The Ionian sea, where miles of fields of flowers gorgeously contrast soaring mountains and azure blue waters. Eleven islands – from the smallest to the largest – make up the Ionian sea and it’s an unparalleled blend of Greek, Italian and French architecture and influences. From the six largest islands (including Corfu and Ithaka) to small hidden ones like Ereikousa and Mathraki – the Ionian islands are not just your normal picturesque islands.
Despite their unreal beauty, the Ionian Islands are blessed with a historical past that makes exploring them on land even more interesting. From how their colonization by different empires (including French, Venetian, Roman and British) to their final union with Greece – they remain a blend of mystery and rich culture.
Whether you are looking for an uninterrupted time of relaxation, or if you’re looking for the perfect adventure – sailing the Ionian sea will definitely cater to your needs. It’s the ideal sailing destinations! The good thing about a yacht tour is that you get to see the unseen, visit beaches you wouldn’t normally do if you traveled by land. In this article I will particularly talk about Ionia, secret beaches and advantages of a sailing holiday.
The Ionian Islands are on the coast of Greece,. They’re located at the west of the coast and they are bordered by Greece and Italy (giving them the advantage of a blend of both cultures) and are also bordered by the Mediterranean and the Adriatic.
- The islands have become popular for being the escape everyone thrives for. Untouched by the forces of the modern world, perched in history and beauty and secluded in the middle of the sea; you’ll be getting the vacation you need.
- One picturesque island after the island will serve as diverse destinations and it will feel like you’ve visited at least a few different countries instead of just one.
- Being on an Ionian flotilla sailing holiday gives you a lot of freedom and most of the time the flotillas are ideally suited to different types of travelers including professional sailors and even families and kids.
- Think of spectacular landscapes – from beaches that are untouched to the most lush forests…You’ll be in for a treat!
- A yacht will be the absolute best way to explore the hidden beauty of the isles and you’ll have all the time in the world to discover hidden gems and coves, sail around groves and indulge in the beauty of the Ionian sea.
- You can also indulge in a lot of activities if you don’t fancy just basking in the sun all day long. If you have the right gear, you can dive, explore caves, go to underwater lakes and even windsurf if you’re feeling adventurous.
- The gastronomic delights will be one of the highlights of your trip – try the Kefallonítiki kreatópita which is a meat pie that’s very popular between the locals.
- There are also plenty of historical sights that you can check out if you’re going to be exploring the islands on land.
When to go sailing.
If you’re going to be going sailing, make sure you do this starting from May until September where the temperature ranges from the mid-20s to the mid-30 Celsius.
Which islands should you visit?
Zakynthos is a dream-like location and one of the best places to sail around. Proudly boasting a big harbor, Zakynthos is made for people who want to sail. The marina there offers all types of services you might need for your yacht tour and you’ll get the chance to explore a lot of beaches.
If you’re going to be exploring at least one beach, make sure you check out Shipwreck Bay. It’s blessed with really soft sand that makes it easy for first time sailors to anchor their yacht, and it’s blessed with gorgeous water. The best beaches, however, are located at the Bay of Laganas.
Make sure you also check out the Blue Caves!
If you’re a first-time sailor then you’d be happy to know that Kefalonia has one of the safest harbors in the Mediterranean. It’s one of the largest and it’s also one of the most popular so expect it to be filled with tourists. But for good reason. The beaches are incredible, the climate is mild, and the geological build-up of the island makes it extremely unique. You can visit the Kefalonia Caves or the Melisani Caves and you can even go shopping! If you’re going to be exploring the island on land, do not miss out on Argostoli, the capital city.
Ithaca is where Oysseus was supposedly born. Make sure you don’t miss out on the Cave of the Nymph and enjoy the dozens of miles of coastline. Here you can also enjoy adrenaline-inducing activities like kayaking, biking and hiking as well!
Kyllini is home to some dramatic castles, gorgeous panoramic vistas of the sea, and of course white sand beaches and azure waters. Make sure you check out the famous thermal spring – Loutra Kyllinis.
If you want to add a little bit more romance and scenery to your trip, then Nafpaktos is definitely for you. Lush mountains act as the perfect backdrops for blue seas, and the beaches are mostly secluded so you feel like you have the whole island to yourself. You’ll feel that the village feels a bit more “traditional” and you’ll get to explore some of the leftovers of the Venetian occupation. Check out the Venetian Castle and of course, the Venetian Port which is considered one of the most picturesque in all of the Mediterranean. If you want to add a little oomph to your visit there too, go to the top of the Castle of Nafpaktos where you’ll get the best panoramic view of the island.
Of course Corfu is definitely one of the must visits in the Ionian Sea. You will have to check out Pontikonisi Mouse Island, which you’ll immediately know from the hundreds of pictures taken there!
If you’re a keen photographer in the making, then you will love Old Fort. As you float on your boat in the sea, you’ll start to see the citadel coming out of the water in the most magical of scenes. This is where you go to explore the blend of Greece, Italy and France in one island.
Advantages of a sailing holiday.
Don’t even get us started on the advantages of a sailing holiday! It’s everything you’d want in a vacation and more.
- You practically have the biggest playground in the world at your disposal. On the sea, you’ll never get bored.
- You’ll definitely be learning some new things daily – whether in sailing, the seas around you, or the islands.
- It’s a unique way to travel and explore. Instead of the cliché “get on a plane and explore on foot”, you’ll be sailing the seas and just the journey will be picturesque enough.
- You can visit a lot of islands in very little time.
- The solitude, the silence, and the freedom of it all…Very little things can compare to that.
- You’ll be relaxing at every point and it will be a great way to escape the daily life.
- You’ll be getting the complete and full experience of nature and a lot more benefits.
Floating the Ionian Sea is one of the best things you can probably do if you have a sailboat or if you’re renting a yacht. The diversity of the islands will make you feel like you’ve sailed around a whole continent and the experience will be one of the most memorable ones in your life.