The magical Ionian Islands of Greece

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The Ionian Islands are an idyllic vacation spot to expertise the delights of a yacht constitution in Greece. A line of stepping-stones throughout the ocean, the combo of islands path the western coast of mainland Greece. Ribbons of sand body the undulating shoreline backed by dense woodland on hovering hills. Blessed with deep anchorages, sheltered coves and charming waterfronts, the delicate and temperate local weather provides to the Ionian’s inherent attraction. It’s straightforward to unwind amidst the laidback environment and it’s clear to see how the beautiful colors of each sea and sky have lengthy proved an inspiration for writers and artists who go to.

When planning a yacht constitution itinerary, the seven largest and extra broadly recognized islands of Zakynthos, Ithaca, Corfu, Kefalonia, Lefkada, Paxos and Kythira will definitely be on the checklist. Nevertheless, the considerable smaller gems, together with Antipaxi, Mathraki, Meganissi and Antikithyra have an incredible deal to supply and are additionally much less populated throughout the summer season months.

Corfu

A magical vacation spot providing year-round celebrations and culinary feasts, Corfu is a medley of cosmopolitan experiences the place you’ll be able to take in the sunshine, relish cultural highlights and admire some fantastic views. The north island with its mountainous backdrop has a large alternative of anchorages for yachts, ringed by pebble seashores, whereas the south is characterised by lush lowlands, sandy seashores and tranquil bays. It’s properly price strolling the slim streets of the charismatic outdated city, a World Heritage Website with fascinating structure, plus plan a go to to the 13th century Moni Theotoku monastery, perched on the rocky promontory at Paleokastritsa with nice views. For a really native affair, make a beeline to the outdated port the place energetic eating places serve scrumptious Greek meze washed down with a glass of tsipouro.

The Diapontia Islands

Providing the chance for discovery off the crushed monitor, the trio of Diapontia islands to the north of Corfu are solely accessed by yacht. Tiny, round Ereikousa, sparsely populated and strewn with cypress forests, boasts sandy seashores at Porto and Bragini. Each are tranquil and welcoming with crystal clear water, whereas the normal port has a handful of welcoming tavernas. Famed for the 2km lengthy ribbon of sand at Portello, the neighbouring isle of Mathraki is a yachting haven, dotted with pure inlets and beautiful surroundings. A real getaway location for privateness and seclusion, hillsides are carpeted with lush vegetation strewn with mountain climbing trails that provide spectacular views for the adventurous. Westernmost of the Ionians, Othonoi is the hidden treasure of the Diapontia group. In accordance with Greek mythology, the cave at Aspros Ammos seaside is the place Calypso saved Ulysses captive for seven years – at 100m lengthy and 20m vast, this may be accessed by tender to find the secrets and techniques inside! Inexperienced and mountainous, the shoreline within the south affords excellent alternatives for diving lovers amongst the rock formations. Ammos port is the hub of the island exuding conventional allure, with a handful of eating places and outlets for guests, whereas the velvet sand of protected Molos seaside supplies an exquisite suntrap.

Paxos

Paxos is an island stuffed with scenic delights. The clear aquamarine sea and pebble seashores should be seen to be believed and locals are so welcoming that guests instantly really feel at dwelling. Simplicity is ubiquitous; watch fishermen haul their catch ashore or take pleasure in contemporary bread from the bakers’ wooden oven. Take the yacht’s tender ashore to the northwest coast to discover the small coves and seashores on the Emritis Cliffs; there are numerous secluded anchorages to select from. Get pleasure from harbourside eating places discovered at picturesque Loggos, pattern the nightlife within the energetic capital of Gaios and loosen up on the numerous seashores across the shoreline of Lakka. From June to September, the Paxos Music Competition places this island on the map, drawing artists to carry out from across the globe and including to island attraction.

Antipaxos

Small and exquisite, close by Antipaxos is really unspoilt and an idyllic getaway. Greek legend tells that every one the tiny islands round Paxos have been created by the ocean god Neptune, who nipped a chunk off Corfu together with his trident to create a comfortable place for himself and Amfitryti. Uncover the handful of charming beachside tavernas serving wine produced by the wonderful native vineyards. Typically likened to the Caribbean with turquoise waters and white sands, it’s honest to say that in Antipaxos peace prevails.

Lefkada

An off-the-radar island, characterised by wooded hills and an awe-inspiring shoreline dotted with excessive cliffs, Lefkada is also referred to as Levkas. A heaven for hikers in addition to water sports activities fanatics, satellite tv for pc isles close by guarantee peaceable island-hopping by yacht is straightforward. Former fishing villages, Nidri and Nikiana, have sandy shores and a group of welcoming waterfront tavernas, whereas the slim streets of Vasiliki are stuffed with conventional homes and a few breath-taking views. With its charming environment, attractive stretches of seaside and olive groves, Lefkada is a sanctuary for uninterrupted leisure on a yacht constitution.

