It’s mid-August and the temperature is in the mid-30s. I have not been to Lefkas for many years and Sue, my wife, has never been. It was a last-minute decision to come here for a week and see what’s happening on the ground and for Sue to update our resort descriptions. Milos was the only available property so we had no choice – no air-conditioning and no wifi. In fact, neither was a problem. The constant breeze (great location for a windmill!) provided us with natural, eco-friendly air-conditioning, and our mobile phones provided the necessary connectivity.
The villa is high up behind LefkasTown with 360 degree views to the sea, across layer upon layer of mountain ranges and to the village of Kavalos behind and below the villa. The views are quite spectacular and at night, the lights of Lefkas town twinkle below and, beyond this, on the mainland, the lights of Preveza. Here you feel that you are on top of the world.
Nikos, the owner, was left the mill in his grandfather’s will. His dream was always to preserve the property for posterity and he has certainly succeeded. The bedroom is on the top floor and, when you open the shutters, the room is bathed in light and a delightful breeze wafts through from all four windows – north, south, east and west. You really don’t need air-conditioning here – in fact, in the evenings, when the temperature drops, you’ll probably need a light cardigan when sitting outdoors enjoying the sunset and the view.
Everything here is in the round and all the fitted furniture has been specially made. The property is perfect for two and ideal for honeymooners. After the coastal bustle of what becomes a very busy island during the peak period of the summer holiday season, this is a wonderful, peaceful retreat. The pool is crescent shaped to mirror the footprint of the windmill and is the same depth throughout. It’s not suitable for non-swimmers as, at 1.70m deep, many of us shorter mortals are not able to touch the bottom. However, in this very hot weather the pool, which uses an overflow system, is a real boon – and, if you want to swim in the nude, there are no prying eyes. We started nearly every day with an early-morning dip before getting down to work.
The property is not overlooked. A low wooden fence atop a wall surrounds the mill at the back but the only two buildings to the front are some distance below the villa; the land drops away from the front of the property, where the swimming pool is located, and there is no road up to the villa – just a 150m concreted footpath through vineyards. (Best to bring wheeled luggage, and not too much of it – it’s quite a hike from where you park the car.)
The bedroom is reached via a curving staircase of 16 steps and has enough wardrobe space for six people – seemingly, the carpenter got carried away!
The nearby village of Lazarata, a 5 km drive, has a pleasant square, a very well-stocked supermarket (Angela, on the cheese counter, made us some home-made taramosalata the second time we visited) and two excellent bakeries. The one we used (which is on the right as you drive out of the village towards the villa) will bake special orders on request – we asked for olive bread, and were asked if we’d like oregano and tomatoes added; that’s personal service! The shops were open from early to very late, with a few hours off in the middle of the day for a siesta.
Ten kilometres or so away is the much larger village of Karia, famed for its lace. The town square is enormous, shaded by huge plane trees, and houses several tavernas. Try Eleni’s Restaurant and Ouzeri. An enormous and delicious dinner for three – including a wide range of mezze, main courses and a quart of ouzo – cost just €48.
The villages are pretty, the landscape heavily wooded and, quite honestly, you hardly feel like moving away from the mill and its surroundings.
We did not visit any beaches, though the west coast of the island has some stupendous ones. It was very warm, and the beaches at this time of the year are crowded. Those that are not awash with sunbathers – and there are many – are harder to reach and it was just too hot to make the effort!
We would gladly come here again. It’s a magical place.
And, definitely worth the effort, is the short (45 minute) ferry ride to Meganissi, the small island adjacent to Lefkas, from Lefkada Town. It’s a lovely half-day trip, giving you time to have a pleasant harbourside stroll and relaxed lunch. We explored by car and came across a wedding party in full swing in one of the three villages – little girls were dancing on the tables, and we were invited to join them for a quick drink! This is indeed the real Greece.
Sunvil Group Chairman