Escapes to Epirus one hour drive from Lefkada

North across the channel that separates the Island of Lefkada from mainland lies the regions of  Epirus. This  area of north western Greece is not yet well known by foreigners. However it has  a lot to offer to curious travellers!

Epirus is  full of fascinating historical and mythological places, stunning natural beauties and small traditional villages and urban centers. A small paradise for holiday makers.

Most of the main  touristic attractions of Epirus are situated 1 hour (or less) driving from Lefkada Island. Hence why not take advantage of this opportunity and “escape” for some enchanting sightseeing trips with your family or friends?

Epirus Attractions for curious travellers

With so many beautiful attractions Epirus has a to offers to curious travellers, it is not simple to suggest one destination instead of another. 

Surely, if you are spending your holidays in Lefkada Island, and you are passionate about history, a visit to the Roman Archeological site of  Nikopolis is an ideal activity to do.

On the other hand, if you love greek mythology the Necromanthio of Ephira will definitely excite you!!!

Not only….if love Greek Mythology and you also wish to immerse yourself in an unspoiled and magical natural setting, then the  Acheron River is the right place to go! 

The choice is yours! And the good news is that all the above destinations can be reached with a short and pleasant drive from Lefkada!!! So take your car, or rent one, and start your discovery journey!!

Nikopolis : an important Roman archeological site

The Odeon in Nikopolis Archeological site ( Epirus)
Nikopolis ( Epirus) The Odeon

The archeological site of Nikopolis is one of the biggest ancient Roman site in Greece. You can find it 27 km from Lefkada, in the outskirts of Preveza.

History

Nikopolis  means The City of Victory. It was founded by Caesar Augustus  in 29 BC, straight after the Battle of Actium, to celebrate his victory  over Antony and Cleopatra (31 BC) and as an effort to establish Roman dominion in Greece.

After its foundation, Nikopolis flourished as one of the most important political and cultural center of Epirus.  The existence of large public buildings evidence the crucial geographical role of Nikopolis. The ruins of many monuments are still visible today.

What to see in Nikopolis 

Epirus Walls of Nikopolis
Walls of Nikopolis Epirus

Together with The Monument of Augustus, The Termae and the rests of a few roman basilicas and Mosaics, in Nikopolis you can admire the following archeological ruins:

The Roman Walls. They arise majestically as you drive along the roads surrounding Nikopolis.

The Acqueduct. Originally 50 km long, it carried the water from the springs of Agios Georgios to two cisterns in the Nymphaeum of Nikopolis. Nowdays only a small part of it is still visible.

The Odeon. Built in the 1 AD it  consists of the cavea (auditorium), the orchestra and the skene. During the summer it still hosts many concerts and other cultural events .

The Stadium. This is were the Nea Actia Games (musical competition, athletics games and horse races) used to take place every 4 years.

Short Escapes from Lefkada to EpirusThe New Archeological Museum of Nikopolis. It is situated at the entrance of the city of Preveza (1km away from Nikopolis). It contains collections of architectural parts, sculptures and objects the ancient city together with offerings from the cemetery of Nicopolis.

 

The Acheron River : a Paradise for Nature Lovers

The Acheron River is located in the area of Glyki (North Epirus), about 82km from Lefkada.  According to mythology, it was the road through which Charon lead souls to Lake Acherousia, where the kingdom of Hades was located.

During the hot sunny days of summer, the Acheron river is the perfect place for an escape out of Lefkas . Lush vegetation, crystal clear waters,  wild and picturesque gorges, create here a landscape of exceptional natural beauty

Epirus The Acheron River
Epirus The Acheron River

Along the river’s bank, close to its springs, there are a couple of tavernas and bars offering refreshments and local specialities. You can seat here listening to the relaxing sounds of the river flow. Or you can take a walk and see where the springs fill the Acheron river with clean and  fresh pristine waters.

An outdoor activity center offers you  the possibility for a horse ride along the banks of the River. If you like adrenaline you can go rafting down the river with a qualified instructor. 

The Necromanthio of Ephira : a bit of Greek Mythology

The Necromatio of Ephyra, located close to the Acheron River, north-western Epirus, is about 80km from Lefkada

Nekromantia means the Oracle of the Dead. Ancient Greeks believed this was the door to Hades, the realm of the dead.

The Labyrinth of Necromantion of Ephyra , Epirus
Necromantion of Ephyra Epirus , The Labyrinth

The  famous Greek  Poem Odysseus also mentions the Necromantio of Ephyra . According to Homer, Odysseus went here to seek advice on how he might return to  Ithaka.       

During the ancient times this place attracted many visitors. In fact here devotees could go and seek advise for their future.

The Necromanthio Ceremony

The Ritual use of the Necromanteion involved an elaborate ceremony.

Pilgrims would start by  consuming a meal of broad beans, pork, barley bread, oysters, and a narcotic compound. After a cleansing ceremony and the sacrifice of sheep, the pilgrims would descend through a series of meandering corridors. They would leave offerings as they passed through a number of iron gates.

Arrived in the lowest room of the Necromantio, pilgrims  would pose a series of questions and chant prayers. It is at this point that they would see the priest arise from the floor and begin to fly through the temple. (through the use of Aeorema-like theatrical cranes). 

Although the above three Epirus destinations are only a few among all the places that this fascinating region offers, surely, If you are based in Lefkada Island, they are a perfect start for exciting sightseeing trips!!