Ionian islands charter odyssey
01.06.2017

Ionian islands charter odyssey

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Along the western coastline of mainland Greece lay a series of islands at which ancient volcanic activity has created some of the Mediterranean’s most dramatic coastlines and beautiful beaches. Enjoying the gentle Meltemia winds during summer – creating perfect conditions for watersports – the Ionian Islands deliver over 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, making it one of the most pleasant climates in which to make a luxury superyacht charter. Clustered together are 27 islands, with the 7 largest – the Heptanese – being the most popular to visit. Picturesque anchorages, secluded bays, beautiful ports, olive groves, historic towns, along with crystal clear and warm waters make for a magical yacht charter. Follow in the footsteps of Odysseus and create your own adventure, weaving through ancient islands on the deepest waters in the Mediterranean. We put together below some of the best areas, from Corfu to Lefkada, where to make the most out of the region in 250 nautical miles, however the beauty of visiting a closely packed group of islands by yacht is the absolute flexibility this provides. Wonders of mother nature, recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO, the Ionian Islands are definitely the most trendy spot in East Mediterranean for ages now, and cruising alongside their natural and beautiful coastlines will remind you why you selected these places for your journey at sea.

OUR ITINERARY SUGGESTION

Begin your charter adventure on the island of Corfu, capital of the Ionian Islands, whose airport is handily close to the Corfu Port. Prior to meeting your yacht, explore Corfu Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating to the C8th BCE. This is the entry point to the Adriatic Sea and was of great strategic importance, which has resulted in the mediaeval fortifications surrounding the city, so built to protect the city from Ottoman invasion. One part of the Republic of Venice, much of the architecture in Corfu’s Old Town is neo-classical, and a little outside the city at Palaiopolis, the ancient remains of the town can be seen. Once on board, travel south along the eastern coast to the charming fishing village of Petriti, whose incredibly beautiful harbours, buildings, and boats make for a lovely stop off point for lunch, with plenty of traditional tavernas to choose from. The area is verdant, and provides many options for gentle walks, ideal for setting the tone for a relaxing charter.

Continue south to the island of Paxos and the northern port town of Lakka. The horse-shoe shaped bay makes for an excellent and safe anchorage, with beautiful scenery provided by the surrounding olive and cypress trees. The calm, shallow, and warm water is ideal for swimming and watersports, with the bay surrounded by charming bars and tavernas serving exquisite fresh seafood. Paxos is one of the smallest of the Ionian Islands, making it very easy to explore both by foot and by yacht. Just 10 minutes south of Lakka is the small capital, Gaios, whose town harks back in time and whose brightly coloured houses, set against a background of vibrant green olive trees, is very picturesque. This east coast of the island has many ‘blue caves’ to explore, set in the island’s rather dramatic limestone cliffs. Just 2 miles south is the even smaller island of Antipaxos. Covered in vineyards and white sandy beaches, the island is best used for scenic swim before the longer trip down to Kefalonia.

Kefalonia, the largest out of all the Ionian Islands, made popular from its use as the setting for ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’, Kefalonia is perfect for its large choice of secluded bays for a more private stay. Begin on the west coast of the island at Assos, home of the famous Myrtos Bay, whose bright white pebbled beach is made all the more dramatic from its turquoise waters and high limestone cliffs. Rustically beautiful, the town is set amongst cypress and pine trees, and a stroll up to the C16th fortress is highly recommended for the views along the coast. Continuing along the west coast you will reach the island’s capital, Argostoli. At the end of the bay (just east of the town) is the Koutavos Lagoon, which is a famed feeding ground for Loggerhead turtles, and a beautiful nature reserve.

Some mile away, the stunning Zakynthos (or Zante), nicknamed the ‘Flower of the East’ by the Venetian inhabitants of the C15th (the island has over 7,000 species of flower). The island’s history is fascinating and well worth researching. As with most of the Ionian Islands, settlement here dates back to the Paelolithic period, and the island is mentioned in both Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad. Many ancient foundations can be seen throughout the island in amongst green valleys and beautiful sandy beaches. Solomos Square is the main area on the island, and is surrounded by the traditional buildings characterized by large arch-shaped windows and arcades. From the square, the coastal road – Strata Marina – leads up to the church of Aghios Dionysios, the island’s patron saint, and many bars and restaurants can be found along here. It is worth visiting the island during Easter week, where there are many fascinating local customs to witness and partake in, including all the inhabitants of the island throwing clay pots from their windows!

Sail then past the colourful harbours of Ithaka, legendary home of the Greek hero Odysseus, and before reaching the final destination of Lefkada, choose to visit either Kastos, Kalamos, or Meganisi, each equally stunning, but all characteristed by opal waters, verdant hills, and secluded, empty beaches. Surrounded by the other Ionian Islands, the waters here are calm and ideal for a day of watersports and snorkeling.

Aside from Euboea, your final destination Lefkada is the only island connected to mainland Greece by a causeway and floating bridge. The western coastline of the island has the warmest and most colourful sea, and more dramatic landscape than the east. Vlikho is a beautiful stop off point with a charming character, and makes for a lovely end to an Ionian Island superyacht charter.

These suggestions are only a few our Charter department are able to offer and build with you. Fitting your tastes and your expectations, your next superyacht charter journey in Ionian Islands or Greece will undoubtedly be unforgettable. Contact now our Charter department for more information:

Imperial Charter Department
T +377 97 98 38 80
E charter@imperial-yachts.com

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