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Ionian Islands & Suggested Ititineraries

The Ionian Islands 1The Ionian Sea is one of the most idyllic cruising areas of the Mediterranean. Crystal clear turquoise waters, charming little villages, spectacular countryside and a pleasant north westerly breeze which rarely exceeds force 5, make it a sailor’s paradise!

It is located at the western side of mainland Greece and it stretches all the way from Corfu in the north to Zante in the south. The Ionian Sea is one of our favorite cruising areas, so we’ll try to describe the islands for you here, although it’s difficult to put in words their real beauty!

 

One thing that makes the western side of Greece different is the lush vegetation, which consists mostly of olive groves, vineyards, a variety of fruit trees but also pine and cyprus forests. And all that, thanks to the high rainfall that this area receives in the winter, between November and March.

 

Map of the Ionian Sea

 

With the exception of the two bigger and more touristy islands (Corfu and Zante), the rest are off the beaten track and the best way to visit them is by yacht, as they don’t even have ports or airports. The locals who are mostly fishermen and farmers are very laid back and friendly, so we are not surprised when we often hear our guests mention that during their evening walk they were invited by an old lady to her garden for a cup of coffee!

For our cruises we have chosen Patras as our base, because it is very conveniently located close to the beautiful Ionian Islands and at the same time is close to Athens airport. From here we have a few nice options for your itinerary:!

 

The Ionian Islands 2 Central Ionian Islands: This is our recommended route for a relaxed holiday as there are many small islands to visit, the distances between them are small and there are numerous secluded coves with amazing crystal clear waters.

Central and Northern Islands: You can explore the Central Ionian Islands and also Paxi and Antipaxi which are further north. This route is more suitable for those who would like to sail longer distances and don’t mind the bigger swell of the northern Ionian. It is doable in one week, but two weeks are recommended for this route.

Antiquity cruise: This is an ideal cruise for those who love archaeology, as you will visit two of the most important sites of the ancient times; Ancient Olympia and Ancient Delphi.

 

The Ionian Islands 3The car/minibus/bus ride from Athens to Patras port is just 2 1/2 hours on the new motorway and if you have a few extra hours to spare, a small detour to the magnificent site of Ancient Olympia is really worth, as you will see the birthplace of the Olympic games and the site where every 4 years the Olympic flame is lit.

 

The Ionian Islands 4The history of the Ionian Islands also goes back a few thousand years, so there are a few archaeological sites in the area, although they are not as big and important as the ones you would find on the Greek mainland.

Rather than big and impressive temples, archaeologists in this area have discovered mostly objects and smaller buildings. An island well known for its ancient history is Ithaca (the island of Homer’s Odysseus), where you can visit the small museum with all the findings from the excavations, but also the remains of the palace.

 

Ionian Sea - Ancient OlympiaSince we started our crewed yacht charters in 2004 we have cruised all the island groups of Greece, the Caribbean and Thailand and we have concluded that the Central Ionians are the perfect  cruising ground, as they offer an ideal combination of relaxation, good sailing but never uncomfortable, beautiful scenery, a taste of culture and cuisine and amazing emerald waters to swim in.

 

 

A FEW SUGGESTED ITINERARIES



The Ionian Islands - Blue cavesWhat makes the Ionian Islands an amazing sailing area, is that there are so many villages and bays to visit which gives us numerous options for the route to follow.

It doesn't really make much sense to try and show all the possible itineraries in this page, but we listed just a few below so that you can get the general idea (for each day only the village we will moor in the evening is shown).

On 'whole yacht' bookings you can spend one or more nights in a bay instead of mooring in a village.

 

The Ionian Islands - FiskardoOur suggested itineraries below take into account the prevailing wind directions, distances between the islands, best swim stops and are ideal for a relaxed cruise, combining a few hours of sailing per day, a few hours in a bay for swimming and a few hours on the islands every evening.

 

The Ionian Islands - KalamosOn Sunday evening you will be welcomed onboard your yacht by our team with a refreshing cocktail. After showing you around the yacht and your cabin you will have time to settle in, before continuing a bit later with a short safety briefing. We will then all sit around in the salon enjoying some mezes (Greek tapas) and bubbly wine, while looking at the itinerary on the chart and getting to know each other.

As our first night will be at the port of Patra, you can later go for a stroll along the seafront, explore the town’s busy pedestrian streets and cafes or just relax on the yacht.
During your cruise with us we will explore the beautiful central Ionian Islands spending each night at a different harbor, finally returning to Patras on Sunday morning for disembarkation at 10 a.m. after breakfast.


