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The Greek Island Lefkada May Be Its Most Beautiful (And You’ve Probably Never Heard of It)

This is the newest choice for our collection on underrated locations, It’s Still a Big World.

Having been born in Greece and lived all of my life right here, one may assume that I’ve seen most of this lovely nation. But, that is virtually not possible. With round 100 inhabited islands (and greater than double if we rely the abandoned islands which you’ll go to along with your boat) and greater than 15,000 km of shoreline, Greece presents an enormous number of seashores and crystal clear waters. It will take me a lifetime if I had been to go to a distinct place every summer season.

But the islands within the Aegean Sea are normally those that appeal to most vacationers, with Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Rhodes, and Crete being featured in most journey publications. Greece nonetheless, is not only these fancy islands the place celebrities normally select to go. On the west aspect of the nation, between Greece and Italy, and south of Albania, are the Ionian Islands, often known as the Seven Islands.

Although typically uncared for by worldwide journey writers, they’re thought of the nation’s hidden gems, with beautiful blue waters, golden seashores and the greenest panorama which you’ll hardly discover in different islands. These are just a few good causes to fall in love with them. And if we rely the extreme nightlife, the Ionians don’t have anything to be jealous of.

I’ve been which means to journey to the realm for therefore lengthy , however since I reside in Athens touring to the Aegean was all the time a lot simpler. To go to one of many Ionian islands means which you can both take a flight or it’s a must to drive throughout the nation after which take the ferry to the island of your selection. As soon as you’re there although, it will be smart to do some island hopping as there are every day boat cruises that may take you to all of the close by islands.

A couple of weeks in the past, invited by shut buddy and native journalist Eleftheria Antypa, I had the prospect to lastly go to one among them for 2 days: Lefkada, the one one that’s linked to the mainland by an extended causeway and a floating bridge. This was my first journey outdoors of Athens after the lengthy lockdown in Greece ended about two months in the past and the timing to go to Lefkada couldn’t have been higher. In accordance with official reports the Ionian Islands lead the vaccination charges towards COVID-19 within the nation and, as a half-vaccinated individual in a rustic that not way back reopened to vacationers worldwide, I felt a lot safer. Particularly now that the Delta variant is raging throughout the globe.

I hate driving lengthy distances, so I took the early morning bus from Athens and virtually 5 hours later—with a few stops on the way in which—I used to be there. What struck me probably the most upon my arrival was the massive labyrinth-like marina on the city of Lefkada. It was full with a whole lot of crusing boats of all sizes, so many I swear it was probably the most I’ve seen in my life gathered in a single place. As I later came upon, Lefkada has one of many longest and most trendy marinas in the entire Balkans and that’s the reason many favor to sail there.

I used to be staying on the southern a part of the island, so I needed to take the native bus and actually cross the entire island, which took lower than an hour, to achieve Vasiliki, a small seaside village. It has an incredible view on the mountains of Ithaca, the beloved homeland of Odysseus, and Kefalonia, the most important of the Seven Islands. Vasiliki can be thought of a wind browsing heaven due to its perfect location and the winds that usually blow within the space. Once I arrived, the climate was good for a swim within the sea, which was chilly however refreshing after an extended day.

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Regardless of being on an island, I made a decision to begin exploring it from the within out. One of many first locations my buddy Eleftheria instructed to go to had been the waterfalls at Nydri, close to her hometown. “Watch out, the bottom could be very slippery” she warned me. “The primary time I went there I virtually did a break up.”

After a 20-minute drive from Vasiliki you can find your self in an oasis. Irrespective of how heat the climate is outdoors, the microclimate there’s totally different and far cooler. You undoubtedly want good sneakers, as a result of the pathway filled with rocks main as much as the three waterfalls is certainly very slippery. You may swim beneath the waterfall because it creates a small lake, however be ready because the water coming down from the hill is extraordinarily chilly even in the course of the summer season.

