Meganissi

travel | get there and get around

Getting to Meganissi

Ionian map

Where is Meganissi? This is a tiny island that lies to the south of Lefkas in the Inoian islands off the west coast of Greece.

Meganissi does not have its own airport so it can only be reached by ferry to one of its three ports.

The main ferry links are from Lefkas but, with the mainland port of Igoumenitsa very close, the ferries don't bother to stop at Lefkas. Luckily, there are both connecting ferries from Igoumenitsa to Lefkas and the road journey is only about two hours.

Roads on Meganissi have been much improved lately and it is now possible to visit most of the small coves than lie along its much indented coast.

Accommodation is concentrated in the main resort ports of Vathi and Spartochori and it is unwise to turn up in the summer without an advance booking.

Updated for 2016

Meganissi flights: travel by air

Find a Greece flight

There is no airport on Meganissi so visitors arrive via ferry from Lefkas after a flight to Preveza/Aktion Airport on mainland Greece.

There is a daily bus service between Preveza airport and Lefkas Town and the journey time is about 30 minutes - quicker but obviously more expensive if you take a taxi.

There are several UK charters that fly direct to Preveza but an alternative is a cheap flight to Athens and to get an internal flight to Preveza.

Regular scheduled internal flights operate from Athens to Prevesa but connections with ferry services are not particularly good.

Another possible route is a flight to Corfu, a ferry to Igoumenitsa (90 minutes) and bus to Lefkas (2 hours) but this is a long way round unless you intend to spend some time on Corfu or the mainland.

Meganissi ferries: travel by sea

Meganissi is well served by daily ferry services. From Lefkas Town there is a fast ferry 'Anchialos' which sails from the Lefkada marina to Vathi on Meganissi. The Anchialos is a small, fast boat run by the Tafion Marine Company and does not carry vehicles. The sailing time to Meganissi is about 25 minutes and sailing schedules can be found here.

The main daily ferry for Meganissi is the Meganisi II which leaves from the port of Nidri on the east coast of Lefkas. Visitors using this ferry have to travel from Lefkada to Nidri, by bus or taxi. This Meganissi ferry takes vehicles of any size and the journey time here is nearer 40 minutes. Daily schedules can be found here

This ferry calls at the Meganissi ports of Spilia and Vathi. For stays in Spartachori, passengenger get off at Spilia. For stays in Katomeri, Limonari, Elia they stay aboard until they get to Vathy.

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.

As well as daily ferries to Lefkas there are also ferry connections to Kefalonia and to Ithaca.

The island bus usually waits for ferries to berth and local hotels often arrange pick-ups from the ferry for guests.

Meganissi map: getting around

Meganissi (literally and somewhat paradoxically means 'big island') is located to the south-east of the island of Lefkas in the Ionian island group that lie off the west coast of mainland Greece.

The population of Meganissi was 1,092 in the 2001 census but probably now numbers around 1,200, most of the inhabitants living in the island capital of Katomeri.

The island has a highly indented coastline with many long and deep bay providing sheltered anchorage for boats. It's called 'big' because, although small in area, it's the largest of a clutch of island that lie between Lefkas and the Greek mainland.

The rocks are predominantly limestone and so the island is known for its many caves, particularly along the unihabited southern arm of the island where there are several large and notable sea caves.

Apart from tourism the main occupations are fishing and farming, with olives and citrus the main crops and a little livestock farming, mainly sheep and goats.

The summer tourist season on Meganissi starts in May and ends in October with average temperatures over the summer months of 23°C - 24°C. Average night temperatures in summer are 14°C to 16°C.

The winter in Meganissi is cool but pleasant and, like the rest of the Ionian islands, The island gets plenty of winter rain. Average daytime temperatures from November to March are 19°C to 16°C and at night it falls to 9°C.

Meganissi transport: travel on land

Car rental

There is only one road on Meganissi and it links the villages of Katomeri, Vathi and Spartochori (and Spilia). A network of dirt tracks criss-cross the rest of the island, ideal for walking through shady pine forests, and most of the Meganissi beaches are now accessible overland.

A minibus runs daily between the three main villages on the island. The bus leaves Spartochori at 7am for Katomeri and Vathi, returning at 7.30am then back again at 7.40am. At 10am it leaves Katomeri for Vathi, Spartochori and Spilia, returning at 10.30am. It repeats this trip at 11am, 12.15pm, 2pm and 6pm with the last bus leaving Vathi at 6.40pm for Katomeri. Bus times usually coincide with ferry arrivals and departures. There are bikes and boats to rent in Vathi.

Meganissi rooms: places to stay

Rooms

Most accommodation on Meganissi island is concentrated in the main resort ports of Vathi and Spartochori, although some rooms can be found in the inland village of Katomeri. A few of the better beaches, at Elia and Limonari, for example, have isolated apartments or rooms to let.

There are no room associations on Meganissi and few online booking agencies include Meganissi in their list of islands, so booking a room should be done through a travel agent or by contacting the hotel beforehand.

Even though the island is not short of rooms it would be very unwise to turn up on spec, especially in the high summer season.