One Week in the Ionian Islands: Day 1

If you’re planning a trip to the Greek islands and only considering the usual suspects (Santorini, Mykonos, Crete), you’re missing a hidden gem in the Ionian Islands! Recently we took a weeklong sailing trip with 21 of our friends that departed from Corfu and ended in Lefkada. Along the way we also visited Paxos, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and Ithaca. It was similar to our 2022 trip with Sail Croatia, but this time we booked a private charter through Globe Sailor for our week in the Ionian Islands (work with Alec, he’s great).

Over the next seven posts, we’ll give you a look at our day-to-day itinerary. Most of the daytime activities were part of the charter, and the afternoon land activities we planned on our own. Shoutout to our friends Harah, Michele, Susan, and Taylor for helping with the planning!

A Week in the Ionian Islands – Day 1:

One Week in the Ionian Islands on Board the Aegeotissa II

Aegeotissa II Yacht in Corfu, Greece

Our home for the week was the Aegeotissa II. We’ll share a full review of the boat soon, but until then, here’s a few highlights before we start recapping our itinerary. The Aegeotissa II is a family-owned boat based that was hand built by the owner, Stefi’s, father. It’s the largest wooden boat constructed in Greece in the last 50 years. The yacht has 12 rooms which worked perfectly for our large group. There’s several lounge areas, a dining area and bar. It’s also dog friendly and they even have a resident dog, Lucky!

Lucky the Aegeotissa yachts boat dog

Day 1 on the Aegeotissa II: Corfu to Paxos

Technically our “first” day of charter started the day prior when we embarked in the late afternoon. Everyone got settled into their rooms and we met the crew we’d be spending the next week with. Stefi, the yacht owner and our talented chef, prepared a welcome dinner for us. Then, we wandered around Corfu town for one last time (most of us arrived a few days early to enjoy the town before setting sail) and slept on the boat for an early departure.

For the purpose of this post, we’re starting with our first full day of charter. The Aegeotissa II departed Corfu around 6:30 am. The excitement was real and I hopped out of bed to watch as we sailed away from Corfu island. Usually WC is up first so this was quite unusual!

Corfu, Greece shoreline

I grabbed a coffee and breakfast and enjoyed the breeze as we headed for Paxos, the first stop of our week in the Ionian Islands. Spoiler alert: I didn’t wake up early enough to say farewell to any other ports, ha!

Coffee on board the Aegeotissa II in the Ionian Islands

A few hours into the sail the boat started slowing down as we approached our first amazing viewpoint of the trip: Ypapanti Cave. Most of us headed to the top deck to enjoy the view and snap some photos.

Our next stop on the sail was Paxos’ famous Blue Caves (we’ve also learned the name “blue caves” is used all over Europe). The weather was beautiful so we were able to dock here for our swim stop. The crew put the tender boat in the water and took us in small groups inside the cave for a closer look.

After the cave, we hopped in the water to swim until lunch.

Swimming at Blue Caves, Paxos, Greece

In mid-afternoon, we ate lunch on board prepared by Stefi. Her meals are simply divine, the types of recipes she’d serve to her family at home. The food was so good we devoured it every day and forgot to take any photos! A little while after lunch, the Aegeotissa II docked at Paxos’ Gaios port. From the dock, we walked about 10 minutes into town for some pre-dinner cocktails and exploring.

We rounded out the evening with a dinner on the deck at Genesis restaurant. The staff was so accommodating given our huge group of 23! They set us up at three long tables along the waterfront looking out over the Georgios Anemogiannis statue.

Based on our research, we had thought Paxos might be a bit of a sleepy town at night, but it was actually quite lively! There were a good number of bars and restaurants open late and we checked out a few before heading back to the boat. A few of us also stopped for dessert at an adorable bakery in town.

And that rounded out the first day of our week in the Ionian Islands! It was a great start to the sailing trip and felt like it would be hard to top but the whole week was just as incredible.

One week in the Ionian Islands – Next stop: Kefalonia

In our next post, we’ll recap day two of our sailing trip which took us to Kefalonia, one of the most diverse spots on the itinerary. An inland cave, famous viewpoint, castle, and more — stay tuned!

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