Lefkada, or Lefkas (in Greek: Λευκάδα), is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea, on the west coast of Greece, which connects with the mainland by a long causeway and floating bridge. The city of Lefkada, is situated in the northern part of the island, approximately 20 minutes, by automobile, away from Aktion National Airport. The Prefecture of Lefkada comprises Lefkada island, plus, the smaller nearby islands of Meganisi, Kalamos, Kastos, Madouri and Skorpios are of unparalleled beauty. It is the smallest prefecture of Greece in both land area and population (2001 census).
We suggest multiple alternatives regarding sailing around Lefkas island, and our yachts are definitely the best ones to “sail you around”, and guarantee unforgettable summer sailing holidays.
Sailing Holidays in Lefkas
Lefkas (Italian: Santa Maura) is a hilly island marked by karstic action, lying off the Playia Peninsula in Acarnania, from which it is separated by a shallow lagoon varying in width between 600 m and 5 km. It is now linked with the mainland either by a causeway or a ferry. Most of the island is occupied by a range of hills, rising to a height of 1158 m in Mount Stavrotas, and running south-west to end at Cape Doukato. It was from this Leucadian Rock of gleaming white limestone, that Sappho was supposed to have thrown herself for love of the handsome Phaon. Lefkas never had any permanent natural connection with the mainland. The shingle spit at the northern tip was pierced in ancient times by the Corinthians to provide a channel for shipping, much like the spit to the south of Lefkas town, which came into being in the Middle Ages, as a result of the establishment of salt-pans. (Find Lefkas in Google Maps here)
Off the south-east coast of Lefkas, you will find the beautiful unspoilt island of Meganisi, with sandy beaches and famous sea-caves. It is ideal for yacht charters with family or friends, either bareboat or skippered. Westward to Lefkas, there are tiny islands like Skorpios and Madouri, and on the east side the well-equipped marinas of Vasiliki and Nydri provide safe anchorage protected from the occasional strong westerlies.
The must-see ports and anchorages include: Palairos, Mytika, Kastos, Port Leone, Episkopi, Papanikolis Cave, Vathi, Spartakhori, Menidion (Ambracian Gulf), Sivota, Vasiliki and Rouda Bay.
History of Lefkas
The earliest evidence of human settlement on the island dates back to the Neolithic period. In the 7th century BC, the town of Lefkas was founded by settlers from Corinth, who closed off the south end of the lagoon, opposite the St George Fort, by a 600 m long mole, remains of which are still visible under water (the sunken breakwater). They also cut a channel through the spit of shingle at the north end of the lagoon, opposite the Santa Maura Fort.
In the Middle Ages the island belonged to the barons of Kefallinia and Zakynthos. In 1479 it was taken by the Turks – the only Ionian Island to fall into their hands – but was recovered for the Venetians by Morosini in 1684.
As a result of the vicissitudes of its history and a series of earthquakes (the most recent in 1953) Lefkas has preserved very few old buildings.
Ports and Local Amenities
Preveza, Nidri and Lefkas port are the most important bases for bareboat yacht charters in the southern Ionian, as is Corfu and Gouvia in the north Ionian. The Lefkas canal enables sailors to sail, or moor, near the coastline of the east side of the island, which has 90% of the good anchorages.
If you are sailing from the north, the entrance can be found by locating the Santa Maura Fort. If you are looking south-west, you find the Santa Maura Fort and the north entrance to the canal, and in the distance, Lefkas town. The canal proper (dotted lines) starts after Lefkas Town and is marked by red and green poles, and by red and green buoys when the canal turns south. The ancient submerged breakwater is located opposite to St. George’ s Fort.
The entrance to Sivota Bay is sometimes a bit tricky. Once in, you can only anchor at the east side just around the cape, and only if you proceed through the dogleg, you can anchor anywhere in 3-8 m.There are also quays on the south and west sides of the bay where you can find tavernas and other local amenities.
The port of Vassiliki is located in the south-east of Lefkas, deep in the large bay of Vassiliki. The west side of this bay, close to the village of Pondi, comprises a nice anchorage (anchor in 4-8 m). The actual port is located in the east side of the bay and is very shallow. You will just have to stay close to the breakwater. Natural springs which run through a washing house at the south of Vassiliki, surely favour this part of the island.
The town of Spartakhori on the island of Meganisi, can easily be seen from the north and west. Once you are in the bay, the small harbour will be right in front of you. It represents a good shelter, though you will have to anchor in considerable depths (15-25 m). With northeast winds blowing at night, the anchorage near the tavernas is the best location in the bay. The village of Spartakhori is as enchanting, as enjoyable is the beautiful winding road leading there, and is also definitely worth the climb.
Nidri village, however, is more boisterous, just like the fair but crowded inlet across. Apart from July and August this inlet is a must-anchor, and you can use the sunken coaster there to tie an extra line. Even though the Nidri quay provides water, fuel, and any other supplies you may need, it places you in the middle of yacht charter bases, tripper boats, ferries etc.
The landlocked Vlikho Bay provides a good all-round shelter to anchor in a muddy bottom of just 8-2 meters. However, anchoring off the quay of the quiet Vlikho village can be uncomfortable in stronger daytime winds.
In Lefkas Town the houses have a rather unusual structure, however they are designed carefully in order to withstand earthquakes. Go stern-to or bows-to the town quay on the northe-west or south side, the muddy bottom is generally good holding.
On Modra Island, there is the villa of the family of Aristotelis Valaoritis (1824-79), greece’s national poet, a sight worth visiting, since you can also anchor in front of the baroque building.
The Skorpios Island is also private (owned by the Onassis family), but as long you don’t cross the high water mark you can anchor on both sides of the small sandy isthmus south of the island.