The most stunning place on earth? Lefkada is a contender. Pictures speak louder than words…
It’s bursting with Mediterranean beauty: for the photographer, Lefkada is an incredible subject.
Rich in history, adventure and heavenly food, the island is also a Mecca for travellers.
Pulled from countless visits, here are our top Lefkada sights and ace photography spots plus helpful tips for newcomers.
Where is Lefkada Located?
There are two main sets of Greek islands, the Ionian and Aegean Islands. Lefkada is an Ionian island situated on the West coast of Greece while the Aegean Islands are on the East coast.
Even though both destinations are in Greece, they are starkly different. To illustrate, Lefkada has a lush green landscape with thick pine and cedar tree forests. Thanks to its emerald coastline, the ocean surrounding Lefkada is a spectacular turquoise colour.
Meanwhile, the Aegean Islands, such as Santorini and Milos, are desert-like. Natural beauty comes in the form of wild and barren volcanic landscapes. Never mind the country, you wouldn’t think the Ionian and Aegean Islands are on the same planet!
Ancient History Steeped in Greek Mythology
Lefkada’s history dates back to the Paleolithic era when it was known as Nirikos. It was first discovered by the Corinthians in 7th century BC who dug a channel to separate it from the mainland (effectively creating an island). Today, it is re-connected by a floating footbridge.
The island is rooted in Greek mythology: legend tells of how the ancient poet, Sappho, lept from rocks at Lefkada’s southern tip after her beloved Phaon rejected her. Many believe she imitated the Goddess Aphrodite who met the same tragic end after her lover, Adonis, died.
Lefkada’s rich past can be experienced through the island’s many ancient ruins. Check out this guide to learn more.
Escape the Crowds
Usually, when we want to see unparalleled beauty we have to share it with throngs of tourists. Lefkada is an exception… for now.
Crowds are kept at bay due to the limited capacity of the nearest airport, Preveza. However, It is currently being expanded to dramatically increase capacity and boost tourism.
It’ll be a few years before the airport expansion is complete and for word to spread about this superb holiday destination. Which means now is the time to fly to Lefkada while it’s relatively untouched by tourism.
Owing to its modest visitor numbers, the island has retained its authenticity. Experience warm hospitality from the locals, delicious food native to the region and barely a tourist trap in sight.
Beaches That Prove Heaven is on Earth
It’s dusk. You’re sipping a glass of wine looking out towards the crystal clear waters in gentle rapture as the sun gradually turns the sky from a gentle pink to scarlet-orange.
The following afternoon, you’re walking along a stretch of white sand, watching the waves crash dramatically against the rocks scattered along the shore.
The beaches of Lefkada are some of the best in the Mediterranean. Kathisma and Porto Katsiki are favourites among tourists and locals: they provide glorious sunning and swimming spots accessible to all.
However, to escape sunbed-hoarders and family picnics, you should explore the hidden gems along Lefkada’s coast. Kavalikefta is one such beach. It offers a reprieve from the crowds, stunning turquoise waters and perfect picture spots…
Find out how to access the beaches mentioned in our photographers guide to Lefkada.
Majestic Mountains and Lush Waterfalls
Lefkada’s incredible landscapes are in abundance. For nature lovers and photographers, there’s so much to see and do.
You could hike through Skaron Forest from the quaint village of Kollivata. Here you can find a rare species of oak tree and other stunning flora.
If you’re feeling fit and adventurous, from Skaron Forest you can also traverse up rocky peaks for magnificent views out over the sea and the other Ionian Islands. Alternatively, for the views without the effort, head to Profitis Ilias, a mountain top church with stunning views.
Want to see cascading waterfalls? Spend an afternoon hiking to the Rachi Waterfall. The route can be found just a couple of kilometres outside Nydri village, and it takes you along a river shaded by tall trees.
After getting across the river and ascending some steps, you’ll discover the tranquil waterfall and its enticing pools of mountain water – a prime opportunity to cool off after an energetic hike!
There are lots more adventure hot spots to explore, from castles to untouched traditional villages – as we cover in our guide. You can also embark on a sailing trip or jump on a ferry to explore the surrounding Ionian islands rich in natural beauty.
Extend Your Holiday
Lefkada isn’t difficult to get to: it has a causeway which provides road access from mainland Greece via a bridge – meaning no ferries and no hassle!
And, because it’s only four hours away by car, travellers can add a few days onto their holiday and take a road trip to Athens to experience more of Greece. Photographers should stop at the Corinth Canal on the way for dramatic shots of the extremely narrow, aqua-blue ravine.
Here are some other destinations that are easily in reach of Lefkada and absolutely worth your time:
- Parga: a resort town boasting beautiful beaches located in northwest Greece
- Meteora: an Eastern Orthodox monastery sits precariously on Meteora’s towering rock formations
- Ioannina – the capital of Epirus encompasses the gorgeous Lake Pamvotida
Fall in Love with the Ionian Islands
Lefkada will inch its way into your heart as one of the most relaxing, picturesque and authentic islands in Greece.
We can think of no better place to start your love affair with the Ionian Islands: you’ve got great accessibility to Lefkada and surrounding Greece, buckets of adventures to embark on, dazzling photography opportunities and rich history woven in the fabric of this Greek gem.
If reading about Lefkada has your travel booking fingertips twitching over the keyboard then why not grab a copy of Photographing Lefkada?
Our eBook features the most beautiful photography locations on the island, along with a host of travel related tips and recommendations to get the best out of your trip. Download it today.