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What to do on Meganissi

In Greek, Meganissi means “Big Island” but it is only 25 square kilometres.

The island lies 4 nautical miles southeast of Lefkas. It has a total population of around 2000 living in or on the outskirts of three villages: Katomeri (the capital), Spartohori and Vathy.

According to Legend the island was originally known as Taphos and its wise king, friend to Odysseus, was Anchialos. The Taphians were fearless seamen who rivalled the Phoenicians in their prowess.

Today Meganissi is home to its fishermen and farmers and low key tourism.
Trish, our Meganissi Manager
Trish, our Meganissi Manager
Vathy port
Vathy port

FACILITIES

Our Ionian Villas manager is Trish Taylor. You can e-mail Trish prior to departure and during your holiday if you would like any information on simplytrish2001@yahoo.com or text or call on (0030) 6976 209984.

BANKS
There are no banks on Meganisi and very few places take credit cards (The Hotel Meganisi, Rose Garden Taverna and the mini market next to it are a few that do).
There is just one ATM and this is in Vathy.

The ferry times vary according to the time of year. Please contact our manager, Trish, for more up to date information or check at the ferry ports of Vathy and Spilia, where the times are posted.

POST OFFICE
In Vathy harbour.

PHARMACY
The pharmacy can be found in Katomeri near the drink shop. It closes for siesta hours from approx 2pm to 6pm.

DOCTORS
Katomeri Medical Centre: (0030) 6987 082619
Spartohori Medical Centre: ( 0030) 26450 057611
Or in Nidri on Lefkas: i.assist Medical Centre (0030) 6947 039924 or (0030) 26450 93169

DENTIST
If you are unfortunate enough to need a dentist on holiday it will mean going to Lefkas Town: George and Maria, Lord Byron Street, Lefkas Town (0030) 26450 92997

Fire Dep. 199
Emergency Medical Services 166
Police 100
Police Station Lefkas Town (0030) 26450 29379
Nidri Port Authorities (0030) 26450 92509

SHOPPING
There are mini markets in both Katomeri and Spartohori, which are open early till late. For a wider selection of goods use the mini markets in Vathy (the one next to the Rose Garden Taverna operates a delivery service).

Bakeries in Katomeri and Spartohori tend to run out of bread very early in the morning, but don’t worry as most of the mini markets in Vathy keep a stock of fresh bread every day.

There is a butcher in Spartohori - he also sells fish on the odd occasion! It is located just past the petrol station on the way into the village from Katomeri.

Agios Ioannis beach
Agios Ioannis beach
Fanari beach
Fanari beach
Limonari beach
Limonari beach

BEACHES

There are many little shingle coves on Meganissi. We suggest a few below.

FANARI
Fanari (Greek for lighthouse) is the beach at the far end of Atherinos bay. It is a mixture of sand and pebble.
There is a taverna on the beach which rents out a few sun loungers and umbrellas – beautiful views.

KARAKOFOLIA (meaning crow’s nest)
This beach can be reached by a small path leading away from the end of Fanari Beach. There are no facilities on this beach.

AGIOS IOANNIS
This west coast beach is named after the small church located here. The church was built on the foundations of a monastery that stood here until it was destroyed by pirates in 1477.
It is a narrow shingle beach 4kms from Spartohori, with lovely views over to Lefkas. There are a few sea urchins in the water, so take care! A beach taverna is open June to end August.

SPILIA
There is a nice shingle beach below Spartohori in Spilia Bay. A small cafe and a taverna with sunbeds for hire.

PASOUMAKI (meaning little slipper)
From Vathy, follow the road opposite the ferry dock until you come to a small cove, which looks out to Skorpios and Lefkas. There are some steps leading down to the beach. Not much shade here.

LIMONARI (meaning small valley)
Limonari is on the south east coast of Meganissi looking out towards the island of Kalamos.
There is a road from Katomeri down to the shingle beach. If you are walking be warned there is no shade on the road and it is a steep walk back up the hill from the beach.
In the height of summer a small cantina is open. There are no sunbeds for hire.

ELIA
To reach Elia beach follow the road that runs past the medical centre in Katomeri signposted for the beach. The road finishes at the beach and you can park on the side of the road.
It is a fine shingle beach with no facilities.

WATER & LAND ACTIVITIES

YACHT CHARTER
A yacht can be chartered with a skipper (or without if one of your party is qualified) to take you to secluded bays for swimming and snorkelling with a picnic provided or, if you prefer, you can stop at a taverna for lunch. The Vliho Yacht Club is based on Lefkas but would come and collect you from Meganissi.
Check out www.vlihoyc.com for more details or contact Trish.

DINGHY SAILING
Dinghies can be hired in Atherinos bay.

