Olympic Holidays

Boat trips on Lefkas island

Boat trips galore to the many satellite islets of Lefkas

Boats and Lefkas go together like peaches and cream. Deep, sheltered coves offer near perfect sailing conditions for yachting types and the port resort of Nidri is one of the main yachting destinations in the Ionian Sea.

Add an interesting coastline necklaced with secluded bays and several offshore islets offering much the same it is no wonder that boat trips from Lefkas are a favourite pastime of many holidaymakers.

While many will rent a boat to go off exploring on there own there are plenty more that will opt for one of the many regular skippered sailing trips that run throughout the summer season.

Lefkas is surrounded by more than 20 islets but many of these are just uninhabited outcrops of bare rock. Around ten of them lie to the south of Nidri and some are among the most beautiful you will find in the Greek islands.

Most boat trips head for a tour of the satelliteislets that nestle in the sea between Lefkas and the mainland just to the south of Nidri.

Scorpios is probably the most famous of them. A private island that was first purchased by the Greek shipping billionaire Aristole Onassis in 1963 who built a private luxury villa in the green forests that carpet the hills.

Summer celebrity guest included Maria Callas, Greta Garbo, and Winston Churchill. In the small church next to the house Onassis married Jacky Kennedy in 1968 following the assassination of the former US president.

It was the Onassis legend that may have helped Lefkas become the Greek Island holiday destination it is today with many thousands of visitors each year.

Skorpios is heavily wooded with trees imported by Onassis who also created a couple of sandy beaches. The Onassis family sold the island in 2013 to Ekaterina Rybolovleva, the daughter of the Russian billionaire businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev and the nearby islet of Sparti, basically just a crab infested rock, was also included in the sale.

The deal has yet to be ratified by the Greek Government after claims that the sale may have broken the terms of the Onassis will which stated that the island should remain in the family as long as they could afford to cover its maintenance costs.

According to the will, if the island was to leave the family it could only be owned by the former Onassis -owned Olympic Airways or to the Greek state.

There was a time that day trip boats were allowed to anchor in the East Bay and day trippers were allowed to take a dip in the waters but it is no longer certain that the practice will continue.

But the biggest and best islet offshore from Lefkas is Meganissi, a holiday island resort in its own right even though it has only three villages.

Fewer that 2,000 live on Meganissi but the island attracts large numbers of day visitors and long stay visitors too.

The main port of Vathi is located is in the north-east, a picturesque resort with good waterfront tavernas, a few music bars and some shops.

The village of Katomeri lies a kilometre inland and is the island capital with a few tavernas and a bakery. Although technically inland there are views to the sea all around so it feels like a coastal resort.

The alternative port to Vathi lies in Spilia Bay below the white, clifftop village of Spartachori and boasts an attractive harbour and a small pebble beach.

Spartohori has a few tavernas, some shops and quite spectacular views from the clifftop. Visitors can now wander a newly upgraded coastal track that takes in many tiny beach coves nestled in the jigsaw coastline.

Boat trippers head for the huge and impressive sea caves that dot the coastline. In particular the famous massive Papanikolas Cave is a must on every boat trip.

Noted for having been a secret hidewaway port of German submarines in World War Two, the cave is big enough for tourist boast to sail right inside.