Lefkada and Sailing

There is no doubt that Lefkada is nowdays a major touristic destination. An amazing natural environment, a beautiful coastline dotted with sandy and pebbies beaches and hidden coves, traditional villages to visit and a cosmopolitan atmosphere. All these factors attract here every summer thousands of travellers. Indeed there is a choice for all tastes and budgets both in terms of accommodation and in terms of activities to do on the island. Also sailing in Lefkada is extremely popular. Sailors come from all over the world to discover the beauties of this amazing ionian island and its surroundings.

Given the location and the wind conditions in this area, it is not a surprise that Lefkada is a perfect destination for those who love sailing.  The east coast of the island has the advantage of being protected from strong winds.Vasiliki, Sivota and Vliho (Nidri) all offer safe anchorages. In Lefkas Town there is a superb marina. Moreover Lefkada is the getaway to reach other Ionian Islands such as Kefalonia and Ithaka. Therefore many good reason to choose Lefkada for your sailing holiday! Or simply to take advantage of the sailing opportunities available on the island while you are on vacation here.

In this article you can learn about sailing infrastructures in Lefkada, sailing schools and events and also about sailing charters and daily sailing cruises. So if you are in love with sailing….keep reading!  

Sailing and Mooring bases in Lefkada 

The marina of Lefkada

The marina of Lefkada is a modern touristic harbour set up on the waterfront of Lefkas Town. Here there was once one of the main salt pan of the island. Lefkas Marina is one of the largest and best organised Marina of all Greece. It can moore more than 600 yatchs.

Lefkada Lefkas Marina Aerial View
Lefkada Lefkas Marina Aerial View

Inside Lefkas Marina you can find many different facilities and services such as: a reception office (in the Control Tower),maintenance services offices, rental boat/car/motorbike offices, surgery, laundry, and sanitaries.

There are a few restaurants and a couple of bars. Furthermore a minimarket and a hotel which includes a conference center. Finally there is also a minimarket where you can do your shopping.

Mooring bases in Lefkada

On the east coast of Lefkada there are various mooring bases that you can use while sailing in this area. The bigger ones are located in Sivota and Vliho.

Vliho is a small fishing harbour in the outskirts of Nidri. Here you cam moore your boat overnight or if you need protection in case of strong winds. In the village there are a couple of tavernas and minimarkets where you can do your shopping. There is also the Vliho Yacht Club which offers comprehensive boat maintenance, repairs, anchorage and guardiennage services. In the village there is finally a fuel station which delivers petrol to the quay, Police and Port Police station and a 24hours on call Doctor service.

Sivota Bay in Lefkada
Sivota Bay in Lefkada

Sivota is a small traditional village situated about 35km south east of Lefkas Town, in a deep natural bay ideal for mooring your boat. There are a few pears where you can moore your yatch. Some of the tavernas around the harbour not only serve delicious fish specialities. They also offer sanitary services ( toilette and showers) to those who stop in the bay. Maintenance services are also available.

There are other minor mooring places on the east coast of Lefkada where you can stop, although not all of them offer you the possibility to stay overnight. These are the small ports of Ligia, Nikiana and Perigiali, a couple of kilometers before Nidri. 

Lefkada Sailing Charters and Daily Sailing Cruises 

Together with many private yatchs (boat sailing and motorboats) in Lefkas Marina there are many Greek and foreign sailing companies. They organise charter holidays (with or without skipper) for those who enjoy a vacation in full contact with the sea. Usually the charters last one week, from saturday to saturday, although there is the possibility to book multiple weeks and, in some cases, to choose a different departure and return day. You can also join a flotilla crew for your sailing holidays. 

Sailing Charter Lefkada (ph. courtesy of Crociere a Vela)
Sailing Charter Lefkada (ph. courtesy of Crociere a Vela)

The itineraries are various but they usually includes the small island of the Prince’s arcipelago, such as Madouri, Skorpios and Meganissi and the islands of Ithaka and Kefalonia. If the wind conditions allow it, the itinerary may include also Zachintos or Corfù. In any case you can always discuss and agree your favourite programme and the itinerary with your skipper. If you go for a bareboat charter instead you have complete freedom to choose where to go!  

In the last few years also daily cruises have become popular in Lefkada. A sailing daily cruise around Lefkada gives you the opportunity to spend a day at sea with your family and friends discovering beautiful bays and coves and swimming in crystal clear waters.

Lefkada Sailing Daily Cruise (photo courtesy of My Way)
Lefkada Sailing Daily Cruise (photo courtesy of My Way)

A typical sailing cruise starts around 9.30 – 10.00 am and brings you on the east coast of the island of Lefkada. You can admire the beauties of the small islets such as Madouri and Skorpio, the island which belonged for many years to Aristotelis Onassis. You can also reach the island of Meganissi and have lunch in one of the local tavernas of Vathy or Spartoxori. Some companies offer you lunch and refreshements on board. This is made with local products and wines. In many cases you can agree with your skipper the itinerary and the menu that best suits your preferences.

