Friday, October 9, 2015

Paradise on earth. Lefkada. Greece.

You know what Europe does well? Wine, food and vacations. But also beaches. Lots and lots of beautiful beaches. Honestly, Lefkada surprised me. I always thought that photos on pinterest or google images are saturated of colors. But they aren't. Colors seemed artificial!  The incredibly blue or cristalic green waters are Lefkada's most important sights. In the following rows I will make a personal top of main atractions. 
Let's get it started. (visited in September 2015)

1. Porto Katsiki is the No.1 destination in Lefkada. In 2015 it was part of the top beaches in Europe. Keep in mind that there are no facilities on the site. One of the advantages of Porto Katsiki is that its really out of the way. Unfortunately that means that infrastructure has not reached it yet. Porto Katsiki beach looks truly fascinating surrounded by incredible hills which make it accessible only by 80 steep steps descending along the cliff. This is one of the most favorite beaches and it is considered to be one of the island’s major attractions. Porto Katsiki owes its fame to fascinating landscape and most of all, crystal clear blue sea. Golden sandy beach adds a beauty to the overall impression of Porto Katsiki.
Take a cruise ship from Nidri for 1 day to visit the beaches by boat. Later we reached individually every beach by car.

2. Agiofili. You can reach the beach by water taxi from Vasiliki or on foot through the forest and you'll have to walk down the stairs. Access can be fairly difficult by car, plus it is about 20 minute walk. If you want to enjoy alone this beach, probably you need to arrive early morning. Very picturesque scene, especially from the hill, very clear, smarald waters. Beach itself is small and narrow and gets very crowded with every stop of a new one-day cruise ship. Nevertheless, it is truly beautiful.
3. Mylos Beach.
Agios Nikitas as a region is a good spot to search for accomodation or for tavernas. The beach is accessed from the village by a footpath with amazing views through the olive and pines trees. I found it the most relaxing beach. You'll have to bring your own umbrella and even some snacks or fruits, like in the old times.
4. Egremni Beach.
We only accessed it by boat because 350 steps were way too much for us! Huge, virgin beach with way too little tourists. Words are useless, you have to see it!

5. Ithaka waters seemed pure definion of beauty for me. We swimmed or jumped dirrectly from boat, not reaching the beach itself. Modern Ithaca is generally identified with Homer's Ithaca, the home of Odysseus, whose delayed return to the island is one of the elements of the Odyssey's plot.

6. Mikros Gyalos Beach.
Located in the eastern part of the island, this beach was the only one I saw with green water. Sailing boats often visit and make for a very scenic and picturesque place to stop for the day. The water is very clear and no waves. The beach is well served by the few bars and tavernas that back on to the beach.

7. Lefkada is a very colorful city. Doors, walls, windows, cafes, all are painted in joyful colors. It is a true pleasure to walk around Lefkada, though it seemed to me there is no much to wonder around, besides the main street.

8. Keyfalonia. The largest island of the Ionian Sea, Kefalonia is a very charming place. Although it has developed over the last years as a family destination, beach places in Kefalonia island never get crowded due to the large size of the island. Unfortunately, we arrived to see only the port and enjoy a lunch there.
9. The sunset at Rachi is a local must do and see. In the southwest of lefkas, at a height of 600 meters you can visit Exanthia, a traditional village located in a mountainous region.. High up on the mountain top the restaurant “Rachi” makes its presence in absolute harmony with the surroundings, built and decorated in a tasteful manner reflecting its simplistic style. The pleasantly cool balcony welcoming the visitor is an unquestionable asset. The blue horizon offering an exquisite view of the Ioanian Sea is really enticing. Be sure to be there at least two hours before the actual sunset to catch a table in the first rows (no reservations are possible). I would name the sunset at Rachi -"the most romantic sunset ever"!

What and where to eat in Greece?
Restaurants and tavernas are spread all over the island. Most of the places exceeded our expectations. Those which we tasted and really liked were: Seven Islands in Lygia (certificate of excelence on Trip Advisor), 12 gods in Sivota (certificate of excelence on Trip Advisor), Pardalo Katsiki in Karya (certificate of excelence on Trip Advisor) and Nikitas in Agios Nikitas. Mostly we went for fresh fish (sword fish, tuna, shrimps, calamares and other local fish), but the local Gyros are delicious. And don't forget about fresh greek figs! Yummy!

On the way back we decided to go to Kalampaka, the city under the rock towers of Meteora. The thing that makes Meteora so special is the monasteries on the top of the rock towers. The monasteries, the amount of peaks to climb and the paths for hiking brings in Meteora  the whole year many tourists. The Metéora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Be sure to arrive there in the morning because around 4 or 5 in the evening access to the monasteries is closed.
Very recommended for accomodation- Hotel Florena in Episkopos. On, they sometimes make big discounts.
Can't wait for Greece again!