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A brief introduction to Corfu sailing holidays
Corfu is the northernmost Greek island in the Ionian Sea, located just off the coast of Albania and Greece. Covering an area of 590 km2, Corfu is the second-largest Ionian island and the 7th largest island in Greece. Due to its size, the island offers plenty of geographical diversity, varying from tall mountains to beautiful sandy beaches.
Corfu boasts a rich history, spanning back to the classical times when ancient Korkyra was one of the great naval powers of Greece, alongside Athens and Corinth. Its important strategic location meant the island was used as a foothold in defending Europe from the Ottoman invasions. This led to an extensive fortification of the island, with numerous castles built to protect the access to the Adriatic Sea.
The Venetian Republic ruled the island for more than four centuries. Their influence is most evident when walking through the streets of Old Town of Corfu, one of the 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in Greece. Beautiful urban architecture, luxurious palaces and impressive forts are some of the main attractions luring visitors to the town of Corfu.
Why you should choose a Corfu sailing holiday
The island of Corfu is one of the most beautiful and intriguing Greek islands, attracting visitors with its natural beauty and charming beaches since the 19th century. The combination of the lush island interior and the spectacular coast full of impressive landmarks and beautiful coves create an ideal setting for an unforgettable vacation.
Sailing around the island, you will be greeted by charming little villages and towns, offering safe harbours and beaches that are considered to be among the most beautiful beaches in all of Greece.
Charter agencies can be found in the town of Corfu, offering a wide selection of sailboats, catamarans and yachts well-suited for exploring the islands of the Ionian Sea and the Greek coast. You can also find plenty of marinas located across the island, ensuring you'll always find a safe place to spend the night.
What to expect from Corfu sailing conditions
Corfu enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot and dry summers. Visiting the island, you'll be greeted with plenty of sunshine, warm sea and favourable winds.
Due to fair weather, sailing season on the island lasts from April to October, with peak season during summer. Average air temperatures in spring and autumn sit around 20°C while summer temperatures often exceed 30°C.
In May, sea temperatures around Corfu sit around 20 °C, which can be too cold for some. However, by August, sea temperature around the island can rise to 25 °C, ideal for a family sailing vacation.
When sailing the island of Corfu or any other Ionian island, keep in mind that the west coasts are not suitable for overnight stays on anchor. The waves from the open sea might hit hard at any time. On the other hand, sailing the eastern coasts (near the mainland) you will experience a calmer sea with smaller waves. The wind in the Ionian Sea rises in the afternoon from the northwest, allowing several hours of uninterrupted sailing before it fades out as the night approaches.
Another thing to consider when sailing around the Ionian islands is the depth of the bays (up to 20 meters in depth), so be sure to take special care and have an extra anchor chain ready if required.
Best time to sail in Corfu
As Corfu is one of the most popular destinations in Greece, the island can get quite crowded during the high season, primarily in July and August.
Those that wish to avoid crowds should book their sailing vacation in May or September.
Our favourite areas of Corfu
The island of Corfu can be divided into three parts: the north, the centre, and the south.
The northern region is dominated by Mount Pantokrator, rising to over 900m above sea level and offering spectacular views of the island. Here you will find fertile green foothills, full of Mediterranean pines and centuries-old olive trees. The central region runs from Paleokastritsa and the Barbati beach down to Agios Gordios in the west and the Achilleion Palace in the east. Everything south of those points is considered to be part of the southern region of the Corfu island.
Kassiopi, a lively hotspot, is the main town of northern Corfu. Here you will find a good selection of shops, cafes, bars, tavernas and clubs, attracting visitors from all over Europe. Kassiopi is also home to a busy harbour and a marina, a beautiful Byzantine castle and a couple of charming beaches.
The largest settlement on the island is the capital city of Corfu. It is located on the east coast of the island, dominated by two impressive fortresses - the New and the Old Venetian Fortresses. Visiting the Old Town of Corfu, listed on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites, you will be mesmerized by the unique blend of Venetian, French and British architecture. Here you can visit numerous museums and explore the rich cultural history of the island.
In the southern part of the island, the resort town of Benitses sits on the east coast of the island attracting tourists to its beautiful beaches.
