A Guide to sailing in Corfu

The island of Corfu is one of the most famous sailing destinations of the Ionian Sea. Majestic beaches, beautiful sunsets and sapphire waters wait those who plan to sail the Ionian waters. Do not forget to visit the island of Ithaca, the home of Odysseus and to try the famous local cuisine and drinks in the island of Corfu.

Corfu is the northernmost of the Ionian Islands found off the north-western coast of mainland Greece and south of Albania. Plan your boat holiday in Corfu in the summer for superb beach and sailing weather.

Corfu International is the island’s main airport, and is located just 15 minutes away by car from the island’s main marina at Gouvia. You can also reach Corfu by boat from Igoumenitsa on the coast of mainland Greece. 

Anchorages in Corfu can be found in the towns of Agni, Kalami and Kouloura, but you can also enjoy hopping around the Ionian Islands and visiting mainland Greece where you’ll find a number of well-equipped marinas and bays for overnight stops.

What to do and see in Corfu

Seafront restaurant in Corfu

The Old Town of Corfu, a World Heritage Site, is made up of a wonderful ensemble of beautiful Baroque and Venetian buildings. Enjoy wandering around the cobblestone streets, passing through Liston and Splanada or visiting one of many archaeological or art museums before departing on your yacht charter holiday in Corfu.

Take in the sun on Corfu's beaches or enjoy watersports such as windsurfing. The southern beaches are generally more popular, with sandy shores and several seafront bars, restaurants and resorts. You'll have the choice of sandier shores to the west, such as Issos and Prasoudi, or the quieter Messonghi and Halikounas beaches.

For nature enthusiasts, head to the mountains in the north of Corfu to enjoy hiking or biking trails that take you through the island’s rugged, yet beautiful, landscapes. The trail around Mt Pantokrator offers breathtaking scenery and is a great way to see more of this charming island. The small town of Acharavi on the northern tip of Corfu has some of its best water parks as well as museums and bars. Alternatively, Adios Georgios to the north-west is a great destination for hiking from the shore to the inland mountains.

A Sail the Ionian Sea yacht charter also gives you the unique advantage of being able to visit the nearby islands, including Paxi and Lefkada at your own leisure.

The Ionian Sea remains a great cruising location due to favourable weather conditions and calmer seas than the nearby Aegean. To see the best of the Ionian Islands, start at Gouvia Marina and work your way south to Sivota, Port Gaios and Lefkas, the second largest on the island chain.

From Lefkas, enjoy safe and easy sailing along the canal. You can make stops at the small harbours in Lygia and Nikiana before heading out to the nearby islands of Meganisi and Kalamos. On Meganisi, you can make a visit to the historic Papanakolis sea cave.

Continue south, stopping at Vathi and Zakinthos, with its remarkable Venetian Fortress and the stunning Blue Caves that rises from the sea. A boat trip to Zakinthos is not complete without a visit to the iconic Navagio or Shipwreck beach.

Sailing conditions in Corfu

The waters around Corfu are generally calm and make for enjoyable boat trips in Greece. Tides are low, reaching 0.5m at the extreme, but usually far lower. The Ionian Sea generally experiences a north-west to west-north-west wind that ranges from 10 to 15 knots. It should be noted that winds in northern Corfu can blow strong at times, making for an exciting sailing trip. Air temperatures on the island of Corfu are at an average of 25°C in high summer, but often into the 30s. The average sea temperature is a pleasant 25°C or so.

The south of Corfu is a popular area for yacht charters thanks to the region's excellent summer weather and easy sailing conditions with calm waters and ideal wind speeds. This is a preferred sailing destination in Greece for beginner sailors or those looking for a more relaxing boat holiday. Sailors in the area need only to watch out for occasional gusts when travelling alongside mountainous areas. Anchoring is possible at all the major ports, and each island is well provisioned with harbours for stopping at your leisure.

(source: zizoo)

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Why sail in Greece?

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Greece is well known for its ancient history, its civilization, its stunning light, its clear water, its variety of sailing areas, its endless natural beauty and of course its hospitable people. Taking all the above into consideration together with the biggest charter fleet worldwide, we have the ideal location for a yacht charter or simply a sailing paradise on earth.

