The smaller southern Ionian islands

Meganissi Island

Meganisi (Greek: Μεγανήσι, literally "big island") is a Greek island and municipality immediately to the east-southeast of the island of Lefkada. The municipality includes the offshore islands of Skorpios (pop. 2 persons) and Sparti. Its total population was 1,041 at the 2011 census.

The island has three villages: the central village of Katomeri (pop. 492) and the ports of Vathy (145) and Spartochori (453 inhabitants). There is also a harbour at Atheni Bay used mainly by fishing boats. Meganisi is connected with Lefkada by a car ferry service from Vathy and Spartochori. Meganisi has a school, a lyceum (middle school), banks, churches and a few squares (plateies). The island has no secondary school, so pupils attend the nearby school in Nydri, on Lefkada. Some researchers, including Wilhelm Dörpfeld estimate that Meganisi was the Homeric island of Krocylea, which was part of Odysseus' kingdom.

Meganisi has two enchanting hill villages (Spatahori and Katomerion) one of which has to be a "must visit". There are also numerous quiet and sheltered anchorages around the deeply indented coast. Some are busy with wasps in late summer, and foxes haunt beaches used for BBQ parties. There are three ports. Regular ferries shuttle to and from Nidri.

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Spartohori, Meganissi

Spartohori is a beautiful village on the Greek Ionian island of Meganisi (or Meganissi). Perched high above Spilia Bay (or Porto Spiglia) the village of Spartahori is reached by a 10 minute walk up the road or steps and has spectacular views across the Ionian sea to the mountains of the mainland and with traditional Greek food, wine and dancing in the local tavernas it is definitely worth a visit.

The great thing about mooring here is that you don’t need to use an anchor as it is all done on lazy lines and there is always help on hand from the local Greek taverna owners to help make sure your yacht is moored up safely in return for you eating at their taverna!

Moor your yacht and sit right on the pebbly beach in the bay looking out across the beautiful blue Ionian water or enjoy the stunning views up in Spartahori village, a great place to visit whilst on an Island Sailing Ionian yacht charter in Greece.

Very busy, but room for lots of boats. All quay side berths have free tailed moorings. The taverna owner who installed one pontoon on the right as you enter may pressure you into eating at his place. Climb up to Spatahori, a quaint village stuck in 1970s Greece, but with colour television, satellite dishes, air conditioning. Taki's simple but enjoyable taverna up there is often very lively, so consider leaving the (almost industrial!) quay side tavernas of Porto Spilia to the flotillas — unless you want to use their showers. Superb breakfast views from the café up the hill, just above the viewing balcony.

Vathi, Meganissi

Vathi (or Port Vathy) is a small port on the North east coast of Meganissi island (or Meganisi) and lies just east of Spartahori. Vathy is a real Ionian jewel, tranquil and beautiful with a really good choice of places to eat and drink; from lovely traditional Greek tavernas to chic Italian Trattorias and relaxed cafe bars. Surrounded by beautiful beaches and bays the waters surrounding Vathi harbour even has a sunken light aeroplane for the adventurous snorkeler to explore!

Vathi harbour (or 'little Vathi', to distinguished it from nearby Vathi on the island of Ithaca) has plenty of space to moor your yacht and now also has a great new marina called Lnk Odyseas Marina The newly built marina at Vathy has lazy lines, power, water and wi-fi and also offers shower, bathroom and laundry facilities, a cafe bar serving great coffee and fantastic cocktails, plus tennis courts but most of all they provide a calm and safe environment and a warm and welcoming smile! This is expensive compared to the anarchy of many popular harbours but offers a good quality range of services. You can contact Odyseas Marina on VHF channel 72 or 0030 26450 51084.

Vathy is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon and evening whilst on your yacht charter in the Greek Ionian. The scenery is beautiful, and the people are some of the friendliest you’ll meet. A 30 minute walk takes you to Katomeri, a fantastic bustling Greek Ionian town with various supermarkets, tavernas and cafes. A slightly shorter walk ends at the nearby beaches of Kapali Bay and Abelike Bay. A 15 minute climb above Vathi is the old village of Katomerion, well worth a visit.

Karnayio, or Karnagio

Immediately to starboard before the entrance to Vathy harbour is a lovely cove with a great taverna. Karnagio taverna has a sturdy catwalk with free berths, lazy lines, water, electricity and showers and 'George's' taverna is a real favourite. The cove is a 5 minute walk into Vathi and, in the height of summer you may want to call ahead to reserve a berth on 0030 26450 51071.

Abeliki and Kapali Bays, Meganissi

Between Vathi and Port Atheni on Meganisi there are two large beautiful bays with coves dotted around the edges. For serenity and relaxation on your yacht charter in Greece they are ideal places to stop. Both these bays, Abeliki Bay and Kapali Bay offer the ideal location for a peaceful night on board your sailing yacht and even a romantic night gazing at the stars. You can also take a walk to Vathi from Abelike bay (about 25 minutes).

Alternatively you can anchor in one of the many beautiful inlets for a lunchtime swim or snorkel before heading to one of Meganissi’s nearby ports for the evening. Masks and snorkels are just perfect for swimming in the beautiful Ionian.

Port Atheni Meganisi

Port Atheni on the NE of Meganissi (or Meganisi) is a large quiet beautiful bay surrounded by olive trees. Despite being a popular bay for visiting yachts to drop anchor, particularly during the day it is never crowded. With crystal clear waters on the west side of the cove Port Atheni is a great place for a swim and a snorkel.

