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  • Writer's pictureMare Greco

Yacht Charter: The jewels of the Ionian Sea, by EKKA Yachts

On the west coast of Greece stand the Ionian islands where blue meets green; pine trees, cypresses and olive groves sprawl all the way down to the emerald sea while colorful towns and picturesque villages steeped in history await you... Day 1 - Paxos and Antipaxos

Paxos and Antipaxos are two small slices of paradise south of Corfu, renowned for their pristine beaches, green hills, stunning limestone cliffs and enchanting Blue Caves. We recommend you stop at Antipaxos for a swim –the beaches here are sandy whereas on Paxos you will find sparkling white pebbles- before going on to spend the night in the harbor of Gaios in Paxos.

Day 2 - Meganissi

Meganissi: its name may, literally, mean Grand Island, but this is a very small, very green, Ionian gem.  This small island has three settlements and numerous lovely bays with sparkling emerald-green water reflecting the green of the trees that descend all the way to the shore. Once there, spend the day swimming, dropping anchor at any one of its little coves – the sea is usually calm here so you might also want to work up an appetite with some waterskiing… Your anchorage for tonight is beautiful Vathy, a well-protected natural harbor and one of the islands three villages.

Day 3 - Ithaka

Across the water lies the hometown of Ulysses, Ithaca (Ithaki, in Greek) and its picturesque main settlement, the harbor of Vathi (which in Greek means “deep”); you’ll know why the moment you arrive. As you approach and head for your anchorage you will see nothing of the town, as the harbor itself is completely hidden from sight, deep in the bay. It appears suddenly as your prow turns left, serenely beautiful, its red roofs gently sloping down the surrounding hills. A tiny islet stands guard at its entrance. From the island’s highest peak, where you can visit the monastery of Moni Katharon, you will have a spectacular view of the entire island and Kefalonia right across the water. There are two more quaint fishing villages on Ithaki, Frikes and Kioni, and to the north of the island the striking beach of Afales with its white cliffs dropping sharply into turquoise waters.

Day 4 - Zakynthos & Kephalonia

Although Kephalonia is right across from Ithaki, you will be taking a suggested detour to enjoy your day on the eastern side of the island of Zakynthos whose stunning waters and beaches are a breeding ground for the loggerhead sea turtle, the protected species Caretta-Caretta. A great place to swim and snorkel at leisure!

From here up to Kephalonia, the largest of the Eptanissa and world-famous, thanks to Captain Corelli’s Mandolin that was filmed here. Apart from its natural beauty, limestone cliffs, craggy mountains and gorgeous beaches, Kephalonia is renowned for its food, the local wine –Robola- and the lively, hospitable and slightly whacky locals! You will be spending the night at Fiscardo, a picture-perfect colorful fishing village; a great opportunity to enjoy a lovely dinner at Tassia’s, a fish restaurant that is known the world over for its cuisine and for its charismatic owner.  

Day 5 - Lefkas

One cannot visit Kefalonia and not swim at Myrtos beach, an absolutely stunning white sandy beach that stretches under practically vertical limestone cliffs. Often wavy, as it is on the eastern side of the island, facing the open sea, it is nonetheless worth a detour on your way to Lefkas.

Here too, the eastern side is graced with awesome beaches that have a global reputation; Porto Katsiki, Kathisma and Egremni to name but a few. Lefkas also happens to be a windsurfers’ paradise; you will find them at Vassiliki and Agios Ioannis.

Day 6 - Corfu

There is so much to see and do on Corfu! Don’t miss walking around the old town and the Castle. Don’t be surprised if you see cricketers on the Green; it is probably the only place in Greece where cricket is played! Enjoy a leisurely coffee or ouzo with meze in one the many cafés at Liston and wander around the back streets to the church of Agios Spyridon, the keeper of Corfu who is considered to have saved Corfu frequently in the past from great danger. Another place you should visit is the palace of Achilleion, built by Empress Elisabeth of Austria, known as Sisi, who came here to escape her woes. The impressive stately palace sits in beautiful gardens shaded by trees and graced with fine statues and is only a few kilometers from the center of town, easily accessible by car or taxi.

Corfu’s cuisine is famed and Italian influences mean that a lot of the dishes have Italian-sounding names, like the delicious sofrito or the rooster pastitsada that you should definitely try!

Day 7 - Around Corfu

Off the northern coast of Corfu lie the islands of Erikoussa and Othoni; the latter is the western-most Greek territory and home to Aspri Ammos (White Sand) beach that is not to be missed for the world! Erikoussa also has two beautiful beaches, Porto and Braghini, a well-kept secret for those in the know. Little does it matter where you choose to drop anchor as both islands share stunning cobalt waters with the smell of wild thyme permeating the air. It is a great place to end your holiday filling your batteries with a little extra energy to last you through the winter.

More information: EKKA Yachts, Athens


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