 Each island offers a different experience from the impressive whitewashed houses of the Cyclades Islands to the exquisite natural beauty of the Ionian Islands and to the special character of the Dodecanese Greek islands. 
Greece is the sailing destination no one should miss.

Top 7 Reasons to Choose Greece for your Sailing Charter

·         Quality of the Greek waters

·         Abundant Adventures in a wide-ranging scene

·         Summertime at its best, endless sunshine & blue sky

·         Marine life and underwater magnificence

·         Greece has the bigger charter fleet in the world

·         Greek hospitality, mentality, food, and service

#1 Quality of the Greek water
Greece had the top position in seven consecutive years for the highest standard of swimming water between the countries tested (UK, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece). In 2008 and 2009 Greece was second and on 2014 it managed to pick a 97% approval on its' water quality. The famous "blue flag" was awarded to numerous beaches, without considering the beauty and the crystal waters all of the smaller Greek islands and islets, inlets, coves and sea caves that can only be accessed by boat.

#2 Abundant Adventures in a wide-ranging scene
With more than 2,900 islands and islets and rocks, 1,431 beaches, endless blue seas and over 3,700 km of coastline Greece is THE sailing destination. There is no doubt Greece offers plentiful possibilities in yacht charter.

There are five areas in Greece with different sailing conditions that can cater every taste, every level of competence, no matter if the crew is a family that looks for a safe, quite and relaxed holiday or a party of friends in the hunt for night life and fun, or hardcore sailors in search for real wind or naturists seeking seclusion and untouched beauty. 

#3 Summertime at its best, endless sunshine & blue sky
Out of 365 days a year, Greece's sunshine and blue skies are well above 250 days.
December and January are the months with typical rain and cold, followed by partially cloudy spring days with rising temperatures. Lately, a few tropical rain showers (lasting from just a few hours to one day) in August or September are expected and most times are all welcomed as a chill from the high temperatures.


#4 Marine life and underwater magnificence
The Greek Dolphin -painted on many antiquities- is a symbol of peace and prosperity to the Greek people. It is an amazing sailing experience to sail with Greek Dolphins since they love to play with sailboats and especially with catamarans as they really enjoy swimming in between the two hulls directly under the net. Not by coincidence, too many people are proud of the exciting moments they lived and the amazing photos they shot with the dolphin near their bow and with the sea turtles and seals, they swamped with.

The largest concentrated population (up to 800 sea turtles each year) of the Careta-Careta Sea Turtles can be found on the shores of Laganas Bay of Zakynthos (Zante) island in the Ionian Sea from June through August. The beach has been designated from the Greek Ministry of Environment as an environmentally controlled area.

Sailing holidays in the Greek islands should not add any more weight to the clogged natural life.  

#5 Greece has the bigger charter fleet in the world.
Although no official survey has been carried out recently, it is a common secret that Greece operates the largest number of yachts for charter compared to all other countries on earth. Bareboat, fully crewed, yachts with skipper, speedboats, luxury motor yachts for private yacht charters, sailing yachts, catamarans, self sail motor boats, sailboats, motorsailers, flotillas, cabin charters - they are all offered from over 15 charter bases in Greece. Most vessels in Greece belong to the bareboat category since bareboat charters are the most popular, efficient and economic way for sailing holidays. Luxury yacht charters are also a strong point of the tourism in Greece since many new crewed motor yachts have been introduced for sailing holidays in Greece from 2006 to 2010.  

#6 Greek hospitality, mentality, food and service 
Even though the profit is the main purpose of every business in the tourism industry and despite Greece is a quite old tourist destination, the Greek hospitality still retains its very good reputation. Nice and warm people will assist you in most cases; will invite you to join their wedding celebration party as if you were a relative of the family and will generally treat you as a friend. The Greek wines, fresh fish, vegetables and the unique Greek cuisine (lately discovered as the most complete, balanced and healthy nutrition diet) are some of the stronger motivations for anybody to select Greece for sailing holidays.  (we got help and copied things from www.easysailing.gr  .

 

Top sailing tips for beginners

The time you were dreaming for such a long time is here...you are going on a holiday on a sailing boat..but are things as easy as they seem? The Sail the Ionian Sea team is giving you some tips for a successful beginning of your sailing trip.

 

Be flexible.

 If you are someone who likes things precisely your way, you are probably going to have a hard time on the water. Things in the sea just don't happen like they do on land. Get ready to 'go with the flow' - I mean, you're living on a boat, right?

