The Mediterranean has that deep blue and forest green feel all along its northern coasts. All the way from France down to Turkey. However, the Greek part of the Ionian is a popular place for yachting holidays and learning how to sail along the Greek Ionia. Amazing beaches and historical towns await but why would you want to visit this part of the world compared to other destinations? Well, here are a few reasons why and also some of the top destinations you should consider when checking out the Ionian in Greece.
Why the Ionian Islands?
The Ionian Islands are a group of islands situated on the west side of mainland Greece. They are home to some of the Mediterranean’s most popular yacht charter destinations and they are an amazing group of islands to enjoy a fun and relaxed Greek island sailing holiday. The Mediterranean climate with its charming warm summers boasts over 3000 hours of sunshine a year! Why wouldn’t you want to explore this beautiful warm and sunny part of the world? There are so many places that are very close together meaning you can explore and discover a variety of destinations in only one holiday. This is why visitors come back time and time again to enjoy this beautiful part of the world.
Why should you consider sailing here?
The Ionian sailing area is made up of the major islands of Kefalonia, Lefkas, Ithaca and Meganisi in the south, Corfu and Paxos in the north and also the Greek mainland and Gulf of Amvrakia with its own villages, harbours and bays to explore. This area is a sailing destination that suits all abilities as distances between the main islands are very short meaning you don’t have to sail for hours at a time. If you are a keen sailor however you can sail to the northern and southern Ionian islands which take a bit longer to sail to. There’s lots to see and do here and sailing gives you that advantage of seeing these islands and coastal villages from a different point of view. Navigating your way around the Ionian islands is relatively simple and stress free. You can almost always see from one destination to the next with almost no tide or currents and very few hazards to endure.
Where should you visit?
If you only have a short time you might want to know where the top destinations are you should start with on your trip. Then fill the gaps with other islands along the way. Here are a few of the top places to visit in the Ionian.
Surrounding this island, you will find gorgeous crystal-clear waters are ideal for swimming and snorkelling, along with small coves and beaches to explore. You’ll also find historic towns such as Corfu town with its Venetian fortress and amazing features such as winding medieval lanes, French-style architecture and the grand Palace of St. Michael and St. George.
Paxos and Anti-paxos
The idyllic islands of Paxos and Anti-Paxos offer secluded bays and pretty sandy beaches which are perfect for relaxing. You should consider anchoring in Lakka and Mongonisi which are excellent places to relax and take a break or a swim. In Paxos, Gaios town is a fun place to explore and have and have food and drinks too. Anti Paxos is a tiny and almost abandoned island but is awash with small family run vineyards looked after by Paxos families. Some also have houses on Anti Paxos offering local wine tasting and tours.
When you talk about blue meeting green Lefkas has that lush green landscape and turquoise waters you could only dream about. You will also find the pretty old town to explore with its pedestrianised small streets, old churches and plenty of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants to enjoy. If water sports are your thing then you should visit the harbour at Vasilliki which is one of the best windsurfing destinations in Europe.
This is a perfect place to see the sunset along the quiet village of the main harbour where there are a few shops and cafes and a lovely peaceful atmosphere. You can also visit the village of Port Leone which was abandoned since the earthquake of 1953 because of the ruined water supply. Although almost the entirety of the village is deserted, people still come back to keep the church in good repair. Every Sunday, a few people come from Kalamos village to check the oil in the lamps, put fresh flowers in the vases and clean the church to keep it going.
Kefalonia is a destination most well-known and made famous by the book and film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. This island is always full of visitors from a variety of different countries. There are some pretty, colourful buildings and lots of beautiful beaches it is simple to see the draw to the place and how it became so popular with tourists. When chartering a yacht, the best places to explore are the many caves and places to anchor along the east side of the island. Here you can enjoy some lovely secluded places to relax and unwind.
A very well-known Greek island in the Ionian Sea and a popular summer resort for all kinds of tourists and holiday makers. The harbour city of Zakynthos is the capital of the island and is centred the water front Solomos Square. There are lots of great beaches such as Agios Nikolaos, Alykanas and Tsilivi all have lovely accessible swimming and exciting water sports to take part in. A place that most visitors want to see is Navagio beach. This is the site of the 1980 shipwreck which is resting on the sandy beach surrounded by towering cliffs.
So, would you consider sailing the Ionian?
This is just a very small snapshot of why you should sail the Ionian and the places you should try to visit. Has this fired any desire for sailing the Greek islands? Which would be your perfect destination?