A Touch of Paradise: Sailing in the Ionian Islands


Sailing in the Ionian Islands

It can be difficult to decide which group of islands to sail when organizing your sailing holiday but the Ionian islands have many places you must visit. Depending on your ability there are different routes you can take, but whether easy or hard you can enjoy what the Ionian islands have to offer.

Ionian Islands
Ionian Islands Image from Pixabay.com

The distances between the main cluster of islands are short so you don’t have to sail for hours at a time, but if you want to sail for longer, the northern islands of Corfu and Paxos or the southern Zakinthos which are further away from the main islands.

Here are some examples of places to explore when you book a yacht charter for sailing the Ionian islands.

The Northern Islands

North of the Ionian islands are Corfu, Paxos and anti-Paxos and your sailing route should also include the coastal villages and traditional small towns on the mainland such as Plataria, Mourtos, and Parga.

Beach in Corfu Greece
Beach in Corfu Greece

There’s beautiful crystal-clear waters that are great for swimming and snorkeling, with little coves and beaches to explore. Not to mention historic towns such as Corfu town with its Venetian fortress. You will marvel at Corfu’s beautiful features including winding medieval lanes, French-style architecture and the grand Palace of St. Michael and St. George.

Excursion boats from Paxos to Anti Paxos run frequently in the summer, the trip takes about 15 minutes and you can spend the whole day there if you like.

The idyllic islands of Paxos and Anti-Paxos offer secluded bays and white sandy beaches excellent for relaxing. Lakka and Mongonisi are good places to anchor and relax and take a break or a leisurely swim. In Paxos, Gaios town is a lively place to explore and have a bite to eat and some drinks too. Anti Paxos is small and almost uninhabited but has many small vineyards looked after by the Paxos families where some of them also have houses on Anti Paxos. The local wine is well worth tasting.

For a week itinerary, perhaps start in Plataria, then sail onto Corfu before moving on to Paxos and Anit-Paxos. Then sail back to the mainland and stop off at Parga and Mourtos before returning to Plataria.

The Middle and Southern Islands

Sailing the central parts of the Ionian island should include, Lefkas, Meganisi, Kalamos, Kastus, Atokos and Ithcia as well as Kefalonia and the southernmost Zakynthos.

Beginning at Lefkas

Lefkas has a lush green landscape and turquoise waters as well as the beautiful old town to explore with its pedestrianized small streets, old churches and lots of shops, cafe bars and restaurants to explore. If you like water sports, visit the harbor Vasiliki as it is one of the best windsurfing destinations in Europe.

In Meganisi you can visit picturesque Spartahori village, perched up on the cliffs and if you take a hike to the top you can enjoy a beautiful view. For a traditional village atmosphere, you should visit Little Vathi with its excellent tavernas.

Kalamos is an excellent place to see the sunset, the quiet village of the main harbor has a few shops and cafes and a peaceful atmosphere. You can also visit the village of Port Leone which was abandoned since the earthquake of 1953 which destroyed the water supply. Although the rest of the village is deserted people return to keep the church in good repair. Every Sunday, some people come from Kalamos village to check the oil in the lamps, put fresh flowers in the vases and keep the church clean.

The small island of Kastus has gorgeous sandy beaches and has excellent bays to swim and snorkel in. The harbor tavernas serve freshly caught fish and the windmill café has lovely views over the nearby islands.

Next onto Atokos, a popular stop between Kastos or Kalamos and Ithaca. Cliff Bay and One House Bay are both great stops at this privately-owned island to enjoy a dip in the clear waters and view the only house on the island. This island should be reserved for daytime anchoring only and not overnight.


To the southernmost islands

Kefalonia is a popular destination made famous by the book and film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. The island is always busy with visitors from lots of different countries. There are pretty, colorful buildings and several stunning beaches it is easy to see how the place became so popular. On a yacht charter, the best places to explore are the numerous caves in the anchorages along the east side of the island.

Zakynthos is a well-known Greek island in the Ionian Sea and a popular summer resort. The harbor city of Zakynthos is the capital which is centered the waterfront Solomos Square. There are many popular beaches such as Agios Nikolaos, Alykanas and Tsilivi all with excellent swimming and exciting water sports. A place most visitors want to see is Navagio beach, which is the site of the 1980 shipwreck resting on the sandy beach surrounded by cliffs.

Would you decide to take a yacht charter to the Ionian islands?

As you can see there are so many places to visit and explore in this area of the Mediterranean Sea. These Greek islands and little coastline villages are the perfect places to anchor during your sailing adventure.

Holidays in Ionian islands
Holidays in Ionian islands

You can enjoy a leisurely island-hopping holiday, lazing on sandy beaches and swimming in crystal clear waters. Or you can take to the seas and sail the waters between great destinations, enjoying the open seas and eating drinking and relaxing once you get to where you are going.

Where would you choose to add to your sailing itinerary when exploring the Greek Islands? Leave a comment and tell us why you would add a destination to your Greek island sailing itinerary.

See Also: Gorgeous Greece

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