Greece is the ideal country for yachting enthusiasts thanks to its clean seas, thousands of islands, bays and coves, and unlimited charter cruise routes.
Sailing cruise in the Ionian Islands
Imagine a mixture of warm winds and minimal tides, delicious food in romantic locations, and idyllic anchorages in teeming bays. Ionian Islandslocated off the west coast Greeceare some of the most popular places in Mediterranean.
An intriguing, charming and sometimes turbulent history surrounds this sun-baked region of outstanding natural beauty. These lands breathe legends, both mythical and real, and although much has changed over the millennia, many things remain untouched by time. However, since this area is very seismically active, not much is known about antiquity. Recent history has been almost as turbulent due to the country's economic woes. But the Ionian Islands remain politically stable, and are even better geared towards tourism than ever to cater to the needs of guests without losing their rustic charm.
Officially, the Ionian Islands are bordered by Greece, Italy, the Adriatic and the Mediterranean, but for most travelers this name refers to the western coast of Greece, stretching from the island Corfu in the north, from Paxos, Lefkada, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Zakynthos in the south.
Sailing cruise in the Ionian Islands
So what makes this region so unusual and popular, and what benefits can it provide for a yacht cruise?
To begin with, the wind will dictate the quality of your sail. As a rule, it will be northwest. Most days start with clear skies and calm winds, followed by a good breeze known as maistro, and wind strengths 3-5 begin at noon and disappear at sunset. For newbies, or if you want to spend a few lazy days, that means perfect cruising territory.
Maistro much softer than meltemiwho walks in the Aegean Sea on the east coast of Greece. Ionian storms are predictable, well predictable and short-lived. However, keep in mind that conditions can be changeable. The mountainous landscape of the Ionian Islands means that there are many localized effects when the wind converges and diverges around the headland, pulls channels down or is completely blocked, creating points of calm and sudden gusts. Katabatic winds also common in anchorage areas at the foot of the cliffs.
Sailing cruise in the Ionian Islands
South Ionian Islands
South Ionian Islands Is a protected and serene region that includes many islands, opportunities and experiences.
Lefkada town on the eponymous island Is a traditional Greek town that boasts a pedestrianized main street, town square and hospitality. The island has some great stopovers such as the many coves, small coastal villages to explore at sunset, or enjoy soft sandy beaches surrounded by white stone cliffs.
Lefkada Island - South Ionian Islands, Greece
Meganisi island Is a favorite destination for passionate photographers who are always on the lookout for the perfect sunset. Here you can climb the peaks on foot or by bike Spartachorion, and enjoy the splendor of the serene, crystal clear waters of the Ionian Sea, the olive plantations and cypress trees that adorn the hills.
Katomerion village will give you the opportunity to explore local taverns in quaint streets, and in the city Wati you will be able to take a walk on the wreck of the sunken plane. Nearby Abelak Bay Is a pristine oasis designed for those who love everything traditional and rustic without much amenities, and is just the perfect place for a beachside BBQ.
Meganisi Island - South Ionian Islands, Greece
Kefalonia island Is the largest of the Ionian Islands. Kefalonia is famous for its caves, steep cliffs, ruins of ancient cities and cave lake Melissani. Fiskardo Is a popular port on the northern tip of Kefalonia with the picturesque Foki beach, traditional taverns and beautiful houses.
Mountain island Kalamos located east of Lefkada, between Meganisi and mainland Greece. In the eponymous town of Kalamos, you have the option of a mountain hike to the ruins of an old monastery and exceptionally fabulous views of mainland Greece. Kefali village, also known as the Venetian settlement Porto Leone, was abandoned by residents after the earthquake in the Ionian Sea more than 60 years ago, but the church that survived the disaster is still working. The deep waters off the northern coast of Kalamos are a good place to watch dolphins.
Ithaca Is an island covered with dense greenery and the home of the Homeric hero Odysseus, as well as an amazing place rich in history, culture, folklore and archaeological finds. Fortunately, you are unlikely to encounter cyclops, sirens, six-headed monsters, or be captured by the Gods. The island's administrative center, Ithaca, sits on the shores of one of the largest natural harbors in the world, and the traditional port city of Kioni, sheltered and flanked by gentle hills, is truly an excellent choice for a long, long lunch.
On the island Paleros explore the Byzantine ruins, then stop by a local tavern and sample octopus, bream and perch with a good fortified local wine or traditional ouzo.
Northern Ionian islands
Corfu the northernmost island of the Ionian Islands. The northern part of the island is located off the coast of Albania. The predominantly mountainous landscape, which slopes gently from north to south, is densely planted with orange and olive trees and cypress groves. Highest point - mountain Pandocrator in the north of the island.
Architecture Corfu is heavily influenced by the Venetian style, and the old town, which grew inside the fortifications, is confused by a labyrinth of narrow stone streets. The pedestrian zone runs along the coast of Garitsa Bay, between the city and the fortress.
After exploring all the sights of the city Corfu, sail to the southern tip of the island and anchor in the bay Sand Bar... There is entertainment for all tastes, from quiet parking in the shade of the hills and swimming in clear waters, to numerous water attractions and parties.
Coastal area between cities Preveza and Parga dotted with quiet bays and beaches. Ideal for anchorage and a scenic deck lunch. Afterwards, continue south until you reach a historical and cultural oasis - the city Preveza... While the bay is a great place for swimming and sunbathing, those with an interest in the architecture and history of the ancient Greeks should get ashore to explore ruins of Nikopolis... Finally, enjoy the tiny but mighty island Paxos and its monastery Panagia with white walls and a blue dome, with a cozy white stone beach.
Charter planning tips
From time to time, you will need to visit larger ports to replenish water reservoirs as well as food supplies. Refueling can be more problematic - get ready to grab a canister and take a taxi to the nearest gas station.
Some ports charge a few euros per night, some are quite expensive, and some do not even bother charging for mooring at all, especially at the end of the season. If you have chartered your yacht, it is likely that your charter company has an agreement to reduce the flat rate in some ports - it is worth checking this before you book your seat.
If you are planning to explore the coastline or just go ashore, buy special water shoes in advance. Sharp rocks in the water and sea urchins that love warm shallow waters can hurt your feet and ruin your holiday.
The lack of tides means navigation is never difficult. The headlands may have cliffs, but the seabed is gently sloping around most of the islands, especially the more mountainous ones.
In fact, the main danger here is the sun. The heat can be very tough during the high season, especially at noon, so equip your boat with electric fans and make sure the boat has bimini to shade the cockpit. It will also be helpful to equip your boat with solar panels, as well as hatch and companion nets to prevent insect infestations.
The Interparus team has more than once organized a charter in the Ionian Islands. We can show you all the beauties of this region on a sailing cruise. Call now +33644142168 WhatsApp, Alexander
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