Lefkada is one of the Ionian Islands, known as the 'Eptanisia' in
Greek, which lie in the Ionian Sea. The island is less than 100 metres from the
mainland coast of Akarnania, to which it is linked by a floating bridge. The channel
of Lefkada is 50 metres wide. Lefkada has an area of 302.5 square kilometres and
is the fourth largest of the Ionian Islands with a population of 23,000. The Prefecture
of Lefkada consists of Lefkada and the surrounding small islands of Meganisi
The Prefecture is divided into six municipalities and two communities. Lefkada
has a Mediterranean climate. It has many hours of sunlight daily and is typified
by mild winters with increased rainfall and hot summers with cool breezes. 70%
of the island's terrain is mountainous. It has tall mountains, the tallest peak
being in the centre at Stavrota (1182 m.). The western side of Lefkada is precipitous
with many long, sandy beaches.
It also has narrow plateaus, fertile valleys and ravines with rich
vegetation. Olive trees are spread over the whole island whilst cypress trees
grow here and there, creating a distinct landscape. The island's exceptional flora
includes many pine forests and some forests with a special variety of oak tree.
Another variety of tall and thick pine tree which grows on the edge of the sea
is to be found on the island of Kalamos. Lefkada has plenty of waters, mainly
springs but also streams which flow from high above, creating small waterfalls.
In the north of the island is a lagoon which provides an important wetland environment
for many species of birds.
The landscape is complimented by the traces of human habitation, old
and new. Agricultural buildings, such as the dozens of watermills, the olive presses,
threshing floors, the simple stone-built houses and the unique domed stone dens
are evidence of the importance of farming on the island. The salt-pans and fish
farms indicate another side of life on Lefkada. The churches and the monasteries
provided support to the Greek and Christian culture of the island during the difficult
years of the Tourkokratia (Turkish rule), roviding an artistic escape through
the Byzantine tradition and western influences. The icons and wall-paintings are
unique works of art. The town of Lefkada itself, with its historic centre, town
houses and narrow lanes and the Kastro of Ayia Mavra (Santa Maura) - these are
the unique features which go to make up the cultural heritage of the island. They
tie together the precious memories of the past and lead us to the Lefkada of today.