The western coast is dominated by Lake Korission, a salt-water lagoon connected to the sea by a narrow channel. Lake Korission is a protected area, providing a unique habitat for a wide variety of plants. This area is filled with dunes and spectacular beaches. However, be careful when sailing to the southwestern coast of Corfu in bad weather. It can prove to be challenging for less experienced sailors as strong western winds can create big waves and rough sea. On the other hand, it is well worth a trip when the weather is good as there are plenty of long sandy beaches to enjoy, such as the one at Agios Georgios.
Corfu sailing marinas to dock your yacht
- Gouvia Marina - found in the bay of Gouvia, only 6 km away from Corfu town and 7 km away from the Ioannis Kapodistrias International Airport. Its total capacity, including both permanent and floating pontoons, amounts to 1235 berths. The marina can accommodate vessels up to 80m in length with a draught of up to 5.5m. Here you will find essential services like a fueling station, repair service and several cranes used for transporting and relocating ships.
- Lefkimi - is the second biggest harbour on the island of Corfu and is found in the south part of the island. Direct lines connect Lefkimi with Igoumenitsa, an important port city on the Greek mainland. The port lies 2 km from the town itself and is one of the main sailing hubs for the islands of Corfu and Paxi.
- Agios Stefanos - found on the northwestern side of Corfu island, perfect for exploring Diapontian Islands of Ereikoussa, Mathraki and Othonoi, located north of Corfu. Sailing here, you will find a picturesque marina located in a small, traditional port. Compared to other sailing spots on the island, Agios Stefanos is a more relaxed destination with fewer crowds, perfect for enjoying a quiet sailing vacation.
- Palaiokastritsa - sits on the northwestern side of Corfu and is well-known for its picturesque rocky hills and crystal clear sea. The Paleokastritsa harbour offers plenty of mooring lines in the harbour, while anchoring is possible in the bay. There is room for a few yachts at the end of the breakwater while a detached pontoon provides overnight mooring options. The port offers excellent shelter from any swell direction but is not well sheltered from western and northwestern winds.
- Marina Benitses - has been in construction since 2002 and remains unfinished to this day. Despite the marina not being fully operational, mooring is possible here providing ample protection from the elements. Due to its incomplete status, mooring is free of charge here, attracting plenty of visitors.
- Naok Marina - located in the town of Corfu, in the western part of Ormos Garitsas. The marina offers 222 berths, mostly for smaller vessels. It offers basic amenities such as toilets, showers, water and power. This location is perfect for exploring the town of Corfu and its beautiful landmarks.
Charming Corfu spots to anchor your yacht
- Mandraki harbour - located near the town of Corfu and is the base of several local sailing clubs. The port provides mooring for the club's members, but visitors can also visit if they call ahead. Location directly under the steep walls of the nearby fort ensures good shelter against the prevailing summer winds.
- Petriti - the small village of Petriti is a small fishing community that has kept hold of its charm, a perfect place to sample local seafood delicacies. The port in Petriti is fully open to the southeastern winds, so keep an eye on the weather. The seabed here is muddy and should hold well, so anchoring in the bay is possible in the summer.
- Ag Georgios - at the wide bay of Ag Georgios, you will find a long curved beach and spectacular blue waters. Guarded by Cape Arilla, there are several suitable anchorages here: the northern corner of Agios Georgios Bay, east of Cape Arilla and the Porto Timoni bay.
- Imerolia bay - west of the popular tourist town of Kassiopi, you will find Imerolia bay, a beautiful, sweeping bay located between Kalamionas beach in Kassiopi and the sandy beach Kalamaki. Best place to anchor is in the east cove which is open to the northwestern winds.
What to expect from charter prices on Corfu
The price for chartering a boat on Corfu depends on several different elements. The main two are the date of your sailing vacation, and the type of boat you wish to charter. During the high season, a one-week charter can cost three times as much as the one in the off-season. We recommend you book your charters months in advance to ensure the best deal.
Another big influence on the charter price is the type of boat you will be chartering. Sailboats are usually the cheapest option (depending on the size), with catamarans and motorboats being more expensive. The average starting price for a one-week charter of a sailboat, accommodating six people, in April or September is around €1,000. If you wish to charter the same boat during the summer, the price will likely increase threefold. Starting prices for chartering a catamaran or a motorboat outside the summer months sit around €2,500.
Those less experienced in sailing or wanting to relax on their sailing vacation fully should think about hiring a local skipper, which will cost you an additional €150 per day.