SPEED BOAT HIRE
Nikos can collect you and take you out for the day stopping for swimming and snorkeling and a lunch stop. See http://sbchart.se/index.html or contact Trish for more details.

SMALL MOTOR BOAT HIRE
‘Charlie boats’ can be hired in Vathy. These are boats with outboard engines up to a 30hp (there are larger boats for rent if you have a power boat license). See if you can spot the sunken aeroplane in Vathy harbour!
Fos Travel is situated above the Fresh Cafe on Vathy waterfront.

PEDALOS
Pedalos can be hired in Spilia from the taverna nearest to the ferry port.

MOUNTAIN BIKING
A guided ride around the island can be arranged for up to six people. Simon has lived on the neighbouring island of Lefkas for many years and knows Meganissi well.
For more details check out the Get Active web site on: www.getactivelefkas.com or ask Trish for more details.

BIKE HIRE
It is possible to have hire bikes put on the ferry from Nidri. For more details contact Trish.

QUAD BIKES
These are available for hire from Fos Travel in Vathy above the Fresh Cafe.
Contact Fondas on fostravel@gmail.com or call (0030) 6948 627901

Fanari beach cafe bar
Fanari beach cafe bar
Vathy waterfront taverna
Vathy waterfront taverna

FOOD & WINE

Here is a selection of traditional dishes that you can expect to find at some of the tavernas:

Taramosalata: A fish roe dip made with garlic, onion, bread crumbs, olive oil and lemon juice.
Tzatziki: A yoghurt and cucumber dip.
Melitzanosalata: An aubergine dip made with garlic, onion, lemon juice and herbs.
Dolmades: Vine leaves stuffed with rice, egg and lemon sauce.
Zuccini Balls: Fried pates of courgette, dill, feta and lemon juice.
Horta: Traditional local wild greens, boiled. Add plenty of oil, lemon juice and black pepper!
Tiropitta: Cheese pie made with filo pastry
Spanakopitta: Spinach and feta cheese pie made with filo pastry.
Saganaki: Deep fried cheese served with a wedge of lemon
Yigantes: Butter beans cooked in seasoned tomato, garlic and onion sauce.
Scorthalia: A garlic dip made with mashed potato and served cold as an accompaniment to fish or on its own.
Horiatiki: Greek Salad of course!
Moussaka: Layers of aubergine, mincemeat and topped with bechamel sauce.
Papoutsakia: Baked aubergines filled with mince meat, topped with cheese.
Keftedes: Deep fried meatballs flavoured with garlic and herbs.
Stifado: A meat stew with red wine, garlic, bay leaves, sometimes nutmeg, baby onions and tomato.
Kleftiko: A slow cooked lamb stew with onion, herbs, lemon, white wine.
Loukaniko: Spicy sausages.
Yemista: Stuffed tomatoes or peppers. Sometimes the filling includes mince so if you are vegetarian, check before you order.
Fasolakia: Green beans in a tomato and herb sauce.

LOCAL WINES
In nearly all tavernas and restaurants you can buy a half or whole litre of local wine – there is a wide variation in taste! It is available in white, red and rose.
If you would prefer to order a bottle of local wine try:
Land of Lefkas
Lefkas Hills
Vertzamo
Siflogo

TAVERNAS

VATHY
Stavros Taverna offers a selection of meats on the grill and a variety of fish and seafood. The octopus is fantastic. Salads and vegetarian starter options are also available.

Porto Vathy (Erikos) Taverna, located near to the church, also serves grilled meat and fish.

The Rose Garden, just off Vathy square, serves grilled meat and fish and Mama’s Special of the Day.

O Pasas, another family run taverna, just before the ferry port, O Pasas has Greek cuisine and some slightly more unusual dishes! This taverna also stays open in the winter for the locals.

After the church, just past the Boom Boom bar there is an Italian restaurant for pasta, pizza or salads.

SPILIA
Porto Spilia: to the left of the harbour and next to the beach, this taverna has a wonderful selection of fish and seafood on offer as well as both meat and vegetarian options. This taverna can get busy if a sailing company has a flotilla in, which is usually at the beginning or at the end of the week.

Babis and Panos: on the other side of the harbour, near to the ferry point, this taverna offers you a chance to select from a wide display of traditional dishes.

KATOMERI
The Meganisi Hotel
You can’t miss this peppermint green building, just past the Katomeri church.
A family-run hotel which has been serving wonderful food for many years.
George oversees the proceedings and Mama Christina ensures that there is always a tasty traditonal Greek special on the menu everyday to go with the usual grill and fish menu. Sometimes you will not be offered a menu, just told what is on offer!

The Family taverna O Gantsis: This grill taverna has live music on Friday evenings.

SPARTOHORI
Lakis Taverna: a traditional taverna, which hosts an organised Greek night, usually every Thursday. This can get quite busy as people come from Lefkas to this popular evening.

