The Ionian Islands

Ideal Charterter Duration

Ionian Islands: One of the Most Popular & Amazing Yachting Destinations of the World

To speak with a charter professional at HELLAS YACHTING 24/7 Telephone: +30 6948 295 207 or mail us:

Ionian Sea is a yachtsman’s paradise with the gentle, calm, clear waters making it one of the safest sailing areas in the world. Sailing holidays in the Ionian Islands are ideal either for the novice or for expert sailors due to the geographical position combined with the beauty of the landscape, the many anchorages in the region, the mild climate and the existence of an international airport.

The temperate climate; the deep and cool sea waters; the mountains; the lush vegetation; the cultural heritage; and the cheerfulness of the inhabitants, make the Ionian Islands the ideal place for a holiday as well as rest and relaxation.

Scattered along the western coastline of Central Greece, the Ionian Islands as they are known, are an island cluster comprising twelve small and large islands whose total surface area comes to 2,200 square kilometers.Zakynthos, Ithaca, Corfu (Kerkyra), Kefalonia, Lefkada, Paxi and Kythira are the six, large Ionian Islands. Antipaxi, Erikousa, Mathraki, Othoni, Meganisi and the deserted islets of Strofades south of Zakynthos are the smaller Ionian Islands.

Together with the island of Kythira and the neighbouring Antikythira the islands form the island cluster of Eptanisa (Seven Islands). Nevertheless it should be noted that Kythira and Antikythira are completely cut off from the rest of the Ionian islands situated as they are across southern Peloponnese and the coast of Laconia.

Corfu Island

Sailing in Corfu is superb due to the beautiful scenery with plenty of picturesque villages, numerous fortresses and other ruins showing the centuries of domination by the Venetians. Lovely sheltered bays surrounded by pine and olive groves, lively towns and sandy beaches where you can swim and eat at the local tavernas. Visit Sidari on the north coast of Corfu to swim in the Canal d’Amour, where it is said lovers will stay together for ever. The old harbour of Corfu/Kerkyra on the east coast is the main port with berths for visitors, while on the west coast of Corfu there is the port of Paleokastritsa which is dominated by the Monastery of Panagia Theotokou. Other ports include Gouvia bay and marina which is located on the east coast 5 nautical miles of Corfu town and features a Venetian arsenal of 1716; Kassiopi on the north coast and on the south coast the pretty ports of Petriti and Lefkimi.

Island, History

With the passage of time the island may have changed, but we can still feel the spirit of a distant glorious past . Its rich multi-cultural heritage, its historic monuments, its stunning natural landscape, its crystal clear seas, and its excellent weather all year round explain why Corfu is one of the most cosmopolitan Mediterranean destinations weaving a powerful spell on its visitors.

Corfu (Kérkyra), unlike the rest of Greece, never fell under the Ottoman oppression. Due to the successive dominations of the Venetians, the French and the British over the centuries, the island has primarily become part of the Western rather the Levantine world. Their culture wielded strong influence in the city: it was here that the first Greek University (the Ionian Academy), the first Philharmonic Orchestra and the First School of Fine Arts were founded.
In the beautifully preserved Old Town of Corfu, a UNESCO world heritage site, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical “repertoire” came to be successfully applied to local artistic traditions.

Palaces, fortresses, austere public buildings of the Venetian rule uniquely blend with lines of drying washing in tiny alleyways and small secluded squares. Strolling through a complex of narrow cobbled streets with stairways and vaulted passages, the so-called “kantoúnia”, will make you feel as if you’ve travelled to Genoa or Naples.

You can discover the most beautiful spots in the city of Corfu walking through:

The Hellas Yachting boats can travel from Corfu to any other Ionian island you want. You can travel to the Ionian Sea and feel its aura, you can hear the waves’ whispers telling you tales about Empress Elisabeth of Austria . Hellas Yachting also recommends you the accommodation that we have chosen especially for you.


Paxos is the smallest of the Ionian Islands, lying just 6 nautical miles from the southernmost tip of Corfu.
Paxos is an attractive little island south of Corfu covered with subtropical vegetation, with beautiful bathing beaches and good diving grounds. Gaios is the principal port of Paxos Island and is the islands attractive capital with its Venetian fortress and the former Monastery of the Panagia.

The picturesque bay at the north of Paxos is the pretty harbour of Lakka a popular destination with some excellent tavernas. Other harbours worth a visit are Loggos on the east coast and Mongonissi on the north east coast. The old windmill, the Venetian fort, and the Ipapanti sea cave are the sights to see on the island before one crosses over to Antipaxos an extremely popular destination with day trippers from Paxos, many making the trip in small motorised craft rented from one of the three main villages. There is a small harbour on Anti-Paxos, though this is unsuitable for most yachts and is usually congested with small local boats. Instead most visiting craft drop anchor off the coast near one of the beaches.


