Explore the Ionians by the wind
A weekly trip around the famous Ionian islands, insider tips and suggestions!
Ionian Sea composes one of the most beautiful and popular sailing destinations in Greece. The area includes seven main islands and numerous islets, all lying at the western side of Greece.
Perhaps the most famous ones are Corfu, Lefkada, Zakynthos and the mythical Ithaca. Together with Kefallonia and Paxoi islands, are the populated and most popular sailing destinations of the Ionian Region.
You will also come across many more uninhabited smaller islets which have nothing less in terms of beauty in natural landscape.
They all lie close to each other, allowing you to move from one place to the next usually few hours of sailing.
The nature is wonderful, full with trees in the countless bays of each island. Sailing is not very challenging at most times, since there are big marinas in main islands, offering safe and convenient berth.
These islands share a different tradition compared to the rest of Greece, due to historic and cultural factors. Their diversity is vivid everywhere, especially in famous Corfu and Zante islands. Ionian Islands host many monasteries, interesting for sightseeing. The turquoise color of the sea in many bays leaves an unforgettable memory!
Weather conditions are easy for sailing. Most days winds are relaxed, up to 2-3 beauforts, creating 'easy sailing' conditions, safe anchorage in most bays and relaxed days for swimming and relaxing.
This time, we set sail from the island of Lefkada. It is conveniently located at the center of the Ionian Sea, close to some beautiful islets with few, if any, inhabitants. The island is easily accessible by car, very close to the mainland, and of course there are plenty of options on sailing boats to rent, or shops to supply your boat with the necessary provisions.
On your first day, and in a short distance - of 17 nautical miles (nm) south of Lefkas - you approach the north coast of Kefallonia, and the beautiful bay of Fiscardo.
You will instantly identify it by the colorful and well preserved village lying by the port.
This picturesque village has just enough hustle and bustle, shops and restaurants to keep you entertained.
Depending on your departure's time, you should expect to arrive to Fiscardo near the sunset's time. Berth at the nearest free spot in the port, and get ready to explore the tremendous nightlife, the local flavors and secret recipes of the traditional Kefallonian cuisine. One of the well known restaurants is at "Tassia's" (if you can get a table).
In the morning, and after your breakfast and coffee, walk around the tiny roads and alleys of this small town, appreciate the environment, its cosmopolitan atmosphere, the tall pine trees by the sea; a beautiful landscape.
Just before noon, you can set sails to the south end of the island, to the bay of Kastelios.
Taking the western route, you will pass the bay of Assos, and the famous beach of Myrtos before reaching the capital of Argostoli.
Further south, you should finally arrive to the little port of Katelios (it will take around 6-8 hours, depending on your stops). There are plenty of bays for a swim, before you will finally berth during sunset.
On the third day you should have an early start towards the next island on the course, Zakynthos. In 13 nautical miles (nm) you approach the famous bay of the 'Shipwreck', lying near the northwest cape of the island. The beauty of this beach is mostly pictured around the world for its turquoise, crystal clear waters, the golden sand on the beach, and the spectacular ship wreck that was washed up in the beach during the 80s.
Sharp rocks surround the beach that is only accessible by sea. Enjoy the incredible view for some hours but leave in the afternoon to find a safe berth in the port of the capital. Zante town is 15 nm from the beach of the shipwreck. On our way to the port, you should sail near the "Blue Caves", another spectacular place of the island's coastline. Alternatively, you may berth at the fish port of Agios Nikolaos, at the north of the island and near Spilies. The port is not only safe but also beautiful.
At the small village of Korithi (next to the cape of Skinari) you can also dine at 'Faros' (Lighthouse) a traditional tavern full of local tastes and fresh ingredients.
In the morning you set sail to the north, reaching the island of Ithaca. The trip to Kioni bay - a traditional village at the west coast of the island - is 15 nm to the north from Zakynthos port. Kioni is a small village situated inside a wider bay, offering physical protection to visiting yachts. The houses are surrounded by bright pine trees although the prevailing color is the turquoise of the sea. You should get there in the afternoon, the perfect time to enjoy a wonderful relaxing swim in the crystal waters and later a walk in the small village.
There are plenty of small fish taverns to enjoy seafood and a cold glass of ouzo or wine. Admire the rare architecture of the houses in the village, and particularly the three temples that include rare religious artifacts (drawings, etc.)
Although this island looks rather small, you should spend an extra day in Ithaca's bays for swimming and relaxing. After breakfast, you can sail around the northern cape of Ithaca, visiting the bay of Stavros at northeast. The landscape is equally beautiful, pine trees and crystal waters all around the place. In the evening you can try the main port of Ithaca, Vathi.
Even if you arrive late and you can't find a spot at dock, simply moor on your anchor. This is a naturally protected bay, and you will be safe through out the night.
On the sixth day of your holidays you can sail to Kastos, and the other small islets surrounding the island of Lefkada. Kastos is a beautiful island, full with trees, 14 nm to the east of Ithaca.
The islets-complex is also composed of Meganissi and Kalamos. The three islands carry historic tradition since ancient years.
Not far, you can also visit the famous private island of Skorpios. It was bought back in 1963, by Aristotelis Onassis, who turned it into a tropical paradise. It is covered with trees from one side to the other, with a beautiful villa in the middle, where most of the global celebrities of his time spent their summer time as guests.
The final day of your weekly trip is a rather relaxed one. Exploring the complex around Meganissi, there will be plenty of bays and beaches to moor on anchor and dive.
By the afternoon is about time to start your return trip to Lefkada. It is so close, that you should arrive before sunset, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the final evening in the capital town.