For those of you that have sailed in our flotillas in the last few seasons you may recognise ‘Bengo’ (or Mark as he is known over the phone from our London office!) who did 2 seasons with us as an engineer and 1 season as a skipper in the Ionian Islands.
Now working in our London office as part of the sales and yacht charter teams, he wanted to share some of his favourite harbours, tavernas and bars that he and his crew visited during his time in the North Ionian.
Favourite taverna – ‘To Kyma’, Kassiopi, Corfu
Up on the hill overlooking Kassiopi harbour and looking out across the channel between Corfu and Albania ‘To Kyma’ is a personal favourite of mine! It has the most beautiful food, cocktails and stunning views. The staff are extremely friendly and attentive, occasionally stopping for a chat in between taking orders and delivering sculpted platters to tables from the kitchens. My favourite experience was ordering the juicy Pork Fillet in Apricot sauce, with a cheeky cocktail, and sitting out after sundown overlooking the distant lights of the Albanian town of Sarande.
Family friendly fun – Mongonisi, Paxos
For a day of tomfoolery and fun, Mongonisi is a haven, and a favourite for our flotillas! There is a nice sandy beach and crystal-clear water, great for swimming and paddleboarding around the anchored yachts. It is a picturesque and charming harbour. The single taverna is family run and very friendly, with palm trees and greenery scattered between the tables providing a pleasant setting for your evening family or group meal.
It's not until later in the evening that you realise why the tables are set out around a circular stage. As darkness falls, and the lanterns are lit, you’re in for a very memorable night. Mongonisi is famed for its Greek dancing and putting on an amazing show. The dancers twist and turn rhythmically into the night to traditional music. This later turns into a party atmosphere as the waiters invite all onlookers to join in.
Favourite bar with a view – Veranda Bar, Parga
Up on the rooftops, set back from the busy waterfront with parading tourists is a great bar overlooking Parga town. Veranda Bar has a fantastic view of the fort, up on the headland, which is lit up by spotlights after sundown. The cocktails are a thing of beauty, and the view looking outwards over the traditional white churches in the harbour is spectacular, especially when the sun sets over Paxos and anti-Paxos.
Favourite bay stop – Levkimi Point, Corfu
Although technically not a bay, Levkimi Point is a picturesque sandbar which protrudes into the Ionian Sea, with beautiful rippling white sand, located between Kavos and Petriti on Corfu Island. The sand bar is extremely shallow so you must keep an eye on your depth sounder as you approach and when anchoring. We were lucky enough to spend a fantastic October afternoon joined by our whole flotilla, sat just off the sand bar playing dinghy games and paddleboarding while taking in the mountainous landscape around us. The sea was like a beautiful turquoise mill pond! The unbroken sand gives great holding on less windy days. That afternoon we stayed until we almost ran out of daylight, and just as the sun dropped behind the Corfu town fort, we made a quick dart to Petriti for some delicious freshly caught fish.
An honourable mention goes to Blue Lagoon Bay in Sivota Mourtos. I’ve never seen as many fish, all the colours of the rainbow, darting around the anchored yachts!
Favourite place for a drink – Lakka, Paxos
An all-time favourite of mine! Lakka is the most idyllic traditional Greek bay in the North Ionian and a favourite of lead crew and guests alike! There are many options for eateries, including ‘Nionios’ in the town square. With a great lively atmosphere, the waiters and owner Yiannis will invite you into the kitchen. All the while the traditional dishes on the menu for that night are laid out before you!
‘Harbour lights’ is another gem of a bar/café in Lakka. Set on the waterfront, just a step from your yacht’s passerelle. The setting is traditional and friendly, with Greek dancing which is a lot of fun. Great for a refreshing Alfa, Gin-and-Tonic, or cocktail after a day of sailing in the heat!
For those looking to make the most of the early hours of the morning, or just a delicious night cap, just a short walk down the quay is ‘Romanticas’ bar. There is an excellent cocktail list, but beware of the ‘Towering Infernos’, which can pack a punch.
Favourite place for a quiet night – Petriti, Corfu
For quieter nights I can’t think of anywhere better than Petriti on Corfu. In the evenings you see the fishing Kaikis leave and return at first light with their catch ready to be thrown in the fridges of the local tavernas on the seafront. There are multiple great choices for tavernas, all on the beachfront, serving excellent seafood. It’s amazing to enjoy your food right on the seafront, while watching the last rays of sun lighting the hills of mainland Greece and Albania. The deep red, orange and purple colours are surreal and happen every night!