The Ionian Sea islands in Greece are beautiful, including Lefkada. I mean, look:
Kathisma Beach is on the west side of Lefkada Island. Its sand is course with tons of worn, soft rocks. There are some large boulders. The beach is backed by cliffs, and it faces open sea.
Paragliders jump from the cliffs, sailboats skirt the horizon, and the blues at this beach hypnotized me. I stared and stared, and stared and stared. And stared.
To get to Kathisma Beach the budget travel way, we took the public bus from the city of Lefkada, where we were staying each night. This bus trip cost 2 euros each, each way.
In late September, fewer buses go from Lefkada because there are fewer tourists, so be sure to check the schedule at the main bus stop in the center of Lefkada where the old town meets the newer area, at the end of the pedestrian street. (Or, use the bus station, which is outside the old town area.)
Our bus was not full at this time of year, but I can imagine the crowds during high season.
The bus station at Kathisma Beach is not a traditional station… take a look:
We took another day trip on the island to Nidri. This place has a tame beach as it’s on the east side of the island, shielded by land from open sea. Nidri is a magnet for sailboats and vacationers who rent places throughout the small town. Popular nearby island tours are organized from here.
We had a cloudy day in Nidri, so we skipped the boat tour of islands. Instead, we chilled out along the shore. It was a gorgeous day even with drizzle, wind, and clouds because the bay is serene.
Lefkada Island shares the name of the its largest town and gateway to the mainland. The island connects to the mainland with a causeway. The city of Lefkada is a seaside gem with sailboats lined up all around one part of its waterfront, and calm harbor and long waterfront walkway.
The “old town” section of Lefkada is just off the water. It comes alive in the evenings when shopkeepers reopen after a break. (Yes, Greeks take something like a Mexican siesta, and I love that!) Restaurants and cafes are also found in the old town section, but if you are only in Lefkada a short time, I recommend sunset waterfront dining.
Price points: accommodations, food, getting there
Accommodations: Airbnb rentals on this island are not cheap, but they’re not as expensive as some European cities like Barcelona. We paid about $40 a night, and it was a studio in a great location. However, the mattresses sucked — in fact – these were the worst mattresses we have ever had!
We could have said screw it, lost our payment (there was a strict cancellation policy), and moved into a hotel for three days. But, I made the decision for us to stay and power through. In hindsight… four nights was too long. I would have bailed after one or two. (
Our review of this Airbnb unit is totally honest – as always. We posted it, but we don’t see it yet attached to her account. And this can be a problematic flaw with Airbnb: if the host does not also post something about us, our post about her place will never be seen. This might be why there are no ‘bad’ reviews of her horrendous lumpy mattresses.
Eating out: this can be another potential budget buster. We decided to eat out each day because we didn’t feel like cooking after running around all day. Throughout our entire European tour in 2018, we’ve never eaten out every day.
A typical meal at a restaurant for two people will be anywhere from $25 to $30 — with just one beer (I don’t drink). If you like wine, up that total, and if you want appetizers and/or dessert, up it even more.
For cheap eats, go to Zimis. This place had great reviews on Trip Advisor. A large pizza, beer, large water came out to $13 before the tip. Not bad for two people.
And guess what? Tedly and I agreed it was the best pizza since we started our travels in 2015. Zimi’s website is here.
Getting to Lefkada: not really a budget ‘buster’, but it did cost us a bit to get onto the island and then get off the island to our next location.
We went to Lefkada from Corfu Island in late September. We took the ferry from Corfu to Igoumenitsa. That was about $26 for two people. From Igoumenitsa, we took a bus to Lefkada. That cost about $31 for two people.
It was approximately another $50 to get to our next city (more on that in the next blog entry). So for our travel plan, it cost us about $100 to get to, and get off of, Lefkada Island.
The good news is: the kinks in our backs have worked out from those awful mattresses, and we have moved on to enjoy other areas of Greece.
Meanwhile, I’ll always remember those beautiful Ionian Sea blues. Lefkada Island is such a beautiful place on our planet.