THE SAILING AREA: Map of the Ionian and Route suggestions
Our charter yachts sail between Corfu in the North and Zakinthos in the South. Most tend to sail around the southern Ionian as it is sheltered and you are never more than an hour from a delightful anchorage or taverna. The area includes the Islands of Skorpios, Meganissi, Kalamos, Kastos, Arkudi, Atokos, Dragoneras, Ithaca, Cefalonia and the mainland harbours of Paleros, Myticas and Astakcos. We will email advice on places to visit before your holiday and also suggest route plans and our favourite spots on arrival arrival in Greece.
We are based on the island of Lefkas in Vilho bay, 40 minutes driving from Preveza airport, situated ideally for both North and South Ionian sailing areas.
Short sailing distances between the many good anchorages make the Ionian ideal for both beginners and seasoned sailors. Most harbours are less than one nautical mile apart with maximum distance between islands being 10 miles. Navigation is stress free usually!Predominantly by eye, with almost no tide, and very few hazards. The Northern area is slightly more demanding than Southern area. For more information on the sailing area please email us. Pictures of Lefkas and the surrounding greek islands can be seen on our Photo Gallery.
Click on any lines/marks on the map below for further information.
View The Southern Ionian in a larger map
NAVIGATION AND WEATHER
Most sailing in the Southern Ionian is line of sight. You will be able to see all the islands you plan to visit fairly easily. It is no more than 10 miles between each island with many harbours and bays within 1 mile of each other.
The prevailing breeze is North Westerly. Wind tends to be light in the mornings, around force 2-3, and builds during the afternoons to around force 4-5-6 (see Beaufort Scale later in the Guide). The later and earlier season (April and October) tend to see slightly more wind throughout the day and sometimes showers. The weather in the Ionian is very localized however and in season, most decisions on where you are going to sail each day are best made once you have looked at the wind direction outside the harbour!
There is virtually no tide in Greece and very few hazards (the exception being the Herimiti Shoal situated between Scorpios and Meganissi).
For those gaining confidence, the sailing area between Levkas, Meganissi and Mainland Greece acts like an inland lake, very sheltered from any swell and protected from much of the stronger afternoon breeze. There are many bays and ports of call within very short distances in this area giving you plenty of options without having to travel far.
From here, the islands of Cephalonia, Ithaca, Mainland Greece, Kastos and Kalamos have various ports of call within a short sailing distance.
The northern Ionian is a little more challenging to the novice sailor. If you are thinking of heading north we would suggest a two week holiday is beneficial to give you time to explore and enjoy the sailing area. For those who are much more adventurous, heading South to Zakinthos or towards the Corinth Canal is another option.
The following section of this guide will give you an insight into possible ports of call for lunches and overnight stops. On arrival in Greece we will run through ideas with you in more detail and add suggestions of our favourites!
VHF is widely used around the islands. Each charter company runs on a specific radio channel; for us it is channel 9, call sign ‘Rodney’. We also monitor an emergency phone 24 hours a day, should you need to contact us as VHF signal is basically line of sight. The islands are close together and our rib can reach anywhere in the Southern Ionian in a short space of time.
Internet facilities are available only at the larger ports and are still very limited.
Security is good in Greece - we still leave the keys in the car ignition every day and have never had any problems! Saying this, there is always one so it worth taking precautions such as shutting up your boat at night if leaving it on the quay and locking if leaving for longer periods of time. We will advise on security in harbours this year, when you are in Greece. If you have items of value that you do not want to leave on board, we can store them in our safe during your holiday.
Facilities can be found on all the islands, apart from Kastos. Food scraps can be thrown overboard; however do not throw plastic or other litter into the sea. If using the beaches, again please leave them as you found them. Barbeques are not very popular in Greece with the locals. If you want to have a beach barbeque please ask us for recommendations on which beaches are safe and suitable.
Almost all the harbours have shower and toilet facilities, usually attached to a taverna. Most charge between 2 and 4 euros unless you eat in their restaurant and most have hot water! Fiscardho usually charges slightly more.
Supermarkets are easy to come by around the islands. Most are small and only suitable for basic provisioning for lunches, snacks and drinks. Where supermarkets are not available most tavernas will happily provide a greek salad, bread, drinks etc for you to take on board the yacht. For meat for barbeques it is also best to ask taverna owners as butchers are hard to find.
EATING ON HOLIDAY
Most our guests tend to eat on board during the day time and eat out at a taverna in the evening. Each night you will be moored within close proximity to a small supermarket to stock up on supplies for the day.
Tavernas charge from 5 – 15euros for a main course – it changes a lot depending on whether you are in the popular harbours or in a more local tavern not frequented by the flotillas.
Water for the yacht is usually available in all the popular ports. Hosepipes are on board all our yachts. You will only need to stock up with water once or twice in a week (maybe not at all) – depending on how many showers you choose to have on board. Water is usually free or up to 5 euros to fill the yacht water tanks.
We suggest buying frozen water from local supermarkets each day – this helps to keep the fridge (and the beers!) cold.
MOORING/PARKING OPTIONS IN THE EVENINGS
Each evening you will be moored either in a quiet bay or stern to/bows to, to a harbour wall. Mooring is still free is most places although if mooring outside a particular taverna you are usually obliged to have a drink there. If mooring in bays overnight you are usually anchoring with lots of chain and then tying a line to the shore around a tree or a rock. If this is unfamiliar to you we can explain or teach you this in Greece on arrival.
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