Ionian Islands Itinerary
“Where I Travel, Greece hurts me.” Written by the Greek poet Seferis, this line holds true for the magic of the Ionian Islands as being immersed leaves a bittersweet taste of perfection while simultaneously knowing it has to end. The lighter, greener chain of Greek islands, the Ionians meld the best of the Venetian, French and British that have influenced the islands over time. Experience the timeless architecture, diverse cuisine and Greek zest for life as you cruise through the islands and soak up the sun. Home to Odysseus’s adventures the Ionians still retain an epic beauty but with a more relaxed atmosphere. Stroll through olive groves, lay on the beach and dine on fresh seafood over the stunning azure Aegean and Mediterranean waters.
DAY 1 — CORFU
Begin your journey in Corfu, the Grecian island where a shipwrecked Odysseus was aided by the benevolent Phaeacians. In more modern times Corfu is a hub of culture and intellect as the first Greek University, the Philharmonic Orchestra and the First School of Fine Arts were founded here. If you still have energy, visit one of the many museums or art galleries like the Byzantine Museum or National Gallery Annexe in Káto Korakiána. For a more relaxing day, seek out one of the sandy, white beaches dotting the coast. Before disembarking, be sure to try the many local wines and classic Greek dishes at a local taverna.
DAY 2 — LEFKAS
Offering some of the best beaches in Greece, Lefkas escapes the tourist hubbub despite being connected by a narrow causeway. Spend your day sunbathing at Porto Katsiki, the town sheltered by a hovering cliff which has magnificent, panoramic views of the Ionian sea. If you’re feeling more adventurous, journey to Vassiliki where kitesurfing and windusring are popular pastimes and try your luck at sea.
DAY 3 — MEGANISI
Travel back in time in Meganisi, meaning “big island” which is more of a misnomer for the tiny island housing barely over 1000 inhabitants. Its petite size enables it to retain old school charm with few restaurants, bars and shops. But don’t let its number of establishments fool you, what it lacks in manmade entertainment it makes up for in natural wonder. Take the tender through the cave of Papanikolis for a little sightseeing adventure or visit the quaint seaside town of Spartochori, with its lush forests, for an afternoon trek. Later, cruise to one of the island’s stunning secluded bays for a meal on board.
DAY 4 — KEFALONIA
The largest of the Ionian Isles, Kefalonia is ripe for exploration. Myrtos Beach is renowned as one of the most beautiful in the world while Assos has a medieval castle for a more historic experience. In the evening, enjoy a traditional Greek dinner one of the incredible tavernas in Fiskardo while sipping on the local Robola wine.
DAY 5 — ITHACA
Ithaca, the mythical land at beginning and end of Odysseus’s journey where he’s born and finally returns at the end of his travels. This legendary isle is worthy of its status as it leaves a lasting impression on your memory of Greece. Perfectly poised for a seaside picnic, anchor out from Afales beach and tender ashore to enjoy the views and an afternoon swim while the crew sets up lunch. Later, visit Vathy, the island’s main town, or head to Stavros, a quaint village with traditional Greek fare, stopping at the Kathara Monastery on the way.
DAY 6 — KEFALONIA
Cruising back to Kefalonia, stop by the fabled Cave of the Nymphs. The window into the cave created by the collapse of the roof is anything but customary; light shines into the cavern basking the water in an ethereal glow making belief of otherworldly creatures entirely possible. In the afternoon, cruise to Antisamos Beach where you can anchor and tender ashore for an afternoon swim. Have dinner on board with this picturesque cove as the backdrop.
DAY 7 — ZAKYNTHOS
The Venetians named this island “Fioro di Levante” or“The Flower of the East”due to the prominence of flora found here. The vibrance and beauty of the lush flowers on land is only second to the cobalt waters lapping the shore. Visit Navagio or Shipwreck Beach, often referred to as Smugglers Cove. Anything but sinister, the cove is sheltered by two limestone cliffs connected by a patch of the pristine white sand. Try and catch a glimpse of the sea turtles as you swim through the turquoise waters.
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