COVID-19 Update: Cruising the Ionian Islands
The Ionian region has been relatively untouched by COVID-19, many areas including Saranda, Paxos, Kefalonia and Ithaka have not reported one single case. There are currently 266 active cases in the whole of Albania and Corfu has only had three confirmed cases so far.
Unfortunately, at the time of publication, yachts may enter Albania only for bunkering and provisioning (no embarkations or disembarkations are allowed) and Greek borders are closed to all foreign flagged vessels until at least 15th June.
This is a key date for Greece, flights with tourists are due to start operating, initially via the country´s two major airports Thessaloniki in the North of Greece and Athens. On the July 1, all airports in the country will open up. Not all nationalities will be allowed in, however - there is a list of 29 countries from where planes can come and their passengers will not be quarantined. This list is constantly being updated, if interested please contact our Greece team for the latest information.
Industry veteran Chris Peacock is area manager for the Ionian Islands and Albania. Born to English parents, Chris has lived his whole life in Corfu and is a seasoned agent who has clocked up over twenty years of experience in the superyacht industry.
Here he discusses the top hotspots to visit this summer.
Sarande & the Karaburun Peninsula
Sarande and the surrounding area has so much more to offer than the bunkering facilities for which it is known. The UNESCO world heritage site of Butrint and The Blue Eye Spring are a short drive away, and just along the coast lie the Ksamil islands with their crystalline waters, best enjoyed by anchor or tied to the rocks.
As a gateway to the Ionian, discover Monastery Beach and Mirror Beach before skirting the west coast of Karaburun, spectacular with high and fragmented shores, bays and small beaches and offering many colourful and exciting dive sites. In the north of the peninsula stop at the Haxhi Ali Sea Cave, the largest sea cave in the country with a depth of 30m, height of 18m and width of 12m allowing boats to enter for further exploration. The small beaches of Karaburun, such as Arusha Bay, Grama and Dafina, are distinguished for their deep clear waters, and their isolated position. If visiting the beach of Grama be sure to look for the ancient wall inscriptions and The Cave of the Slaves.
Corfu and Paxos
Although the northeast is the preferred hotspot for yachting, Asprokavos on the south west coast is worth a visit for its raw coastline, largely inaccessible by road. On windless days, Paleokastritsa on the west coast is stunning, and the nearby village of Liapades is home to cliffs, olive groves, and hidden bays.
Paxos can be only be described as heaven on Earth! With no reported cases of COVID-19 to date (and we hope to keep it this way!) the island offers many options for jetting between bays, depending on which seem more secluded that day. Erimitis is a perfect choice to anchor for sunset to watch the pinks, orange and fire reds reflect off the marble cliffs and onto the mirror calm ocean below.
Ithaca is an ideal island for yachts looking for seclusion. Kefalonia is only a stone's throw away and can offer any and all provisions while the yacht anchors off any of the small beaches, some no more than 10m in length but with not even a goat in sight! Try out Pera Pigadi, which has no road access making this small yet picturesque beach a perfect nook for seclusion, or visit Sarakiniko for a heart shaped bay!
For information and advice on cruising the Ionian Islands this summer please contact Chris Peacock here.
Images: Supplied by Evolution Yachting, Pixabay
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