Top 3 anchorages in the Southern Ionian

Aerial view of Fiskardo port, Kefalonia, Greece

There’s a special place in my heart for the Ionian. I have lived, sailed, swam, and grew as a person there. From Lefkas to Kefalonia, these islands are what I called home onboard a 2015, 37ft Bavaria called PARIS.

She may not look like much, but this girl got us through some bad weather, sticky situations, and above all, our refuge.

Like many sailors who have sailed in one particular area, you tend to have your favourite anchorages – your ‘go-to’ place which is versatile and enjoyed by many a ‘crowd-pleaser’ if you will! Below I talk about my top three anchorages and why you should incorporate them in your itinerary.

Number 1. KIONI – Ithaki Island.

The pretty bay and harbour of Kioni on the small island of Ithaki.

Check out our 7-day bareboat sailing itinerary here!

Why?

  • Kioni, in my opinion, has the cleanest water due to how quiet it is. In the evenings you MUST go swimming! It’s absolutely teeming with phosphorescent algae which sparkle when disturbed.
  • You can, more often than not, find a place to drop anchor and tie off to a rock, and if there’s space, on the town quay.
  • The town is quaint, with a few stunning restaurants located along the harbour wall and up in the foothills overlooking the bay.
  • Fantastic holding, and normally fairly quiet.

Where?

Kioni pin drop.

Kioni is located on the northeastern tip, protected from the northwesterly prevailing winds. Many sailors tend to hot-foot it down to (big) Vathy located further south which subsequently means that Kioni is fairly quiet, even during high season.

In this lovely town, the time has stopped in the previous century

When?

This anchorage is best enjoyed overnight. It provides protection from the prevailing NW winds and is best viewed early morning!

Anything to watch out for?

A common phenomenon happens pretty much everywhere in the Ionian and that is the Katabatic winds. Most of the tiny anchorages in the Ionian are hidden and tucked away between hills. As the air cools, and the land is warm, it pushed air and funnels between the hills. From around 5:30 PM onwards it can get pretty breezy. It normally settles by about 7:30/8 pm so make sure your anchor is well dug before heading off for your fresh greek dinner!

Number 2. Foki Bay – Kephalonia.

Yes, before you ask it really is called that – and it is truly stunning.

White yacht moored in the bay of Foki beach with cypress trees in background, Fiskardo, Cefalonia, Ionian, Greece.

Why?

  • The Trees. I nicknamed this bay ‘Little Canada’ because of the Cypress trees that almost fall into the water.
  • The caves. Accessable by tender or simply swim in! Turn your outboard off just as you enter the caves as people swim in and out of them. The Caves were used for mining in the ’50s and still remain now. Don’t worry if you’re scared of small spaces as these caves are absolutely massive. They are so big you could easily fit a two-story house in them! Take a torch and enclosed shoes (don’t wear flipflops as some bits are quite steep).
  • The beach. Sometimes while sailing around you just need some time on a beach! Well, this bay has one. In the top right-hand corner is an adorable beach with a quaint taverna serving the best drinks!
  • You can walk into Fiskardo for some shopping, it’s around 1.5-2km walk.
  • The water is CRYSTAL clear!

Where?

Foki bay is based on the northeastern tip of Kephelonia, a stone’s throw (or 10-minute tender ride) into the famous Fiskardo, boasting up-market restaurants and beautiful jewellery shops.

When?

This is a perfect lunch spot, or evening stopover (if the winds are favourable). Great holding for lunchtime with the most stunning scenery to enjoy your freshly prepared lunch!

Foki Fiskardo with crystal clear and transparent water, Kefalonia, Ionian Islands, Greece.

Anything to watch out for?

In the high season time, the beach is buoyed off to protect the swimmers, make sure you don’t get caught up in there. Try and head as far in towards the beach as possible as most of the superyachts take the entrance area as its deeper. This will also protect you from the swell that is created from the passing ferries.

Number 3. One house bay – Atokos

Beautiful bay in Ionian sea, called One house bay.

Why?

  • The pictures speak for its self. One House Bay, characterised by the one house which sits by its self in the foothills.
  • The crystal blue water and picturesque beach are just some of the reasons you should stop over here!
  • Gorgeous scenery.
  • Deep blue water.
  • Excellent walking.

Where?

One House Bay is on the Southeastern corner of Atoko Island, East of Ithica island. The island is only home to goats, which the shepherd attends to every 4th day.

When?

A perfect lunch spot when travelling from the eastern islands to the western islands. If the winds are favourable, you can possibly stay here overnight, please bear in mind it offers little to no protection.

Getting first-hand knowledge about the area is key to creating a memorable charter. I have traveled extensively throughout Greece and the Meditterenian to visit destinations to provide you with the best recommendations and advice. Looking to explore the Southern Ionian? Speak with Alice today at an@boatbookings.com!

The Endless Cruising Grounds of the Greek Islands!