Even if I fell in love with the waterfalls, nothing will be in contrast with the island’s seashores. The explanation anybody goes to Lefkada is to swim within the crystal-clear waters of Porto Katsiki, Kathisma, Mylos, and Agiofylli—to call just some of the greater than 15 seashores. Nevertheless, Egremni is taken into account as probably the most lovely seashore in Greece. So, that was my plan for my second day on the island.

Not removed from the place I used to be staying is among the most breathtaking locations on the earth: Egremni seashore. In 2015 an earthquake broken massive elements of the seashore, because the slopes over it collapsed, bringing down soil and large rocks. Fortunately, this didn’t take away of its magnificence, because the seashore was rapidly restored, and in 2019, Egremni topped the Travel and Leisure checklist of the bluest waters on the earth, leaving additional down different vacationer favourite locations, such because the Maldives and the islands of Palawan and Samoa.

Being there’s an expertise of its personal. Trying down from the hill the unimaginable blue water of the entire Ionian Sea lays proper in entrance of your eyes. The sky and the ocean change into one; there’s nothing to interrupt them within the horizon. Going there although, is a bit tough. When you park your automotive it’s a must to stroll for a bit lower than a mile after which with the breath you’ve gotten left, go down roughly 350 steps to the seashore. You can too go by cruise boat, which is way simpler, however you don’t have the liberty to remain for so long as you want. Be ready to have sufficient water and meals with you for the time you keep, as a result of there aren’t any canteens, mini markets, or perhaps a kiosk anyplace shut. However when you’re down there, it’s completely well worth the hassle.

On this aspect of the island, the aspect nearer to Italy, you typically tune in to Italian radio stations on the automotive, so, for those who’re not an enormous fan of the Italian music, you’ll must bear it as Eros Ramazzotti or Raffaella Carra will certainly maintain you firm in some unspecified time in the future on the way in which.

Wherever I traveled on the island, I noticed fairly a couple of vacationers regardless of COVID, however it was nowhere close to packed. Most of them although are rich Italians, because the neighboring nation is simply a few hours away with a crusing boat. Lots of them have now purchased property on the island, which permits them to journey anytime they like. The love of the Italians for the Ionian islands just isn’t one thing new. Lefkada was the final to fall beneath the Venetian occupation in the course of the 18th century, when it was renamed Santa Mavra. The Venetians stayed on the island for nearly a century, one thing that’s mirrored within the structure of a number of buildings, principally within the outdated city of Lefkada. The Venetian architectural fashion is all around the Ionian islands, with Corfu being the best instance of it.

What has all the time fascinated me, is a tiny small island just some yards away from Nydri in Lefkada, known as Skorpios. The small non-public island belonged to the Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis, who purchased it in 1963, reportedly for mere 1000’s. Onassis was one of many richest males on the earth at his time and a well-known heartthrob. He was linked with the Greek soprano Maria Callas and later married the widow of John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline, identified to the Greeks as Jackie O (Onassis). Really, the scandalous paparazzi photos of her being bare on the seashore that took the media by storm in 1972 had been taken on this actual island.

At the moment the island belongs to the Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev and his eldest daughter Ekaterina after they purchased it on a long-term lease in 2013. It has all the time been a dream to go to the island, however it’s not possible these days and I might solely admire it from distant.

“I’ve been to Skorpios a few instances” Eleftheria advised me. “When the island belonged to the Onassis household, they used to permit folks to go to one seashore on it and swim there. Now that the Russians have it, you possibly can’t even go close to the island along with your boat”.

So, I packed my stuff and my disappointment at not with the ability to really feel wealthy for a day, and simply earlier than I hit the highway once more again to Athens, I handled myself with a mouthwatering shrimp spaghetti, cooked with only a zip of ouzo, sufficient to let the aroma of the anise-flavored Greek aperitif take me again to the seaside once more. The one factor that I remorse just isn’t having sufficient time to do a visit to the remainder of the Ionian islands. However now I’ve an excellent excuse to return once more quickly.

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