Before deciding on a charter, be sure to check if there are any additional charges like final cleaning not included in the total price.
Getting to Corfu
The easiest and fastest way to reach the Greek island of Corfu is by flying to the Ioannis Kapodistrias International Airport, located 3 km south of Corfu town. Daily flights depart from both Athens and Thessaloniki airports, with the flight times of approximately 1 hour from both cities. Direct flights from Italy, Germany, France and the UK are also available, especially during the summer.
You can also reach Corfu by ferry from the coastal town of Igoumenitsa or the Ionian island of Paxos. The ferry from Igoumenitsa departs every three hours, and the journey will take around 1 hour and 45 minutes. Igoumenitsa can also be reached by ferry from several Italian cities on the Adriatic coast, including Trieste, Venice and Ancona. Busses also leave from Athens to Igoumenitsa with daily departures from the Athens Bus terminal. The 500 km bus ride to the Ionian coast will take around seven or eight hours.
Stunning Corfu itinerary options
Sailing the island of Corfu and the surrounding Ionian islands is one of the more popular sailing routes in Greece. Explore the history and architectural beauty of Corfu town before enjoying the beautiful beaches found across the island. Stop at picturesque coastal settlements of Parga and Mourtos, located on the Greek mainland, before sailing to the charming Ionian islands of Paxos and Lefkada.
Option 1 - Tour of Corfu & Diapontia Islands.
Total sail distance: 100 NM
Things to see and do: Visit some of Greece's most beautiful beaches and charming Ionian islands, explore the rich history of the island of Corfu, taste the authentic Greek cuisine and enjoy incredible views of the unspoiled natural beauty.
This route is perfect for: Groups of friends and families wanting to explore an authentic Greek island will appreciate everything Corfu has to offer. Couples will appreciate the beautiful beaches and secluded coves. Sailing enthusiasts will welcome the safe waters, protected from the harsh winds.
Best time of year for sailing: From May to September
Day 1: Kassiopi
Sail from Corfu town north towards the popular tourist destination of Kassiopi. As you make your way along the western coast of Corfu, stop at the beautiful pebble beach of Barbati, located 20 km from the town of Corfu. Arriving in Kassiopi, you will be greeted with plenty of cafes, restaurants and taverns, ideal for a taste of the Greek cuisine. Kassiopi Marina is situated in a natural cove, protected on its western side from the prevailing winds by the peninsula of Ak Kassiopi, where you will find the imposing Byzantine castle.
Day 2: Sidari
As you leave Kassiopi, sail along the northern coast of the island towards the small village of Sidari and the most romantic beach on the island - Canal d'Amour beach. Visiting here you will find an abundance of cafes and restaurants, ideal for a day of relaxing and indulging in local delicacies. Sail west to the spectacular Cape Drastis and enjoy the beautiful views.
Day 3: Ereikoussa
Leaving the island of Corfu, sail northwest from Sidari towards Ereikoussa, one of the Diapontia Islands - an island complex to the northwest of Corfu. You will find the only settlement on the island, Ereikoussa town, on the southern coast of the island. This lush island is rich in green forests and filled with olive trees. There are two popular beaches on the island, Porto and Braghini, which date back to the period of Venetian rule. Mooring is possible in the port of Ereikoussa, which offers 40 berths for vessels up to 20 m in length.
Day 4: Othonoi
The next stop on the route is the westernmost point of Greece and the largest of the Diapontia Islands, the island of Othonoi. Unlike Ereikoussa, there are more than 20 settlements on the island, divided into two regions - Ano Panta and Kato Panta. There are numerous trails connecting these settlements across the island, making Othonoi an ideal hiking destination. Mooring is possible in the Othonoi marina, located near the port on the southern coast of the island.
Day 5: Paleokastritsa
Set sail southeast back to the island of Corfu and the well-protected bay of Paleokastritsa. Explore the picturesque Monastery of Panagia Theotokos, built on the peninsula outside the town in the 13th century. Another popular tourist destination here is the Corfu Aquarium, displaying the sea creatures found in the area. You can moor in the Paleokastritsa harbour, but keep in mind that the area is exposed to strong southern and eastern winds that can cause a huge swell.
