Lefkada is a five-hour drive from Athens and is the second largest of the Ionian Islands off Greece's north-west coast. It was once part of the mainland but in the seventh century the Corinthians dug a channel to protect themselves from attack, creating the island as it is today.
Like visiting most new places, it's always a good idea to hire a knowledgeable guide, particularly if you're going to be in a place for a short while. In Catriona's case she hooked up with Aussie Greek Jo Dunious who was able to tell her about Lefkada's history.
Its architecture is a direct response to generations of earthquakes and tremors. Solid stone foundations built very close together and upper levels of corrugated iron make it shake-proof. The houses are so close together and everyone on the island must know everyone else's business!
The best way to get around Lefkada is by car. It covers more than 350 square kilometres and was set out in a confusing maze so pirates would become lost.
There are plenty of places such as Nidri to explore on foot or bicycle. One of the Ionian's main yachting destinations, it has an interesting coastline with secluded bays. Across the way you can see Skorpios, the private Onassis island. Aristotle Onassis and his two children are buried there and it's all off limits. Locals say his granddaughter, Athina, has visited the island just once.
Meganisi is an island you can visit. Four nautical miles from Nidri, the small island is covered in vegetation. It has three villages and a bit of a climb will give you wonderful views.
Karia is a tiny village 14km south-west of Lefkada Town and even though it has just 1000 inhabitants, it is very important. It respects and maintains local traditions and customs and is famous for fine embroidery depicting traditional motifs. The tradition is passed down through families. Exhibits can be admired in the small Folklore Museum and every year on the 11th of August a representation of a traditional wedding takes place in the village.
The village is 1000m above sea level and takes about 30 minutes to reach by car. It is the only place in the world you can buy the beautiful embroidery and lacework and there are plenty of places to buy lunch to enjoy under shady cypress trees.
Porto Katsiki (Bay of the Goat) is 40km from the capital of Lefkada. It's world famous, thanks to its beautiful beach, clear turquoise waters, spectacular sunsets and remoteness. Poor access and a long walk deter many people from visiting Katsiki, though there are water taxis to take you there. Catriona swears Katsiki is the place they photograph to lure tourists to the Greek islands.
Earth tremors are part of the experience on Lefkada, but they don't seem to stop people going about their normal activities. So, if the earth moves, don't be alarmed. Just keep sipping your ouzo.
Lefkada Island, off the west coast of Greece and a five-hour drive from Athens.
Greece and Mediterranean Travel Centre has a three-night Lefkada package, including accommodation at Ionian Blue Hotel, breakfast and five-day car rental starting at $377 per person twin share.
Emirates has flights to Athens. For the most up-to-date fares, call them on 1300 303 777 or visit www.emirates.com/getaway.
Prices correct at July 9, 2009.
For further information
Ph: 1300 303 777
Greece and Mediterranean Travel Centre
Suite 2, 644 Botany Road
Ph: (02) 9313 4633
Fax: (02) 9313 4475
Greek National Tourism Organisation
Level 3, 37-49 Pitt Street
Ph: (02) 9241 1663
Fax: (02) 9241 2499
Visas: Australian passport holders do not require a visa to enter Greece.
Electricity: Greece uses 220V at 50Hz electricity. Two- and three- point plugs are used.
Time zone: Athens time is GMT +3.
Currency: The euro is used in Greece.
Telephone code: Greece's telephone code is +30.
Travellers should be "in date" for the standard Australia and New Zealand immunisation schedules. Depending on the time of year of travel and exact destination, other health precautions and preventions may be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information, visit www.welltogo.com.au or www.smartraveller.gov.au.