The itineraries below show the harbor we will visit in the evening each day, but not the bay we will anchor for swimming/snorkeling and lunch as there are numerous options.

 

 

A 1 week - Central Ionian (relaxed cruise)
Sun Embarkation at 5 p.m. and stay in Patras
Mon Kastos
Tues Kalamos
Wed Vathy on the Island of Ithaca
Thur Fiscardo on the Island of Kefalonia
Fri Kioni on the Island of Ithaca
Sat Oxia or Alikes
Sun Arrival in Patras and disembarkation at 10 a.m.
145 miles in total

 

B 1 week - Central Ionian (relaxed cruise)
Sun Embarkation at 5 p.m. and stay in Patras
Mon Kastos
Tues Vathy on the Island of Meganisi
Wed Kioni or Vathy on the Island of Ithaca
Thur Sami on the Island of Kefalonia
Fri Fiscardo on the Island of Kefalonia
Sat Oxia or Alikes
Sun Arrival in Patras and disembarkation at 10 a.m.
170 miles in total

 

C 1 week - Antiquity Cruise (longer days at sea)
Sun Embarkation at 5 p.m. and stay in Patras
Mon Galaxidi - visit Ancient Delphi in the evening
Tues Trizonia
Wed Katakolo
Thur Visit Ancient Olympia
Fri Agios Nicolaos on the Island of Zakythos
Sat Oxia or Alikes
Sun Arrival in Patras and disembarkation at 10 a.m.
235 miles in total

 

D 1 week - Central/Northern Ionian (longer days at sea with bigger swell)
Sun Embarkation at 5 p.m. and stay in Patras
Mon Kioni on the Island of Ithaca
Tues Mongonisi on the Island of Paxi
Wed Gaios on the Island of Paxi
Thur Antipaxi
Fri Fiscardo on the Island of Kefalonia
Sat Oxia or Alikes
Sun Arrival in Patras and disembarkation at 10 a.m.
230 miles in total

 

E 2 weeks - Central Ionian (relaxed)
Sun Embarkation at 5 p.m. and stay in Patras
Mon Kastos
Tues Kalamos
Wed Lefkas town on the Island of Lefkas
Thur Vathy on the Island of Meganisi
Fri Vathy on the Island of Ithaca
Sat Kioni on the Island of Ithaca
Sun Fiscardo on the Island of Kefalonia
Mon Cove of Atheras on the Island of Kefalonia
Tues Sami on the Island of Kefalonia
Wed Poros on the Island of Kefalonia
Thur Agios Nikolaos on the Island of Zakynthos
Fri night in a secluded cove on the Island of Kefalonia or Zakynthos
Sat Oxia or Alikes
Sun Arrival in Patras and disembarkation at 10 a.m.
270 miles in total

 

F 2 weeks - Central/Southern Ionian including Ancient Olympia (relaxed route but 2 longer days at sea)
Sun Embarkation at 5 p.m. and stay in Patras
Mon Kastos
Tues Kalamos
Wed Lefkas town on the Island of Lefkas
Thur Vathy on the Island of Meganisi
Fri Vathy on the Island of Ithaca
Sat Kioni on the Island of Ithaca
Sun Fiscardo on the Island of Kefalonia
Mon Cove of Atheras on the Island of Kefalonia
Tues Sami on the Island of Kefalonia
Wed Katakolo
Thur Visit Ancient Olympia
Fri Agios Nikolaos on the Island of Zakynthos
Sat Oxia or Alikes
Sun Arrival in Patras and disembarkation at 10 a.m.
336 miles in total

 

G 2 weeks - Central/northern Ionian. (relaxed route but 2 longer days at sea with bigger swell)
Sun Embarkation at 5 p.m. and stay in Patras
Mon Kastos
Tues Kalamos
Wed Vathy on the Island of Meganisi
Thur Lefkas town on the Island of Lefkas
Fri Mongonisi on the Island of Paxi
Sat Gaios on the Island of Paxi
Sun Laka on the island of Paxi
Mon Antipaxi
Tues Cove of Atheras on the Island of Kefalonia
Wed Fiscardo on the Island of Kefalonia
Thur Vathy on the Island of Ithaca
Fri Kioni on the Island of Ithaca
Sat Oxia or Alikes
Sun Arrival in Patras and disembarkation at 10 a.m.
258 miles in total
Contact us
Contact info
ANKO YACHTING Ltd. ZAIMI 52, RIO 26 504, GREECE Thanos & Alicia Christopoulos
(0030) 6936 797 680
admin@anko-yachting.com