IONIAN ISLANDS YACHT CHARTER GUIDE
DISCOVER THE INTRIGUING LANDSCAPES AND SEASCAPES THAT LURED THE ANCIENT GODS WITH A CHARTER THROUGH THE GREEK IONIAN ISLANDS
Whitewashed villages, azure skies and rich cultural heritage – the glories of the Greek Ionian Islands continue to seduce the yachting crowd. Each of the Ionian islands is a unique world suffused with its own charm. As such this East Med archipelago is a charterer’s paradise, providing endless cruising itineraries. Steeped in legend – Homer’s mythical hero Odysseus ended his quest on Ithaca – island-hop from ancient towns to ruined temples, from sandy beaches to lively waterfront towns, finding your own hidden treasures as you go.
The archipelagos of Greece are suffused with intrigue, adorned with whitewashed houses and stunning beaches lapped by the beautiful warm waters of the Ionian Sea. Located off the northwest coast of mainland Greece, the seven Ionian Islands run from the basin of the Adriatic to the Peloponnese. Encapsulating the beauty of the Greek countryside combined with a distinct Venetian flavor, thanks to their proximity to Italy, the archipelago delivers mythic grandeur in spades. The most verdant islands in the region, the waters offer some of the best sailing in the Mediterranean with bright blue skies and stuff afternoon breezes.
From the bustling fishing harbors of Zakynthos and Corfu to the tranquil fishing villages of Levkas and Ithaca, island hop and discover secluded beaches, welcoming locals and fascinating archaeological sites. Once home to the legendary Greek king Odysseus, a pioneering island hopper himself, the Ionian island chain provides endless compelling charter possibilities.
- With reliable winds in the south at Vassiliki, Levkas is ideal for windsurfing
- Kayak the subterranean lake in the cave of Melissani
- Hang out at Ben’s Bar on Monodendri Beach, Paxos
- Shop the boutiques along the bustling shorefront on Zakynthos
- Tender to the uninhabited Atokos Island for a picnic lunch ashore
The Ionian island chain is one of the most popular cruising grounds in the Mediterranean. With plenty of hidden coves and secluded beaches, they allow for a remarkable charter itinerary whether sailing or cruising on a motor yacht. Corfu is the ideal place to embark and set sail through the archipelago. For an extended itinerary, begin (or end) your charter in Athens, home to some of the most spectacular historical sites in Greece. From there you can cruise through the Corinth Canal, past mainland Greece and on to the Ionian Sea.
Full of picturesque fishing villages, fashionable harbors and beaches galore, Corfu has long been a favored stopover for the yachting crowd and is a great place to embark on a charter through the Ionian archipelago. The most northerly lying island in the chain, it has a history rich with writers, artists and poets. Relatively cosmopolitan, Corfu Town is a great place to sit and observe the locals and tourists coming and going, while the coastline has stunning coves, some of which are only accessible by boat.
CORFU TO PAXOS (30 NAUTICAL MILES)
Cruise alongside the dramatic Emiritis cliffs along the northwest coast of Paxos before discovering the island’s buzzing beaches. With its mix of sophistication and unspoiled seclusion, the three main harbors – Gaios, Laggos and Lakka – provide ample opportunities for entertainment ashore, while small coves and bays offer secluded anchorages.
PAXOS TO ANTI PAXOS (3 NAUTICAL MILES)
The Greeks love their “anti” islands and Anti Paxos sums up why. Lying just off the Paxos’ south coast is a tiny islet called Anti Paxos. The antidote to the busier islands on the main tourist trail, anchor off a deserted beach with all the advantages of your fabulous yacht. The islet is a haven for watersports enthusiasts while ashore the island is endowed with a multitude of green vegetation and shaded trails.
ANTI PAXOS TO LEVKAS (32 NAUTICAL MILES)
Cruise on to Levkas and spend another day enjoying all manner of watersports activities. The island is a paradise for windsurfers, sailors and beach lovers. Reliable winds in the south of the island at Vassiliki provide some of the best windsurfing conditions in the Mediterranean, while the deep coves and turquoise-colored bays of Meganissi provide idyllic anchorages. During the evening, step ashore to Levkas Town where the streets have a hip atmosphere.
LEVKAS TO ITHACA (28 NAUTICAL MILES)
From Levkas it is an easy cruise to Homer’s Ithaca. Small, unspoiled and blessed with dramatic scenery, the island is rich in history. For centuries this quintessential Greek island has been synonymous with a hero of epic proportions: Odysseus. Explore the Cave of the Nymphs, where Odysseus is said to have hidden gifts, the Fountain of Arethusa and Odysseus’ Palace. Pebbled beaches, some of which can only be reached by boat, provide secluded anchorages, while the bijou ports are a showcase of charming Greek cafés and tavernas.
ITHACA TO CEPHALONIA (17 NAUTICAL MILES)
Cruise across to the neighboring island of Cephalonia and the port of Fiskardo. A magnet for superyachts, the fashionable fishing port has a bustling waterfront. A magnet for superyachts throughout the summer season, you will find plenty of restaurants and tavernas. Early morning awake for sunrise over the stunning Myrtos beach, with its white and azure waters and sheer cliffs, before discovering the Drogarati and Melissani caves.
CEPHALONIA TO ZAKYNTHOS (46 NAUTICAL MILES)
Cruise to the furthest island in the Ionian chain, Zakynthos. Rich with vineyards, olive groves and orchards, the island is known as the “Flower of the Levant”. Relax in the therapeutic Sulphur springs around Keri or head to one of the stunning beaches. Early evening stroll along the shorefront of Zakynthos Town before disembarking or cruising overnight to Corfu.