Lefkada or Lefkas Island is separated from the mainland by the narrow Lefkada canal enabling sailors to pass along the east side of the island, which has 90% of the good anchorages. Lefkas town is the main port with other harbours on the east coast including Lygia, Nikiana, Nidri and Vikho. Further south you will find -Sivota Bay, -Rouda bay and -Vassiliki.

Off the south-east coast of Lefkas is the beautiful unspoilt island of -Meganisi, with sandy beaches and famous sea-caves and therefore an exquisite area for relaxed family sailing. The high town of Spartakhori on the island of Meganisi can easily be seen from the north and west coast and is an enchanting village, well worth visiting. Also -Papanikolis cave and -Vathi on the island of Meganisi are beautiful harbours.


The gorgeous rocky island of Ithaca is separated from the largest Ionian island of Kefalonia by the 2 nautical mile wide Ithaca channel and is almost cut into two by the long Gulf of Molos on its east side. Ithaca, together with the Echinades isles forms a marvellous area for yacht charters.

The Echinades islands were named after the sea urchin (Echinoidea) describing their sharp and prickly coastlines. Atokos Island is uninhabited but provides two beautiful anchorages. The must-see harbours and anchorages of Ithaca include Frikes, Kioni, Vathy, Polis Bay and Andreas bay.

The island has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC. It may have been the capital of Cephalonia during the Mycenaean period, and the capital-state of the kingdom ruled by Odysseus. The Romans occupied the island in the 2nd century BC, and later it became part of the Byzantine Empire. The Normans ruled Ithaca in the 13th century, and after a short Turkish rule, it fell into Venetian hands (Ionian Islands under Venetian rule).

Ithaca was then occupied by France under the 1797 Treaty of Campo Formio. It was liberated by a joint Russo-Turkish force in 1798, before becoming part of the Septinsular Republic. It became a French possession again in 1807, until it was taken over by the United Kingdom in 1809. Under the 1815 Treaty of Paris, Ithaca became a state of the United States of the Ionian Islands, an protectorate of the British Empire. In 1830 the local community requested to join with the rest of the newly restored nation-state of Greece. Under the 1864 Treaty of London, Ithaca, along with the remaining six Ionian islands, were ceded to Greece as a gesture of diplomatic friendship to Greece’s new Anglophile king, George I. The U.K. kept its privileged use of the harbour at Corfu.[1]

First settlers.

The origins of the first people to inhabit the island, which occurred during the last years of the Neolithic Period (4000–3000 BC), are not clear. The traces of buildings, walls and a road from this time period prove that life existed and continued to do so during the Early Hellenic era (3000–2000 BC). In the years (2000–1500 BC) some of the population migrated to part of the island. The buildings and walls that were excavated showed the lifestyle of this period had rema


Vathi is the island capital and the port. It is a preserved traditional settlement with beautiful houses with tile roofs and picturesque alleys. The Venetian influence is very significant. The largest part of the town was restored or reconstructed after the disastrous earthquake of 1953. At the entrance of the port you will find the island of Lazaretos with the chapel of Sotiras (1668).

What to see in the town:

Hellas Yachting’s ships can take you, your children and your friends to Ithaki Island, to see that Greece is light, that it’s the smiling dolphins that will follow you, the white houses of its 6.000 islands, a warm smile and an even warmer welcome.


Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands group on the west coast of Greece and has countless coves, bays and deserted beaches with nice consistent breezes making it the perfect place for sailing. Fiskardo harbour is located on the northern tip of Kefalonia and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful harbours of the Ionian with its large stone lighthouse as well as the smaller Venetian lighthouse which are clearly visible.

Lixouri is on the south western coast and has wonderful coves to explore. The port of Argostoli on the west coast requires caution as it has a frequent ferry service running. Other harbours are Poros on the south coast and Assos a must-see place on the northern coast.

The magnificent sights, amazing beaches, rich cultural heritage, great monuments, mountains, castles, remote monasteries and cheerful, hospitable people are the treasures making Kefalonia one of the most attractive destinations.
It is the biggest island of the Ionian Sea, at the outlet of Patraikos Bay, between Zante and Lefkada. It stretches over an area of 904 km2 with a coastline length of 250 km.

The island has a splendid natural beauty and a diversified geological structure with innumerable small bays and rich vegetation; the mountain Aenos (National Park since 1962 supporting rich flora and fauna) looks impressive from far away.
During the Byzantine period Kefalonia formed part of the province of Achaia and the prefecture of East Illyria. It was conquered by the Normans, the Franks, the Venetians and the Turks.

It joined the rest of Greece along with the other Ionian Islands, on May 21st, 1864. The inhabitants’ resistance against the Italians and the Germans during World War II was considerable.

The movie ‘’Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’’ shot in the natural scenery of the island refers to a history of the Resistance movement.

Argostoli is the island capital (as well as the capital of Kefalonia and Ithaca prefecture) since 1757. It is a modern town, which preserves its traditional character, built amphitheatrically with a view of the Koutavous lagoon, which is a crossing area for the migratory birds. The city has many neoclassical buildings, big squares, churches and remarkable cultural activity.

