it is connected by a bridge to the mainland you can drive there as well without having to take a boat. Thus, the options for getting to Lefkada are: by car and bus, by plane or by boat.
Directly to the airport of Preveza (Aktion Airport) from numerous European airports. The airport of Preveza is located on the mainland on a 25-minute drive from Lefkada. There are buses (€ 3 one way) and taxi’s that can bring you to the island. Because Lefkada is an island that you can get to by car, there are unfortunately little to none domestic flights from Athens (this differs per year, you can check the domestic airlines of Sky Express, Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines).
Lefkada is connected by boat to several other Ionian islands.
You can browse, compare and find the ferry time and price that suits you best easily Ferryhopper. Not only do they have and interactive map on which you can build a route between different destinations, they also have an app that shows the location of the ferry you booked in realtime. This is called live tracking of your ferry. They have even implemented the bonus / loyalty programmes of the ferry companies into their platform. So you can save your points and miles even when booking through Ferryhopper.
I have written an extensive blog on how travelling by ferry in Greece works, answering all the frequently asked questions. You can find it here.
After landing at Preveza Aktion airport you can rent a car and drive to Lefkada town in 25 minutes.
Of course you can also rent a car from Athens (or any other destination in Greece) and make the 4-hour drive. Normally car rental agencies are forbidding you to take rental cars to or from an island because of the risks on the ferry. With Lefkada however, this is less of a problem. But always check the policy of your rental agency!
Bear in mind that there are lots of toll roads in Greece. If you’re coming in from Athens for instance, you’ll have to pay around € 14 alone for the Rio – Antirrio bridge connecting Patras on the Peloponnese to the mainland. And that is just one of the many toll stops.
You can also take the public bus from Athens (€ 34) that goes via Patras or Thessaloniki (€ 36), that goes via Ioannina and Igoumenitsa.
Lefkada and Athens are about 400 kilometers and a 4-hour drive apart.
The best time to visit Lefkada in my opinion is the second half of May and the first half of June. But in general the best time to visit is from May to October. The second half of September and October are also great. From the second half of May to the first half of October, the weather is relatively stable, with temperatures of 20-25C to 30-35C. If you encounter a cloudy day or a short shower in May or September it rarely lasts.
July and August are the busiest and most expensive months in Lefkada. If you can, try to avoid going during this time. Do not worry if you have to go in July or August, because there are always less crowded places to discover.
From November to April, most facilities for tourists will be closed down.
You need at least 3 days to get a glimpse of what Lefkada has to offer. You want to discover Lefkada town, and drive to a few of the stunning beaches with white sand and crazy blue waters on the west side of the island, of which some require a long drive and / or hike. It is not possible to visit all of them in one day. You might also want to do a boat trip around a part of the island, and visit the beaches with emerald green waters on the east side. Therefore I advise you to stay 4 to 5 days. In 4 to 5 days you can see the highlights of the island without rushing it. In this complete travel guide to Lefkada I have included a 5 day itinerary for the island. It is at the bottom of this page.
The best, easiest and fastest way to get around on Lefkada is to rent a vehicle. Such as a car or a scooter. A car is safer on the windy and mountainous roads, especially at night. But in high season can be hard to find a parking place in Lefkada town or near one of the beaches. When using a scooter, you see more of the amazing green surroundings while driving. And it is more convenient for parking. I would however not recommended renting a scooter and certainly not an ATV if you have no experience driving them. I have a lot of experience with scooter driving but I had pain in my hands after driving the whole day in Lefkada, just from pressing the hand brakes going down all the steep windy roads.
If you want to rent a car, you can rent it upon arrival at Preveza airport and drive yourself to your accommodation. If you want to rent a scooter or ATV, it is best to take a bus or taxi to your accommodation on Lefkada and rent locally.
A reliable rental company for cars on Lefkada is Sunny Cars.
Lefkada has a bus system that connects Lefkada town to Athens, Thessaloniki. But on the island itself also to the main villages, tourists resorts and some of the beaches that can be reached by car as well. Think of Nidri, Vasiliki, Agios Nikitas, Kalamitsi, and Kathisma beach.
Most of the beaches on the west side of the island, that are those with the spectacular blue water, can not be reached by bus. Only Kathisma, and Milos beach because it is attached to Agios Nikitas
Also, buses might just leave a couple of times per day which means you can only visit one destination in a day. It costs you significantly more time than renting vehicle. The central bus station of Lefkada is located just outside of Lefkada town, so this is a great place to stay at if you are dependent on the bus system.