Don't try to adhere to strict schedules.

 If you like to make "plans" and have a well-detailed itinerary of your future cruising agenda complete with dates and ports of call, you are in for disappointment. On the water you must always be prepared to change tacks and you need to be okay with that. A loose itinerary is a good thing for guidance, but if you plan to rigidly stick to it, you're going to be one frustrated cruiser. The beauty of this life is the uncertainty and spontaneity of it all, so embrace it! Along the same vein - never ever try to 'beat' weather. You (and perhaps your boat) will be the only things that get 'beat' if you play that game.

Enjoy moments of solitude. 

Can't sit by yourself in peace and quiet for an hour or two? Well start meditating or else you will probably not enjoy passage-making. You can pass your time dreaming, sketching product ideas, reading or writing. Even if you plan on "coastal cruising" you will have to spend many days at sea.

Find pleasure in sailing.

 I think it goes without saying that if you dislike sailing, you will most likely dislike cruising. Sailing requires work and patience - but it's fun!

Enjoy the locals. 

Even if you aren't usually drawn to the mass throngs of 'cruiser' activities that are often available in certain ports, enjoying the local culture is an interesting thing to do. You should explore by yourselves or with a couple friends and have found that you meet and interact with more locals that way. Some of our best memories are those random, authentic moments with locals, so we seek those out.

Be comfortable. 

Your boat is your home. Make it livable; make it cozy, pretty and comfortable. This is particularly important for everyone that is a crew on a sailing boat either their trip is one week or more. The space is small and people need to cope with each other for some time. That doesn't mean you have to go out and choose a top of the line boat, but make sure the boat you chose is comfortable and nice.

Be confident in your abilities and your boat. 

No, you don't need to leave with all sorts of boating certifications and you don't need to be a pro. But you should know enough to be dangerous. Understand the basics of sail trim, have a firm grasp on navigation and safety - but don't fret if you've never sailed 'offshore' before. Everyone has to start somewhere!

Have realistic expectations. 

I think this is the most important of all. Ever go to an over-hyped movie expecting you were going to see the best film of the year, only to be sorely disappointed? Having inflated or unrealistic expectations is the quickest way to kill your cruising dream. Be ready for the highest highs...and the lowest lows. Be prepared for beautiful sunsets, raging storms and everything in between. If your picture of cruising was formed by listening to a Jimmy Buffett album, you're in for a big surprise!
While we are not the experts - if you keep these things in check we think you'll have an easier time adjusting to a gypsy life at sea!

 

A Guide for sailing in the Ionian Islands

 A Guide for sailing in the Ionian Islands

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Why do hundreds of sailors keep their boats in the Ionian Sea and thousands more head there every year to charter? Because sailing in the Ionian sea consists of  a blend of warm, calm winds, good food in romantic locations and idyllic anchorages in abundant bays. If there is another area as tailor-made for easy comfortable cruising then they’re keeping it quiet.

Location

Ionian Islands are located at the west coast of Greece. The Ionian is bounded by Greece, Italy, the Adriatic and the Mediterranean, but for most sailors the name refers to the west coast of Greece, stretching from the island of Corfu in the north, south past Paxos, Lefkas, Ithaca and Cephalonia to include Zakinthos in the south. The nature is wonderful, full with trees in the countless bays of each island. Ionian Islands host many monasteries, interesting for sightseeing. The turquoise color of the sea in many bays leaves an unforgettable memory…

Winds


The maistro is far gentler than the meltemi that howls down the Aegean on the east coast of Greece. Ionian gales are not unknown, but they are well forecast and do not last long. The wind is soft and the afternoon gives the opportunity of sailing for few hours.

The mountainous nature of the Ionian islands means there are plenty of localized effects as the wind converges and diverges around headlands, diverts down channels or is blocked completely, creating patches of calm and sudden gusts. Katabatic winds are also common in anchorages at the base of cliffs.

If you are chartering, flotilla or bareboat, it’s likely that either a daily weather forecast will be communicated to you or you will be briefed to call the base each morning to receive a weather update. You can also ask the port police.

Temperature

First-time Ionian sailors tend to ask next about the climate. Temperatures in the Ionian range from the low teens in Celsius, in January, to the mid-30s in July and August. Towards the end of the season, in September, temperatures are more comfortable at the mid-20s Celsius.

