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Lefkada: A tale of waterfalls, monasteries, and seaside feasts

It's kinda like diving into a classic book, jotting down thoughts about Lefkada while chilling in an English Airbnb, sipping tea by a cozy fire, and watching snow cover Windermere and the Lake District. This place was a big deal for writers like Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth, and Oscar Wilde, and you can definitely see why. Driving through the Lakes was like rolling into the Shire with Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. You've got these ancient stone walls lining lush green fields, towns with cute cobblestone streets, and those classic stone buildings that make you feel like you're in a fairy tale. Definitely muse-worthy for poets and storytellers, for sure! (And apparently Taylor Swift too, as our friend Shalia informed us.) But much more about that another time..


For now, zoom a few thousand miles away and thousands of years back, and you're at Cape Doukato in Lefkada, where legend has it that the Greek poet Sappho threw herself into the sea. The cape echoes with tales of unrequited love and heartbreak, where many souls plunged into the turquoise waters below, seeking solace. It's wild how, despite its beauty, this spot couldn't lift the hearts of these lovelorn figures from their despair.


Though, for us, there was no despair on Lefkada. After our adventures on Corfu (aka Kerkyra), we hopped on the ferry to Igoumenitsa and drove on down. And in our experience, Lefkada outshined its sibling Kerkyra, boasting 7 "Blue Flag" beaches, well paved two-lane roads (a relief after said "adventure" in Kerkyra), and some great eats. Also, it was SUPER dog-friendly -- all places mentioned below (other than the monastery) welcomed Kefi with open arms..and open hands full of treats.


Beaches

Porto Katsiki, stunning and famed, does tend to get crowded. So we hustled early, trekked an hour from Nydri, snagged a parking spot (for 10 euros!), and staked our claim on the pebbled beach. By noon, it resembled a sardine tin (see photos for the before we arrived vs. after we left). Insider tip: get there early, bring your water shoes, and don’t forget some comfy seating and an umbrella. There's a moderate stairway from the parking area down to the beach, with cafes and shops to tempt your wallet.


Kathisma, on the other hand, flaunts a vast sandy expanse, lined with beachside tavernas. For 25 euros, you can snag front-row loungers and umbrellas with towels, water, and a lockbox included. We lounged, sipped, nibbled, and relished one of our favorite meals thanks to Monato da gusto.


Lefkada isn't just about the jaw-dropping beaches and crystal-clear waters; there's more to unravel, accessible even for four-legged friends and those with mobility challenges:


Nydri

Touristy but endearing, Nydri's waterfront strip is really quite cute with a view of sailboats bobbing on the bay, and the island of Skopelos, once Aristotle Onassis's private getaway. We had a lovely meal (with gelato after of course), and a short jaunt north led us to Nydri beach, where cheap umbrellas and loungers grant you VIP service at beachfront bars/restaurants.


Nydri Waterfalls

A quick drive inland from Nydri takes you to a trail leading to a gorge with waterfalls and a deep swimming hole begging for a dive! Don't miss it. And if you need a snack fix, Platanos (a little taverna on the path up) hits the spot!


Lefkada Town

Linked to mainland Greece by a floating bridge, Lefkada town is a treasure trove for strolling, shopping, and cafe-hopping. Our dining experience at Antivaro Mezedopolio was delightful, although an overconfident stray cat caused quite the stir, sending Kefi's marbles rolling.


Faneromeni Monastery

A 10-minute drive from town is Faneromeni Monastery, a gem amid the hills. Trust us, it's special. Despite growing up in Greece and visiting countless monasteries, this one left an indelible mark. They have a modest yet charming zoo, and remarkable iconography. There are museums too, though we missed exploring them.


Important note for those with dogs: This is the only place mentioned that dogs are not allowed. Entrance around the main grounds is free, so we took turns wandering around while the other one of us took the dog to the park across the street. So generally, we found Lefkada to be extremely dog friendly.


Sivota

A chic port town in the island's southern reaches, Sivota beckons sailors and yachters with its exquisite dining, bakeries, and gelaterias.


Rachi Restaurant in Exantheia

Post a day at Kathisma, we ascended to Exantheia village for dinner at Rachi Restaurant. I’m still not sure which was the highlight – the incredible meal or the sunset over the Ionian Sea from the expansive outdoor deck. No words could capture its magnificence. Definitely don’t miss this if you find yourself on Lefkada.


Lefkada's brimming with love stories, beautiful beaches, and sunsets that could charm anyone. Until next time, may your adventures be as spellbinding as this place. Catch you on the flippity-flip.


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