Caribbean Sailing Vacations by Ed Hamilton

Greece. The Ionian Islands

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Ithaka, Ionian Islands, GreeceUnlike Greece’s Saronic Gulf, Cyclades and Dodecanese island chains, the Ionian archipelago is on the western side of the mainland. While a charter on the eastern side of mainland Greece can include one or several of the other island chains, a yacht charter in the Ionian Islands means visiting just that archipelago alone.

            That’s not to say you won’t find plenty to see and do in the Ionian Islands. Tourism has long taken over as the number-one economy, thanks in large part to the unspoiled scenery, archaeological ruins, historic castles, and picturesque harbors. There are seven primary islands in the Ionians, each offering its own unique sights and glimpses into the region’s storied history.

            Corfu is the northernmost island, and its history dates back to Greek mythology—when the God Poseidon brought a nymph here in a time of great passion. Today, many yacht charter guests travel to Corfu on a similar mission of romance, and there is no more picturesque place to fall in love with (or to have as a backdrop as you fall in love with your significant other all over again). You can wander the Old Town onshore, stopping in at full-service restaurants and European-style bistros alike, walking hand-in-hand through the night just as it is said the God of the Sea did with his lover so many centuries ago.

Kefalonia, Ionian Islands, Greece            Lefkada is another popular destination in the Ionians, one full of resorts and bays that tend to entice windsurfing enthusiasts because of their cool, swift breezes. You’ll find other water sports available as well, sometimes near pebble beaches and at other times near sandy beaches. And, no matter what the beaches themselves are made of, you’ll always find tavernas and restaurants along the shore where you can sit, enjoy a snack or meal, and watch people playing in the harbors.

            Farther to the south is the island Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionians and one of the most spectacular to see from your approaching charter yacht, since there are ten peaks ashore that are higher than 5,000 feet tall. The archaeological sites here are not as well preserved (if preserved at all) as they are on the other Ionian islands because of an earthquake in 1953 that killed hundreds of people and injured several thousand more. Still, the island is a favorite among sightseers because it is one of the most verdant, lush landscapes in all of Greece. Please give me details of suitable yachts.

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Photo credits for this page: Ithaka and Kefalonia - Nick Roberts, Yacht Bayan Blue
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