What to see in Argostoli:

The Archaeological Museum exhibiting important findings discovered in the whole island, mainly dating back to the Mycenaean period.

The Korgialeneios Library, one of the biggest libraries in Greece, housing more than 55,000 volumes and a great collection of Byzantine icons.

The Folklore and History Museum. It hosts exhibits associated with the history of the island (costumes, weapons, heirlooms etc.) and many every-day life objects.- The central and spacious Valianos square with the statue of the benefactor P. Vallianos, many cafes, restaurants and bars.

The Napier Garden. It was named after the British Governor Napier, who in the middle of the 19th century realized many infrastructure projects on the island and despite its limited space has a variety of trees.

The Rizospaston street, with palm trees and the monument to radical revolutionaries.

The Kampanas square situated in the middle of the Lithostroto, with the belfry bearing the same name (recently renovated according to the plans of the original tower which collapsed during the earthquakes of 1953), offering an amazing view of the town and the Koutavou Lagoon.

Hellas Yachting’s ships can take you, your children and your friends to Kefalonia Island, to see that Greece is light, that it’s the smiling dolphins that will follow you, the white houses of its 6.000 islands, a warm smile and an even warmer welcome.


Zante or Zakynthos is the southern most of the Ionian Islands and has beautiful scenery, excellent beaches making it popular for sailing and tourists.The main port is located on the east coast of the island and is busy with ferry crossings which connect the island to the port of Kyllini on the mainland. On the northern tip is the port of St Nikolas which has a ferry crossing daily to the nearby island of Kefalonia.Other harbours include the wonderful Laganas bay on the south coast with its two uninhabited islands of Marathonisi and Peluso. The Vromi bay is a deep inlet and the only anchorage on the west side of the island Zakynthos or Zante is the flower of the East.

Is the third largest island of the Ionian Sea, after Corfu and Kefaloniá, is internationally known as “Zante”. Zákynthos is said to have been the island’s first inhabitant and the ancient acropolis is attributed to him. He was the son of Dardanos who ruled the ancient kingdom of Frigia.

The Venetians, who ruled Zákynthos from 1484 to 1797, called the island “Fioro di Levante” (flower of the East) as there are over 7,000 species of flowers on Zákynthos.

The Venetian architectural influence has left its stamp on Zante despite the damage sustained due to the seismic activity in the area. After the ravaging 1953 earthquake and the ensuing fire, the town was rebuilt according to a plan where strict anti-seismic specifications applied and, to a large extent, respecting the town’s former architectural structure.

Zákynthos (Zante) is a verdant island endowed with fertile valleys and a temperate climate (area: 406 sq. km; coastline: 123 km). Its landscape diversity has resulted in different Types of beaches: there are sandy beaches in secluded coves where the tranquil waters are deep blue on the island’s southeastern part; yet, if rugged cliffs and an interesting underwater world are to your liking, try the western part of the island.

On Zante, great care is taken to protect two endangered animal species, namely the caretta caretta sea turtle and the monachus monachus seal.

The city of Zakynthos is the capital of the island and at the same time the island’s port.

Zakynthos is famous for its cultural life.

Some of the famous cultural Events are:
Carnival, the festivities end with the “Mask Funeral”. Litany and artistic events in the memory of Aghios Dionysios on August 24th and December 17th.

Easter: The Holy Week in Zakynthos has its own character with ancient customs and an exceptional rite as far as the religious ceremonies are concerned.

The celebration of Holy Week on Zakynthos Island is considered to be unique and unforgettable both for locals and visitors to the island. At noon, on Good Friday, crowds of worshippers take part in the procession of the Crucified through the town.

In the early hours of Holy Saturday morning and starting from the “Saint Nicolas” Cathedral Church the epitaph procession takes place in accordance with the local ancient custom, while the Bishop announces the Resurrection at sunrise.

At the first chime of the bell, the Bishop lets white doves free while from the bell tower clay vessels are thrown onto the road just as is done by all the inhabitants of the island out of their windows.

Hellas Yachting boats can travel from Zakynthos to any other Ionian island you want. You can travel to the Ionian Sea and feel its aura, you can hear the waves’ whispers and swim in the unique Blue Caves. Hellas Yachting also recommends you the accommodation that we have chosen especially for you.


The island of Kythira is famous for its beaches, albeit most of these are only accessible by boats since the inland roads rarely traverse the rocky parts of the inland terrain. Despite its location near the Cyclades it is an Ionian island.
Few yacht charters arrive on this interesting island as it is simply too far from the nearest bases of the yacht rental companies, making it a perfect destination for those seeking sailing holidays off the beaten track.

The capital is Chora, which is located on the south of the island where the port of Vatika is located at Ag. Pelagia. The main harbour is the newly built at the village of Diakofti on the east coast. The other harbour is Kapsali located on the south coast of the island.

Leave a Reply