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Lazarata, Spanohori, Pinakohori, Asprogerakata, Kavalos, Exanthia, Drymonas

According to tradition, the name of the region of Sfakiotes derives from Sfakia in Crete, when population from Crete settled here in the 16th or 17th century. It is mostly a semi-mountainous region around a fertile plain. It includes the villages Spanohori, Lazarata, Pinakohori, Asprogerakata and Kavalos. Over the years however they have grown to one.

Olive groves, fertile gardens and vineyards compose a green landscape. The view onto Lefkada town and the Ionian Sea is magnificent. The villages Drymonas and Exanthia, lie on the west of the island. Vegetation there is not that abundant however the view is exquisite

There are a lot of places to visit in this region. Nature made sure to give this region plenty of beauty. A place depicting this beauty is the ravine of Melissa. It is located between the villages Kavalos and Apolpena. There lie the remains of older villages. Among them old watermills, probably the oldest on the island.

This region is part of a project that aims at making old paths accessible to those who like to explore nature. In the ravine and its surrounding area there are a lot of old stone bridges, water wells and water springs where the visitor can rest. In Fryas -between Kavalos and Asprogerakata- you will see Turkish wells with a unique architecture and construction, dated back to the period 1478-1684. One of those wells used to supply with water all the villages of the region. In Fryas you will also see two century-old plane trees. One of them is believed to have been planted in 1845.

Here is also the wine of TAOL (the Wine Production Cooperative of Lefkada). It is a significant building bound with the life of the region, when wine production used to be one of the main agricultural activities on the island. The winery in Sfakiotes was founded 1929 and is still in use. TAOL had four wineries in total The oldest one was situated in Vasiliki and was founded in 1927. The third one was in Exanthia and the last one is situated opposite the Fort of Santa Maura. In Spanohori lies a monastery dedicated to Prophitis Ilias. During its time, while still open, the monastery was very wealthy. However over the years the monastery fell into decline. It became state property in 1815.

Fires destroyed a big part of it. Another remarkable monument is the church of Pantokrratoras situated 1km northeast from Kavalos. In its yard a huge oak tree serves as its bell tower. Next to the church lie the remains of an old watermill, the watermill of Kospetos. A little further you will see the two old water wells of Stenofryas. From there you can clearly see on the top of the opposite hill, in Kavalos, another watermill, recently restored. A lot of traditional bell towers, each one with its own features, complete the beauty of the churches in Sfakiotes. Among the most beautiful bell towers are those of Aghios Dionysios and Aghios Spyridon, in Lazarata, built at least 150 years ago, calling the parishioners to attend church in bad as well as in joyful times.
The church of Aghios Spyridon was built in the mid 18th century. Its baroque templon is white and brown with thin Corinthian capitals. The icon of Archangel Michael is probably painted by the distinguished painter Sideris (1894). Its bell tower is tall and imposing. Another church worth visiting is the church of Aghios Nikolaos in Kavalos. It is one of the oldest in the region and there you will have the chance to admire the works of Spyridon Gazis which are dated from 1876 until 1883.

An exquisite picturesque route is the road from Asprogerakata descending to the west to Pefkoulia after driving through a green scenery and through Lagada, a narrow gorge full of pine trees (a local species) leading you to a beautiful sandy beach named Pefkoulia, near the well known traditional village of Aghios Nikitas.

The old houses in the villages are stone houses. Such a traditional village is Drymonas, on the road leading to the south and to Vasiliki. Drymonas is a village built on the mountain slope so that it could be best protected from bad weather. Drymonas stands out for its beautiful traditional houses. In two-storey houses the stairs were outside and were built of solid stone. On the top, the stairs led to a balcony called Pontzos. Under the stairs an arch called Voltos lead into the ground floor.

On the arch, the owners used to carve the year the house was built. Doors as well as windows were mostly double and were very solid. Most of the houses had a special anti-seismic support system called pontelarisma that consisted of thick wooden columns. They would be built around the walls, creating this way a wooden frame that could support itself. This way it could support the whole house in case of a strong earthquake. Almost all houses had their own facilities such as an oven, a stable for the animals in the garden or in the yard.

Next to Drymonas lies Exanthia. One of the oldest villages on the island. It is a big village first inhabited during the Byzantine era. It is built on a mountain slope, so that it could be best protected from bad weather as well as from pirate raids during the Middle ages. Here too, the inhabitants used to be farmers cultivating wheat, cereal, vineyards and olive trees. The narrow streets of Exanthia take you back to past times and the small white washed yards with their flowers give a different colour to the scenery. The church of Aghios Stefanos in Exanthia, is very interesting. It is old, however it had to be restored several times since it has suffered plenty of damages over the time. In its templon is written the year 1850.

The people in Sfakiotes are very hospitable. They were also considered as the most rebellious on the island. They played a significant role in the history of the island. The rebellion of Voukentra was the first revolt of the peasants to take place in 1357 and started on those mountainous villages. The reason was the unbearable taxation the Franks, who ruled the island imposed on the people. Having the location Episkopi, a small fortress, as their base of operation, they rose up against Gratiano Zorzi, the overlord of the island. It is no coincidence that Valaoritis places his hero Photeinos in this area in his epic Photeinos. The second revolt took place in 1819 against the British rulers for the same reason. Refusing to pay, the farmers gathered at a location called Giohari and attacked the British soldiers at the location of Boza. The British soldiers suffered severe losses there. Afterwards they barricaded at Aspra Halikia and fought courageously. The site of Boza along with its water well is an important historical site worth visiting. A Folklore Museum has been founded in Kavalos, which is going to display a lot of interesting items regarding the daily life of the inhabitants.


Traditional tavernas, restaurants and bars as well as cafes will give you the chance to have a meal or a drink. We recommend the delicious mezedes (such as kokoretsi, splenadero) or grilled meat. Full of customs and tradition the region will give you the chance to become part of it and have fun.


With the beaches located at a close distance, you wll certainly have the opportunity to experience the green and peaceful surroundings and enjoy your swim whichever beach you choose to discover.


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