Last year, I was looking for a European destination for a two-week filming trip. I needed reliable wind, blue skies, nice beaches and somewhere convenient – everything we need close to the beach. I remembered some friends had just moved to a spot in Greece and on first look it seemed to fit the bill. A few emails later and my plans were afoot for a 2 week trip to Lefkada!
First up let’s be clear, I’ve been to Lefkada for one 2-week trip, in May 2017. I’m no expert on the location and realistically this was slightly outside the main season (June-August is when it really works). But after kiting and filming 14 days straight, I can safely say I fell in love with the place, the people, and can’t wait to go back. But other than my friends at AlwaysWindy, it was tough to find out much info on kiting in Lefkada so I hope this blog post will give some help to anyone thinking of venturing there in the future.
Shot video with some clips from our trip that will hopefully give you an idea of the spots and conditions:
Lefkada is Greek Island, known to windsurfers due to Vasiliki in the south and its strong blustery winds. Thankfully for us kiteboarders, the wind in the north of the island is not quite so strong (15-25 knots) and far more smooth. And just to confuse us all the whole island is called Lefkada but the town in the north of the island near to where you will kite is also called Lefkada!
We stayed in the village of Agios Nikolaos which is about a 10-minute drive from Lefkada town and 15 minutes from the airport (Aktion International Airport / PVK). So it’s a quick transfer with direct flights from the UK and many European countries.
Agios Nikolaos is a village with several restaurants, hotels and villas but importantly it’s a few minutes drive to the beach.
Wind and Kiting Spots
The wind is thermal and most of the time comes from the NW, though early and late in the season you may get wind from the SW which can be gustier. You wake most mornings to a calm sea but like clockwork, the wind will start to fill in around midday and by 2 pm you are on the water, with the wind starting to drop an hour before dark.
We were there in May and kited every day – partly due to having hydrofoils – in winds from 10-20 knots but we’re told that from June the wind is far more reliable, stronger and July/August is super consistent with 20-25 knots every day.
We kited at two main spots – both of which have a few different spots within them:
Kite Beach and Lagoon
This is at Agios Nikolaos and the kite beach is a big long sandy beach with cross-onshore wind. It’s waist deep for 30m and a large open area with an outer reef a mile out to sea, which keeps it pretty flat with at most, small chop. It’s great for twintip riding, surfboard practice and hydrofoils (you just have to walk out the first 15m or so). There’s a beach bar and several kite schools offering lessons.
But kite beach is effectively one big sand spit so there is a lagoon on the other side which offers some amazing flat water. You can either kite round from kite beach or park and launch from the other side of the spit. In close, the water is only 50-100cm deep but that makes for some butter flat water and perfect twintip riding. The wind is directly offshore but there is a large lagoon downwind and in the worst case you will simply end up on the far shore.
If you want some deeper water, you can kite in the whole lagoon which is where we spent many a day hydrofoiling. Its plenty deep enough, just watch out for the one shallow area of seaweed! You can easily foil round from the main beach or just walk out to deep water.
Wooden Bridge and the Church
This spot is amazing! A short drive from Agios Nikolaos towards Lefkada town. You park about 400m back from the sand dunes and get to the beach by means of a long wooden bridge – you see what they did there ;-) What makes this place so amazing is that the reef that protects kite beach actually starts here and that means you are just inside the reef and the water is super flat. It a perfect twintip location with waist to chest deep water for about 1km and at the end is The Church – it’s an actual church on a small island but here the water is shallow which makes it even flatter and like some tropical paradise.
Now we did foil at Wooden Bridge but I’m not sure I could really recommend it as there are several spots where its less than 90cm deep! It may be ok for your first tries on a shorter mast but head down a little to avoid the shallow rocks which aren’t foiling friendly, but not too close to the church.
There is nothing here so bring water and snacks if you plan to stay for the day – though Lefkada is only a few minutes away if you want a quick gyros.
