Although our travels of the Ionian Islands only spanned from Meganisi (the most northerly point for us) to Zakynthos (to the south) and these two points are only 60 nautical miles apart, we actually travelled 600 miles over the five weeks we sailed the Ionian.
Our first stop after passing through the Corinth Canal was the island of Ithaca. We ended up visiting all the islands a number of times over the two months we remained in the Ionian. Ithaca is certainly a favourite. A reasonable size island (96 sqkm) with a population of just over 3k, it is a very picturesque wooded island with lovely well protected bays. We used Kioni to the north east, Vathy to the centre and Polis Beach to the west are our Ithaca bases.
Kioni is really pretty town with a lovely beach in the south of the bay.
Vathy is the main town and is situated mid island in a large and well protected bay, so we used this at time when the winds we blowing hard as is shallow and has great holding with easy access by tender to the town quay and local beaches.
Our most northly point for this trip was the island of Meganisi. A smaller island of 22sqkm and a population of 1k, again a really pretty spot. Our base was in the north in Atherinos bay where we tied up to the small fishing quay at the head of the bay.
Kalamos and Kastos
Kalamos is a lovely spot, very mountainous and with a population of c.500 is quaint. It has a lovely small harbour with a few tavernas and bars.
We stayed a night and sailed for Kastos the next day. Kastos ended up being a short stay as we somehow managed to lose a propeller as we entered a small bay to tie up for the day (we dived for an hour but could not find it). Luckily we had good contacts in Athens (Multihull Group) that were able to get us a replacement that day and had it shipped to Zakynthos, arriving next day. Due to (perfect timing) a big blow coming in from the North West, and that fat we need to get there sailing, Zakynthos, south of us was our best option. It has a large bay to anchor in (under sail) and facilities including a diver to fit the new propeller. We sailed through the day and night, arriving outside the main town in the early hours (darkness).
Zakynthos is the third largest of the Ionian Islands (405sqkm) and very touristy, but we used it many times as a base to collect and drop off visitors as it has a well serviced airport. The main port was also a useful stop for supplies and services. While not one of our favourite island as a whole, there are some amazing places to swim and explore.
The waters to the south and south west were amazing, crystal clear, as were the caves and bays (particularly Magic Cave) with water temperature of 32 degrees!!
The largest of the Ionian Islands (773 sqkm) with a population of 35,ooo, a third of which live in Argostoli. The island is a real tourist destination, with what seemed like an awful lot of Italians and is well known for its wine and olive production. It is a really lovely island with our main bases being Argostoli and Asos.
Argostoli is a great spot with lots of room to anchor or tie up along the quay. Once stopped there are large turtles everywhere. Its a large enough modern town but still have a nice quant and relaxing atmosphere.
Asos is a small and quieter town but when we were there was a little overcrowded (not a great as experience as our 2018 visit).