Located just off the mainland of Northern Greece, Lefkada is one of the three Ionian Islands known for its stunning natural beauty. Lefkada is the part of the Eptanisia chain of islands that stretches from Corfu to Zakynthos including Lefkada, Kefalonia, Ithaki (Ithaca), Paxi, and Kythira.
Having visited Kefalonia and Zakynthos the year prior, I was a huge fan of the Ionian islands specifically for their stunning natural beauty and iconic beaches. Lefkada I must say took that standard to the next level. Lefkada, or Lefkes to the Greeks is the ultimate fusion of dramatic mountain landscape mixed with mesmerizing turquoise beaches. In addition, make sure to read my Ionian islands travel itinerary if you want to see how I structured my trip to see these beautiful islands.
Best beaches in Greece
I will say it straight up so there is no doubt. Until I find another place in Greece, Lefkada has the best beaches in Greece. Period. End of discussion. If you like big wide stretch of pebbly beaches and the bluest water the Mediterranean can offer, then Lefkada is the place for you.
Greece is my favorite country in Europe and I traveled extensively through the country. If you need inspiration for other parts of Greece, make sure to read my Ultimate Greece Travel Guide that details everything yo need to know about Greece and the places I’ve been to.
How to get to Lefkada, Greece
Lefkada is the only Ionian island you can get to from the mainland. You can drive here from Athens or Thessaloniki as part of a road trip, or fly to the nearby Aktion airport.
How to reach Lefkada by car:
Lefkada is the only Greek island that can be accessed by car, without the use of a ferry. The island is connected to mainland Greece by a floating bridge as well as by the Aktion tunnel that does under the sea, allowing the island to enjoy all the advantages of an island without the hassle of taking a ferryboat or airplane.
There is a new highway connecting Thessaloniki to Lefkada which makes the total journey less than four hours.
How to reach Lefkada by Air
The closest airport to Lefkada is Aktion Airport located in Aktion, a town 4km away from Preveza and 17km from Lefkada. There are many leisure airlines that fly from European cities to Aktion during the summer months. Condor Airlines flies directly from Frankfurt for example.
How to reach Lefkada by ferry
There are no direct ferryboats to Lefkada from mainland Greece. The closest ports to Lefkada are located in Igoumenitsa (95km away) and Patras (176 km away) both found on mainland Greece. From those ports you can rent a car or take a bus to Lefkada.
For more information on bus schedules click here. There are two ports on the island located in the towns of Nydri and Vassiliki however they only operate local ferries that go to neighboring islands such as Kefalonia and Ithaki.
When is the best time to visit Lefkada?
Like most of the rest of the Greek islands, the best time to visit is in the shoulder seasons. This is late April to early June, and mid September to the end of October. Avoid July and August like the plague.
The crowds can become very overbearing during the peak summer months because all of Europe and Greece itself comes to Lefkada. As Lefkada is accessible by car from the mainland, you can expect to see even more tourists because of its accessibility.
I came in late May during COVID and had many of these picture perfect beaches to myself which was just amazing. Nevertheless, even if you do visit in more normal and busy times, there are some beaches which you can visit without the swarms.
How to get around Lefkada?
WIthout a doubt, you’ll want to rent a car to travel around Lefkada. There isn’t much public transportation to speak of and as soon as you leave Lefkada town, you won’t see any life until small villages.
In addition, the beaches are located quite a distance away from the main roads. Even if there were buses to drop you off on the side of the road, you’ll need to walk many kilometers to get to the beach. Don’t do anything else but rent a car for exploring Lefkada.
The roads are like in many other Greek islands. The roads are in decent condition but expect a lot of windy and scary mountain roads.
Where are the best beaches in Lefkada
I should warn you that the majority of this post will be focused on the beach life in Lefkada. There really isn’t much else to do in Lefkada from my research.
There are no beautiful old towns to visit like in Kefalonia. This is not the Cyclades islands so there are none of the beautiful white-washed stone houses you’ll find in Naxos, Mykonos, or Sifnos. You’re coming to Lefkada because you want to see the best beaches that Europe has to offer.
Without a doubt, Porto Katsiki is the most famous beach in Lefkada. It is also one of the top ranked beaches in Europe. Similar to the Myrtos Beach of Kefalonia, Porto Katsiki has that perfect crescent shaped beachline with a dramatic mountain backdrop.
Porto Katsiki is particularly dramatic as its crystal clear water is matched with the giant exposed rocky backdrop of the mountain. Not only is it an absolutely stunning beach, but it photographs supremely from the little bridge near to the parking lot.
