Our South Ionian route cruises around the islands of Meganissi, Ithaca and Cephalonia with beautiful stops along the way, like the Italian inspired, cosmopolitan town of Fiscardo or the pretty village of Sivota. Sometimes we like to ‘wild night it’ away from the tavernas for that extra feeling of privacy and your own ‘private swimming pool’ off your transom.
The South Ionian is perfect for beginner skippers doing our IYT Flotilla Skipper course, or sailors with experience wanting a more relaxing week to get the family hooked on sailing. Conditions are always calm in the morning and the wind builds slowly after lunch to offer more exciting sailing each afternoon. The sailing is sheltered with easy line-of-sight navigation. It’s a favourite cruise of our MD James, who likes to ‘go-easy’ with his family when he’s not bashing across seas around the UK on the Ocean Elements racing yacht.
You can opt for a Flexi Flotilla, where you combine our flotilla with bareboating and join us for group meals and some company when you choose. Our Ionian routes are also popular for Stay Sail holidays to our Vassiliki Beach Club.
After a short, 30 minute transfer from Preveza airport you’ll arrive at Lefkas marina where our Ocean Elements lead-crew will meet and greet you before introducing you to your yacht.
After a short briefing to show you the systems onboard, it will be time to unpack and get acquainted with your new home before going for a drink and a meal ashore and a chance to meet the other flotilla sailors. Early arrivals will enjoy making use of the marina hotel pool and provisioning for the week at Lefkada’s many grocery stores.
After a skippers briefing at the marina cafe (over breakfast) on Monday morning to run through the week’s plans and some technical advice on mooring, anchoring, safety and seamanship, the crew will help you cast off. It’s an easy 15 mile sail, south bound to the pretty harbourside town of Sivota for a group meal ashore. On the way, you can anchor in one of many bays for a lunchtime swim.
If you’re a little rusty on experience, or a beginner skipper having just completed our Flotilla Skipper course - and this is your first proper week as skipper - then our lead crew will help you cast off; and they’ll even be in Sivota before you, (so long as you’re not too fast!), ready to help you moor up. You’ll soon get the hang of it. The cruising is easy, with a predominantly downwind first day, and our lead crew are always just a VHF call away.
Sivota is a lively village with lots of shops and tavernas. The perfect place to provision and enjoy our Welcome Punch Party and group meal ashore.
You can have an easy morning and start when you like. It’s an easy 10-mile sail to Frikes, (on Ithaca), and you can lengthen it by sailing around the island of Atokos for lunch and a swim in the stunning clearwater of ‘One House Bay’. From Atokos, it’s all easy ‘line-of-sight’ sailing and gives you faster-paced fetch to Frikes in the predominant side-wind.
Ithaca is steeped in the history of Odysseus, the king of Ithaca and the eponymous hero of Homer’s The Odyssey. You can enjoy lots of coastal walks and paddleboarding with games for the kids (and adults) like our junk model yacht race in the calm water next to the taverna.
On day 3 we set off for the beautiful and chic harbour town of Fiskardo. It’s another easy cruise which can be pep’d up if you’d prefer a longer sail to circumnavigate the nearby island of Aspro. We like to get you in before 3pm so you can make the most of this excellent anchorage for clearwater swimming, shopping and cafes.
This ancient town attracts a well-heeled crowd and offers boutique shops and excellent eateries with a strong Italian influence. The surrounding forest has been declared an area of outstanding natural beauty and we love the beautiful lighthouse walk in the morning, followed by a swim before you head off to the next destination.
For Freesail day, you can choose to join us as our lead boat heads to Vassiliki, or go it alone and bareboat to another island. If you join us in Vassiliki you’ll have the chance to take part in some complimentary dinghy sailing, windsurfing or paddlesports at our Beach Club; or just relax by the pool and let the kids have some land-based fun.
If you choose to cruise elsewhere, then simply hook up again with the lead boat on the following day. Vassiliki has a good harbour and a surf-inspired vibe with lots of cool bars, nice calm places to eat and lovely people to boot. The village has a British presence (not your usual package holiday crowd) which is a nice change.
The flotilla will meet up at Vathi on the gorgeous island of Meganissi for our penultimate day. Here, we will stop at our favourite waterside taverna and moor up alongside for a group meal ashore and activities like our sailing quiz and games for the kids. It’s a peaceful anchorage and sometimes we will ‘wild night it’ away from the tavernas for that extra feeling of privacy and your own private swimming pool off your transom.
Before dinner, visit the mysterious sunken sea plane just inches from the surface. It sits just a few metres from the shoreline and is located an easy paddle board, or a 10 minute walk away from our mooring.
You can go for a morning walk (or a jog) around the pretty coastline of Meganisi before setting off for Lefkas. There’s lots of anchorages en-route to Lefkas, around Nidri or on the mainland for a lunch time swim. You can lengthen the sail home by cruising around Skorpios, the famous island owned by the Onassis family. The final leg normally offers a more exciting sail as you beat home in the prevailing thermal winds as they build slowly and manageably after lunch.
We like to get back into Lefkas marina for around 4pm so you can refuel (our lead crew will help you at the fuel jetty) before mooring up in the peace-and-calm of Lefkas marina. Soon after you moor, we’ll be aboard to tell you about your next day’s travel plans. Then we like to gather ashore for a farewell drink and awards ceremony in the marina bar.
If you’re staying for two weeks on flotilla, then you can sail our Northern route for week two. You can choose to stop with us in Lefkas or bareboat to another island - and sail through changeover day - while our lead boat welcomes the new week’s arrivals.
If you choose to free-sail to another island, you can arrange to hook up with the flotilla as they cruise up through the canal to explore the Northern route after changeover day.
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Follow our guest Lola King and her family on their journey through the best bits of the South Ionian.Read More