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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

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

Corfu, Paxos, and anti-Paxos are north of the Ionian islands, 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

Beautiful crystal-clear waters 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 frequently run 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, relax, and take a break or leisurely swim. In Paxos, Gaios town is a lively place to explore, have a bite to eat, and have some drinks. 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 Ithica, as well as Kefalonia and the southernmost Zakynthos.

Beginning at Lefkas

Lefkas has a lush green landscape, turquoise waters, and a 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 the picturesque Spartahori village, perched up on the cliffs, and if you take a hike to the top, you can enjoy a beautiful view. You should visit Little Vathi with its excellent tavernas for a traditional village atmosphere.

Kalamos is an excellent place to see the sunset, the quiet village of the main harbor has a few shops, cafes, and a peaceful atmosphere. You can also visit the village of Port Leone, which was abandoned after 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. Some people come from Kalamos village every Sunday 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 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 on 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. The best places to explore on a yacht charter are the numerous caves in the anchorages along the island’s east side.

Zakynthos is a well-known Greek island in the Ionian Sea and a popular summer resort. Zakynthos’s harbor city is the capital centered on 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 the 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

Written by Melo Villareal

Melo Villareal is the Online Publisher of He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full-time work focuses on discovering interesting culture, explore different cuisines and take memorable photos from local and international destinations he's visiting.

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