Heading to the Greek island of Lefkada this year? Here’s a complete rundown on where to stay on Lefkada (also known as Lefkas) to help you choose which part of the island to stay in, which town, resort or beach is for you, and the best beach hotels, whether you’re booking DIY accommodation or looking for a package vacation.
This resort guide will cover:
- BEST LUXURY HOTELS: San Nicolas Resort, Villa Veneziano
- BEST BUDGET HOTEL ON THE BEACH: Rouda Bay Beach Hotel, Nefeli Hotel
- SWANKIEST VILLAS: Villa Veneziano, Milos Beach Aphrodite, Skyfall Villa
- BEST INFINITY POOL: Skyfall Villa, Sappho Boutique Suites, Serenity Boutique Suites
- BEST HOTEL FOR FAMILIES: Mousses Villa and Kids’ Club
- BEST ADULTS-ONLY HOTEL FOR COUPLES: Katouna Suites (through Simpson Travel)
- BEST BOUTIQUE TOWN HOTELS: Allure Central, Secret Boutique Hotel
- BEST PLACE FOR NIGHTLIFE: Vassiliki
- WHERE TO STAY NEAR THE AIRPORT: Anywhere in the north of the island, near Lefkada Town, is a short drive from the airport
- BEST CHEAP ROOMS: Villa Delfini
WHICH PART OF LEFKADA TO CHOOSE?
One of the great advantages of staying on Lefkada is the easy transfer. No ferry is necessary to reach this island – it’s joined to the mainland by a causeway and the Rio-Antirrio bridge, meaning you can drive straight there in 30 minutes from nearby Preveza airport which is served by international and domestic flights.
Tourist life on the island revolves around the twin resort towns of Nydri and Vassiliki which attract watersports fanatics thanks to their ideal conditions.
The rest of the island is quiet and unspoilt. The appeal of Lefkada is the nature, the colours, the dramatic and unspoilt beaches with their white pebbles and electric blue waters. The pristine coast and perfect winds for exploring by various waterborne craft, with several tiny uninhabited islands to explore. The interior boasts green valleys dotted with traditional stone villages and leafy squares.
Overall, it has a laid back atmosphere with easy access and thrilling roads. It attracts Italians and northern Europeans in search of deserted beaches, as well as active travellers, sailors and adrenaline junkies who are spoilt for choice on Lefkada. As well as watersports there is plentiful hiking, mountain biking, hang-gliding, and paragliding.
The maistros northwesterly winds batter the west coast of the island (where you’ll find the most beautiful beaches) fairly consistently, to the delight of windsurfers and kitesurfers but not so much to the beach bums, which is one reason why Lefkada is not as busy as it could be. Over on the east side, small resort towns make the most of the sheltered bays and cool winds.
- NORTH – Lefkada Town, plus smart villas tucked away in green valleys. Sandy beaches in the north-west are suitable for families.
- SOUTH – home to Vassiliki, some pretty bays, and the sheer drops of Cape Lefkada
- EAST – the developed side; the most built-up stretch is between Lefkada Town and Nydri
- WEST – wild coast with stunning remote beaches and chalky white cliffs, few resort towns
Most visitors pass through Lefkada Town in favour of Nydri or Vassiliki, but those who want to use it as a base will find an enjoyably laid back town with a typical Greek feel yet cosmopolitan outlook.
The island had a short Venetian rule 1684-1797, during which extensive olive oil production was encouraged. But little remains of the original Venetian architecture in Lefkada Town due to the earthquake of 1953.
Rebuilding has resulted in a low-lying town, with upper levels sometimes built in wood or clad in corrugated iron as protection from earthquakes. The town’s churches are a mix of Ionian and Western architecture. Pleasant backstreets are strung with bougainvillaea and lanterns.
Cultural highlights include:
- Archaeological Museum and Cultural Centre
- 14th century Venetian Agia Mavra Castle
- Phonograph and Folklore Museum
- Gyra (or Yira) lagoon beach and western pier
- Open-air cinema on Faneromeni Street
- Frangoulis Distillery
- Angelos Sikelianos Museum
The town’s main commercial is the main streets leading off Patia Ayio Spyridhonous, and the waterfront Sikelianos which lined with tavernas and ouzeries and cafes. Golemi Marina is thriving and popular.
You’ll find some accommodation at the main town beach Aghios Ioannis (or Aiyannis) beach which is 1-2km out of town. The beach is sandy but also windy and a popular wind/kitesurfing hub, centred around Milos Beach Club – a renovated windmill which transforms into a club by night. The beach is several miles long and dotted with a few places to eat and drink. The northern end is calmer, especially in the mornings.
During the summer months, the town hosts the Lefkada Festival of Music, Arts, Literature and Dance.
Keep going south from Lefkada Town and you’ll hit the small fishing village of Lygia (also spelt Ligia or Liyia). It’s not really a beach resort, though it does have a few clean pebble beaches.
