The Ionian Islands are a group of seven main islands, and 123 islets and rocky outcroppings located on the western side of mainland Greece in the Ionian Sea. They stand apart from other island groups due to their fertile land, forested mountains and clear blue waters. Mild climate, natural harbours and easy anchorage are some of the reasons these islands were inhabited so early. Over the centuries, they were occupied by various powers, but it was the Venetians, French and English who seem to have left a lasting impression; this is apparent in the atmosphere, cuisine and tastes of these lush isles.
A well-travelled location, they have an excellent tourism infrastructure, great hotels, a variety of water sports and full service marinas; a perfect place to explore by sea.
CORFU, known as Kerkira in Greek, the northernmost and largest island is gentle and green; its olive and cypress groves descend smoothly to idyllic bays lined with sand beaches. A great base to start a trip by boat, heading south to PAXI, a luxuriant little island with huge rocks dropping to the sea, and ANTIPAXI, a tiny island with delightful anchorages and the clearest waters; a great stopover.
LEFKADA, home of poets, has steep white cliffs along the western coast of the island, after which it is named (The White One). The eastern coast is less wild and there are numerous islets to discover by boat.
ITHACA (also known as CEPHALONIA), is the legendary island of Odysseus, that ancient sailor. Small, green and rugged, with deep water, one wonders why he ever left.
ZAKYNTHOS was known as the flower of the east by the Venetians. Famed for its music, sea-caves and turtles, it is a popular and busy destination in the summer.
KYTHERA and ANTIKYTHERA are situated quite far away from the rest of the group; 10 nautical miles southeastern tip of the Peloponnese. Birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of love, it is off-the-beaten-path and very relaxed with low mountains and abundant valleys.
Mostly sheltered from the summer ‘meltemi’, predictable and ideal sailing conditions make the Ionian Islands a popular destination for sailboats. Ports can get crowded and there are many flotillas. May to September sees wind from the North-West at Force 2-5. In spring and autumn the wind is not as strong and usually blows from the South-West. Typically, it gets up at noon, blows between force 3 to 6 and dies down again around sunset. Strong gusts on the Eastern sides of the islands are not uncommon. Recommended for novice to competent sailors and family groups.