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Lefkada from the north
Lefkada from the north
Waters Ionian sea
Archipelago Ionian islands
Geographical location 38 ° 43 '  N , 20 ° 39'  E Coordinates: 38 ° 43 '  N , 20 ° 39'  E
Lefkada (Ionian Islands)
length 35 km
width 15 km
surface 353.121 km²
Highest elevation Stavrotas
1158  m
Residents 22,652 (2011)
64 inhabitants / km²
main place Lefkada
Satellite image of the island of Lefkada
Satellite image of the island of Lefkada

Lefkada ( Greek Λευκάδα [ lɛfˈkaða ] ( f. Sg. ), Older also Lefkas Λευκάς, ancient Greek Λευκάς Leukás , German 'the white' , Italian Santa Maura ) is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea , which is crossed by a floating floating bridge in the Levkas Channel connected to the mainland. Together with the Tilevoides archipelago , it forms the Lefkada regional district . About 10 km to the south are the islands of Kefalonia and Ithaca .

The island has an area of ​​354.121 km² with a maximum length of 35 km and a width of up to 15 km and about 23,000 inhabitants. The highest point is Mount Elati  or Stavrota at 1158 meters.


Lefkada is located northwest of the Peloponnese ( Morea ) peninsula and north of the island of Kefalonia in the Ionian Sea and is now part of Greece . The island was already inhabited in prehistoric times. The oldest archaeological finds are around 110,000 year old stone tools of the Neanderthals .

In the Middle Ages , Lefkada was initially a naval base and belonged to the Byzantine Empire . The Italian name Santa Maura is derived from the medieval castle of the same name in the island capital of the same name, Lefkada, which was built here by the Italian ruling family Tocco . From 1185 to 1479 Lefkada belonged to the Palatinate County of Kefalonia and Zakynthos . The Turks held the island, as the only one of the Ionian Islands, occupied for a long time, from 1479 to 1502 and from 1504 to 1684 and again briefly from 1715 to 1716 during the Venetian-Austrian Turkish War . The island was recaptured by Field Marshal Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg , who had recently lifted the Turkish siege of Corfu , in a counter-offensive in 1716 for the Republic of Venice , which had owned it from 1684 and finally until 1797. Subsequently, the island belonged to the Republic of the Ionian Islands . In 1864 Lefkada was united with the Kingdom of Greece.

Archduke Ludwig Salvator provided a first modern description of the island .


On Lefkada there is no mass tourism like Crete or the Balearic Islands . On the east coast, the cities of Lefkada, located directly on the bridge to the mainland, and Nydri (also Nidri ), about halfway up, are the most active tourist centers. On the west coast, the two beaches of Porto Katsiki and Kathisma are popular destinations, especially among the local population. Despite the tourism, many places have retained their original character, especially the villages in the mountains.


The island of Lefkada is mainly known for windsurfing, as one of the best surfing spots in Europe can be found in the bay around Vassiliki. Lefkada, as well as the other Ionian Islands , are also the destination of many yacht vacationers and the starting point for sailing trips in the South Ionian Sea. In the city of Lefkada there is a large developed marina.


  • According to a late legend, the ancient Greek poet Sappho (around 600 BC) is said to have thrown herself into the sea from one of the white rocks of Leukas because of a heartache (cf. Phaon ). This Leucadian rock also plays a role in other myths and pseudo-historical-novel-like traditions. In the early days at this cape Leucatas (with a sanctuary for Apollo) criminals are said to have been overthrown to death as atonement (Strabo 10: 2,9).
  • Lelex (King of Leukas)
  • Timonides of Leukas
  • Frederick Temple (1821–1902), Archbishop of Canterbury, was born here.
  • Aristotelis Valaoritis (1824–1879), writer and politician, was born here and died here.
  • Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904), writer of Irish-Greek descent who shaped the western image of Japan in the early 20th century, was born here.
  • Wilhelm Dörpfeld (1853–1940), building researcher, architect and archaeologist, died here.
  • Agnes Baltsa (* 1944), mezzo-soprano and chamber singer, was born here.
  • Effy Vayena (* 1972), bioethicist and university professor in Zurich, was born here.


Twin town

Web links

Commons : Lefkada  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Ελληνική Στατιστική Αρχή [ΕΛΣΤΑΤ] (Ed.): Στατιστική Επετηρίδα της Ελλάδος (Statistical Yearbook of Greece) 2009 & 2010 . Piraeus 2011, p. 47 .
  2. George Ferentinos et al .: Early seafaring activity in the southern Ionian Islands, Mediterranean Sea. In: Journal of Archaeological Science , online pre-publication of February 10, 2012, doi: 10.1016 / j.jas.2012.01.032