Ionian Sea Sailing Part 2 – The World on a Whole New Level
We love the Ionian. Once you experienced what sailing the Ionian sea is like, which either already happened or will happen inevitably, you will understand exactly why. It is not just the calm waters of its east coasts, nor the pleasant west wind caressing your skin. It is more than its sapphire depths and colorful towns bewildering your eye. It is the overall sensation of peace, freedom and beauty seeming combined exclusively for your own exaltation and epiphany. And we are here to prepare you for it, body and soul. Get ready for the holiday of your life – sailing the Ionian sea down south.
Let’s get on board
This is a sailing trip. So, the first thing to do is to rent a boat, catamaran or any other type of vessel you prefer. If you decide for this southern route, which is not the only one in the Ionian sea, there is no better place to start than Lefkada. The island is famously beautiful. It has crystal clear, insanely turquoise water, wild beaches embraced with steep white rocks, vivid towns and historical attractions. Actually, most people would say that Lefkada is the best there is in the Ionian. Yet, most people don’t sail. Those who do will tell you 3 things:
- Go to Lefkas and rent your boat – D-Marin is modern, extremely well – equipped and offers the widest assortment of vessels. Your wishes will be granted here, don’t worry.
- Sail straight to Syvota – enjoy the pleasant ride and beautiful scenery until you reach this lovely town, all tucked in flowers and taverns. Here you will enjoy great music and even better food. Staying for the night is highly recommended.
- Sail to Meganisi to see with your own eyes what “untouched by tourism” actually looks like.
Spoil yourself with what hasn’t been spoiled yet
That is exactly what Meganisi is. A place where you can pamper all your senses. A specimen of untouched and pristine beauty. This small and secluded island hasn’t been corrupted by anything so far. This is probably because there are only two ways tourists can come:
- By ferry from Lefkada – luckily enough not many decide to do so, and
- By boat – the way you will do it.
What is there to do on an almost vacant island? Not much but that is the point. And you will love it.
The ultimate bay and bar for your Ionian sailing holiday
The first Ionian sailing destination on Meganisi is Sparthochori. This is an uncrowded Greek bay village with pebbly streets taking you uphill to picturesque stone houses, offering a stunning view of a nearby archipelago. But, let’s put aside the captivating walks and breathtaking views just for a moment. What you will love most about Sparthochori is the place where you will dock your boat – Porto Spilia. An all-in-one solution. Crystal clear water to have a most pleasant swim, an exceptional restaurant with tables set on the beach, and a cozy beach bar serving drinks on sun beds. What more could a person wish for? Well, let’s check.
Meganisi beaches and coves
This island boasts with one of the top 10 anchorages in the whole of Greece. The name of the place is Papageorge’s cove. This is a small and well-hidden bay, carved in a white rock hovering above your head. You will drop anchor in the white sands and tuck under the rock. The water is as clear and as blue as it gets. The winds are calm to none. Peace and delight are absolute. Completely away from civilization, noise, pollution and crowd – sailing to this cove will make you feel nothing less but privileged.
Another fabulous location on this Ionian island is Abelaki bay. Lovely clean beach embraced by olive trees and pines. This bay is home to several taverns and most welcoming host for small boats. Here you can swim, dine, enjoy the view or simply indulge in doing nothing. Whatever you choose feels great here.
A blissful pig stop
By definition, a pit stop is a place where racers stop to service and refuel cars. However, sailing is everything but a race. The only substance you are refueling is your own energy. It is precisely for this reason that you need to make a pit stop at One House Bay. Or, better say a pig stop.
One House Bay is a lovely pebbly beach on Akotos island and home of literarily one person. And his piggy pets, which are, by the way, the only thing spoiled in this place. Here, you can feel all the blessings of the untouched nature, swimming and playing with friendly black pigs in crystal clear water included. This is surprisingly cool, trust us.
The home of the Trojan hero
20 years. That is how long Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, waited for her husband to return home from the Trojan war. It is a long period to spend in solitude and anticipation. But, once you get the first glimpse of Ithaca’s shores you will realize that Penelope was actually a fortunate woman. Not only did her husband return safe and sound, but she also had a paradise as her waiting room.
Ithaca is lovely all over. It is an island far away from the madding crowd. This is to say that mass tourism has not yet stepped foot here. Its wild beaches, enchanting coves, pine and olive forests and calm towns will leave you speechless. Let’s start with the towns.
Safe harbors for Ionian sailors
First, you have Kioni. A charming amphitheatrically-shaped fishermen’s village, fit into the mountain slopes. It is a hidden bay gem for enthusiastic sailors such as yourself. You can tie your boat safely and easily and enjoy great water and excellent food. For the latter, choose the restaurant Calypso. You will not regret it.
Vathy is another safe and pleasant harbor. It is the capital of Ithaca. An attractive, Venetian-styled town with stone alleys and tiled roofs comfortably settled in a natural harbor. To approach it from the sea is truly magnificent because the harbor has a narrow neck. It has been hiding the town from curious eyes for ages. Once the view of the town is unveiled to you, it will be a scene to remember.