But Lygia is a nice enough working village with some excellent fish tavernas. It’s on the main road so ideal for those who want to stay somewhere smaller but within striking distance of town.
Beyond Lygia is the similar village of Nikiana, home to a narrow shingle beach, several good hotels and a cluster of friendly waterfront tavernas. Lefkas Diving Centre is also based in the area. It has the same transport advantages as Lygia but is a bit prettier.
Nydri is Lefkada’s main resort town (though it’s still pretty small, winding around one busy 2km road).
It’s a popular centre for yacht charters, flotillas and dinghy sailing in the area. Boats leave here for trips to Meganissi and the other satellite islands, including Skorpios – the Onassis island.
Nydri has the highest concentration of package tourism of all the towns on Lefkada. There is a small beach but there are better places to stay for that – the main one in Nydri is small and the water a bit stagnant, though there are some nice pebble beaches in the wider area.
But it’s the coastal scenery that’s the real draw here, as well as the accessibility of the area’s watersports and activities. Most of the town’s accommodation is close to the water and sea views are available.
And Nydri has a picturesque quayside with plenty of tavernas and bars to keep you occupied, and the harbour is lined with boats offering day tours. If the heat gets too much for you then head inland to cool off in the waterfall, a 45-minute walk.
VLIHO AND THE YENI PENINSULA
The next town along the coast is Vliho (or Vlycho), a large natural bay which is mainly popular with passing yachts. Directly opposite is Geni, an ideal lunch stop with its pier-side tavernas set out like sirens to attract hungry sailors.
Beyond the few tavernas, there’s not much in Vlycha to speak of. It lacks accommodation but has mosquitos in abundance.
However, Vlycho marks the entrance to the Yeni Peninsula, where you will find the small Yeni village and some discrete villas and hotels tucked away within an easy drive of Nydri.
POROS AND SYVOTA
One of the most attractive quiet resort villages is Poros Beach, which is south of Vliho on the other side of a hilly headland.
The village of Poros itself is up in the hills, it’s a 3km walk downhill to the beach which is also known as Mikros Gialos. It’s worth noting that the local bus stops at the village and doesn’t go as far as the beach.
Mikros Gialos is a quiet bay although you won’t find it empty as many park up here for the day. The wider bay around is called Rouda and also encompasses a few smaller bays.
The beach here is white and stony which lends the water a brilliant colour. It’s perfect for swimmers as there’s a warm bit in the middle (in summer, at least), but the sea is cooler at the edges where the freshwater runoff from the hills meets the sea. There are several smaller beaches in the area to explore.
It’s a 15-minute drive from here to Nidri. The coast continues along to Syvota, a pretty inlet popular with yachties.
A close rival to Nydri in terms of popularity (and wind) is Vassiliki, with its stunning bay scenery and prevailing north-westerlies much loved by windsurfers.
It’s a watersports hotspot and hub for the island’s seasonal workers which ensures a lively youthful vibe in summer, and it is the best place on Lefkada for nightlife.
However, it also feels the most commercial and gets pretty packed out in peak season. Accommodation is often block-booked by tour operators and windsurf schools.
Windsurfers will find consistent conditions as well as plenty of facilities – there are several windsurf centres based here and its an excellent place for tuition. Milos beach, just north, is popular with kitesurfers.
The main beach is nothing to write home about, so beach bums are better off heading to nearby Ponti beach or getting a bus to the wild west beaches like Porto Katsiki. Ponti is a quieter outpost of Vassiliki, about 20 minutes walk, and you can also find rooms there.
Ferries leave from Vassiliki for neighbouring island Kefalonia.
There aren’t many resorts on Lefkada’s wild and wonderful west coast, but one place to stop is the small mountain village of Athani. As well as the great coastal views, it’s also the closest place for visiting Lefkada’s most beautiful beaches – Porto Katsiki and Egremni.
There’s a small smattering of tavernas and shops to service those who want to stop in the area.
The main resort town on Lefkada’s stunning west coast is the pocket-sized Agios Nikitas, wedged into a bay between pine-clad hills. There’s a cluster of tavernas tumbling around a small pebble beach. It’s probably the prettiest place to stay on Lefkada – the main part of the village is car-free and it has an upmarket appeal – so perfect for couples and mature travellers.
The downsides are that it doesn’t get the evening sun, and it’s not best placed for exploring the island. There are infrequent buses to Lefkada Town.
However, you can hop on a boat to the nearby sandy beaches at Tsoukalades or Milos, or Pefkoulia for excellent swimming.
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Lefkada Town: © verve / Adobe Stock
Nydri: © Kess16 / Adobe Stock
Nikiani: © cristianbalate / Adobe Stock
Vassiliki: © Kess16 / Adobe Stock
Agios Nikitas: © Calin Stan / Adobe Stock
Poros: © cristianbalate / Adobe Stock