Sailing Holidays

Yacht Charter in the Ionian

The sheltered Ionian on the west coast of Greece is ideal for a relaxed sailing holiday, so popular with families and less experienced crews.

Gentle afternoon breezes make the Ionian one of the safest areas in the world for a relaxed sailing holiday and yet there is plenty to do and see. The scenery is beautiful and there are numerous secure anchorages, picturesque harbours and lively towns.

A sailing holiday is the perfect way to discover the beautiful unspoilt Ionian islands, nestling in clear blue seas, hillsides clad in olive and cypress. Being skipper of your own charter yacht gives you total freedom to explore. There's always time to anchor in a secluded bay for a swim off your yacht. Or enjoy a walk to a market or cliff-top view. Or just relax - there's no rush and once you’ve moored up in a picturesque fishing harbour, step ashore for dinner at a waterfront taverna.

This sailing holiday is perfect for families with children. There's so much going on afloat and ashore - it's such an adventure and no time to get bored! It’s fun to swim ashore for an ice cream at the beach bar, take a trip in the dinghy to explore some caves or eat a picnic on a secluded beach.

To book your next sailing holiday in Greece, give us a call or fill out the Quick Quote Form.

Sailing conditions

Weather conditions in the Ionian are very favourable for a relaxed sailing holiday. There are good sailing breezes from late morning through the afternoon, with winds from the northwest Force 2-5 subsiding around sunset. The winds tend to be stronger at the start and end of the season. Summer temperatures reach 26-29ºC

Sailing area

On a 1 week yacht charter holiday you can explore the Southern Ionian islands. There are so many sheltered bays and enchanting fishing harbours to visit on the islands of Lefkas, Meganissi, Ithaca, Cephalonia and Kalamos. See our suggested sailing itinerary below.

On a 2-week sailing holiday seasoned skippers can plan a more ambitious sailing itinerary of these very picturesque islands heading north, through the Lefkas Canal, to the idyllic islands of Paxos and Anti-Paxos. Or plot a course south through the Ionian islands as far as Zakynthos.

Charter yachts

For bareboat yacht charter in the Southern Ionian we are proud to offer 2 charter fleets with whom we have worked for many years. Nautilus Yachting is the exclusive UK partner of Odysseus Yachting Holidays who run a fleet of over 40 charter yachts from Palairos. This charming small harbour on the Greek mainland is just a few miles south of Lefkas Canal and has stunning views of Meganissi and Scorpios Island. The service from this family-run company is professional and friendly. There is a full range of charter yachts from 30' upwards. Yachts 39' and larger come with a complimentary outboard for the tender.

These yachts are also available on our Ionian flotilla holidays.

Kiriacoulis run one of the largest fleets of bareboat charter yachts in the Mediterranean, and have yachts based at Lefkas Marina, including many of the latest yacht models from Bavaria, Jeanneau, Dufour and Beneteau. These yacht charters can start and finish any day of the week, giving you total flexibility over your sailing holiday dates.

We can also offer bareboat charter yachts from several other charter fleets we work closely with in Lefkas Marina so we are sure to have the perfect charter yacht for your next sailing holiday in the Southern Ionian.

Travel arrangements

For yacht charters from Palairos or Lefkas, the nearest airport is Preveza. Thomson, Thomas Cook and Monarch have flights on Sundays from Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham (Monarch only). Easyjet also fly from Gatwick to Preveza on Sundays and Wednesdays. Transfers can be pre-arranged. Time to Lefkas Marina 30 minutes and to Palairos 30 minutes.

We can also offer Sunday seats on a chartered British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Preveza or Titan Airways from Stansted. Excellent fares including luggage.

DAY 1 : Embark at Palairos, a charming Greek harbour with a choice of restaurants and a nearby beach. The superb setting, with views across to Meganissi and Scorpio, will soon put you in the holiday mood!
DAY 2 : Sivota, Lefkas (16nm). Enjoy a sail across to Sivota on the east coast of Levkas. This unspoilt fishing village is surrounded by hillsides covered in olive and cypress trees. The shops, cafes and tavernas on the waterfront cater for visiting yachts.
DAY 3 : Fiskardo, Cephalonia (11nm). On the way you pass a choice of bays on Meganisi for a lunchtime anchorage. Fiskardo on the northern tip of Cephalonia is one of the prettiest waterfronts in the Ionian and offers a safe and picturesque harbour. Enjoy cocktails and ice creams on the harbourside and watch the yachts mooring up.
DAY 4 : Vathi, Ithaca (16nm). Ithaca is reputedly the island home of Odysseus and the east coast offers numerous bays and anchorages. Vathi has good shopping and numerous tavernas in the town.
DAY 5 : Port Kalamos (20nm). Walk up to the traditional village above the harbour for fresh bread in the morning and a stunning view.
DAY 6 : Spartohori, Meganissi (15nm).Sail to Spartohori on Meganissi, just opposite Scorpios island, with fabulous view from the town up the hill.
DAY 7 : Return to Palairos (15nm). Stop for a last lunchtime swim in your favourite bay on Meganissi.

