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The Ionian - places to visit

The north and south Ionian is such a wonderful location for a sailing holiday.  The numerous islands, the close proximity of the islands to each other, the huge number of pretty villages, the unlimited bays and coves to visit and the excellent weather all add up to create one of the best sailing areas in the world. 

With so many places to visit, it can be quite daunting at first, when starting to plan your itinerary for your holiday.  The first point to make is that there really are very few places in the Ionian which you will be disappointed with (if any!), so you cannot go too far wrong!

The second point is that, due to the short distances between the islands and villages, you do not need to do too much hard and fast planning.  You can pretty much make it up as you go!  However, it is a good idea to have a list of places you would like to visit before you set off.  If you are new to the Ionian, when you arrive at the Nisos base, one of our skippers will sit with you with the charts and help you plan an itinerary and share their vital local knowledge with you.

Below you will find the main destinations in the Ionian which we recommend you try and visit.  It should be noted that there are many more suitable overnight stops, mostly in bays without facilities/tavernas.  Go explore and if you feel we should list your favourite place here, please do email us!

All Nisos yachts in the Ionian, are supplied with original Imray G11 and G121 charts, and The Ionian Pilot Guide. These publications can be purchased from Imray:

Chart G11

Chart G12

Chart 121 - The Inland Sea

Ionian Pilot Guide by Rod Heikell (as supplied on the Nisos Yachts)




whole ionian map

  • Lefkada (Lefkas)

    Lefkas Town & Lefkas Marina

    Lefkas Canal Lefkas Town is connected to the mainland by the Santa Maura bridge which opens on the hour to allow boats to pass through the manmade canal from the North Ionian to the South Ionian.  Mooring up in Lefkas Town can be either on the town quay or in the well established Lefkas Marina.  You are not able to reserve spaces on the town quay and it can be very busy during turnaround weekends as lots of charter companies operate from there.

    If you are visiting Lefkas Town, then it is advisable to pre book a berth in the Marina (Tel: 0030 2645026645).  There are many excellent tavernas and shops in the town and is a lively, fun place in the summer.


    Nikiania Lefkas

    Nikiana is a small harbour on the east coast of Lefkas and there is good holding within the mole. The quay is often very busy with live aboard yachts. Good provision and tavernas are available here.


    Perigiali is our home base.  The large quay is ok to stop at during the day time in settled weather but can be uncomfortable for yachts overnighting here and care needs to be taken at all times, particularly in north easterly winds and if passing motor yachts send swell onto the quay.


    Nidri is home to many day tripper boats, the Meganissi Ferry and also charter sail boats. It is a very busy port, and mooring on the town quay can be tricky especially in high season.  However, there is plenty of space to anchor off in the bay opposite the town and further down south in Vliho Bay, where there is good holding in depths of around 4m.

    There are also a couple of pontoons available to visiting yachts to the south of the town quay.  There is usually a mooring fee payable on the pontoons and the pontoon manager will direct you. The pontoons are used by charter companies at weekends and are therefore usually unavailable at this time.

    Desimmi Bay

    A lovely spot to anchor off for a lunchtime stop of overnight, in good holding and tavernas on the beach.


    Sivota Lefkas

    Sivota is a particularly well sheltered harbour in pretty much all wind conditions.  There is a large town quay (free mooring), plenty of anchoring space with good holding and private pontoons available. A wide range of tavernas and shops are available here.


    Renowned for its afternoon winds, Vasiliki is a popular destination for those fancying some high adrenaline dinghy sailing or windsurfing.  The inner harbour is shallow at the entrance and care needs to be taken with drafts over 1.9m.  There is a new marina in the outer harbour which should be completed for the 2019 season (Greek time!)

  • Meganissi Island


    Meganissi is a beautiful island to visit.  The whole coastline has so many bays to anchor in and charming villages to moor up in.  


    As you enter the bay, you will see on your right hand side with a town quay and a couple of pontoons with lazy lines. You will be assisted in by the helpful taverna staff.  The taverna on the beach will expect you to eat there if you are mooring up, but the food is good, the view is amazing and there is a delightful (but steep) walk up into the village, which is well worth the effort for the views alone.

    There is also a very good taverna on the south side of the bay with plenty of mooring (bows too may be necessary).