Meganisi, Kalamos & Kastos

Flower-filled villages and gleaming white seashores are the trademark on unpretentious Meganisi. The shoreline supplies an array of beautiful anchorages with spectacular blue waters, excellent for kayaking, whereas the offshore isles of Skorpios and Sparti are an added attraction. Mountainous Kalamos is blessed with serenity and pure magnificence; the crystal waters entice snorkellers, walkers and beach-lovers alike. Close by the tiny hideaway of Kastos delivers a deliciously easy lifestyle with solely 50 everlasting residents. Most of the remoted seashores are solely negotiable by yacht and nearly assured to be abandoned.

Ithaca

Ithaca is a gorgeous island that has stayed comparatively undiscovered. Expertise superb sea views and hidden ruins from amongst the mountain climbing trails dotted throughout lush inexperienced valleys and rugged hills. Homeland to Odysseus, there are some fascinating archaeological websites steeped in mythology. Head to the harbour cities of Frikes and Kioni, with vibrant tavernas serving terribly contemporary seafood or discover the traditional villages of Exogi and Anogi with panoramas stretching throughout the archipelago. Anchor at secluded coves resembling Filiatro and Sarakiniko to take pleasure in nice swimming spots with clear waters, whereas scuba divers will likely be captivated by the seabed nicknamed ‘Poseidon’s Meadow’.

Kefalonia

Largest within the Ionian chain, Kefalonia is a giant draw due to completely clear waters at numerous unique seashores, resembling these discovered at Myrtos, Lourdas and Skala. From medieval castles and picturesque villages to enthralling monasteries and busy tavernas, Kefalonia is filled with laid-back attraction. Put together to be amazed by the vary of geological phenomena occurring right here, significantly the sinkholes situated beneath the water, with one nonetheless viewable by the lighthouse in Fanari. Uncover historical rock formations within the caves at Drogarati, dive the Melissani Sea Cave, windsurf at Lixouri and go to the fabulous Sclavos household wineries. A go to to cosmopolitan Fiskardo is beneficial the place the beautiful harbour has common exercise from the yachting crowd and is arguably probably the most trendy fishing port within the Ionian. Sail to rocky Vardiani isle within the west, boasting two monasteries, a powerful sandy stretch and guarded anchorages, whereas scuba lovers will relish reef dive alternatives discovered off the Asteris atoll on the jap aspect.

Zakynthos

Blessed with inexperienced valleys dotted with olive groves and sheltered coves bordered by sandy shores, crusing across the scenic shoreline of Zakynthos is an absolute delight. Common seashores resembling Agios Nikolaos, Alykanas and Tsilivi provide good alternatives to take pleasure in leisurely swimming and enjoyable with water sports activities. The rocky panorama has plenty of sea caves, together with the well-known Blue Grotto, the place the solar creates a mosaic of beautiful patterns throughout the cave partitions. Solely accessible by yacht and a preferred attraction, Smugglers Cove is legendary for the big wreck sat on the golden swathes, which actually is a sight price seeing. Head to the capital of Zante city for some nice buying and bustling eating places – a super spot to sit down with a drink and watch the world go by.

Strophades

To the southeast lie the Strophades, a gaggle of two small rocky islands, referenced by Virgil within the Aeneid and recognized by native fishermen because the “plota nisia”, or floating islands. Beforehand solely inhabited by historical monks, the bigger islet of Stamfani boasts an imposing 13th century monastery, dwelling to Dionysus, the patron-saint of Zakynthos. Yachts can reap the benefits of the secluded anchorage on the smaller isle of Arpia, named after the traditional perception that the mythological winged Harpies lived right here. The Strophades are dwelling to 1000’s of migratory birds, so it is a implausible spot for budding ornithologists to get out the binoculars!

Kythira

Often known as the isle of Aphrodite, the goddess of affection, charming Kythira is famed for its sensational seashores, inexperienced panorama and conventional fashion. Sightseeing right here is plentiful with the stalactite strewn Cave of Agia Sofia, the attractive Waterfalls of Fonissa and the deserted city of Paleochora. On the medieval citadel of the Chora, a vestige of the Venetian period, take in some unimaginable views over the Aegean or time it to look at the right sundown! The extra common seashores are discovered at Agia Pelagia and Diakofti, with many different secluded coves and bays solely reached from the water.

Antikythira

To the south, tiny Antikythira is a delight. Life on this remoted isle between Crete and the Peloponnese is extraordinarily relaxed; dwelling to solely 50 everlasting residents and an economic system primarily based on fishing. Numerous small seashores are pretty spots for swimming and make straightforward yachting anchorages, resembling Xeropotamos, near which is the fortified city of Kastro and the stays of the temple of Apollo.

There is no such thing as a higher approach to discover this lovely set of Greek islands within the glowing Ionian than by yacht. Fairly marinas, remoted sands, scenic anchorages and mysterious sea caves await exploration, whereas locals in village tavernas ashore welcome guests with gusto. There’s a lot to take pleasure in on this distinctive location the place island-hopping is a delight.

It’s mentioned within the Caribbean that ‘island time’ is a way of thinking, however in Greece it’s most definitely a lifestyle – one price making an attempt!

Nicholas Dean is Managing Companion of Ocean Independence. Ocean Independence is a world chief in luxurious yachting, offering a bespoke expertise throughout yacht constitution, gross sales and administration.

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