Located on the west coast of Greece, the Ionian Islands are known for their stunning white sand beaches and lush greenery. There are six main archipelagos: Corfu, Zakynthos, Paxi (Paxos) in the north and Lefkada, Kefalonia and Ithaki in the south with the most popular being Corfu, Zakynthos and Kefalonia. As well as the main islands, there are dozens of smaller islands. No wonder it is a prime yacht charter destination – these sailing grounds were made for island hopping.

Historically and culturally, the islands have strong connections to Italy as many of the islands were once occupied by the Venetians. You can still see their influence in the architecture of Corfu Town, Zakynthos Town, and Argostoli. Surrounded by wonderful cliff-backed beaches, many of which are protected. The interiors of the islands are verdant for much of the year. Many small, deserted bays are perfect for water sports or just to drop anchor and chill, swim and relax for a few days. There are lots of caves to explore and the many little ports offer excellent restaurants and bars, along with a warm welcome from the locals.

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Overlooking the bay at Zakinthos Island

Diving in the Ionian Islands

Chios is rated as the best diving island in Greece. Oyster Charter will arrange the perfect dive with a local dive company. Every type of dive is available here from exploring caves and tunnels, to incredible wall dives and an array of wrecks to check out. Over in Zakynthos, you will find the main nesting spot for loggerhead sea turtles amongst the teeming sea life including parrotfish, flying fish, eels and octopus.

There are many wrecks to keep technical divers busy – from the early 20th Century to the late 1990s. RMS Britannic was a sister ship of the RMS Titanic that lies off Tzia (Kea) under 120m of water. Used as a hospital ship during WW1, she was sunk by a mine in 1916.

The wreck of the Peloponisos lies just off Mykonos. A passenger-cargo ship, that sank in July 1926 is in very good condition. She broke into two pieces as she sank and is a destination for experienced divers as she lies at 55m. The Peloponisos acts as an artificial reef, where you can see all kinds of marine life.  Also worth a visit close to Mykonos is the wreck of Anna II. This 203ft cargo ship sank with a cargo of cement in 1995. Under 25m of water, she is in great condition and a great wreck to explore.

The wreck of HMS Perseus, a British submarine that sank in 1941 after hitting an Italian mine lies 11km off Kefalonia. The well-preserved wreck is mostly intact – its compasses still work and show the course she was heading on when she hit the mine. The mine’s anchor can still be seen close by.

The best time for sailing charters in the Greek Ionian Islands

With an average of 315 cloudless days each year, the Greek Ionian Islands are a great option for yacht charters at almost any time. Peak season runs from April to October, with azure skies and temperatures from 19°C in April and between 25°C and 29°C in mid-summer. The water temperature is between 17°C in April, to 26°C in the summer.

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Diving in the Ionian Islands


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