The return of our traditional two week North Ionian flotilla for the entire season offers those who have overdosed on the South Ionian a wonderful opportunity to discover why we fell in love with the Ionian Island area. This is the home of the emerald waters that feature so heavily in brochures generally!
The mixture of historic Venetian towns, coastal villages and idyllic anchorages is quite unique. Other little perks of this are a very short transfer from the airport to your yacht in Gouvia marina (15 minutes), where you can drop your bags on the yacht and jump in the fabulous pool (depending on your arrival time!).
Sailing in the lee of Corfu Island, means that it is little affected by swell. The flotilla will essentially go where the wind blows.
Modern hourly weather forecasting means that we are seldom caught out by Mother Nature (although that used to be what it was all about!)
Kassiopi harbour has not changed in forty years except that the tavernas have become much more efficient and one has even morphed into a fabulous restaurant. They have also realised that their Venetian castle is a fascination to visitors, so it is possible to wander around within the ruins.
Beautiful Bays like Agni, Kalami, Kaloura (of ‘My Family and Other Animals’ fame) and St Stephanos are all possible stops. A night may be spent exploring the Venetian streets (and shops) of Corfu Town, or in the small harbour of Sayiadha on the mainland. Keen walkers might wish to visit the abandoned old town up on the hillside.
Moving South, the villages of Petreti on Corfu Island, or Plataria and Sivota Mourtos on the mainland are also possible overnight stops. You will be sailing through the same waters as the Corinthian galleys when they rowed/sailed up to the Battle of Sivota in 433BC.
Then you enter the ‘South of the North’ and the idyllic Island of Paxos with all its attractions. Of course we cannot forget one of our favourite towns, picturesque Parga with its colourful buildings and historic castles.
Just down the coast are several anchorages including Ammouthia, Two Rock Bay, and the small coastal fishing harbour of Ligia. As we write this, we really want to be there and it feels that words alone cannot really do justice to sailing around this wonderful area. Enjoy!
Generally warm and sunny, which is why we love sailing in this part of the world! The regular but steady afternoon breezes make this an ideal first flotilla for couples on their own, young families or those making the step from dinghies to yachts.
Gouvia Marina on Corfu Island is your flotilla starting point - with plenty of choices of restaurants, shops and facilities it is a perfect place to begin your holiday! Corfu Island offers a complete mixture of the buzzing old town contrasted with sleepy fishing villages to the north and south. Days are spent sailing from harbour to harbour, stopping for lunch and swims, in stunning bays along the way. Evenings are spent in wonderfully ethnic Greek village harbours and bays where you can kick back and relax. The highlight of this flotilla area is, of course, the beautiful island of Paxos with its four beautiful harbours - Lakka, Longos, Gaios and Mongonisi.
Following a short transfer from Corfu airport you will arrive at Gouvia Marina. Here you will meet your lead crew and home from home for the fortnight (your yacht). After a short boat brief you have a range of restaurants to choose from in the Marina for a bite to eat!
On Monday morning there will be a thorough boat brief and a chat about where you are heading that day. There is a supermarket in the marina for you to stock up on provisions before you head out for a lazy lunch at anchor...
The wonderful village of Kassiopi is on the northern coast of Corfu and is likely to be your first or penultimate stop. This spot hasn’t changed much in thirty years. There are excellent tavernas, bars, restaurants and shops as well as a secret beach in a bay a short walk around the coast.
You'll then meander across to Sayaidha, a small fishing village on the greek mainland which is close to the Albanian border. The village is best known among sailors for it sunsets and the prawns at Alex's taverna - served by the kilo and not to be missed!
Next you'll be heading to a great mainland spot - Mourtos, where the surrounding archipelago of island provides excellent swim stops. The quayside tavernas offer an array of evening options from the cocktails at Bamboo Place, to the traditional Greek dishes at The Blue Coast taverna.
A mainland stop in the Greek Town of Parga should not be missed, with its long sandy beach, buzzing promenade and the unbeatable choice of evening entertainment. Simply moor the boat on stunning Valtos Beach and catch Yiannis ferry boat into town. A walk up to the citadel is also recommended. As this is such a popular spot with plenty to do it is often to stay for two nights to explore.
As the flotilla heads further south on the mainland, you may be able to enjoy a glorious sunset in the small harbour of Ligia, or a night at anchor in Two Rock Bay.
You will then wend your way across to the delightful villages of Lakka, Longos, Gaios and Mongonisi on Paxos Island.
The crystal clear emerald water of Lakka Bay is not to be missed for a lunch stop within a stone's throw of Lakka Village - a favourite evening destination. Gaios is a traditional Greek town, with a number of tavernas to explore. Mongonisi is a highlight for many - the only stop on Paxos without a village. Mongonisi's charm lies in the idyllic environment where you can swim of the back of your boat and Greek dance the night away.
A highlight of the trip is a lunchtime stop in Emerald Bay on Anti-Paxos Island for a lazy lunch and swim. For the more adventurous sailors among you, a sail down west coast of Paxos, with its stunning cliffs is a great way to spend a day.
The last couple of days will be spent making your way back up to Corfu. Likely stops on Corfu include the small fishing village of Petriti which will give you a real taste for Greece as it was 20 years ago.
The first or penultimate night stop is likely to be Corfu Town where you can moor in the yacht club beneath the citadel and spend an evening wandering the rustic backstreets of the town.
Below is an indication of the yachts that will sail on this flotilla. Please call us on 020 8459 8787 to check live availability.
Our Shore to Sail holidays are a combination of a one or two week flotilla sailing holiday with another relaxing week or two ashore.
These holidays will appeal to those who enjoy sailing but have family or friends who are not quite so enthusiastic about sailing - a compromise can now be made!
Most people opt for a week of sailing followed by a week of winding down on shore. However it is entirely up to you to do what you want to do (and when!)
Choose from studios or apartments beside the sea at the Iris Hotel, Stena, near Nidri, or opt for one of our carefully selected boutique hotels. The San Nicolas Resort Hotel is now available in nearby Roudha Bay, or really pamper yourself at the Salvator Villas and Spa Hotel in Parga, which also has a selection of two-bedroom villas with private pools.
The closest hotel to this flotilla is the Salvator Spa Hotel in Parga.
We have no doubt at all that our flotilla sailing gang will really score a few points with the non sailors of the family by bringing them here! The combination of one of our yachts and a room here is about as good as it gets!
For 20 years, our flotillas have been enjoying the wonderful food from the 'Castello Restaurant' in Parga. Spiros and his six sons have now expanded their programme in Parga with a fabulous boutique complex of rooms, apartments and villas called the Salva…
The Iris Hotel is one of our accommodation options in the South Ionian, ideally suited for a shore based week before or after one of our Lefkas or Ithaka flotillas, or one of our two week flotillas which finishes in the South Ionian.
A 'beside the sea' base for your shore based week on Lefkas …