Ionian Islands-Lefkada

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General Information for Lefkada

Corfu You will immediately be captivated by Lefkada's wild at the same time gentle beauty, her emerald waters, white shores, picturesque villages clambering oddly on the hillsides and the precipitous rocks will extend you an exhilarating welcome. It is joined to the mainland by a long pontoon bridge and hardly feels like an island - which historically, in fact, it was not. The fact that it is connected by a canal access to the island is very easy, therefore, very popular. The character of the island is more mountainous than insular. The charm of Lefkada rests not only on her natural beauty, but on the impressive Venetian Castle of Saint Maura's, built around 1300 when the entire island was under the rule of the Venetians, as well. The most popular tourist spot is Nydhri. From there, you will also enjoy the lovely island of Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis, Scorpios, and Meganissi, the charming isle with its green-colored sea and the magical surrounding hills.

Start your tour visiting the castle of Saint Makra - located next to the simulated canal - built to protect the town from possible attacts. Visit various churches: St Demetrios, St Menas, St John's (where St Paul taught) and in the forecourt of Christ the Pantokrator the burial site of Valaoritis - the poet and politician of the 19th century-is located. Enjoy the park - Bosketo - with the busts of famous native scions.

Lefkada, besides Aristotle Valaoritis, had other distinguished leterati - the best known of all: Angelos Sikelianos (dramatist and poet) also the short-story writer Lefcacio Hearn (son of American missionaries - who named their son after the place he was born).

Museums and other sites: The Archeological (tel.: 23678); Folklore Museum; Municipal Library (tel.: 22502). An incredible surprise awaits you when you visit the Alabaster Cave, approximately one mile, from the centre of town. The name comes from the ornamentation which resembles alabaster in varied shapes and shades, a very impressive spectacle indeed. The whiteness of the island's rock strata (Lefkas-meaning white, thus its name), is often overwhelming.

The offensive odours and mosquitoes from the marshes and surrounding inlets can create a midsummer problem for the island. For this quandary, however, Lefkada is compensated by the greenery of cypresses, olive groves and vineyards, especially on the western slopes.

Four miles from the capital taking the route: Lefkada-Nydri-Vasiliki you reach Lyghia, the second largest fishing center of Western Greece. Here you will admire the valley of love, an area called Paradise, where the earth presents a rare curvature. Continuing along the coastal route you get to Nikiana, an idyllic village with tourist infrastructure. Do not miss the sunset at Meganissi, it is breathtaking. The road takes you to Nydri (10 ½ miles) the busiest tourist area. Built along the sea amid a verdant lowland and shaded by Lefkada's hills.

Important sites: besides Prigeponissa (Mathouri, belonging to Valaoritis' descendants; Onassis' Scorpios and Livanos' Scorpithi) there are also the gorge of Demossari and the falls of Ronies. Ruins of a prehistoric city were also found here. The German archeologist Wilhelm Dorpfeld, who excavated tombs of the Bronze Age, claimed that Nydri - and not Ithaca - was Odysseus homeland. Needless to say that claim encountered great controversy. Meganissi - the largest of Lefkada's satellite islands and the only one with a village population - could be reached by boat from Nydri, where you can swim at its shores of: Ai-Yiannis, Spelia, Ampelakia, Atherinos and Limanaki.

Other seashores of Lefkada: Clear blue-green waters and fine white-pebbled beaches await you everywhere in Lefkada's shores: St Nikolaos (Mylos); Pefkoulia; Ghyra; Vasiliki; Syvota; Thessimi/Desimi; Mikros Palos; Prigeponissa and the most famous of beaches: Porto Katsiki.