There is a pizza restaurant in the village.

AMBELAKIA (AMBELIKI) BAY
Pirates Cove: traditional Greek cuisine.

BARS

VATHY
Petrino: by the square in Vathy, this bar has a lovely courtyard and offers free WiFi.

Fresh Cafe Bar: on the opposite side to all the tavernas in Vathy, Fresh offers a range of pastries and cakes and serves up great milkshakes along with various coffees and drinks.

Boom Boom Bar: just past the church this little bar serves light lunches and evening cocktails.

The Kafenion: next to Stavros Taverna, this traditional café bar is a great spot to sip an ouzo or drink a Greek coffee with the locals. Sometimes there is an inpromptu gathering of local musicians!

KATOMERI
Precious Cafe Bar: on the outskirts of the village, straight over at the crossroads and signposted for Limonari beach you will find Precious. They offer coffees, a variety of drinks and toasties.

Ice Cream Parlour: on the way out of the village and just before the crossroads, a lady has converted part of her house into a little parlour selling delicious homemade ice cream.

SPARTOHORI
Esperides Hotel offers a more formal venue for drinks and dinner – with fabulous views.

The Cafe with a view: high up above Spilia bay with glorious views towards Scorpios and Lefkas.



EXPLORING THE ISLAND

The small size of Meganissi invites personal exploration – there are no organized excursions. However if you fancy exploring further afield you could hire a car from Nidri and visit some places of interest on Lefkas or even on the Mainland, ferry times permitting.

KATOMERI
Katomeri is the capital of Meganissi and lies 1km southeast of Vathy and 4km east of Spartohori. Katomeri has a labyrinth of narrow alleyways. There are a couple of mini markets, a bakery, a pharmacy and two tavernas and café bars which are the centre of the village’s low key evening bustle. By day there is a sleepy atmosphere - local women working on their looms and the men preparing their nets for the next day’s fishing.

SPARTOHORI
Built 50m above sea level for protection against raiding pirates, Spartohori is the second largest village on the island and has stunning views. Very much like Katomeri, it is a maze of narrow alleyways. The village can get busy in August, especially when organised caique trips come over from Nidri for the evening.

SPILIA BAY
Spilia is approximately 4.5km from Vathy on the coastal road. Named so because of a multitude of caves (spilia means cave in Greek) that can be found in the rock face above it, just below Spartohori. The road leading from the bay continues all the way to Vathy along the coast and is a very pleasant walk in the early evening when it is not too hot. It takes approx 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The car ferry from Nidri stops here as does the passenger ferry to Lefkas town

VATHY
Vathy is the main port on the island. Most of the fishermen keep their boats here. You will notice two shrines on the way out of the harbour: these are to bless the fishermen in the hope that they return home safely with a good catch! Many yachts come in overnight during the summer months. The car ferry from Nidri and the passenger ferry from Lefkas town stop here.

LAND AND SEA EXCURSIONS
There are no organised land excursions on Meganissi. Please contact Trish if you would like to take part in a guided mountain bike tour of the island.

CAR HIRE
If you would like to explore the island by car then you could rent a car from Avis in Vathy for the day.

Sea Taxi
The sea taxi can take you to Nidri and back or to Lefkas town or further afield. Contact Katerina on (0030) 6932 703228

TRANSPORT & TRAVEL

There is a limited bus service on Meganissi and just one taxi! The Meganissi car ferry goes to Nidri and back every day and a foot ferry to Lefkas Town from Vathy, which has a limited service depending on the time of year. I list links and contact numbers below.

Taxi: (0030) 6972 704359 or (0030) 6977 057611

Buses
The local bus meets the ferry from Nidri everyday at Spilia and at Vathy. For times please see under Meganissi ferry.
For buses around the island please check out www.meganisi.gr and change the language and then click on Transportation, however, this timetable has not been updated since 2010 and from past experience the bus times are very hit and miss, especially at the beginning and end of the season!

Meganissi Ferry
The current timetables are posted at the ports of Nidri on Lefkas and in Vathy and Spilia on Meganissi or contact the Nidri Port Authorities on (0030) 26450 92509 or please contact Trish by e-mail at simplytrish2001@yahoo.com or call on (0030) 6976 209984

The Achiales foot ferry
This boat departs Vathy and goes to Lefkas Town. The timetable is posted outside Stavros Taverna in Vathy.

Corfu and Igoumenitsa
If arriving in Corfu you can catch a ferry to Igoumenitsa on the mainland which is about a 2 hour drive from Lefkas.
Please contact Ionian Villas (david@ionian-villas.co.uk) for more details.

Island Hopper flights
Sky Express offer various flights to Preveza, Corfu, Kefalonia and Zakynthos: www.skyexpress.gr