 

 

Reaching Corfu

Most charterers arrive by plane. Budget carriers like EasyJet and Ryanair fly direct to Corfu, Cephalonia and Zakinthos throughout the season. As ever, the earlier you book, the greater the bargain you can bag.

Another option is to make a touring holiday of the journey: drive to Italy in two or three days then catch a car ferry to Greece. These run from Venice, Ancona, Bari and Brindisi to one of Corfu, Patras, Igoumenitsa, Cephalonia and Zakinthos. The passage takes around 24 hours.

 


Mooring
In most ports, you will be expected to moor stern-to. For first-timers this is often a source of anxiety. Certainly, it can be a little fraught if you’re not well prepared, so it pays to plan ahead. Find out how your boat behaves astern, brief the crew on what they are expected to do and when, and work out hand signals, so you don’t have to shout over the engine, windlass or fellow cruisers offering ‘advice’.
 

Ionian Sea is ideal for family holidays but also for young people because of vivid nightlife in the bigger islands. It’s also ideal for lovers of nature.

 

Sailing Cruise in the Ionian Islands

Corfu - the green Greek island with a sense of Italy
This Greek island during long time belonged to Italians and in Kerkira town this is visible by a naked eye: Venetian labyrinth of streets, garlands from laundry ropes somewhere above head and coffee smell coming out from every open door.
If there is time before departure, on the way from the airport to the port one may look into the temple of Saint Spiridon the Primifuntian – one of the most significant Christian Saint.
The temple of Saint Just Warrior Fiodor Ushakov – the Russian naval commander who played the important role in liberation of the island and its further to Greece – is across the square from this temple.

PAXOS - ANTIPAXI

Paxos– the most careless island
Paxos is the smallest Ionian island.It is a paradise on earth with turquoise waters surrounded by green nature. And although their real color is creamy-champagne they got their name because of unusual color of water.

Antipaksi
Antipaksi is absolutely tiny island and  it is really a blessed place, it is real paradise for anyone looking for rest and solitude. The island is known with its famous beaches among which Vutumi with turquoise waters is considered to be the most beautiful in the world. And we shall go there!

LEFKAS - KEFALONIA

Lefkas –
 At abundance of rocks and mountainous landscape of one side of the island is completed with splendid wide sandy beaches from the other side. Itis the perfect island to explore with a sailing boat and enjoy the beauty of the scenery.
 

Top 5 beaches in Corfu

By Anthie Parisi

 

Corfu is an island with such a distinct elegance and cosmopolitan feeling. It is an island that combines the wild nature scenery for the travelers and the luxurious beaches for the more demanding. The following are a selection of the most distinct beaches of the island that only locals can recommend.

Issos beach

This beach has Scenery that reminds dessert. Huge sand dunes and crystalline waters is what you will see. The sand is soft and golden and the waters are azure and shallow. The beach is ideal for windsurf and kite surf. You will see many sport lovers having their equipment on the beach and doing sports. The beach is not crowded and it does not have many bars and restaurants on the shore. It is like a small paradise.

Logas beach

The ultimate “sunset beach” on an island not short of contenders, fringed by sculpted reddish cliffs which culminate in Corfu’s northwestern point, Cape Drástis. They cramp the strand severely, and make for chilly morning shade, but all is forgiven after noon as one gazes out to the Diapóndia islets.

 

Barbati beach

Barbati is a pebbly beach for the ones that dislike sand. Barbati is considered a cosmopolitan beach but also offers the visitor the calm and relaxation he deserves. The blue azure waters, the white sunbeds and the many green trees create the ideal summery place to be

 

Rovinia beach

In the area of Palaiokastritsa there is a beach that only lately became well known to the visitors and it is called Rovinia beach. You can go either by car or by boat. Between two huge rocks is this small, virgin beach with deep blue waters and trees on the two sides. If you visit that beach make sure you have water and food supplies since there are no shops nearby.

 Agios Gordios beach

The beach of Agios Gordios is a beautiful long sandy beach which has also private areas for nudists and to those who enjoy privacy. Even though this beach is one of the most crowded during high season, I would recommend a visitor to choose spots either on the far left or on the far right of the beach. On the right you can find sand and no trees while on the left you can find a small bay surrounded by big rocks.