The Greek islands have been called “a Mediterranean Polynesia” and for good reason; there are 6 distinct island groups (Cyclades, Ionian, Dodecanese, Sporades, Saronic, North Aegean), offering countless miles of shores that are waiting to be explored on your Greece sailing vacations!

OiaSantoriniGreece

As someone who was born and raised in Greece and has been sailing since childhood, I have actually never managed to visit all the islands by boat! The only people I know to have cruised around all of the islands are professional captains, but they cannot all make that claim! You can keep returning to the Greek Polynesia for summers in a row and keep finding new cruising grounds: the sunny backdrop, the warm seas and the kind, hospitable nature of the locals will remain the same, but the scenery will change across the islands.

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Boatbookings Expert Commentary – the Glories of Greece

Mariona Riera, Boatbookings.com
Mariona Riera, Boatbookings.com

Mariona Riera is our Greece Charter Manager, and has spent the past 2 years learning as much as possible about the yachts, crews and charter destinations of the storied Greek Isles.  She provides another in our series of “Expert Commentary” on the Greek Isles.

Q – Everyone knows that the Greek Islands are one of the world’s greatest charter areas – can you provide your thoughts about the attractions of Greece?

Greece is one of the best sailing destinations in the world for many reasons. First, there are more than 15.000 km of coastline, and several excellent island groups in two seas -  the Cyclades,  Sporades, Saronic and Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean, the Ionian Islands in the Ionian Sea, facing Italy and let’s not forget the gorgeous island of Crete.

It is this variety that makes Greece a unique place, and each destination provides a completely different experience.

The Cyclades Islands are the most chartered group of islands and are especially idyllic destination during the months of May, June, early July and late September. The famous destinations of Mykonos and Santorini are in the Cyclades. Due to the Meltemi, a characteristic strong, dry north wind from the Aegean sea,  it is better to avoid them in late July and August, as it is the time when the winds are usually stronger.

Q – You’re a big believer in the Ionian Islands, can you tell us more?

The Ionian Islands are characterised by calm, crystal clear waters, beautiful sandy beaches, charming villages and stunning scenic countryside. Each Ionian island has a distinct character and between them they offer everything you could wish for from a sailing holiday. This group of islands, comprised of Corfu, Paxos, Lefkas, Ithaka, Cephallonia, Zakynthos, and Kythira, are one of the most spectacular sailing spots in the world. Indeed, many of their beaches are only reachable by boat.

They are a great destination for late July and August because the winds are not as strong as in the Cyclades.

The main bases for bareboat charters are Corfu and Lefkas, there is a large fleet of sailing yachts and catamarans based in the Ionian during the months of June, July and August, due to the increasing demand and popularity of this area.

Q – Tell us a bit about bareboat chartering in Greece

Greece has hundreds if not thousands  of bareboat charter yachts of all types and sizes – it is a very developed charter area  bareboat  charters and we can normally find you exactly the boat you want if you give us enough time! We always recommend booking early, because not only will you have great selection, but you may also qualify for early-bird discounts.

Bareboat charter prices usually include VAT (4.5%) in the price, but might exclude end cleaning and the outboard engine. Moorings in Greece are not included, but in most places are for free, but there is also no way to book a berth in advance, it works on “first come, first served” basis. There might be some small charges in some marinas (10-15 euro), but it is unusual, this does not apply to private marinas, but in any case the most likely scenario is that you will be anchoring in a dreamy location and just going to the marinas to get supplies and visit the beautiful Greek towns.

Provisioning is easy in the Greek Islands, there are plenty of supermarkets and small shops, but bear in mind that supermarkets close on Sundays, you may find some small shops open for some hours in the morning, and surely a bakery and kiosks (“peripteros”) where you can find anything from water, to yogurt, chips, cookies, and a variety of supplies to get you by till Monday.

In high season, the rule for bareboats is embarkation/disembarkation Saturday, this is almost unbreakable, and very few suppliers will accept other dates due to the high demand.

Q – How about Crewed Charters?

When it comes to crewed charters, every year the yachts seem to get bigger, more luxurious, and more comfortable.  I’ve met the crew on most of the yachts, and therefore feel very comfortable recommending the boats that I do – I match them to your needs and they will truly take care of you with professionalism and go the extra mile! We have a great selection of crewed catamarans, motor yachts, sailboats, gulets, and of course amazing Super Yachts.

The majority of our crewed charter yachts are based in Athens, therefore relocation fees apply when requested in the Ionian, also you have to take into consideration the Corinth Canal fees, which vary depending on the size of the yacht, number of passengers and other criteria.

Q – What other recommendations do you have for charterers?

Most of our charterers in Greece are extremely happy with the charter, as long as the clients listen to the captain and follow his advice when it comes to the weather conditions and itineraries. This is a region where winds can be very strong, so clients need to very flexible and able to change their mind as to their initial destination.

Having said that, all destinations within Greece are breathtaking, so no matter when you go we’re sure you’ll be extremely happy with your charter !  Be sure to see our Greece Yacht Charter Guide.