There are other spots in the area, the main one being Agios Ioannis beach which is closest to Lefkada town. We never kited there but you can find out more info on the Always Windy site.
We stayed at Villa Pefkakia, which sits up on the hill looking down onto the main lagoon and main kite beach of Agios Nikolaos. Straight up, when I go back to Lefkada then I will be staying here again! It’s so good for so many reasons.
Location – you literally get up walk out of your room and are looking at the kite spot. You can chill at the house and see the wind coming from Lefkada and the first kites popping up on the beach. You can even see Wooden Bridge and the church from the villa. It is set out of town away from any other buildings so it’s peaceful and relaxing. Its a few minute drive to the beach or the village.
Your hosts – the villa is owned and run by a French expat family who are so friendly and welcoming but never overbearing. Lovely people who all kite and know the area so can give you any advice needed.
The rooms – the rooms are simple, clean and comfortable and each one looks out over that lagoon.
Every morning walk down to the outdoor kitchen and get an amazing continental breakfast – the homemade apricot jam is delicious! We never left hungry for the beach!!
Also be aware that is an EcoVilla – they are off the grid and completely self-sufficient. It doesn’t really affect your stay but it’s good to know you are having less of an impact on the location. Of course, when you are there to film kiteboarding instructional videos and have 22 different batteries (or devices with batteries in them) that need charging every night, you do feel like you are taking more than your fair share of solar power but we seemed to get through ok :-)
There are lots of other options for accommodation but we only stayed at one place so its all I can recommend. Again Always Windy can help you with other options.
Food and Entertainment
We kited every day and I worked the boys hard, filming from the minute the wind filled in until the sunset, so it didn’t leave much time for evening activities, other than the need for food! And on that front we couldn’t complain, we eat very well indeed but I’ll be honest we ended up eating at the same place 8 out of the 14 nights. You might think us boring but when you find a place you like, your exhausted and hungry, why not go with what you know?
For us, that was Pontiako – located on the main street in Agios Nikolaos and run by Vangelis, the most friendly and welcoming owner and chef, He serves traditional Greek food, primarily off the charcoal grill and everything we had was so simple, tasty and very reasonably priced. €5 would get you a big plate of grilled meat or fish, potatoes and salad along with a beer or wine (the chilled red wine become a firm favourite of mine). They make their own bread and all the greek dips are outstanding as are the desserts. Its one of those places that looks basic but is full of locals and just has an amazing authentic atmosphere. Many days we’d ended up getting food made by his mother who lived upstairs or ending up drinking Ouzo with him before we passed out (from tiredness, not the booze) ready for another day of wind.
Obviously, there are lots of other places to eat. In season Agios Nikolaos has several other restaurants and Lefkada has loads of great places serving all styles of cuisine. We eat at Margarita in Lefkada near the start of our trip and then became our second, and only other, dinner location (great pasta for those with an appetite). Supposedly the nightlife is also pretty good in town if you have the energy – and you can be guaranteed a lie in as the wind won’t arrive until noon the next day.
Overall, all I can say is that I can’t wait to head back to Lefkada. It’s a great spot for all kiteboarding – twintips are the obvious option, not a bad place for surfboard practice or strapless freestyle and great for foiling if you avoid the couple of shallow areas.
Summary / Helpful links:
- Speak to Mark at Always Windy if you need any advice on the area or you want some coaching
- Villa Pefkakia is a great place to say and the eldest son Baptiste is also the man to see about kite lessons. They have lots of great info on their website too.
- Season: May to September – July/August has the strongest wind
- Airport: Aktio Preveka (PVK)
- Money: Euro – it’s a quiet part of Greece so everything is cheaper than the big cities or tourist areas.
- Car hire – you really need a car to get to the different spots – €25-40 a day.
- Wind forecasts: Windguru, Windfinder, Poseidon, Live Weather
- iKSURFMAG have a good report on Lefkada
Have you been to Lefkada? If you have any food tip or recommendations for accommodation, restaurants or nightlife, please let us know in the comments below.