Sail Ionian Islands

The Ionian Islands are a chain of islands to the west of mainland Greece and are home to one of the Mediterranean’s most popular yacht charter sailing destinations providing the perfect cruising ground for fun, relaxed and varied Greek island sailing.

The Ionian has a wonderful Mediterranean climate with beautiful warm summers and the sun shines here for over 3000 hours a year!

The Ionian sailing area consists of major islands including Kefalonia, Lefkas, Ithaca and Meganisi in the south, Corfu and Paxos in the north as well as the Greek mainland and Gulf of Amvrakia with its own array of beautiful villages, harbours and bays.

A sailing destination that suits all sailing abilities as distances between the main cluster of islands are short so you don't have to sail for hours at a time if you don't want to but for more adventurous sailors the northern and southern extremities of the Ionian islands offer longer passages.

The Ionian Islands

The Southern Ionian islands including Lefkas and Cephalonia (Kefalonia) enclose an ‘inland sea’ with more than twenty smaller islands dotted within the cruising area including Meganissi, Kastos, Kalamos and Ithaca. Sailing around these Greek islands discover safe anchorages in picturesque bays surrounded by olive groves and cypress trees and explore a fantastic choice of pretty ports.

 

The Northern Ionian includes the beautiful Greek islands of Corfu, Paxos and anti-Paxos as well as picturesque waterfront villages and traditional small towns on the mainland including Plataria, Mourtos and Parga. Explore small fishing villages, island groups with crystal clear water perfect for swimming and snorkeling and historic towns with Venetian fortresses. The idyllic islands of Paxos and Anti-Paxos offer secluded bays and white sandy beaches, perfect for lunch time stops and a swim.

East of the Islands of the Ionian stretches the western coast of Mainland Greece (Epirus). The towns and villages along this coastline share many of the same characteristics and ambience of the Ionian islands. Just across from Lefkas on the mainland is the pretty village of Paleros with its long beach and beautiful sunsets.

Finding your way around the Ionian Islands

Navigation in the Ionian islands is simple and stress free and due to the close proximity of the islands is predominantly by sight with almost no tide or currents and very few hazards. We can suggest route plans and intineraries and let you know about of all our favourite spots.

What's it like to sail in the Ionian Islands?

The Ionian Sea is renowned for its perfect sailing conditions with plenty of wind to have a really fun sailing holiday in the sunshine. Typically winds build about lunchtime and drop again at sunset. This means that you can spend the morning sailing gently to a lunch time stop to a secluded bay or pretty village and go for a swim or snorkel, have lunch on board and then have a great sail to your evening destination. The winds are fairly consistent and usually result in a very calm evening with still waters.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Lefkas

Lefkas, also known as Lefkada on the west coast of Greece retains an authentic Greek charm. A lush, green island with an amazing landscape, beautiful beaches and paradise-like turquoise waters. The island is surrounded by many stunning satellite islands which can be explored by yacht. The capital of Lefkas is beautiful and vibrant with a central square, pedestrianised little streets, old churches and many shops, cafe bars and restaurants to explore. The village of Vassiliki is framed by mountains and a sapphire sea. With waterfront tavernas, cafes and shops around the harbour Vasilliki is one of the best windsurfing destinations in Europe. Sivota is a large sheltered natural bay with tavernas and cafes on the quayside. There are a number of beautiful bays and anchorages to the east and south of Lefkas.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Ithaca

The home of the legendary Greek hero Odysseus, Ithaca really is the jewel in the crown of the Ionian islands and a place where you can feel the ancient myths come alive. From the charming fishing village of Frikes on the North of the island through the chic, picture postcard beauty of Kioni to the bustling capital Vathi, each harbour offers something a bit different. There are numerous stunng anchorages on the island including Polis bay which is reputed to be the site of Odysseus’s farm. In the centre of the island the village of Stavros offers a glimpse of the traditional Greeks island way of life. Only accessible by boat, Ithaca is an unforgettable and magical place.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Meganissi

The beautiful Ionian Island of Meganissi offers complete relaxation in a typically Greek atmosphere. Although it is small enough to explore in a day there is plenty on the island to keep you entertained; the enclosed anchorages on the east side which are great for snorkelling, the ‘capital’ Vathi with its excellent fish tavernas and café culture, and the breathtakingly beautiful Spartakhori on top of the island offering breath taking views and a sleepy charm. Recently voted one of Europe's 18 best secret islands in the Telegraph's Travel section!

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Kastos

The tiny island of Kastos has numerous anchorages with sandy beaches and rocky areas to explore with your snorkel. This stunningly beautiful island has a tiny population of around 200 people with quaint stone houses and the surrounding water is crystal clear. In the evening the quiet, pretty harbour has fresh locally caught fish in the tavernas.  Stunning panoramic views of the Ionian Sea can be enjoyed from the windmill tower which has been restored into a lovely cafe bar.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Kalamos

Sitting in George’s taverna by the beach drinking a cold beer and watching the sun go down over the Ionian sea is one of the quintessential Greek sailing holiday experiences. The main village of Kalamos is a sleepy harbour with a couple of shops and cafes which are all stocked by the ferry which visits daily from the mainland. Port Leone on the south of the island is a must see anchorage, the long since abandoned village offers a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Kefalonia

The largest of the Ionian islands, Kefalonia was made famous by the book and film ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’, it has always been a key holiday destination and now in the summer the island is bustling with visitors from many countries. With pretty, colourful buildings and several stunning beaches it is easy to see how the place became so popular. For visiting yachts perhaps the most special places to explore are the numerous caves in the anchorages along the east side of the island.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Western Coast of Mainland Greece

Just across from Lefkas on the mainland is the pretty village of Paleros with its long beach and beautiful sunsets. Along the coast, north of the Lefkas canal, you will find the beautiful Amvrakikos gulf in which sea life thrives like nowhere else in the Ionian Sea, dolphins and turtles are common sights here and there are lots of great spots to anchor. The towns of Preveza, at the entrance, and Vonitsa are the ports around the gulf. Further up the Epirus coast there are several stunning anchorages, with Two Rock Bay being perhaps the pick of them. The popular tourist towns of Parga and Sivota Mourtos buzz with energy and life.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Paxos

The unique beauty of the coastline of Paxos island together with its understated air of sophistication and elegance makes it renowned as one of the most beautiful of the Ionian islands. Crystal clear water surrounds the island, Lakka and Mongonisi are perfect places to anchor and swim off the back of your yacht while the town of Gaios is a lively and chic town which attracts many visitors from land and sea. Just south is Anti-Paxos which is where the super yachts go to anchor and where its perfect for swimming in the emerald water.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Corfu

Probably the best known of the Ionian islands, Corfu is a great place to visit on a yacht. Stay in Mandraki marina which is located within the old fort and take a stroll into the stunning old town with splendid Venetian architecture. From here you can try out the many amazing tavernas and cafes and soak up the history of the place.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Lefkas Marina

Lefkas marina, Home to Island Sailing's Ionian yacht charter base, is an ideal place from which to start your holiday. Lefkas is the only island in Greece accessible by car and is just 20 minutes from Preveza airport.  Lefkas marina is ideally located for exploring both the North Ionian and South Ionian. The marina has all the facilities you will need including dockside water and electricity, shower facilities as well as stylish bars and restaurants. The town next to the marina offers plenty of little supermarkets and shops for provisioning your yacht as well as a great range of cafe bars, tavernas and restaurants.

 

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