You’ll want to come here early in the morning to avoid the crowds and you can bet the crowds come here in full force. You don’t need to do any hiking to get here. Simply park the car and walk down the steps. As the beach faces west, the sun wont’ fully light up the ocean or mountains until noon. If you want the best pictures, you’ll want to stay until at least 1pm or so.
After spending the morning in Porto Katsiki beach, I thought it couldn’t get much better than this. I was mistaken.
Next door to Porto Katsiki is the even more famous and much more stunning beach of Egremni. This is literally one of the most picture perfect and out of this world beaches I’ve ever seen.
The first glimpse I had of it was from the main road in front of the Taverna Oasis restaurant. You are 500 meters above sea level and you see this endless strip of sandy beach with water so blue and so clear that it looks absolutely fake.
Once you make your way closer, you can see that it is a never ending stretch of white pebbly beach with a jagged cliff backdrop and perfectly baby blue water. Egremni stretches on for a straight 3km so this mirage of otherworldly beach never ends. There are no sunbeds, bars, or restaurants here so come prepared beforehand. Given its size, you shouldn’t have any problems finding an empty area even in busy season.
In 2015, an earthquake hit Lefkada and destroyed the road leading up to the beach. The only way to visit the beach was via boat. However, as of 2021, they have fixed the road and the steps leading to the beach and you can now visit by car.
There is no hiking involved to reach this beach which makes it the winner if you want the most stunning beach with the easiest accessibility.
Don’t worry, if those two beaches don’t satisfy you, the west coast of Lefkada has more to offer. Located in the northwest near the town of Agias Nikitas is the unspoilt Mylos Beach.
This beach requires some hiking which you can start from Agias Nikitas Town. It is a 20 minute hike over a hill and through bushes. It is a bit of a trek but not overly difficult. However, the reward outweighs the costs. This beach is like Porto Katsiki but with much smaller crowds. The work required to get here will deter the average beach goer, especially as Agios Nikitas beach is next to it.
There are a few incredibly stunning villas right behind Milos Beach which have stairs leading directly to the beach. Unfortunately, you will have to stay at these villas in order to make use of the stairs. Milos Dream Villas is one of these villas where I was able to check out.
Megali Petra Beach
Pegali Petra, meaning big rock is one of the quieter beaches of Lefkada. Named after the huge rocks found on the shore, Megali Petra Beach is divided into two parts, the organized section with sunbeds and the untouched section. Surrounded by wild greenery, dramatic cliffs, Megali Petra offers seclusion for a relaxing day by the deep blue waters.
Last but certainly not least, Avali Beach is the hidden beach of Lefkada locals don’t want you to know about! This secluded beach looks like it came straight out of the South Pacific, with its turquoise clear waters and exotic landscape and flora. As New York Times put it, “Avali is the place you feel like heaven on Earth.” Right before the beach there is a small café/restaurant that has the most relaxed and Bali-like vibes you’ll find on the island. With home cooked vegan food, relaxing hammocks and board games to play with friends and family, this cozy spot is a haven of itself.
Where to eat in Lefkada
Like everywhere else in Greece, expect to have delicious Greek food with locally sourced ingredients. There are no shortage of amazing tavernas scattered across the island.
As I stayed out of the main town, most of the tavernas I went to were just by themselves on the side of the road with an amazing view or in a cute little village. Here are some of the ones I can recommend:
Rachi is probably the most well known restaurant in the island because of its absolutely breathtaking view. They have a large terrace high up above the ocean with dead on views of the sunset. It has slight Santorini vibes but without the chaos.
While it doesn’t resemble a traditional taverna by appearance, the food is actually amazing. It is a bit more of a modern Greek spin on things, but the dishes here are to die for. Prices are slightly higher because it is the go to sunset spot on the island.
There is also a take off area for paragliders and during the day you can see them take flight. Make sure to visit Rachi on a visit!
Located on the western side of the island, this taverna also had great views of the ocean. The owners were very friendly and the food was absolutely delicious.
This taverna is the spot to go after a long day on Egremni beach or Porto Katsiki Beach. It’s located right on the main road before turning off to these beaches and serves delicious food overlooking the ocean.
Get out of Lefkada
From Lefkada, it is possible to continue your Greek island hopping trip around the Ionian Islands. The logical destination is to explore the neighboring island of Kefalonia.
From the charming village of Vasiliki, you can take a ferry to the northern tip of Kefalonia where you can explore yet more beautiful beaches and dramatic mountain scenery.
I spent five days in Kefalonia and absolutely loved it. It has many more cute villages than in Lefkada. It also has many incredibly stunning beaches like Myrtos beach. However, I think Lefkada overall has nicer beaches.
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