Ionian Island Hopping
The South Ionian is arguably one of our most popular destinations due to its light winds and blue waters. This route is great for beginners looking to whet their appetite.
The South Ionian offers the ultimate island hopping adventure with a fantastic choice of islands and bays to explore, with friendly taverna owners and fellow sailors all around. From the buzzing ports of Fiskardo and Kioni to the tranquil islands of Kastos and Kalamos – we could go back every year (and often do!).
What’s the weather like?
The Ionian Islands are known for their gorgeous warm summers. You can expect temperatures of around 30°C during July/August with it dropping to around 23°C in May and October. At the beginning and end of the season, the weather can be slightly more changeable, meaning that good wind is more common.
In terms of wind, the Ionian is widely regarded as one of the least challenging sailing areas in the whole of the Mediterranean. A normal day will be flat calm in the morning, with the prevailing wind (a friendly NW 3-4) picking up at around 2 or 3pm. This means relaxing mornings and lazy lunch stops anchored in a bay until the wind picks up. Great for anyone looking to really relax!
Expect mooring fees in most places except for bay stops. Prices vary depending on the type of harbour or marina you’re visiting and size of your yacht.
Days 1 – 2, Arriving in Lefkas
After arriving in Lefkas and checking in with the local charter company you are free to explore the town for your first evening. Head to one of the many restaurants and bars that surround the town offering delicious fresh Greek food.
On your first day why not sail south for 10 miles until you get to Sivota. This is a lovely village in a pretty little bay. Many restaurants, bars and shops line the harbour giving you plenty of choice for lunch or dinner. It’s a lovely place for a first night with stunning views of the mountainous coastline just opposite.
Days 3 – 4, Meandering Through The Ionian Seas
Sailing south from Lefkas will bring you to Ithaka Island. There are three ports on the island – Frikes, Kioni and Big Vathi. All are lovely for either a lunch stop or overnight stay. Frikes a beautifully understated village just three miles from popular Kioni. But, if it is picturesque quaysides and traditional tavernas you are seeing, Kioni is a must…
A 15 mile sail from here will take you to Kastos Island. Kastos is beautifully untouched. Home to lush green hills, empty beaches and just a few quiet tavernas; it really is a great place to relax. The main harbour offers safe mooring and has several tavernas and bars to keep you entertained in the evening. The best spot for a view has to be the Windmill Bar & Taverna offering panoramic views over the mainland.
Days 5 – 6, Escaping to Kalamos & Meganisi
The next stop on our list would be the small island of Kalamos. The town on Kalamos is about half way up the southern side of the island. A brilliant swim stop is Port Leone on the southern end of the island – an abandoned harbour with a lovely beach – well worth a visit!
Meganisi Island is the perfect stop before heading back to Lefkas. There are multiple bays to choose from on this incredible island. For a quiet evening, Port Atheni, enjoy the hospitality in Little Vathi, or anchor in Spartahori to take in some of the most stunning views in the area. A great swim stop nearby is Abeliki Bay.
Days 7 – 8, Watching the sunset on a fantastic week…
A small town with quite a buzz. There are many restaurants and bars in the town. This is the ideal place to enjoy a cocktail on the beach whilst watching watch the sunset on a fantastic week of sailing…
Give yourself plenty of time getting back to Lefkas, so that you have time to explore the old town, and enjoy your last night in one of the many local restaurants!
Days 1 – 2, Arriving in Lefkas Town
Upon arrival at the base you will be met by the charter company. Once you’ve completed your check-in you will be shown to your boat and after a quick briefing it’s time to relax!
Lefkas Town is a great place to spend your first night – there’s plenty of bars and restaurants lining the waterfront for you to have your first Greek meal of the holiday.
The island of Lefkas has some great places to explore, so from Lefkas Town why not sail down to Sivota? There’s some great traditional Greek restaurants there (‘The 12 Gods’ is one of our favourites) and if you fancy a swim, drop anchor in the outer bay before mooring up for the night.
Days 3 – 6, Venture over to Vasiliki
From Sivota, nearby Vasiliki is a nice short hop. This town is very popular for windsurfers and other watersports so make sure you have a go!
After Vasiliki, head south to the island of Kefalonia. Starting in Fiskardo, you will come across a picturesque fishing village which has a great cosmopolitan atmosphere including some fun bars and restaurants. There are some stunning coves nearby with clear blue waters just waiting for you to jump into.
If you continue down the east coast of Kefalonia you’ll come to the village of Euphemia which is just to the north of the traditional Greek town on Sami. Here you will find some fantastic old buildings which are completely unaffected by tourism.
From Sami to Poros is a nice 15 mile sail, continuing south on the Kefalonian coast. The town here is typically Greek with some great walks in the nearby hills. We recommend the trip to the oldest monastery on the island from which there are some stunning views.
Days 7 – 11, Island hopping away
From Kefalonia continue your island hopping adventure by heading over to Ithaka. There are three stops here we recommend, Vathi, Kioni and Frikes.
Vathi is the main harbour on the island and is a quaint Greek town, which is interesting to wander around.
After Vathi, a nice short sail is up to Frikes in the north of Ithaka island. Frikes is a small port which has a mixture of peace and tranquility with a lively nightlife, the perfect combination for some! If you prefer to avoid the nightlife then have a night in Kioni which is a nearby small picturesque village.
From Ithaka island head east to Kastos and Kalamos Islands. From Frikes to Kastos is around 15 miles and Kastos is beautifully unspoilt with lush greenery, empty beaches and a quiet harbour.
From Kastos to Kalamos is a very short hop but the scenery is worlds apart. Kalamos is a mountainous island with amazing views and there’s some great sunsets to be seen from here.
Days 12 – 13, Moor up in Meganisi
If you want to see an island that’s off the radar and full of Greek charm then sail over to Meganisi. A nice 10 mile sail from Kalamos, Meganisi has lots of bays with hidden tavernas serving traditional Greek food.
From Meganisi you can cross over to the mainland and head to Palairos. This ancient Greek town has several ruins dating back to as far as 2000 BC which are tucked away in the mountains. There’s also a selection of watersports on offer along the beaches.
Days 14 – 15, Heading back to Lefkas Town
Sadly it’s your last day and so it’s time to head back to Lefkas. If you fancy a lunch stop, there are plenty of bays on the way, on the mainland, however it’s good to remember that most charter companies like you to be back in the marina between 4-6pm on your final day. This gives you one last night to wine and dine yourselves with all the Greek delicacies before heading home the following day.