Meganissi paradoxically means “large island”. It covers 19.85 square kilometres and sits 4 nautical miles from the nearest port of Nidri, Lefkada. Its current population is around 1500, but has been inhabited from time immemorial.
Mentioned as far back as Homer’s times, this island has certainly seen some history. One can easily imagine the pirates and invaders that once sheltered and conspired in the caves and the bandits that hid in the lush growth amidst the olive trees.
When visitors are asked to describe Meganissi, the satellite island to Lefkada, they all say it is like taking a step back in time, unspoilt, charming and beautiful.
This miniature Greek island is within easy reach by boat and there are numerous bays to explore, some caves to snorkel in and villages to amble around.
The two main harbours of Vathi and Spilia offer safe moorings to local fishermen and sailors. Each has waterside tavernas to while away an hour or two whilst having some drinks and people watching.
Above these two harbours are the quaint villages of Katomeri and Spartohori. A labyrinth of tiny lanes and alleyways form a maze of whitewashed houses and courtyards full of tin-potted plants. A handful of churches occupy sites with the best sea views and a few tavernas offer tasty Greek meals to visitors. Although the number of residents diminishes over the winter period, those that remain find plenty to do. There are still olives to harvest, sheep and goats to milk and chickens to feed.
In bygone years these villages were the centres of activity. Everybody joined in with the olive harvest to make oil to sell and corn was grown and milled in one of the many windmills to make flour.
Nowadays, olive oil continues to be made on the island but in smaller quantities and produced by machine instead of donkeys. Flour is no longer made, so all that remains of the windmills are the round stone-built towers that balance on hilltops and capes, bereft of their sails and looking forlorn.