Greece: Ionian Isles Yacht Charter Guide
Picking a luxury yacht charter in Greece will leave you utterly spoilt for choice. After choosing between the tantalising mainland or the beautiful islands, your next decision is which group of islands to visit: the Dodecanese with their rich cultural history, the pretty towns of the Cyclades, the beautiful beaches of the Sporades islands… the list is almost endless. However, for the most spectacular food, the most fascinating history and the most varied and dramatic scenery, cruising the Ionian islands by private yacht simply cannot be beaten. You can choose from several charter itineraries when you decide to cruise the Ionian islands by yacht, and there are cruises available to suit all tastes and interests, from local culture and history to watersports and fine dining from relaxing and beach-hopping to nightlife and shopping.
The Ionian Islands are one of the most sought out destinations in the Mediterranean for a luxury yacht charter holiday, thanks to their warm, gentle breezes and the close proximity of the islands, allowing guests to adopt a relaxed approach and enjoy a week or two of blissful island-hopping.
Since the days of Odysseus, sailors and yachtsmen have been drawn to the western shores of Greece. Surrounded by myth and legend, the Ionian islands harbour a distinct feeling of ancient mystery which draws seafarers to this day. The complex history and varied occupation of the region has unmistakably shaped the land and people, resulting in a rich culture and an excellent local cuisine, with its architecture, music and art all carrying distinct flavours of those that have been before. The Ionian Islands cling to the verdant ‘green coast’ of Greece, where golden sands are flanked by endless olive and citrus groves, looking out onto impossibly turquoise seas.
Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands and became famous as the setting of the movie “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”. Anchor at the stunning Myrtos beach, known for one of the prettiest coves in the world. Visit the charming village of Assos that sits in the shadow of a ruined Venetian castle. Fiscardo, located on the northern tip of Kefalonia, is undoubtedly the most beautiful village on the island with a picturesque harbor surrounded by colored, Venetian-style houses. Tassia’s Restaurant is a guarantee for a delicious meal of fresh seafood.
Well known in Greek mythology as the birthplace of Odysseus, Ithaca is a mountainous island in the Ionian Sea. Surrounded by beautiful beaches, Afales Beach is a favourite for a dip in the sparkling waters and a picnic on the sand. The capital Vathi offers spectacular views of the harbor and make sure to visit Moni Taxiarchon, a typical Medieval Greek monastery.
Zakynthos, is a paradise of golden beaches and blooming gardens. Discovered in 1897, breathtaking blue caves can be found on the northern tip of the island, not far from Cape Skinari. Smugglers’ Cove, also known as Navagio, is probably the most famous beach in Greece and a ‘must see’. If you are lucky you may also spot a logger headed turtle, also known as Caretta-Caretta, a species that uniquely resides on the island of Zakynthos.
Meganisi, one of the best-kept secrets in the Ionian, is certainly worth a visit. Take a swim in the beautifully clear waters of Elia Bay and enjoy a traditional Greek dinner at Federiko in the picturesque town of Vathi. As you sail to a quiet cove you may catch a glimpse of the old Onassis family home on the neighboring Skorpios Island.
Often called “the Caribbean of Greece” Sivota is an area of breathtaking natural beauty tucked between verdant hillsides, turquoise waters and small fjord-like bays. There are dozens of stunning beaches to discover and four small islands with plenty of coves for secluded anchorage. Georgio’s Family Taverna right on the harbor is a guarantee.
PAXOI & ANTIPAXOI
Paxoi and Antipaxoi are the gems of the Ionian Sea. White sand or pebble beaches embracing shimmering water, with groves of ancient olive trees in the background are a characteristic of these islands. Enjoy a sunset drink with a stunning view at Erimitis, a little bar perched on Paxoi’s white cliffs. Venture to Voutoumi beach in Antipaxoi, known for its impossibly turquoise waters.
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