We investigated the in vitro effects of four alkyl-galactofuranoside derivatives, i.e., octyl-β-D-galactofuranoside (compound 1), 6-amino-β-D-galactofuranoside (compound 2), 6-N-acetamido-β-D- galactofuranoside (compound 3), and 6-azido-β-D-galacto-furanoside (compound 4), on Leishmania donovani. Their mechanism of action was explored using electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and ultrastructural alterations were analyzed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Compound 1 showed the most promising effects by inhibiting promastigote growth at a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC 50) of 8.96 ± 2.5 μM. All compounds exhibit low toxicity toward human macrophages. Compound 1 had a higher selectivity index than the molecule used for comparison, i.e., miltefosine (159.7 versus 37.9, respectively). EPR showed that compound 1 significantly reduced membrane fluidity compared to control promastigotes and to compound 3. The furanose ring was shown to support this effect, since the isomer galactopyranose had no effect on parasite membrane fluidity or growth. NMR showed a direct interaction of all compounds (greatest with compound 1, followed by compounds 2, 3, and 4, in descending order) with the promastigote membrane and with octyl-galactopyranose and octanol, providing evidence that the n-octyl chain was primarily involved in anchoring with the parasite membrane, followed by the putative crucial role of the fura-nose ring in the antileishmanial activity. A morphological analysis of compound 1-treated promastigotes by TEM revealed profound alterations in the parasite membrane and organelles, but this was not the case with compound 3. Quantification of annexin V binding by flow cytometry confirmed that compound 1 induced apoptosis in >90% of promastigotes. The effect of compound 1 was also assessed on intramacrophagic amastigotes and showed a reduction in amastigote growth associated with an increase of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, thus validating its promising effect.