Sailing Schools in Lefkada 

The main schools for sailing in Lefkas are based in Lefkas Town and in Vasiliki.

In Lefkas Town, inside the Lefkas Marina you will find the Nautical Club of Lefkada (NOLE). This is a very active center for sailing training. During the winter children and teen agers can attend  a school for optimist and laser which participate to the regional and national sailing championship with great results. During the summer months ( usually July and August) there is a kids summer camp. The summer camp as well as the winter courses are open also to children speaking in english. The coach for these activities is Noni Oikonomopoulou a passionate sailor and athlete who, until few years ago, was among the top world sailors for sport competition on small sailing boats.

NOLE Sailing Club Optimist Training in Lefkada
NOLE Sailing Club Optimist Training in Lefkada (ph. courtesy of Noni Oikonomoupolou)

The Nautical Club of Lefkada also organises courses for adults interested in learning sailing on big sailing yatchs. Twice a year infact the Nautical Club runs a two months course where you can, after an examination, obtain the sailing diploma for open sea. The course is held by a professional and experienced skipper. 

Vasiliki is a village located in the south of the island of Lefkada. It is one of the most popupar place for windsurf and sailing. Vasiliki infact is located in a natural bay where winds are ideal both for beginners and advaced practitioners of these sports. In Vasiliki there are two summer resorts offering sailing holidays. Here you can learn the art of sailing on small boats (such as 470s and lasers) under the guidance of professional trainers. 

Sailing Events and Competitions in Lefkada

On the island of Lefkada there is a big comunity of resident greek and foreign sailors. Many people coming from England, Australia and other countries infact decided to settle down in Lefkas. A few of them live on their boat inside the marina of Lefkada. No wonder then that during the year there are many sailing competitions. Boats of different categories can participate. Below you can find a list of the most important sailing races organised in Lefkada.  

Porto Cup

This regatta usually takes place in September. The name comes from Porto Cafè, one of the bar in Lefkas Marina where many sailors meet regularly. The bar is also one of the main organiser of the event which includes a Kids competition. The main race consist in covering a small triangle circuit between Ligia, Nidri, Playa (mainland Greece) and  back to Ligia.

Lefkada Porto Cup Kids Race Flyer
Lefkada Porto Cup Kids Race Flyer

Ionian Southern Regatta and Rally

The Ionian Southern Regatta  usually takes place on the third thursday of September and the route includes Vasiliki,  Sivota, Meganisi and Arcoudi.  The Southern Ionian Regatta was created back in 1983, when some crews from a few charters companies operating in the area decided to have an end of season race and party. It was always on a Thursday as there were no changeovers on that day.  Nowdays the regatta has evolved into a great day of sailing with staff, their guests often, charter boats, private boats and live aboards all joining in the fun.  The regatta as well as the Ionian Rally is organised and run entirely by volunteers. The South Ionian Rally is always at the beginning of August. It consists of one week race from island to island. At the end of the events there is always a big party for the crews in Sivota.

Round Lefkas 

As the name indicates this is a sailing competition where the boats involved go around the island of Lefkada. It is a challenge that brings the crews also on the west coast of the island of Lefkada. This area is less popular for sailing as there are no safe anchorage bases and the sea conditions are not always easy. When the weather conditions are not optimal the Round Lekfas race can be a very difficult. The Round of Lefkas competition is organised by the Nautical Club of Greece and usually takes place in late October, beginning of November.

Lefkada Round Lefkas Sailing Event 2016 Flyer
Lefkada Round Lefkas Sailing Event 2016 Flyer

Sailing Race Marinos Zampatis

Also in this case the organiser is the Nautical Club of Lefkada. This race takes his name from Marinos Zampatis a young greek Coast Guard who was killed while on duty by an Albanian drug gang in 1997. In Meganisi, in the small village of Spartoxori you can admire a statue dedicated to this eroe. The Zampatis race takes place mid october and lasts 2 days. The first day the route to cover is Ligia, Meganisi (Vathi) via St Nikolas Island. On the second day the crews return to Ligia always passing from St Nikolas Island.

Round Lefkas and Zampatis Race 2019 Flyer
Round Lefkas and Zampatis Race 2019 Flyer

If you wish to participate to one of this competition or just would like more information you can contact the Nautical Club of Lefkada, always among the organisers or involved in these events. You can also pop in at Porto Cafè inside Lefkas Marina where public notice of the sailing events are always displayed.