There are now so many ways to reach the beautiful island of Lefkada. Which of course, is fantastic news! Sadly, this does open up a world of dilemmas, bewilderment and headache fulled googling until 4am searching for the best flights and transfer options. But never fear, as a seasoned Lefkada traveller, I’m going to share with you the local knowledge, tricks and tips for cheap, easy and stress free travelling.
Which airport is right for you?
With at least 5 airports to choose from, there’s a world of confusion right from the start! So, I’ve broken them all down to help you decide on the right one for you when travelling to Lefkada.
Probably the most commonly used for holiday goers travelling to Lefkada. Lying just 20 minutes north of the island, it is indeed the closet airport to fly into and offers weekly flights from the UK as well as a number of other European countries. Annoyingly, as with most airports in Greece, Preveza is closed from November until March, so any out of season travelling must be done via Athens or Thessaloniki. And, up until recently flights from the UK to Preveza have only been on a Wednesday or a Sunday and only from Gatwick or Manchester, what a nightmare, unless you live next door to either airport of course.
But hurrah! Finally, more flights are becoming available and at far better rates then they have been. Jet2 are now flying from London Stansted. So that’s a massive plus for 2020! Just remember to pre-order your in flight panini before you travel, unlike the luxurious Ryanair flights, you have to book your food with Jet2.
The city of Athens sits roughly a five hour drive east of Lefkada. Offering international and domestic flights throughout the whole year, Athens is a hugely popular choice for people from all over the world travelling to Lefkada and other parts of Greece.
Yes, I know five hours sounds like a lot, you’ve been travelling for eight already, you’re fed up and you just want to start your holiday and not be cooped up in a car or on a sweaty transfer bus with 40 other irritable tourists and one loo for half a day! But, why not take advantage of this arrival into one of the worlds oldest cities? Spend the day and the night exploring! Go discover the ancient ruins of the Acroplois and the Parthenion. Get lost in the streets vibrant nightlife and check out the Psyri neighbourhood for traditional meze and live rebetika music, Greek Blues.
Then, after spending an unforgettable 24 hours getting your ancient Greek on, hop into an air-conditioned hire car and head west through the breath-taking landscape of the Peloponnese. Hiring your own car can open up a world of opportunities, not only for the favoured bathroom breaks, but for the freedom to stop, meander, take in your surroundings and experience a whole new part of Greece, that may otherwise be missed.
Travelling to Lefkada via one of my absolute favourite cities in the world, Thessaloniki. It is steeped in history, beauty, chaotic traffic, noise and vibrancy. It has an intoxicating atmosphere that draws you in to every grand square, back street and bar and fills all of your senses to complete over load. I highly recommend it.
I first began flying into Thessaloniki over 6 years ago when my parents first bought their house in Parga. We would travel out for the winter months or before the summer season began to see friends who are other wise a blur in high season. We’d always try to spend at least a day and a night in the city and if you haven’t had the chance to visit, I really urge you too. There’s so much to be seen in this extraordinary city.
Missing your flight
Unfortunately, there is the odd occasion when we don’t have time to stop and enjoy a quick city break. Like the time me and Luke missed our morning flight, and instead of arriving with a full fabulous day of exploring ahead of us, we awoke at the exact time our flight was departing and didn’t make it until 10pm that night! This is how we found ourselves at the Royal Hotel however, enjoying complimentary drinks by the fabulous out door pool and dinning on delicious fresh tuna steaks. And with airport transfers costing as little as €10, the Royal Hotel provides easy, carefree accommodation for anyone in need of a pleasant, if unexpected, nights stay.
After waking up wonderfully refreshed, take a quick taxi ride to the cities bus station and hop on board for a leisurely drive through the stunning Greek country side for around €30 and arrive that afternoon into the bustling streets on Igoumenitsa.
