Enchanting and romantic, the Ionian Sea Islands are easy to fall in love with.
This ultimate yachting cruising ground has a tranquil beauty that stretches from the highest cliff-top castles down to deep beneath the turquoise waters.
Every island has its own treasures awaiting discovery, from fine wines and inspired Italian-Greco flavors to secluded lagoons and historic sanctuaries.
Intrigued? Let’s look closer at what makes these islands so alluring…
Which islands belong to the Ionian Sea?
The Ionian Sea has the perfect blend of islands.
Some stand tall in their natural beauty and wild ruggedness, like the islands of Ithaca, Paxi, Kythira, and Meganisi.
Other islands overwhelm you with their charm, history, and culture, like the islands of Corfu, Zakynthos, Kefalonia, and Lefkada.
Being on the western coast of Greece, all the islands are heavily influenced by the style and flavors of Italy.
Island hopping on a yacht is the best way to experience the region.
Enjoy a mesmerizing experience in the Ionian Sea Islands with a luxury yacht
Cruising by yacht allows you to unlock experiences, places, and views that simply can’t be found in a resort.
And, from the privacy and luxury of your private yacht, you’ll be cared for by your professional crew. From onboard gourmet dining to being taken by private transfer to hidden beaches only accessible by boat, you’ll get the most intimate experience with these irresistible islands.
Here’s a peek into what an itinerary arranged by OCEDA looks like…
From Athens to Zakynthos
Your yacht will be waiting for you in Athens, a city worth exploring for at least a day or two before you start your cruise. Tour the Parthenon, enjoy world-class dining, and shop your way through the upscale boutiques of Kolonaki.
When you’re ready, step aboard.
Shortly you’ll be anchored off a gorgeous beach in Marathonisi, a small emerald islet rimmed with gold beaches rising from the turquoise waters of Laganas Bay. The endangered Caretta caretta turtles often call this paradise home.
Take a refreshing swim or stroll the sandy beach.
Nearby, on Zakynthos, side-step the waterfront bustle and wander up the tree-covered mountainsides and weave through the ancient villages where you’ll find traditional wood-oven cooked meals served on small patios offering exceptional views.
From Zakynthos to Corfu & Erikousa
Corfu has a way of mesmerizing you before you even reach the shore. Brilliant white cliffs, topped with lush green olive groves, rise out of the sapphire-blue waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Ashore, the delights continue in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. While its history goes back to the 8th century BC, it’s the 18th-century mansions and country villas that dominate the landscape.
A private guided walking tour can reveal all the secret hideaways and local secrets.
The island is renowned for its virgin olive oil and fine wines. But particularly unique to Corfu is its kumquats, which are used to make fine liquors and delicious jams.
More than 400 varieties of wildflowers scent the air with a delicate sweetness and wash the hillsides in color. They also make for delectable honey.
Just nine nautical miles away await the peaceful islands of Erikousa and Othoni. Pristine in their natural beauty, they are the perfect place for a relaxing walk along the long beaches that stretch below the steep cliffs.
From Corfu to Paxoi & Antipaxoi
Head next to the picturesque village of Gaios on Paxoi. Its colorful waterfront invites you in with its charming boutiques and taverns that line the streets. Or head to Gianna to soak in the natural therapeutic thermal springs.
Around the island, exotic beaches line the shore, and some can only be reached by boat. Savor the tranquility of your own private beach by taking a swim and then enjoying a gourmet lunch prepared for you onboard.
Below the surface, divers will be delighted, too. Favorite spots include the Cave of Angelos, the Cathedral Cave, and the tunnel of Pounda.
Just across the bay lies the little island of Antipaxoi, known for its beaches and wine. Sandy footpaths through the trees lead from one beach to the next.
From Paxoi to Lefkada & Meganisi
Lefkada is quiet, yet in the folds of the natural beauty, exceptional experiences are revealed.
Paragliding over beautiful beaches. Uncovering ancient monasteries. Or hiking the Nydri waterfalls, where you can float in shady aquamarine pools and listen to the water cascading down the smooth rocks.
For dinner, treat yourself to rich, authentic flavors and seaside views.
Meganisi, the neighboring island, has its own hidden secrets to discover. The shoreline is filled with deep nooks and long peninsulas of land, creating endless coves and bays. Among them is the famous Papanikolis cave, a sea cave so large it was used to hide submarines in WWII.
From Lefkada to Kefalonia
Kefalonia is naturally beautiful and historically rich.
Castles, churches, and monuments perch on top of the dark green mountainsides and brilliant white cliff faces. And in the hidden valleys are rolling vineyards and scented lemon groves. Explore them all.
Throughout the island, there is a passion for authentic flavors. Savor Greco-Italian dishes whose recipes have been handed down for generations, and drink the fine local wines while overlooking the Ionian sea and the beautiful Venetian architecture.
While in town, visit the monastery of Agios Gerasimos, a global pilgrimage for many. Despite your religion, the setting and artifacts are beautiful to witness.
For a moment of peace, stroll on beautiful beaches or let your crew take you to a secret sandy beach inside a sea cave that can only be found by boat.
From Kefalonia to Ithaki
Home of King Odysseus, Ithaka retains the rugged beauty that has beckoned sailors since antiquity.
Deep indented bays create snug harbors whose beauty is unrivaled.
Your yacht will find an anchorage along this alluring coastline. Ashore, the aromas of waterfront cafes fill the streets. Stop here or push on to discover delectable local taverns hidden away in the mountain villages.
A favorite site is the two traditional windmills set upon the hill overlooking the little fishing village of Frikes. They make for a nice hike with panoramic views, or you can enjoy their splendor at night when they are lit up for all to see.
From Ithaki back to Athens
For the final leg of your cruise, you’ll sail down the coastline of Greece toward Athens.
But your escape is far from over.
It’s the perfect time to lounge on one of your private decks and soak up the breathtaking views or enjoy the pampering services onboard. You can select a professional masseuse when designing your yacht charter.
What would you do and see on your cruise through the Ionian Sea?
Charter your yacht with OCEDA & cruise on the Ionian Sea
Come, explore these mesmerizing islands for yourself with OCEDA. The memories will surely last your lifetime.
OCEDA is a charter brokerage for luxury yachts with a global network of yachting connections and a fleet of mega and super yachts from which to select. We deliver ideal getaways with transparent pricing and processes and knowledgeable service.
We tailor every detail of your cruise around you—your yacht, your crew, and your itinerary.
Let us help you design your Ionian Sea cruise today.