Ionian Sailing: Route Starting from Lefkas

Ionian sailing

Georgie Moon continues her series on sailing in Greece with this Ionian sailing route, starting from Lefkas. Read Georgie’s previous post on sailing in Greece.

Ionian sailing

Ionian sailing route

If you rent your boat in Lefkas, you are guaranteed to have an amazing holiday in one of the most picturesque sailing areas in Greece. Lefkas is one of the larger Greek islands, and nestles in the centre of the main Ionian Islands. It is one of only two islands in Greece linked to the mainland (the other being Evia). A swing bridge gives easy access to the mainland by road, with Preveza airport about a 30 minute drive away.

Ionian sailing

From Lefkas, you can either head north (going through the swing bridge), or south. The northern route will be described in a separate blog post. Here, I will describe the southern route and make suggestions for possible harbours and anchorages.

Ionian sailing
Image by Matt Lake

Sailing south from Lefkas, you will be in what is known as the inland sea, a very safe place to sail, easy to navigate, and you are never out of sight of land. There are so many harbours and anchorages in this area, it is difficult to choose a favourite. Depending on how long you are here, you may even be able to visit up to six different islands on your trip, and will cover around 100 nautical miles.

explore sailing with zizoo

Leaving Lefkas, you will go south down the Lefkas canal. This is shallow in parts, so stay in the middle of the buoyed channel. You will see lots of birdlife, maybe even some pelicans. On the east coast of Lefkas you could visit the small harbours of Lygia and Nikiana, both north of Nidri, which is the largest resort on the island. Nidri is set in a sheltered location with views across to Skorpios —formerly owned by Aristotle Onassis.

Ionian sailing

You can also see Meganissi and other small islands, as well as the Greek mainland. Nidri is a good place to provision the boat and the biggest town on this sailing route. There are several supermarkets, bakers and fruit shops along the main street. There is also a laundry and several chandlers.

Ionian sailing
Meganissi at sunset

From Nidri, the island of Meganisi is a 5 mile sail to the south east. The main harbour is known as Little Vathi, to distinguish it from the harbour of Vathi on nearby Ithaca. Many yachts moor for free on the town quay, but there is also a small marina here, with more facilities.

Ionian sailing
Frikes, Ithaca

Little Vathi is very picturesque, with many local houses and tavernas surrounding the pretty harbour. By following roads out of the village you can go for an evening walk up to the little town of Katomeri. If you cannot moor in Little Vathi, due to lack of space, you could pop round the coast to Spartochori and anchor off the beach.

Sailing almost directly east, you could call in at Mitikas, a typically Greek and untouristy town, where pretty houses perch on the edge of the water. The tiny harbour has room for a small number of yachts.

Ionian sailing
The town of Mitikas.

Alternatively, sail round the top and east coast of Kalamos island, and enter the large harbour where you will be welcomed by the unofficial harbour master.

Ionian sailing
Small taverna at Kalamos.

Kastos is well worth a visit. There may be room to moor on the harbour wall, although many yachts choose to anchor off the beach and take stern lines ashore. This is also the best idea if you encounter strong winds, when there could be a bit of an uncomfortable swell if moored on the wall. Kastos is no more than a hamlet, with just a handful of tavernas and one shop. There are some lovely walks out of the village, with amazing views over to the Greek mainland.

sail with zizoo ionian islands

If you have reached Kastos, you now have to make a decision. Depending on the weather, or maybe time constraints, you could sail SW to Ithaca and visit the little town of Frikes, or you could sail NW back towards Lefkas and head for Sivota on the south-east corner.

Ionian sailing

In my next blog, I’ll continue this journey around the inland sea…

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