Route Plan: Ionian Highlights

Here’s our 1 week itinerary showcasing what we consider the very best of the Ionian

 

New to the area and not sure where to visit? Been here a thousand times and fallen in love with the Ionian? Either way, this route showcases the Ionian in all its glory. A mixture of lively harbours, secluded bays and quaint fishing ports is a great way to hop around the islands and explore all that they have to offer…

Sunday night – Little Vathi, Meganisi (1 hour away)

Type – Fishing Village

A small fishing port on the North of Meganisi with a new marina which affords an ideal destination to stock up at the start of the week or just explore. Vathi, or Little Vathi as we call it, is a pretty little fishing harbour with a variety of tavernas and shops. Vathi has recently been getting more popular and upmarket – Stavros Family Taverna on the quayside has an incredibly friendly atmosphere and great home cooked food. Erikos at the foot of the mole is a more upmarket fish taverna. A walk to Karnagio’s taverna past the marina for a drink and a swim is nice if you get in early and need a dip! There’s a new bakery on the way round to the marina, and a butcher in the square. With a supermarket next to the Rose Garden taverna, this is a great place for a first night’s stop to get any provisions you may need.

Monday night – Kastos island (3 hours away)

Type – Traditional island

Step back in time on the quietest of the Ionian islands. With a permanent population of just over 20 Kastos island is about as remote as they come! The quay is very small and will fill up after lunchtime, so if you’re planning on staying out later, expect to long line on the outside of the harbour wall, in the harbour tied to a lamp post or anchor to the right of the fairway. Small tavernas are dotted around the harbour -you shouldn’t go to Kastos if you’re in a hurry, it’s the home of laidback! Great homemade ice cream in the old café on the beach in the port, and fantastic wine. Alex’s El A cafe bar is great if you’re into good music, pizza and a drink or two. Don’t miss the bar at the old windmill for a Sundowner, continue just past the Windmill Taverna out of the harbour away from town.

Tuesday night – Rouda Bay, Lefkada (3.5 hours away)

Type – Bay with amenities ashore

A beautiful lunchtime or overnight stop – anchor off the beach or longline in one of the coves on the western side of the bay and take a dinghy ashore for provisions and dinner. Zolithros Taverna offers out of this world seafood. A quiet alternative to Sivota if you fancy sitting on deck under the stars to enjoy the peace and tranquility.

Wednesday night – Fiscardo, Kefalonia (2 hours away)

Type – Bustling harbour with plenty of restaurants, cocktail bars and shops

Fiskardo on Kefalonia is a firm favourite for seagoing visitors, it is by far one of the most popular, and most beautiful, ports in the Ionian. With its pastel coloured venetian architecture, smart restaurants and chic boutiques combined with fascinating architecture and historical landmarks, Fiscardo has a lot to offer. Prepare for this hot spot to be busy any time of year so expect to be rafting long lined outside the harbour. Lots of great tavernas on the waterfront to try (and an amazing Thai restaurant called the Lord Falcon in the back streets) and some even better signature cocktail bars. For something different you could take a walk to the Venetian lighthouse on the headland or take the dinghy to the cave at Foki bay just to the South of Fiscardo for a swim – spot turtles if you are lucky!

Thursday night – Pera Pigadhi, Ithaca (3.5 hours away)

Type – Secluded bay

A chance to anchor out under the stars and dine onboard! Pera Pigadhi is a small uninhabited island with a rough quayside. The mainland opposite the island also has several anchorages. Between the mainland and the island there is 4m of depth but with ACS (Alarming Clarity Syndrome) it can seem like a lot less! There is great snorkelling all round here. Wake up to a spectacular sunrise over a clear horizon.

Friday night – Kioni, Ithaca (1.5 hours away)

Type – Fishing village/lively harbour

Chic Kioni is a beautiful little port on Ithaca’s East coast. Great restaurants, stunning architecture and the best handmade jewellery in the Ionian. You’ll be able to stern-to with the anchor on the quay if you get in early, or enjoy more time sailing and long line against the cliffs. Kioni is a very busy popular harbour, like Fiscardo this will be one of the more exciting mooring experiences, but the beauty of the town makes it an experience worth having. Enjoy a cocktail at the En Plo Roof Bar and watch the yachts comes in as the sun goes down. If you need more, then the little jazz bar near the shop is the place to head for a night-cap.

Saturday night – Dessimi bay, Lefkada (4 hours away)

Type – Semi-secluded bay with some amenities ashore

Dessimi bay is a beautiful half-moon shaped bay with a couple of tavernas along the waterfront, right on the beach. Taverna Pirofani offers fantastic seafood and meat on the grill lunchtime and dinner. Stop for a tranquil overnight under the stars. Only 1 hour away from base for your return on Sunday morning.

All of these overnight stops have opportunity for plenty of swimming stops in between. Swimming bays tend to be private or with few other boats in, no amenities as such – just crystal clear water!

 

Got a question about any of these places? Or anywhere else in the Ionian? Please feel free to contact me on izzy@sailionian.com 🙂

This post was written by admin