You can find the routes and timetables here. Tickets range from € 1.50 to € 3.50 one way. Tickets are issued at a ticket counter (if present) or otherwise inside the bus.
This is the perfect place to stay at if you need to use the public transport system (buses) a lot or want nightlife city vibe, or if you are coming to Lefkada to go wind- or kitesurfing. Because it is in the middle of the island on the northern tip, you can easily go to both the east and the west side of Lefkada. Unlike many other islands’ capitals, Lefkada town actually has a pretty great beach nearby. The beach of Agios Ioannis, which is kilometers long and then turns into Gyras beach, Kastro beach and Ammoglossa beach. But it is basically one, long stroke of sand. Agios Ioannis is the longest stretch of sand and therefore the beach where parts are often windy. Thus it is perfect area to stay at for wind- and kitesurfers. The wind- and kitesurfing clubs are also located here. You can find very affordable and peaceful accommodation in the area behind the behind the beach, near Frini. beach. It is only a short drive into town where the bustling bars are, so you can have the best of both worlds.
Nidri is probably the most touristic settlement of the island. It has a port where tours and ferries to Meganisi leave from, and the same strip functions as a boulevard with restaurants. The street behind is a tourist strip with more shops and restaurants. From the side of Nidri all the way to Perigiali there is a (small stroke of) beach with countless restaurants and beach bars on it. Now for me personally, Nidri is way too much mass tourism and doesn’t have spacious and good enough beach. But lots of people swear by it and go here year after year. I guess that is partly because it has so many facilities!
A tiny settlement that basically consists of one street from the main road to the beach with shops and restaurants. The street starts at the main road and leads to the beach. It is a pedestrian only zone with a stone road and traditional houses, which makes it look more authentic and less as a tourist strip than Nidri. That is definitely its charm. The other benefit of staying here is that you are on the west side and therefore ‘on the road’ to all the beaches with the crazy blue waters that Lefkada is famous for, while still staying in a fully organized village. All around in the area, you can find accommodation. However, Agios Nikitas during summer gets extremely overcrowded. Little to none parking place on the main road anywhere close to the pedestrian zone. The nice sandy beach with crystal clear waters is not big enough for all of these tourists. And locals, because it is a bay it doesn’t get so windy and it is one of the places close to Lefkada town where locals can take their children for a safe swim. It also gets lots of day visitors because it is the start of the hike (or boat trip in case of calm seas) to the stunning beach of Milos, on which I included more info below.
Vasiliki is a picturesque settlement in the south of Lefkada that was once a fishermen’s village. It has very cute boulevard with restaurants and cafes alongside what once was the fishermen’s harbor, and a few street filled with nice souvenir shops, supermarkets and more restaurants and cafés. Vasiliki is way more quiet than Nidri and Agios Nikitas, but further away (by vehicle) from Lefkada town and some other main attractions of the island. However, there are great boat tours that leave from here to the most popular beaches of the island: Agiofili, Porto Katsiki and Egremni. So it is actually a great way of seeing those beaches while staying in a fully equipped yet relaxed village. Around the corner of the boulevard (within walking distance) starts a stunning beach with a mix of sand and pebbles. Fully organized with water sports as well. If you do not (wish to) stay here, you should definitely stop for a coffee on one of your day trips.
If you want to stay in a truly authentic mountain village, chose Kalamitsi. You will be treated with amazing food at the local tavernas and with spectacular views of the coast below. You can drive down directly from the village to the amazing Avali, Megali Petra and Kavaleftika beaches. The same stunning waters as Milos, Kathisma and Porto Katsiki, but without the crowds. Breakfast cafes and mini markets are also at hand. And you’ll be in the perfect spot for visiting all the beaches on the west side, since Kalamitsi is located towards the middle of the island’s west side.
Of course you can also divide your stay into a few days in the south(east) and a few days in the (north)west, so that you are a shorter driving distance away from the things you want to visit.
A complete travel guide to Lefkada can not exist without the must see’s and highlights of the island. I wrote them down for you below.
