Picture yourself cruising on a sparkling emerald sea, bottlenose dolphins hovering over the waves beside your boat. In front is a mountainous island covered with oaks, hornbeam, cypress pines and olive groves. Closer, a pastel-colored fishing village rolls down the hill, its harbor quay lined with traditional taverns. A nearby sheltered cove, bordered by a pale gold beach, offers safe anchorage and a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear lapis lazuli waters. It’s just another idyllic day cruising around the Ionian Islands.
Located off the west coast of mainland Greece, the Ionian Islands are one of the main yachting and yachting destinations in Europe. The navigation is easy: the hundred or so islands and islets in the region are mostly within sight, the winds are light and the sun is practically eternal. The main islands of Corfu, Paxi, Kefalonia and Ithaca have strong historical and cultural ties with the Venetian Empire, which ruled the region for 400 years, but the more recent French and British occupiers have also left a lasting imprint. Here is what should not be missed during everyone’s visit.
The largest of the Ionian Islands, Kefalonia is home to the magnificent beaches of Myrtos and Petani. Mount Ainos, the highest peak on the Ionian Peninsula at 5,341 feet, is protected in a national park dotted with rare black pines. Sami’s harbor became world famous when it appeared in the 2001 film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, but it cannot compete with the Venetian architecture and the cosmopolitan ambiance of Fiskardo, the choice of ports on the east coast of the island.
On the west side of Kefalonia, pray that the prevailing winds will give you access to the crescent-shaped cove that houses the village of Assos, arguably the most photogenic place on the island. On this side of the island is also the bustling capital, Argostoli – some of its historic buildings were destroyed by an earthquake in 1953, but the town has been sensitively rebuilt and its quayside restaurants will draw you in for delicious food. seafood. Don’t leave the island without tasting its Robola wines and fruity olive oils.
Don’t miss: Platia Ammos, near the clifftop Kipouria Monastery, is a beautiful beach accessible only from the sea.