Day 6: Lefkimmi
Continue your sailing route along the coast of Corfu towards the port of Lefkimmi, located on the southern end of the island. Enjoy the day on the beautiful sandy Bouka Beach, nestled near the mouth of the Bouka river which flows through Lefkimmi, located 2 km inland. The actual Lefkimmi port is situated south of the town and serves as a ferry port for Paxos and Igoumenitsa.
Day 7: Corfu town
The last day of this route will leave you with plenty of time to explore the beauty of Corfu town. Sail north from Lefkimmi towards the island's capital and explore the impressive fortifications and stunning architecture found in this historical city. Take a walk through the streets of Old Town and experience a unique blend of the Venetian, French and British architecture manifested in majestic palaces, promenades and squares.
Option 2 - Ionian islands & Greek coastal gems
Total sail distance: 175 NM
Things to see and do: Sail the Ionian islands of Corfu, Paxos and Lefkada, stopping along the way in some of the most beautiful spots found on the Greek mainland. Enjoy the perfect weather at some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece.
This route is perfect for: Groups of friends and families will enjoy the beautiful beaches and a relaxed atmosphere. Popular tourist destinations like Corfu and Lefkada offer plenty of entertainment and fine dining. Sailing enthusiasts will enjoy sailing the calm Ionian Sea.
Best time of year for sailing: From early May until the end of September.
Day 1: Syvota
The first stop on your sailing route south is the charming village of Syvota, located on the Greek mainland, south of Igoumenitsa. Syvota is one of the most popular stops when sailing the Ionian Sea. Luscious green islets, long sandy beaches with crystal clear waters and secluded coves make Syvota a perfect destination for an all-day visit. Those more eager to sail and keep moving can find the small islands of Mavro Oros, Agios Nikolaos, Mourtemeno near the coast. You will find a small, well-protected marina in Syvota with 90 berths available for boats up to 40 m in length.
Day 2: Parga
Leaving Syvota, sail south along the mainland towards yet another coastal gem - the town of Parga. Arriving here, the natural beauty of the area will immediately strike you. Nestled in a picturesque bay, where the small island of Panagia sits opposite the town, overlooked by the imposing Venetian castle, Parga truly feels like a fairytale place. Take a walk through the old town where you'll enjoy some beautiful architecture, quaint neighbourhoods and a busy waterfront occupied by tourist shops, stylish restaurants and bars.
Day 3: Paxos
The island of Paxos is the smallest Ionian island, located between the islands of Corfu and Lefkada. Paxos is yet another ridiculously charming and picturesque island, filled with spectacular beaches. The lack of mass tourism is evident here, making the visit to nearby beaches a truly relaxing experience. Located on the eastern coast of the island, Gaios is the main port of the island, housing a small marina nestled under the adjacent Panayia island. Visit local restaurants and sample traditional Greek food.
Day 4: Lefkada
Set sail south from Paxos towards the island of Lefkada, home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. Stay at the modern D-Marin Lefkas marina in Lefkada town and explore the Medieval fortifications located around the town. You will also find plenty of restaurants, cafes and clubs here, perfect for some late-night entertainment. The nearby Agios Ioannis beach, located 3,5 km west of Lefkada town, is one of the most popular beaches on the island and the ideal destination for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Day 5: Kefalonia
Sail south from Lefkada to the island of Kefalonia by going along the eastern coast of the Lefkada island which offers more protection from strong winds than the western, more exposed, coast of the island. Your destination on the island of Kefalonia is the small village of Fiskardo, located on the northern part of Kefalonia island. The coast here is full of small and secluded coves with pebble beaches and crystal clear sea. You will find a small but well-protected marina, offering good cover from the northern winds.
Day 6: Antipaxos
As you head back north towards Corfu, make a stop at the small island of Antipaxos near Paxos island. This stop is intended for maximum relaxation and charging of the batteries before heading back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You will find peaceful, isolated beaches like Vrika and Voutoumi on the eastern coast of the island. Anchoring is possible on these beaches, but you will be exposed to all winds but the western one.
Day 7: Corfu
Continue your return north towards Corfu. Before you finish your journey in Corfu town, stop at one of the many beautiful beaches on the eastern coast. If you have enough time left, do not skip visiting the impressive town of Corfu. A short walk through Old Town of Corfu will be enough to make you want to come back.
Let us help you plan the perfect sailing trip
Provide your travel details, receive free offer and enjoy your holiday!