    Vathi (often known locally as Little Vathi)

    A lovely village with town quay, marina and space to anchor off.  On the right as you enter the bay, there is a taverna and pontoon, but this is often reserved for local charter companies and flotillas. You can always approach the pontoon and ask if it is ok to moor there for the night.  You will be expected to eat at the taverna if you do.

    Abeliki Bay and Port Atheni

    There are a couple of tavernas in these bays with pontoons (quite rudimentary versions of!), but a huge amount of space to anchor off in. 

    On the east coast of Meganissi there are some fantastic bays for overnighting and the caves on the south west coast are well worth a visit.

  • Kalamos and Kastos Islands

    Kalamos and Kastos


    There are some lovely bays on the north coast of Kalamos Island, either for a perfect lunch time swim or overnighting (no facilities though).  On the east coast you have Port Kalamos, which is a well sheltered harbour. George the taverna owner will assist you in, but be aware it can get very busy in here.

    Port Leone

    South of Port Kalamos is Port Leone, a deserted village (following the devastating earthquake of 1953), which is fantastic for a lunch time stop and explore.  Overnighting here is also possible, although there are no facilities.


    The harbour of Kastos offers good shelter. You can either moor inside the mole (either on the mole itself or stern to on the beach with a shoreline). If it is busy inside the mole, then it is fine to moor off on the outside of the mole.  Good tavernas and the lovely Windmill Bar for sundowners!

    Provisions can be hard to come by in Kastos.


  • Ithaca

    ithaca ionian

    Pollis Bay

    A lovely bay, perfect for a lunchtime stop or overnighting.  Lots of space for either free swinging or shore lines.  No facilities on the shore, but if you are confident with your mooring, you can take the 30 minute walk up into the delightful village of Stavros which has a shop, bakery and excellent tavernas. 


     A small harbour and village, but due to ferry (Italy to Patras) wash and the wind it can be quite a tricky and uncomfortable to moor there, especially in late afternoon.   Care must be taken to ensure anchor is holding well and that you are well off the quay and masts staggered.



    Kioni is a delightful village to visit.  The entrance is marked by the 3 derelict windmill turrets on the headland.  If you want to get on the quay then an early arrival is recommended, however, there is plenty of mooring space opposite the town quay using shore lines.  Once again the ferry wash can be troublesome, so care is needed.  Ashore there are plenty of really good tavernas and a lovely jewellery shop.  

    If you have plenty of anchor chain scope, then you can anchor off further south off the cemetery safely,

    A walk around to the windmill turrets is well recommended.


    Vathi is the main harbour on Ithaca. Vathi means "deep" and the bays and approaches are certainly this.  The prevailing NW winds tend to blow right into Vathi, so anchoring in the afternoon can be tricky at times, but they do normally die down.  Lots of excellent tavernas and shops here to explore and some lovely walks into the surrounding hills.

    Pera Pigadhi

    A beautiful anchorage on the south east of the island. No facilities, but great for a lunch stop of wilderness night.  Can get windy and untenable in late afternoon, but in light winds, the snorkelling is fantastic.


  • Kefalonia

    Kefalonia Ionian


    Often referred to as the jewel in the Ionian, Fiskardho is a beautiful (but very busy) village on the north east coast of Kefalonia.  Mooring on the quay is often the preserve of those coming in as overnighting yachts are leaving late morning, but there is plenty of space to anchor sterns to on the rocks on the north side of the bay, with shore lines.  If that doesn't appeal then you can moor outside the harbour to the south of the harbour, or even in Fokki Bay (see below) and walk around to the village.

    Lovely walks out of the town to the peninsula which is home to the Venetian lighthouse and other ruins.  Plenty of excellent tavernas and shops are available here.

    Fokki Bay (just to the south of Fiskardho)

    A great lunchtime stop or overnight mooring, being a short walk from Fiskardho.  There is an excellent network of tunnels on the South side of the bay which are well worth an explore (take a torch) and a cliff jump for those with a head for heights.

    Ay Eufemia

    Another lovely town with a well organised harbour with harbour master.  Radio in on channel 74 and you will be directed to a space on either the north or east quay.  If full, there is space to free swing in the harbour itself.  Lovely tavernas and beaches out on the northerly road from the town so go and explore.


    Another well organised harbour and the harbour master will assist you with finding a berth.  Can be quite noisy in here due to the ferrys, but the tavernas on the main quay are superb.


