Vassiliki Bay, Lefkas, Ionian, Greece
Super sheltered, flat water venue with little tidal movement. Whilst Vass is an idyllic flat SUP spot all isn’t as it seems to the unwitting. During summer months a thermal wind sets up as the land heats during the day. Around noon (ish) the wind kicks in a suddenly a strong breeze puffs across the bay as it accelerates down the mountainside to the right. Vassiliki has been and still is a haven for windsurfing nuts but with the breeze (Eric as he’s known) not starting until later the morning can be absolutely lush for flat water SUP, SUP Yoga and mellow SUP touring.
There’s nothing too testing in Vassiliki (from a stand up paddle boarding point of view) when the wind is huffing. Being hemmed in on both sides by steep mountains this part of Lefkas Island is a quaint and fairly traditional fishing village. Albeit with abundant restaurants and bars dotting the harbourside in the village. If it wasn’t for windsurfers Vass may never have been put on the map but due to the regularity of the wind in summer it’s been a European go to destination for riding the breeze for years. In recent times, however, SUP has made its presence felt through the calmer mornings. WindSUP is also now a common sight as inflatable stand up paddle boards with mast tracks are used for teaching beginners how to sail.
There are very few hazards in Vass for budding SUPers. Some boat traffic does come and go – Vassiliki has a small fleet of fishing boats that should be kept clear of. Although they don’t tend to come in front of where the watersports centres are.
The biggest issue is when the wind kicks in. It can be strong so it’s getting off the water when it does. As soon as Eric rears his head the bay is descended upon by windsurfers. In a matter of seconds they’ll swarm the place – newbie stand up paddlers wouldn’t perhaps like this so much.
Some jagged rocks along the mountainside shore to the right should be given a wide birth but other than the mentioned you’ll possibly stand more chance of injury on land after a few Metaxa and Cokes following a day on the water!
Super easy access means you can drive, or be driven, right up to the beach. There’s no restricted access to the water with all comers able to get afloat. Lefkas Island at large is easy to navigate via car with plenty of other SUP spots dotted around. Cycling – particularly mountain biking – is also popular.
Ferries to the island are frequent with other Ionian ‘rocks’ within striking distance and flights from the UK head direct to the island.
In summer Vassiliki is inundated with large numbers of windsurfers from various global destinations. When the wind’s blowing it’s busy on the water. During those calmer SUP mornings, however, you’ll have much less traffic to contend with. 3-10+.
Plenty! A number of watersports centres and their affiliated hotels line Vassiliki’s Bay. There are accommodation options set back in the olive groves for those not looking for beachfront options. Bars, restaurants, cafes, bakeries, supermarkets and a few nightclubs can be found in the village whilst the outlying areas also have decent choices for eating and drinking.
Lefkada town is a buzzing boating haven that delivers even if you venture that way. A few other villages on the island can also be worth a look for off the beaten track options.
Vassilki is ground zero for European windsurfing during summer. The cross shore thermal breeze that set ups through the morning as the heat builds suddenly rushes across the bay, accelerated by shooting down the mountainside. On a good day Eric can provide full power, flat water windsurfing conditions that anyone will enjoy. Warm water and hair dryer esque breeze is what draws sailors back to Vass time and again. That and the unique shoreside ambience. If you’re a windsurfer who’s never visited Vass it’s definitely worth a look.
In recent years Vass has become more of a family location with work done to get peeps afloat in the mornings when the wind’s non existent. After all, not everyone wants to sail all afternoon, party all night and sleep off the hangover all morning.
As such Vassiliki is a flat water stand up paddle board hotspot where recreational paddlers, SUP Yoga aficionados, those looking to SUP race train will also be served well. Occasionally, a mythical south swell will materialise in the bay delivering some small waves to play on. These break on the sand bar just a few metres away from shore. It’s a unique site to see people sliding along on knee high waves in Vass. But it does happen and this is how SUP has added to the Vassiliki mix.
For anyone up for a challenge, there’s the Lefkas circumnavigation to be completed. This has been done by a few Vass watersports instructors in the past but shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s a gruelling trek as the island measures 35km north to south you can imagine just how much effort it takes to stand up paddle round. And all this under a hot Greek sun!
There are a number of other beautiful beached on Lefkas you can check out for SUP. Porto Katsiki isn’t too far away from Vass, but does get pretty popular. Whilst Egremni Beach (SW) is perhaps one of the most impressive beaches on the island. Mylos Beach in the north is where you’ll find some of the Vassiliki windsurf coaches on days off as it can be a windsurfing antidote to the flat water of Vass itself. Mylos has been known to chuck up a few little waves on occasion but with no puff can be a pleasant flat water idyll. If you want quiet then a trip to Kalamitsi Beach is a good option. Its draw is the unique rock formations that give it a wild feel. Agiofili Beach is paddleable from Vass itself and gives a nice break from the bay if you need it.
All in there are lots of reasons to visit Lefkas for stand up paddle boarding. If you’re a multi- sport waterman or woman then it makes sense to base yourself in Vass. And even if you’re not wind obsessed those Vass mornings will deliver the blissful, flat water SUP experience you’ve been after.
Check out our other international SUP destinations below –