Early booking offers in the Ionian

Early booking offers in the Ionian

Book your charter from Lefkas from July onwards with 15% early booking discount 

Book your charter from Palairos from 22nd July onwards with 10% early booking discount


Ionian last minute deals

Ionian last minute deals

25% OFF charters from Palairos until the 22nd July!




Prices given below. Click on the yacht names to view yacht layout & specification

Yacht charter rates are shown WITHOUT flights giving you the flexibility to book your own flights.

If you want a flight-inclusive holiday Nautilus Yachting is a fully bonded ATOL tour operator and can book flights from the UK to fit your sailing holiday. Choose from a wide choice of airlines - we are not tied to any particular airline. All flight-inclusive holidays are fully bonded for your financial protection under our ATOL 3016. Airport transfers can also be pre-arranged.


For yacht charters from Palairos or Lefkas, the nearest airport is Preveza. Thomson, Small Planet, Germania and Thomas Cook have flights on Sundays from Gatwick and Manchester. Easyjet also fly from Gatwick to Preveza on Sundays and Wednesdays as well as Fridays from mid June. Transfers can be pre-arranged. Time to Lefkas Marina 30 minutes and to Palairos 30 minutes.

We can also offer Sunday seats on a chartered British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Preveza. Excellent fares including luggage.

To charter a yacht bareboat or on flotilla you should be Day Skipper standard and be assisted by at least one competent crew.

At present you need an RYA Day Skipper qualification or RYA International Certificate of Competence (ICC) for charters in Croatia, Mallorca, Tenerife and Malta.

The RYA ICC will be ever more required by overseas port authorities but if you have skipper experience it is easily obtained in a day from RYA sailing schools in the UK such as Hamilton Sailing or Brixham Sea School

Whether you are an experienced sailor or setting foot on a yacht for the first time, we can offer you a holiday afloat to suit you. We have given all the sailing areas a level with 'Experience Level 1' suitable for less experienced crews and 'Experience Level 3' for the experts.    

This takes into account the wind strength, tidal range and currents, distances between stops and ease of mooring. Of course even experts may choose to sail in Level 1 areas as they still offer stunning scenery and great sailing.

Experience Level 1: Ionian

Generally light winds Force 2-4, line of sight navigation, shorter sailing distances under 20nm. You will be Day Skipper standard having sailed at least 1 week or 100nm as skipper

Experience Level 2: Saronic Gulf & Sporades

Stronger winds up to Force 3-5 with some longer passages up to 30nm. You will be Day Skipper standard having sailed at least 2 weeks or 200nm as skipper

Experience Level 3: Aegean & Dodecanese

Stronger winds up to Force 4-7 which can lead to bigger seas on long passages between the islands. You will be Coastal Skipper standard with experience to a higher level having sailed at least 4 weeks or 400nm as skipper

The island of Kefalonia in the Ionian is a firm favourite. The harbour at Fiskardo delights with its candy-coloured, 18th-century Venetian buildings that have been made into smart restaurants and shops. The romantic epic, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was filmed on the island, mostly at Sami and on Myrtos Beach. Hire a car and explore inland - the Drogarati Caves and Melissani Lake are worth the trip. 

Was Ithaca the home of legendary Odysseus? Was it here he returned after 10 years to see off his rivals for his wife Penelope? An 8th BC century palace which Greek archaeologists claim was the home of Odysseus was discovered in Ithaca in 2010, fuelling theories that the hero of Homer's epic poem was real. Whatever the truth, it adds interest to visiting this beautiful island.

"We had an absolutely brilliant trip. Very well organised. Super boat. Great location. I had been a bit worried about starting from Athens rather than from the islands... but I couldn't have been proved more wrong. Thank you so much for such brilliant service."
Athens 2014 - E.B-J


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