    The most southerly point in the permitted sailing area.  As with Sami, Poros is a busy little port and can be noisy at night.


    All along the east coast of Kefalonia there are numerous bays to explore for wonderful lunch time stops.

  • Preveza and the Amvraki Gulf

    Amvarkia Gulf Ionian

    The Amvrakikos Kolpos is a landlocked gulf entered via Preveza. There are a number of harbours and anchorages and is a pleasant spot to get away  from it all, as few yachts come here.  The gulf is rich in fish stocks, bird life and dolphins.  There are also regular turtle sightings.  Consequently, the fish tavernas in the area are generally excellent and sell flat fish not commonly found elsewhere in the Ionian.


    Preveza sits just inside the entrance to the Amvraki Gulf and here there is a town quay and Preveza Marina to moor up at.  If you are meeting or dropping off crew mid charter, this can be a good place to do that.  Excellent tavernas and a lively promenade in the evenings to watch the inevitable evening "volta".  Well worth taking the time to explore the back streets of this everyday working Greek town.


     A pleasant, sleepy town that attracts a few tourists in the summer months.   There is a Venetian Fort here to explore with fantastic views. Good facilities ashore.


     Another sleepy village and harbour.  Limited mooring options on the town quay, due to the multitude of local boats, but there is plenty of space for anchoring off with reasonable shelter.  Excellent fish tavernas.


    A likeable, busy little town serving the agricultural hinterland and a small commercial harbour with a town quay and pontoons for visiting yachts, although these are quite exposed to the afternoon prevailing winds and care should be taken.

  • Atoko Island

    Atoko Island Ionian

    Cliff Bay

    One of our favourite places for the perfect lunchtime stop or "wilderness night". The sheer cliffs with amazing strata are on view and the water is crystal clear below.  Waters are deep, so plenty of anchor chain needed, which keeps the flotilla boats away (Nisos yachts all have a minimum of 50m chain).

    Perfect swimming and a little beach/cave to swim/paddle to.

    One House Bay

    Another lovely bay for lunch stops or overnighting. No facilities.  Good holding and 5-12m deep.

  • Corfu

    Corfu Ionian


    Gouvia marina is the main marina for yacht charter companies serving the North Ionian and also home to many private yachts.  It is a good place for meeting crew and the marina has all the facilities one would expect to find in a modern marina.  There is not much here though to see and "British life" is very much in evidence. 

    Corfu Town

     For those wanting to explore the old town of Corfu, then the mooring options are limited to the Old Harbour or Mandraki Harbour.  If there is no space here then Gouvia is your best option.  Corfu is a lovely town to spend a few hours getting lost in with some wonderful architecture in the old quarter.


     A lively (and quite noisy) holiday resort with limited mooring options available.


    A small harbour tucked under the east side of the headland with a Venetian Castle perched on the summit.  Very busy in high season, but more of an attractive proposition outside of July and August.

    Ay Stefanos

    A small bay which is a popular stop off on the north east coast of Corfu. Good shelter from the prevailing winds and several tavernas and bars. Best to anchor off here.

  • Paxos & Anti Paxos

    Paxos Ionian

    Lakka Bay

    A large, picturesque bay on the north of Paxos and a great place for lunchtime stop or overnighting.  Most mooring is free swinging or line to shore.  


    A beautiful little harbour but with very few comfortable berths as the swell does tend to impact here adversely.  Just to the south of Longos there is a lovely anchorage which is much more sheltered.


    This is the main port for Paxos with a large amount of day tripper boats, and ferries from Corfu and the mainland arriving here.

    The entrance to Gaios from the North is largely hidden, but is the way to go. The depths on the southern entrance are only about 2m and in any swell can be considerably less.

    Mooring is along the long town quay or if full you can anchor off Ay Nikolaos.  

    Gaios is a lovely village but is very busy in high season and crossed anchors are the norm!


     Just over a mile to the south of Gaios is the enclosed bay of Mongonisi.  Anchor on the quay outside the Carnayo if room or alternatively anchor off with good all round shelter.  Usually a very relaxed and low key location for over nighting.


    There are many reefs in this area so be careful!  A beautiful bay, but can be difficult in strong prevailing winds and over nighting is discouraged by the locals.

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