A 30 minute walk takes you to the traditional Ionian village of Katomeri which offers a taste of 'real Greece' where you can buy fresh bread and provisions. Island Sailing provide a dinghy & outboard with every yacht charter in Greece.

an east facing bay with lots of room to take a long line ashore, one taverna and an easy walk up to the hill village of Katomerion

The Cave

See the massive sea cave 70% down the west coast of Meganisi — leave someone on board to tend the yacht (you can rest your anchor on the boulders below, but it may get stuck in a crevice. Don't ask.) while the rest go in and explore by dinghy.

Arkoudi Island

Arkoudi is a tiny island in the Southern Ionian Sea and is in between the Greek Ionian islands of Lefkas (or Lefkada, Levkas) and Ithaca (or Ithaki)

Atokos Island

Atoko island (or Atokos island), sitting virtually in the centre of the southern Ionian inland sea is a popular stop between Kastos or Kalamos and Ithaca. With two popular anchorages for lunch time stops and swimming - Cliff Bay and One House Bay. Atoko is a privately owned uninhabited island and the only human structure is a church at One House Bay which is clearly visible from the beach.

The water surrounding Atoko island is tranquil, turquoise and crystal clear - perfect for snorkeling and the land is covered in dense green vegetation. Serenely beautiful Atokos island is a perfect spot for whiling away a sunny afternoon but its not a place to anchor overnight.

Kastos & Kalamos Islands

Small islands with several quiet bays and several quiet anchorages for the more ingenious sailor. The ports have a simple taverna or two, and offer peace and quiet — as long as a flotilla isn't visiting.

Kalamos Island

The peaceful Ionian island of Kalamos has a serene anchorage at the uninhabited village of Port Leone where the silence is broken only by goat bells from the hillside and the lapping of the water on the hull. Venture ashore to explore the fascinating remains of the old village. Kalamos town has a few Greek tavernas and a mini-market for provisioning.

This island is one of the quieter places to visit whilst on your yacht charter holiday in the Southern Ionian, and possibly one of the highest you’ll go to. The peak of the island is 750m above sea level making it easy to spot next to its neighbour Kastos, which is nearly all flat.

Kalamos is also a great place for dolphins! Bottlenose dolphins and Common dolphins regularly spend their time around these shores, an even larger bottlenose dolphin community can be found at nearby Amvrakikos gulf. Despite their name Common dolphins are not that common at all in this part of the world. Kalamos has been identified as an area of high conservation importance for these dolphins.

Episkopi, Kalamos

Episkopi is a pretty, traditional little Greek harbour on the north side of the Ionian island of Kalamos with only a couple of spaces for sailing yachts skippered by experienced and confident sailors. If you fancy going ashore why not anchor off in light winds and use your dinghy to go in on the small finger pontoon or the pretty stretch of beach. Episkopi is also an ideal swimming spot.

Kalamos Town, Kalamos

The main port on the small Ionian island of Kalamos is a really pretty place. The port and centre has a couple of shops and a few lovely tavernas and bars. Tavernas are found both in the harbour itself and a short walk along the beach. There are also a number of Greek bars just a short (uphill) walk from the town square. The harbour attracts lots of visiting sailing yachts on their yacht charter holidays and George the local ‘harbour master’ will always do his best to get you moored up - he also has a great taverna!

Port Leone, Kalamos

Port Leone (to use it's Venetian name) or Kefali in Greek is a large bay on the south side of Kalamos island and a ‘must visit place’ if you are in the area on your yacht charter holiday - even if you just have a look around the bay from your yacht. Port Leone is ideal for a lunch time or overnight stop, a swim and a walk ashore to see the beautiful small church which is still in use. The evening is idyllic and a time when you can truly appreciate Port Leone’s unique poignancy.

The small Greek Ionian village of Port Leone or Kefali has some interesting history behind it which is explained in Greek yacht charter guide books and Ionian pilot books for the sailing area. Island Sailing provide a Guide to both the Southern and the Northern Ionian as well as the latest edition Rod Heikell pilotage/cruising guide to the Greek Ionian on every yacht charter in Greece.

Port Kastos, Kastos

This is popular spot so you may need to arrive early for a good berth. Be prepared to anchor with a shore line within the harbour on the shoreward side. There is a reasonable bay in which to anchor just north of the harbour. Watch out for a projecting reef dividing this bay from the next one further north.

Quiet and tranquil the beautiful southern Ionian island of Kastos has a very small population and only one village. A really beautiful setting with excellent swimming and snorkeling it is fast developing to cater for the large number of sailing yachts that pass through on their yacht charter holidays during the summer months to see the beautiful views from the windmill on the cliffs edge.

There are a few Greek tavernas and restaurants where you can enjoy some excellent food. There is a shop as well as a small range of facilities for visitors. Port Kastos is a very scenic port and definitely worth a visit whilst on an Ionian yacht charter holiday. The bays to the south of port Kastos are also lovely and many are suitable for overnight mooring. Spend the day relaxing in a bay on Kastos on your yacht and you are almost guaranteed to find one to yourselves.

Wasps can be a nuisance several hundred metres offshore.

If you come across a group of dolphins while sailing Ionian waters, please follow a very basic code of conduct to minimize the potential disturbance that your presence might cause to the animals.