North Ionian Islands, Greece
7-Day Sailing Itinerary
Set sail on your sailing adventure around cosmopolitan Corfu, Homer’s ‘beautiful and rich land’. Starting out from Gouvia, just 5 minutes from Corfu Town, this idyllic destination is widely considered a major link between the Adriatic and the Mediterranean. Strike out for open-water sailing or Greek island hopping, stroll Corfu’s Old Town or explore Gaios’ Venetian architecture. Your North Ionian yacht charter out of Corfu lets you enjoy ancient history, stunning waters and scenic ports along Greece’s beautiful northern shores.
*Written and with thanks to Helen Eltringham
Day 1 – Gouvia to Kalami
Depending on your arrival time and initial safety briefing head North West for approximately an hour to the charming village and bay of Kalami. Anchor close to the beach and soak up the smells of the Cyprus and Pine Trees that gently blow towards you on the evening breeze. Either dine in one of the beach tavernas or for something a bit different at The White House, former home of Laurence Durrell.
If your arrival is late; do not panic! For in the marina itself you can find restaurants, bars and cafés to gently ease your way into Corfiot life.
Day 2 – Kalami to Sivota Mourtos
For your second day, we recommend a full day on the water. After a late morning swim and snorkel around the rocky outcrops of Kalami, head South to visit the Greek mainland. Journey past fishing inlets and enjoy a spectacular view of Corfu Old Town as the breeze takes you towards your destination.
Today is perfect to see what your yacht can do; whether this is taking advantage of the gusts down the Igoumenitsa channel or seeing how many beers you can get in the fridge! Keep an eye out for dolphins riding your bow waves (especially in May, June, September and October).
On entering the collection of islands near the coastal town of Mourtos (collectively known as Sivota Mourtos), take in the lushest greens and crystal clear waters as you decide on an overnight destination. Depending on wind direction there are options to free swing or take long lines to shore. After a sumptuous feast either onboard or ashore, take the tender into the channel to see the sun disappear behind the island of Corfu.
Day 3 – Sivota Mourtos to Lakka to Loggos
It is said that Paxos was formed by Poseidon himself. Seeking a peaceful retreat, he used his trident to pierce the most southern tip of Corfu, breaking it away from the rest of the island. It is this tranquil oasis that you venture to today.
Get those sails up for a glorious ride from the mainland to the island and head straight to Lakka for lunch. With the most gorgeous blue waters and sandy bottom enjoy a pre-lunch dip, looking out for fish nibbling at your anchor. Stock up on local wines and oils ashore before escaping the lunchtime rush and heading back out for an afternoon sail.
After zig-zagging down the coast, rest your weary hull in the picturesque fishing village of Loggos. Look out for starfish, sea urchins and crabs as you snorkel around the shore; paddleboard to the beach bar for a massage; or dreamily watch the world go by from the comfort of your cockpit.
When the sun disappears, the village takes on a magical quality with lights illuminating the old soap factory and windmill ruins, as well as candles twinkling outside the cocktail bars that line the quay.
Day 4 – Loggos to The Blue Caves to Gaios
Day four must start with an early trip to the fabulous bakery on the quay at Loggos. Breakfast is on the move as you raise the anchor and start your anti-clockwise circumnavigation of Paxos, visiting the splendour that is the Blue Caves before ending your day in the capital Gaios.
The west coast of Paxos is rugged and harsh; with tall chalky cliffs plunging into brilliant blue waters. The rock formations overlap and twist creating dramatic backdrops to your holiday snaps. When you think the view can’t get any better you round the corner and come face to face with the Blue Caves themselves. Anchor carefully, close to the entrance and glide through the iridescent water. Freedivers and strong swimmers will relish the underwater tunnels and caves whilst families can enjoy snorkelling through the more accessible caverns. When you hear the faint sound of a day-tripper boat it is time to up your anchor and continue en route.
Gaios is the most cosmopolitan of the towns on Paxos. Hidden behind the islands of Panayia and St Nicholas, Gaios is a maze of Venetian architecture. With a bustling town square, scenic waterfront and shops aplenty, it is easy to while away the evening. Boat watching with a delicious ice cream in hand is one of our favourite pastimes!
Day 5 – Gaios to Anti Paxos to Ioannis
Anti – Paxos is next on the tick list for today. The 4km long island is a permanent home to approximately twenty people, two tavernas and a large vineyard. The most popular lunch destination is Voutoumi with its turquoise waters and white sandy beach. However, the island is full of small bays and beaches if privacy is more to your liking. Take a walk up to the two tavernas and look back at your gorgeous yacht…you will not find a better postcard!
After lunch, the wind has filled in, so it is time to get those sails up, as you tack across to the mainland. South of the busy towns of Mourtos and Parga you will find a sheltered bay called Ioannis. Depending on the wind direction you can free swing in the centre or take long lines to the rocks in one of the smaller inlets. There is one beach bar available for a sundowner and with very little light pollution, Ioannis is perfect for lying on the bow and gazing at the stars.
Day 6 – Ioannis to Boukari
The beauty of bays such as this is that even in high season you can wake up and be the only yacht in the bay. As you drink your first-morning coffee you can watch the colours of the mountains deepen as they absorb the rising sun and listen to the bells of the local mountain goats.
In an almost empty bay, it would be such a shame to not test out all of the toys! Make yourself dizzy wakeboarding or paddleboard to the fresh mountain spring…just try not to fall in next to the icy underwater outlet!
After exploring the mainland, it is time to start venturing back to Corfu. Set your compass to the bay of Boukari just north of the fishing village Petriti. With plenty of space to ‘drop the hook’, mooring is calm and seamless creating more time to enjoy the hospitality at one of the best fish tavernas in Corfu. Yamas!
Day 7 – Boukari to Vidho to Mandraki
Before the day gets too hot it is a perfect time to have a stroll around the more traditional villages here in the South of Corfu. In both Boukari and Petriti, you will find local fishermen tending to their nets and small protected shingle beaches perfect for paddling (or even swimming back to your yacht!).
The last full day is full of options. Why not spend most of the day in Boukari, swimming and sunbathing? Or if you are keen to visit somewhere new, you can sail to the old prison island of Video, where you can snorkel the reef or hike the island? Or if getting dressed up and shopping is for you, head straight to Mandraki Harbour, the fortified entrance to Corfu Old Town.
The buzz of Corfu Town is like no other. The fusion of cultures that contribute to Corfiot history makes for an evening full of splendour, flavours, music and the odd game of cricket or two.
Day 8 – Mandraki to Gouvia
On your final morning, you just have a short hop back to Gouvia Marina. The perfect time to absorb some extra Vitamin Sea and plan your trip for next year!