Swimming in heaven
It is really difficult to describe how beautiful Ithaca beaches are. To start with, there are many, each more captivating than the other. They have white sands and pebbles, stunningly turquoise water, and rocky surroundings covered with forests. Some are completely wild, the others have beach bars and sun beds. The trouble here is that the overall sensation is actually beyond words. You simply have to go and see for yourself. The best we can do to help you is to narrow your list. We give you the top 5 Ithaca beaches and not a word more. You will understand once you sail there.
- Gidaki Beach
- Filiatro Beach
- Limeniskos AG Ilias Beach
- Bagnarola Beach
- Plaza Beach
The Ionian princess
If islands were people, Kefalonia would probably be Grace Kelly. There might be younger, there might be wilder, or more modern, but on the whole, there can hardly be any better. This island has beauty, charm, class, style, and elevated rank. Yet, it remains mild, welcoming and exceedingly pleasant to all those who come to see it. And there is a lot to see. Let’s screen it together – from urban to wild.
There are three towns worth sailing to on Kefalonia. The first one is Fiscardo. A prestigious, jet-set town, with a charming harbor packed with yachts. When we say old class we mean Fiscardo. The restaurants, shops, taverns, and even cypresses and olive trees – all breathe elegance. All in all, a pricy yet surprisingly beautiful and friendly place with an unforgettable atmosphere.
The second one is Assos. It is a tiny, serene rustic village hidden behind a peninsula, with only two or three restaurants and a dozen or so houses. Small in size but abundant with charm. It offers one of the best sunsets ever. All you have to do is take a walk through the forest to the castle. And wait.
Last but not least is Argostolion, the capital of Kefalonia. This is the largest and the most vibrant town of the three mentioned. Venetian but modern, crowded but adoring, Argostoli has everything a Mediterranean town should have – restaurants, shops, cafes and historical sites. You will love it, day and night.
Beaches with capital B
An island cannot be called a princess only for its urban charms. The beaches play a decisive role. All Ionian islands offer exquisite locations for swimming, particularly for those who sail. But Kefalonia exceeds. It prevails and dominates. It has beaches with capital B, Hollywood stars included.
Top 5 Kefalonia beaches for your Ionian sailing holiday
- The Cave – It is actually a beach within a cave. First, you will anchor your boat in the cave’s turquoise front yard. Then, you will plunge into the water and swim through the cave to the beach within. Finally, you will take a path through the forest and climb on the rock from the back side of the cave and then jump inside. Is this a true Ionian sailing adventure or not?
- Antisamos Beach – Here is the movie star on our list. The famous “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” with Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz was filmed here. There is nothing quite like this beach. It is a wide bay with all the blue colors, pampered with high trees and rocks, bedded with shiny white pebbles. People drop jaws when they see it from land. Imagine how you will feel first seeing it from the sea.
- Pessada Beach – Soft golden sand tickles your toes, layered rocks keepyour back and light blue water embracesyour skin. This beach fills you with both, wonder and pleasure combined.
- White Rocks Beach – A small, secluded turquoise bay, approachable only by boat. One sight of this bright turquoise wild pearl makes agnostics start believing in divine power and extraterrestrials.
- Xi Beach – A ruby among the sapphires. Unlike its competitors on the list, this beach has completely red sand. The surrounding limestone rocks are dazzling white and the water is transparently blue. Not many beaches in the world can boast of being so distinguished.
How about a shipwreck for the end of your Ionian sailing holiday?
No, it is not our intention to sink your boat and literarily make this Ionian sailing holiday the holiday of your life. Instead, we want to sail you to the most famous Ionian beach – Navagio Beach on Zakynthos island, known as the Shipwreck.
Zakynthos is a famous party destination. If you wish to complement your sailing trip with a good night out, Zante, its capital, is the place. Cocktail bars, clubs, beach bars and cafes full of people from all around the world having the time of their lives. It will be everything but boring, we promise. However, Zakynthos is not only about partying. For sailors, such as yourself, there is still much to see.
From Zakynthos to the Ionian sailing crew
Shipwreck Beach is probably the most famous beach in the whole of Greece. The beach is indeed ultimately stunning. If the sky is completely cloudless, you will have trouble looking at it from the prow of your boat. The curved lime rocks are steep, high and bleach-white. The water is shockingly blue. Although you have probably seen it in a photo many times, it will blow you away when you first see it live.
Blue Caves are another attraction. You will sail your boat next to a dozen of the most strangely shaped caves and rock passages.
Cameo Island is a tiny pile of sediment rocks covered with trees. You cannot go there by your own boat, but rather go to the city and take a taxi boat. This piece of rock torn off from the rest of the Island by an earthquake is home to Careta Careta turtles and the most magnificent Cameo Island Beach Bar. Here you can get away from the crowd and enjoy excellent food and cocktails to mark the end of the best holiday in your life.