Corfu & Ionian Islands

Charter Yachts In The Mediterranean – Greece – Corfu and the Ionian Islands

To those of you who visualize a Greece of sun-baked rock dotted with dazzling whitewashed houses, the Ionian comes as a gentle surprise. This is not the Greece of the popular travel brochure but a shaded green country, sheltering red tiled Latin houses, an eccentric collection of Italian and French architecture and English tastes (in Corfu the locals play cricket and you can buy currant buns and ginger beer) welded together into a whole that is indubitably Greek.

Ever-green cypress, pine, elm, green fields, flowers even in height of summer, and everywhere the dull dark sheen of the olive, characterize the lower land while higher up the slopes are covered in pine and the tenacious Mediterranean maquis. If the wind is in the right direction you can smell the pungent herby aroma a mile out to sea. The green luxuriance of the islands is in direct contrast to the high eroded mountains of Albania and mainland Greece that form the eastern boundary to the Ionian.

Starting points are Corfu (Gouvia marina) and Lefkas. Here you will find a luscious, green landscape with calm waters and a total coastline of thousands of miles. You will find the influences of foreign cultures (British, Italian) but the area is still indisputably Greek.

The Ionian Islands located on the western side of mainland Greece, are seven main islands that are different from other islands by their fertile land (blanketed with olive groves sustained by the winter rains) and clear blue waters. The mixture of different civilizations and cultures is harmoniously welded together into one piece that is undoubtedly Greek, in a complex of islands where the most beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean can be explored.

Wind and Sailing Conditions

The wind and sailing conditions in the Ionian Sea are ideal and predictable. From May to September the wind blows from North-West at Force 2-5. In Spring and Autumn the wind is less strong and blows usually from South-West. It arrives around noon, blows between force 3 to 6 (10 to 25 knots) and dies down at sunset. There may be strong gusts on the leeward side due to the high land (e.g Eastern side of Ithaka and Zakinthos.)

An ideal starting point for your cruise is from Gouvia Marina, about 15 minutes from Corfu International Airport, or Paleros in the mainland east of Lefkas island. From the heel of Italy most yachts cross the Otranto Strait to Corfu only 70 miles away. Corfu is the northern-most of the seven Ionian Islands. Proceeding south from Corfu you come to the islands of Paxi and Antipaxi, Lefkas, Ithaca, Kefalonia and Zakynthos, and the island of Kythira.

Here there is a barren backdrop to the islands that gives a taste of the topography to come. In between there are protected waters where the wind seldom blows too strongly and a multitude of little anchorages accessible only by yacht. From the inland sea bordered by Lefkas, Ithaca and Kefalonia you leave the rolling almost English landscape of Zakynthos to confront the rocky slopes of the Peloponnese.

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