For everyone looking to train their butt in Lefkada while visiting the most beautiful beach: go to Egremni. The beach is super super stunning, with waters with unbelievable blue colors. However, the beach got completely destroyed by an earthquake in 2015. The beach has now been cleaned, the road rebuilt. But you are now allowed to drive your car down there. You have to park it up the hill on the side of the road (free) or on the paid parking lot (€ 8 in August 2022). Then, you have to walk down 1.1km on the newly paved but steep (15-20%) road after which you have to descend 102947382 stairs. On the beach there are a few (limited!) sunbeds available for rent for € 15 per set. Or just an umbrella for € 5 or €8. Again, these were the prices in August 2022. There are also some cold refreshments for sale. But a small bottle of water costs €2, you better bring frozen water yourself als you’re gonna need it for the walk up!! But it is so worth it.
You can visit by boat tour from Vasiliki and Nidri as well, but of course the efforts of hiking makes it extra spectacular.
Kathisma is an extremely organized large beach full of beach bars and loungers. It is kind of similar to Egremni but because it is so developed, less spectacular to see except from above. However, it is the only organized beach of the most spectacular beaches you can just drive to, park your car in front of the beach for free or for a couple of euros and get all the service you want directly at your sunbed. So it is good for a family with children, even more so because there is a beach club (Copla) with a pool as well. I think we paid € 20 for a set of loungers and an umbrella in August 2022. But those who are curious always look around the corner. On and around the corner of Kathisma beach, you will find a beautiful cave, with rock formations and another, secluded beach. We really loved it and even though we had already paid for a pair of sunbeds on the main beach, we stayed at the secluded beach on the side for 2 hours while swimming and enjoying the waves splashing onto the rocks. Really nice for those who like to ‘play’ with the water!
These three beaches can be reached by driving down an extremely windy road from Kalamitsi village in ‘medium’ condition. In return you’ll get beaches with a hippie kind of vibe and without any large crowds on it. There are a few beach canteens serving snacks and drinks and renting out a limited amount of sunbeds. We paid € 10 at Nektar Paradise in August 2022 for a set. This is extremely cheap. So if you need a day away from the crowds but with the basic amenities, go here!
Porto Katsiki is the most famous beach of Lefkada. Before the beach was famous, it was apparently only accessible for goats. That’s why it is called Porto Katsiki. ‘To Katsiki’ means goat in Greek. I have been to secluded beaches where some goats were climbing straight up the rocks so I do believe it! Porto Katsiki is more of a banana shaped bay with amazing cliffs. Therefore the amazing colors of the water come to life even more than on the large sandy beaches. You can reach Porto Katsiki by car, but you’ll have to leave it up on the cliff (for € 10) and walk down a couple of stairs. ‘Beach bars’ are not allowed on the beach so you have to take your refreshments from all the kiosks on top of the cliffs as well. There is a limited amount of sunbeds available for rent. The best is to be very early to avoid the parking chaos. And be gone when all the crowds and boats with loud music start coming in.
Milos beach can only be reached by boat or by hike. Boats leave from Agios Nikitas on calm water days for a couple of euros. If there is no boat service due to waves there is a 20-minute hike from Agios Nikitas available on a winding path over a large hill. You will be rewarded though with the most amazing view of the beach from above! Also, the beach is large and not crowded, especially on days that there is no boat service. There is a small canteen with snacks and refreshments and sunbeds. Be prepared though to pay € 35,- for a set of sunbeds and umbrella and € 4 for a Coca-Cola (August 2022 prices). Best is to bring your own beach supplies and water.
When you’re going to Lefkada you will easily forget to check out the beaches of the east side of the island, because those on the west side are so spectacular. However the east side consists of tons of pebble beaches with the clearest, emerald waters. Truly stunning. I didn’t have enough time on my visits to go to all of them. A few very nice ones are: Agiofili (to which you can go via a staircase or by boat tour from Vasiliki), Mikros Gialos, and Desimi. This last one has no sunbeds, has a camping on the beach, has a cave to explore and some taverna’s which makes it a real hidden gem. You can also rent a boat, for istance at Pipis boats in Nikiana, but also on Desimi beach, and discover all these beaches yourself.
Karia or Karya is my favorite mountain village in Lefkada for a coffee or dinner stop. Why? Because of of the large square with plane trees. It is just such a great place to sit at for a while. On one occasion, we went for a coffee at Του Γαρ. We just sat there with 20 local Greek grandpa’s discussing the latest gossip. Which to me is always a sign of a great place. On another occasion, we had a very very tasty dinner at the restaurant To Pardalo Katsiki. There is a small Folklore Museum as well.
