Lefkas

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Getting to Lefkas

Ionian map

Where is Lefkas? Also called Lefkada, Lefkas is one of the Ionian group that lies off the west coast of Greece.

It may not have its own airport but there is one on the mainland at nearby Preveza and a bridge link to the island that makes for a quick and easy journey by road.

Ferry links to Lefkada are a little more complicated, but not much. It lies on the main ferry routes from Italy to Greece but, with the mainland port of Igoumenitsa very close, the ferries don't bother to stop here.

Fortunately, there are a few connecting ferries from Igoumenitsa to Lefkas but the overland road journey to the island is only about two hours anyway.

Roads on Lefkas are good and the main east coast beach resorts are well served by bus companies but private transport is needed to explore the more rugged west coast.

Updated for 2016

Lefkas flights: travel by air

Lefkas has no airport and most visitors fly to nearby Preveza/Aktion Airport (PVK) on the mainland, also called Aktio National Airport.

The terminal dates from 1988 and it's located about 15 kilometres north-east of Lefkas island. British charter flights usually arrive and depart on Sundays.

Aiprort facilities are limited and it can get congested in the high summer. A couple of tavernas are found near the terminal building if you need a break.

A daily bus links the airport to Lefkas, Preveza and Vonitsa and there is free car parking. The road journey time to Lefkas Town is about 30 minutes.

An alternative route is a flight to Athens and an internal flight to Preveza-Aktio or a road trip from Athens which takes about five hours by car and longer by longer by bus from the Kiffisou Bus Station.

Another route is to fly to Corfu, catch the ferry to Igoumenitsa (90 minutes) and then to travel to Lefkas by road (two hours) but this usually takes longer when you factor in ferry connections.

Lefkas ferries: travel by sea

There is an extensive ferry network between the Italian east coast and the mainland Greek port of Igoumenitsa, near Lefkas.

Ferries leave Venice, Ancona, Bari and Brindisi and, as some of these places are served by low-cost airlines, it is possible to make a connection. The main ferry firms are Minoan Lines, ANEK Lines and Superfast Ferries. Once in Igoumenitsa it's a two-hour drive to Lefkas Town.

Another route is to fly to Corfu, catch the ferry to Igoumenitsa (90 minutes) and then to Lefkas by road (two hours) or alternatively fly to Kefalonia, go by road to Fiskardo then catch a ferry to Lefkas. The last option is really only worth it if you plan to spend some time on Kefalonia. The ferries between Kefalonia and Lefkas (Nidri and Vassiliki) are not frequent and can be cancelled.

On Lefkas, a car ferry service from Nidri to Fiskardo on Kefalonia is operated by West Ferry Maritime. It sails each morning, calling at Frikes, on Ithaka, on the outward journey and at Vassiliki, on Lefkas, on the way back. Times can vary throughout the year the so it's worth checking ports first on 031555 or 092509 or a timetable may be posted at the relevant ports.

A daily car ferry, the Meganissi, operated by Coastal Lines Ionios, also sails from Nydri to the islet of Meganissi, to the south, calling Vathy and at Spilia Bay (below Spartahori). The journey takes about 25 minutes.

Small boats, or caiques, offer excursions from Lefkada to the most popular beaches as well as to the nearby islets Scorpios, Sparti, Meganisi, Madoyri, Prigiponisia and Skorpidi.

Lefkas map: getting around

Lefkas, also called Levkas, Lefkada, or Levkada is the fourth largest in the Ionian chain that runs down the coastline of western Greece with an area of 300 sq km and a coastline of about 117 kilometres.

It is only became island when a channel was dug through the sandbanks that once linked it to the mainland. Today, it's connected to the mainland by a long causeway.

Lefkas means 'white' in Greek and the island takes its name from the dramatic white cliffs that line the rugged west coast. Enclosed bays on the eastern shore are very sheltered and the deep bays are popular for yachting.

Inland, a range of hills peak at Mount Elati (1,158 metres) and to the south-east are a clutch of islets, the largest of them being the popular holiday haunt of Meganissi.

Lefkas has typical Ionian weather, wet and windy winters that help give it a lush green landscape and hot, dry summers that attract the holiday crowds.

Spring comes early with temperatures rising swifly from March to May, although early wet spells can set in for days. Summer brings long, sunny days with very little rain and temperatures from 18°C in May to 30° plus in July and August. Seasonal winds keep air fresh and make the island popular with sailors and windsurfers.

Temperatures drop sharply after October. Average winter temperatures are 9-10°C with January and February the coldest and wettest months.

Lefkas transport: travel on land

Car rental

Sited on Greek National Road 42, Lefkas is the only Greek island that can be visited by car without boarding a ferry. The new underwater tunnel of Preveza-Aktio has eased access from north-west Greece. The Rio Antirio bridge also makes for easier mainland road connections.

Lefkas buses

KTEL buses run a daily service to Athens with four buses daily and a journey time of five hours.

Six buses daily go to Preveza-Aktio Airport from the bus station near the new marina, about a kilometre from Lefkada town centre.

Daily island buses also connect the main resorts of Nidri, Vlicho, Vassiliki and Agios Nikitas with east coast services the mostfrequent, although buses can get crowded at popular times. West coast bus services are less reliable.

Buses run from Lefkada to Nidri throughout from 5.30am to 7.30pm about every 30 minutes or so and returning from 7.30am to 11.15pm.

Four buses daily leave Lefkada for Vassiliki and there are two buses daily to Agios Nikitas. Buses tend to be punctual and cheap but journey times can vary. Click here for the most recent Lefkas bus timetables in English where you can download a PDF file of Lefkas bus routes.

Lefkas taxis

Taxis mostly ply the route from Lefkada to Preveza or down the east coast to the beach resort at Nidri. Lefkada taxis can be called on 026450 or 022838; for Nidri taxis dial 026450 or 092000. There are taxi ranks in the popular resorts. In Lefkas Town it is located on Agios Minas square; the taxi rank at Nidri is on the harbour front.

Lefkas rooms: places to stay

Rooms

The recent rise in popularity of holidays to Lefkas has seen a considerable growth in hotel and apartment building. Most are found in the popular resorts of Lefkas Town (Lefkada), Nidri, Vassiliki and Agios Nikitas but there are always rooms in villages off the beaten track.

Much of the luxury hotel accommodation is in Lefkas Town but the great majority of visitors head for Nydri. on the east coast, and Vassiliki, on the island's southern shore. It's best to book ahead in high summer, certainly in Nidri, as tour companies can block book the best accommodation. Vassiliki is also besieged by windsurfers in the summer months and rooms can be hard to find.

Cheaper rooms can be found in Lygia, just four kilometres south of Lefkada and there is are several camping sites on the island. The site at Poros Beach has been running since 1974 and also has studios and family rooms. On the west coast Camping Kathisma is near Agios Nikitas while Camping Desimi Beach is just south of Nidri and has a restaurant, mini-market, car and boat hire.

Other campsites on Lefkas yet to have web pages are at Camping Vassiliki with 73 pitches, Camping Santa Mavra with 58 pitches at Katochori (+30 26450-95493 ); Camping Kastri at Maraochori with 75 pitches (+30 26450-31900/3 ); Camping Episkopos Beach with 45 pitches and six studios (+30 26450-92544) and Camping Kariotes Beach with 29 pitches (+30 26450-71103).

Many holiday villas can now be booked online through specialist companies or even direct with owners. Most visitors opt for the east coast where road and travel connections are good but hotels and rooms are available of the wilder west coast.