Turquoise waters, white sand and imposing rocks
Lefkada - Pefkoulia - Agios Nikitas - Mylos - Kathisma - Kalamitsi - Drymonas - Exantheia - Sfakiotes
This is a route covering the paleontologic ‘cosmogony’ of western Lefkada, the prehistory of the tremendous cataclysms that created the sheer cliffs, the fathomless deep blue vastness of the Ionian Sea and the serene beaches with their fine white grains. The route passes some of Lefkada’s most beautiful beaches - famous worldwide. The return journey is through the mountainous interior of the island.
Starting out from Lefkada town, follow the signs to Agios Nikitas village, passing the monastery of Panagia Faneromeni, the ‘island’s palladium’. There is an exceptional view to be enjoyed to the right: the town of Lefkada, the forest of age-old olive trees and its liquid reflection framing it, the two lagoons and the channel; the shades of blue and green are countless and the multicoloured houses of the town a feast for the eyes, the white sails of the yachts and the glittering windsurfers battling with the wind and the waves at Gyra and Ai Giannis. We reach the village of Tsoukalades, built on a height and hemmed in by olive trees. There are gorgeous vistas from there of the Ionian Sea from a number of different angles. It is worthwhile to go down the hill to one of the beaches on its shore. Continuing along the asphalt road, a few kilometres further on there is a breathtaking sight of the vast Ionian Sea. The sea sparkling under the sun and the clarity of the water invite you to plunge into it without delay!
The first beach on the route is one of the best: Pefkoulia. Here the pine trees descend down the slopes all the way to the seashore and provide shade for the many campers who enjoy free camping. The sea is wonderfully clear and the strand is of fine, rice-like grains as on almost all the beaches on Lefkada’s west coast, a caress for bare feet and easily flicked off the skin.
A few kilometres further on is Agios Nikitas, listed as a village of the national heritage. The sea that laps the seafront is crystal-clean and is a joy to swim in, with the added enjoyment of its setting amid enchanting scenery. Agios Nikitas is a very pleasant resort for a summer holiday, with all the comforts and nothing missing for an enjoyable stay. Swimming, food, entertainment, everything is provided for. From Agios Nikitas there is the shuttle service of a water taxi departing from the water-front to the next beach, Mylos, considered by some one of the two loveliest of the island. It’s rather difficult access has saved it from the crowds and its endless stretches of immaculate beach and waters can be enjoyed with plenty of space from other bathers.
Returning in the direction of Agios Nikitas, follow the sign towards another super beach: Kathisma. It was once a virtually deserted nudist beach, nowadays one of the island’s most frequented and cosmopolitan, probably brought about by the building of rooms to let and the beach bars which have transformed it. The sea water is wonderful, but care should be taken when the north-west wind gets up, for the seabed suddenly shelves steeply down and the waves can be quite dangerous.
Next stop, Kalamitsi. A mountain village with easy access by car to three lovely beaches in its vicinity. In the evening, a stunning sunset can be admired from here (perhaps one of the most phantasmagoric of the island) with the sun flooding the sky with colour and retiring majestically into the distant depths. On the way either to or from the beach, it is worth the detour to visit the little church of Panagia ton Kypon, situated in an idyllic environment.
Reaching Kalamitsi, you can either return through Drymonas/Exantheia/Sfakiotes or continue with the next route. If at this point you decide to return you should make a stop at the Village of Drymonas which is a wonderful traditional village with stunning views of the vastness of the Ionian Sea.
The village that will impress you most isExantheia, located 3 km from Drymonas. It is in a semi-circle and the site has probably been inhabited since Byzantine times. It is worth a stop to go up to the old church of Agios Stefanos to see its interesting free-standing bell tower and a courtyard where the panoramic view is amazing. The church has suffered damage in the earthquakes and been rebuilt. The icon screen bears the date 1850.