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Strand von Katsiki auf Lefkada, Bild: Aleksandar Todorovic / shutterstock

Lefkada in the Ionian Islands

Lefkada, also known as Levkás or Leukas , is part of the Ionian Islands of Greece and has an area of about 300 square kilometers. Actually, it belongs to the mainland of Acarnania, but was separated from it by a ship channel. In the north of the island is the town of Levkás, which has existed since 640 BC. Corinthian colonists had founded the city. The ship canal had to be made passable again and again. From 197 BC Rome was the owner of the island, from the Middle Ages the Byzantine Empire and since 1331 Venice. The Duchy of Anjou held the island as Santa Maura from 1362 to 1467 before the Turks occupied it until 1684. Morosini succeeded in regaining the island for Venice. Ultimately, the island has been part of Greece since 1863. At the narrowest point, a bridge leads across the lagoon that connects Lefkada with the mainland. The islands of Ithaca and Kefalonia are located about ten kilometers south of Lefkada.

Sights on Lefkada

Levkás

In the town of Levkás you can visit, among other things, the church of Ágios Dimitrios (St. Demetrius). There you will find four paintings by the painter Panagiotis Doxarás, who founded the Ionian School of Painting . In addition, the church of Ágios Minás is nearby, the ceiling of which was painted around 1750. The walls are mostly made of wood. Not far away you can see the church of Pantokratoras , where some famous Greek personalities are buried. Agios Spiridonas is a centrally located church that does not have a dome.

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Vlychos Bay, Lefkada
Panoramic view of the bay of Vlychos and the town of Nydri from Skaroi mountain, Image: Heracles Kritikos / shutterstock

However, there are side entrances and the Venetian influence is clearly recognizable in the architectural style. The most impressively furnished is Agios Nikolaos, a church that had to be rebuilt again and again due to several earthquake tremors. The windows and entrances in particular impress with their Baroque technique. The icons on the wall are masterpieces by Spiridonas Ventouras and Ioannis Rousos.

Leukás

About three kilometers further south, remains of the ancient city of Leukás can be seen in the form of fortification walls, theater parts and former Acropolis walls. Opposite, at the village of Ruga , traces point to a Roman canal bridge.

Nýdrion

In the east of the island you come across the village of Nýdrion, where Dörpfeld, a German archaeologist, had uncovered round buildings of a settlement between 1905 and 1910, which date back to the Early Bronze Age around 2000 BC. Dörpfeld’s former home, which was located near the excavation site, now functions as a museum. The finds from the excavations are exhibited there. Not far from Nýdrion , a hike of about three kilometers, you can enjoy a small waterfall.

Póros

Agiofili Beach, Lefkada
Agiofili beach on the Ionian Sea, Lefkada island, Image: Balate Dorin / shutterstock

To the southeast is the village of Póros, where the church of Análipsis with its 17th-century frescoes of the Virgin Mary arouses interest. Right next door is the monastery of Ágios Ioánnis, which is decorated with wall frescoes from the 17. and the 18th century.

To the south of Lefkada , in the village of Marantochóri , you can visit another church, Ágios Geórgios. The frescoes there come from the 15. and the 16th century. The special thing about the village is that you can’t see the sea from any place, which is possible from almost anywhere else on the island.

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Cape Levkádas

Cape Levkádas, located in the southeast, marks the southernmost point of the island. It is worth taking a detour there to see the “White Rock“, which rises from the water at a height of 72 metres. A temple of Apollo used to be built on top of the rock, the remains of which can be found today at the lighthouse. The location is of particular interest because the priests of Apollo had divine judgments carried out by throwing themselves into the sea with wings made of bird feathers. Boatmen used nets to retrieve them from the water. Many who were subject to lovesickness, including the poet Sappho, allegedly ended their lives by jumping into the sea.

Lefkada Beaches

The beaches of Kathisma and
Porto
Katsiki run through the west side.

The island is particularly suitable for athletes who practice windsurfing. Vassiliki Bay is considered one of the excellent surfing spots in Europe. In addition, Lefkada is a paradise for yacht vacationers.

In the northwest, in the fishing village of Agios Nikitas on the quiet Milos beach , you can relax, shop in supermarkets or eat well in taverns. Peace and quiet is mainly guaranteed by the fact that no cars are allowed in the entire village. Furthermore, in idyllic Kalamitsi you can experience how the older women are dressed in black according to tradition. In addition, the village is characterized by churches, an old monastery and many windmills. A view of the sea from this location is recommended.