Sadly, this isn’t really the most direct route in which to reach Lefkada, perfect for Parga but from Igoumenitsa it’s a further one and a half hours drive or a two hour bus ride south and a taxi will cost you near on €100 plus you’ll have wasted a whole precious vacation day just trying to get to the right island in the first place! However, the flight times tend to be better and it’s always nice to spend time in a city full of life and famed for it’s street food.
Kefalonia Airport has become our airport of choice over the past year. The flights are genuinely cheaper, the arrival and departure times better and you get to spend time on the beautiful island of Kefalonia, what’s not to love?! Reaching Lefkada via this route couldn’t be easier. You can either take an internal flight to Preveza for around €150 or travel up to the gorgeous harbour town of Fiskado, enjoy a spot of lunch by the waters edge and catch the ferry straight in to Nidri. The ferry takes roughly an hour and forty five minutes and is quite a lovely past time, taking in the views of Ithaca, Arkoudi and Meganisi, as you make your way north to Lefkada. It’s a beautiful way to arrive at your holiday destination.
From the airport in Kefalonia, take a taxi straight to Fiskado for around €80 or to the main town of Argostoli for roughly €20 then continue by bus. The bus takes a little under two hours and costs a mere €6.40. Do make sure to check the times though, my mum was a little caught out last year when she arrived to catch the 10am to only discover and it had departed at 9.30!
Luke and I will often use Corfu for the easyJet flights to and from London Luton, we’re only in Suffolk so it’s our second best choice of airports and doesn’t involve a three hour drive and the agony of the M11. The flight times are good and don’t tend to cost a fortune and if we can sneak it in, an over night stay in Corfu old Town is always welcome.
Even though the ferry ride takes two hours to reach the mainland and it’s then another hour and thirty minutes drive from the port of Igoumenitsa to Lefkada itself, this is still a route we use frequently when travelling to Lefkada and fully recommend if you can sneak a few extra days in.
There’s two different ferries that run daily from Corfu to Igoumenitsa. The so called “fast ferry” which supposedly takes an hour and thirty minutes but this summer has been taking an extra fifteen, for no obvious reason other than that’s just how fast the captain feels like going on the day day, and the “slow ferry” which takes a total of two hours. This, coupled with the frequent strikes that take place throughout the summer has got me in the habit of phoning the port, pre-travel, and confirming the departure, arrival times and the actual existence of the ferry itself entirely.
At least, when the ferries are running and on schedule, you can be absolutely guaranteed they will leave at the very second in which they are supposed to. I’ve been stood on board before and as the boat began to move away from the dock and the ramp began to lift, an entire family of holiday makers has arrived, charged from their taxi and flung themselves, check-in luggage and all, across the ever increasing void between land and boat and onto the feet of the watchful deck crew, who give no more than a slight nod a casual yasou to the now startled and red faced family.
So, you can be sure if the ferries are running, they’re on time.
The ferry ride itself is always rather nice. There’s space to sit up on deck and enjoy the sunshine with a freddo cappuccino and a sarnie from the on board bar. The view takes in the stunning coastline of Corfu, mainland Greece and Albania. Dolphins are not an unusual sight at the bow and the general hustle and bustle from your fellow passengers can often be a nice distraction and provide some rather interesting people watching to pass the time.
Who to use?
There are tons of companies online offering all kinds of transfer services for travelling to Lefkada from all corners of Greece. To make things a little easier, I’ve added some links to a few of our favourite, tried and tested sites. Do make sure to check out the guys at Ligia Agency on Facebook before you travel as well. They offer a range of different transfers and tours and have personally saved us some major stress on a number of occasions. All in all, travelling to Lefkada is a pretty easy venture from where ever you’re journey begins.
The Amazing Journey
I do hope this post helps you along your way when travelling to Lefkada, or to any other part of Greece in fact! Take the time to enjoy the journey, discover new places and fall in love with the unexpected. And of course, if flights and ferries are not for you, why not giving driving a go and start a whole new adventure.