You haven’t been to Lefkada if you have not done a sunset dinner or cocktail session at Amente, Fly Me Sun & Stars bar or Utopia. Amente and Fly Me are high up the mountain ‘above’ (it’s far away) Kathisma beach, sometimes even located above the clouds, and Utopia is located on a lower level behind Milos beach. All three bars have a spectacular ‘infinity’ view over the ocean and the sunset. I haven’t been to Utopia, but at Amente I had a great cocktail. And at Fly Me (the Rachi restaurant) I had a delicious mushroom risotto and some bites. Amente even has a pool (not to swim in, just for the aesthetics) and live music a couple of days per week. For the dining tables with infinity view they do ask a minimum spend for up to € 100 per person. Keep that in mind. However you can view the same sunset from the terrace of the bar and just pay for 1 drink. If you arrive on time for sunset – at least one hour before – you can secure a good spot.
The ‘Fly me sun & stars bar’ is called that way because it is also the launching platform for paragliders. IF you want to do paragliding somewhere in Greece, I recommend you do it here. Because you will circle above the amazing beaches of Lefkada and land on Kathisma beach. They can pick you up at Kathisma and bring you back there, or you can drive to the launching platform and return there for a sunset dinner and drink. Flights start from € 80. There are several companies, such as Flyfeel and Lefkada Paragliding. Do check before where they launch from, what the flight will be like and where you will land to avoid disappointment. Also keep in mind that due to weather conditions, your flight can be postponed or cancelled. You won’t pay in that case of course.
This village a must for a breakfast, coffee or lunch stop. Just sit on the waterfront on the cutest little harbor boulevard and enjoy the view for a second before moving on to your next destination.
Changes of scenery in Greece can happen within a couple of hundred meters, and this is something very amazing and beautiful! “Just” behind the very coastal town of Nidri you can find this waterfall. If you drive 5 to 10 minutes inland you can walk straight into a forest and into what I would call a smaller gorge. With, of course, a river. After a 10 minute walk alongside the river you end up at this waterfall. In August nearly dry, but it doesn’t make the scenery less beautiful! On a hot day it is also a welcome cooler area, although the walk will take some of your energy anyway!
Take pictures with the windmills at Agios Ioannis beach
These windmills have been there since the mid-1700’s and were used to produce flour!
To me Lefkada town isunderwhelming because I am a 40-time visitor of Corfu. Corfu town is so majestic and none of the other Ionian islands can compare to that. However, if you’re visiting Lefkada you must go once before sunset. Definitely to see the colorful houses and check out the shops. The sunset from the wooden bridge on the edge of the town is truly stunning, and when it gets dark and the lights turn on the bridge, cafes and boats are very beautifully lit as well.
A completly travel guide to Lefkada can not exist either without suggestions for where to eat and drink. I tend to only recommend places that really surprised me. So here are some restaurants that I really loved. I got the tips from locals by the way. Forget Tripadvisor and ask the locals where you should eat!
Nektar Paradise is a small beach canteen on Avali beach that is overlooked by many tourists. It has the hippie vibe. At first we were hesitant to ordering our dinner here, because how can a main course like pastitsio taste fresh? They were definitely not going to prepare it right in front of our eyes. But I guess it WAS homemade earlier after all, because it was delicious. And eating at a (beach) canteen is always ridiculously cheap and an authentic Greek experience. The owners of the canteen actually also recommended us the 2 restaurants below and they were so right!!
Karia is a must visit mountain village in Lefkada with a large square full of large plane trees. To Pardalo Katsiki must be the best restaurant on the square. The lentils were delicious. Lentils are a tradition of Lefkada and you will find them on way more menus than elsewhere in Greece. But it was crazy delicious and not expensive at all. Everything we ordered was good.
Great food on the seafront in town, I particularly liked the shrimp risotto. The lentils here were (again) also really good.
I have also been to Kyma in Lefkada town for fish, and although many tourists and locals swear this is the best fish restaurant in town, I thought it was good but not spectacular.
To conclude this complete travel guide to Lefkada: check the video below to see what a 5 day itinerary to Lefkada could look like
Reply to @deadshawwty 5 days exploring Lefkada! #lefkada #lefkas #lefkadagreece #lefkadagrece #lefkadabeaches #lefkadaisland #greece #ionianisland #greecetips #greecetravel #islandhoppinggreece #tzatchickie #travelitinerary #griekenland #reizen #holiday #greekislands #visitgreece♬ Love You So - The King Khan & BBQ Show
Thanks for reading this complete guide to Lefkada island, Greece with 5-day itinerary. I hope it helped you and you will have a great time in Greece.
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