Discovering Corfu and its surroundings from the deck of the boat

Discover Corfu: sailing adventure in the Ionian Sea

Embark on a voyage across the Ionian Sea to the enchanting island of Corfu, a haven for travellers and yachting enthusiasts. Prepare to hoist the sails and dive into tranquillity.

Sail across the Ionian Sea aboard a yacht or catamaran, exploring the stunning Greek islands of Paxos, Antipaxos, and beyond. Discover hidden caves, wander through quaint villages, and explore UNESCO heritage sites. All this and more awaits you in the enchanting surroundings of Corfu.

Why sail from Corfu

Embarking from Corfu offers plenty of opportunities for unforgettable maritime adventures. Positioned perfectly, Corfu serves as a gateway to spectacular destinations, with its strategic location making it an important crossroads for numerous cruise routes. This makes Corfu an ideal starting point for exploration. The proximity to both the northern and southern Ionian Sea, Corfu caters to sailors of all skill levels, offering varied routes to discover a wide range of landscapes and cultures.

Corfu boasts stunning nature with lush greenery, crystal clear waters and picturesque landscapes. Sailing from the island allows you to get a closer look at the fascinating Ionian archipelago, which offers spectacular views of secluded bays, charming fishing villages and pristine beaches.

Climate ideal for beginner sailors

The Ionian Sea, especially near Corfu, enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, creating a sailor's paradise. The prevailing north-westerly winds in summer offer outstanding sailing conditions. The predictable nature of these winds makes it an attractive destination for sailors looking for a relaxing yet predictable sailing experience.

Corfu: a magnet for tourists and sailors alike

The rich history and culture of the island has been influenced by various civilizations over the centuries. While exploring the coastline by boat you can visit historical sites, ancient ruins and charming coastal towns, giving you a unique blend of cultural experiences during your trip.

From Corfu you can choose a variety of sailing routes, each offering a unique experience. Whether it's heading north to the Diapontia Islands or south to explore Paxos and Antipaxos, the range of routes accommodate both experienced sailors and those seeking a more leisurely cruise.

Lakka Bay, Paxos, turquoise water, sunny weather, boats and sailboats anchored in the bay

The charming bay of Lakka on the island of Paxos.

YACHTING.COM TIP: Get detailed insights for the region south of Corfu. Chart your course through the southern Ionian Sea.

What places in Corfu are worth visiting

There is a treasure trove of must-see locations and cultural wonders on and around the island. Sailing enthusiasts and landlubbers alike will be in for a treat. 

Corfu Old Town

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Corfu Old Town is a cultural marvel, showcasing impeccably preserved architecture from its Venetian, French, and British periods. Wandering through its narrow alleys, you'll discover the famous Liston Promenade and the historic charm of Spianada Square

Angelokastro Fortress

Perched atop Corfu's highest peak, Angelokastro offers panoramic views of the island and the Ionian Sea. Its rich historical significance provides a window into Corfu's strategic importance throughout history. For those fascinated by the past, a visit to this fortress is essential.

The old ruins of the Angelokastro fortress on the island of Corfu.

The old ruins of the Angelokastro fortress on the island of Corfu.

Paleokastritsa Monastery

Located on Corfu's picturesque west coast, the Paleokastritsa Monastery is a serene haven nestled amidst vibrant greenery, with sweeping views over the sparkling sea. Devoted to the Virgin Mary, this peaceful sanctuary is perfect for those seeking moments of reflection and tranquillity before setting sail to explore more of the Greek Islands' splendour.

Achilleion Palace

Constructed for Empress Elisabeth of Bavaria, known affectionately as Sisi, the Achilleion Palace is a stunning example of neoclassical architecture, set amid exquisite gardens. Visitors are captivated by its lavish interiors and the terraces that offer breathtaking views of the sea. A stroll through the palace and its surroundings is a journey through elegance and history, leaving a lasting impression on all who visit.

Set sail from Corfu and explore the wonders of Greece

Before setting sail, take time to explore the old town of Corfu. The Ionian is calmer than the Aegean and suitable for beginners.

Set sail from Gouvia marina

Gouvia Marina serves as the perfect starting point for sailing the Ionian Sea voyage, offering modern facilities and easy access to nearby attractions. Explore the nearby beaches of Kontokali and Dasia first, or venture further inland and discover traditional Corfu villages such as Sinarades and Pelekas

Flower pots with beautiful flowers on a balcony in Sinarades, Corfu, Greece.

Picturesque corners of Sinarades village in Corfu.

YACHTING.COM TIP: For an in-depth look at Gouvia Marina's facilities, check out our article about our favourite Greek marinas

Sail around the island of Corfu

Circumnavigating Corfu by boat opens up a world of diverse coastlines, secluded coves, and rich history. Make sure to drop anchor in the tranquil bays of Kassiopi and Agios Stefanos to soak in the serene beauty. The coastal villages along the way are treasure troves of Corfu's cultural heritage, offering a glimpse into the island's past and present. Remember to check out the spots we highlighted in the previous section.

Discover the beauty of the South Ionian Sea

Setting sail from Corfu towards the south, you'll reach the enchanting Ionian islands of Paxos and Antipaxos. These gems are renowned for their untouched beaches, crystal-clear waters, and idyllic harbours, perfect for the typical Greek mooring style of stern-to-pier. Paxos, with its lush olive groves and mesmerizing sea caves, offers a tranquil escape. Meanwhile, Antipaxos invites you to its spectacular Voutoumi beach and vineyards, promising unforgettable views and experiences. 

The sea surface divided by photos of the beautiful paradisiacal turquoise exotic beach of Voutoumi, probably the best in Greece, the Ionian island of Antipaxos

Clear water at Voutoumi beach on the island of Antipaxos.

Sail the northern Ionian Sea

North of Corfu, you can explore the green coastline of mainland Greece and the nearby Ionian Islands from the deck of the boat. A popular destination is the picturesque town of Parga, with its colourful houses cascading down the hillside from inland to the picturesque harbour. To the north lies the charming island of Lefkada, known to many tourists for its beautiful beaches such as Porto Katsiki and Egremni.

YACHTING.COM TIP:  Discover the top 10 most beautiful spots in the region, complete with a map and weather details. Dive deeper  with our comprehensive guide the wonders of the North Ionian Sea.

How to get to Corfu

The best way to get to the famous Greek island of Corfu from Europe is by air. We'll also advise you on getting from Corfu Airport to the popular Gouvia Marina.

Travelling to Corfu by plane from Europe

Flying is the most straightforward way to get to Corfu from various locations across Europe. Many European cities offer direct flights to Corfu International Airport (CFU), which is conveniently located near the old town on the island's eastern side. Airlines such as Smartwings, Ryanair, and others provide seasonal flights typically from late spring to early autumn. If you're wondering where the airport is in Corfu, you'll find it in the old town on the east of the island.

How to transfer from Corfu Airport to Gouvia Marina

Upon arrival at Corfu International Airport, you can easily arrange a transfer to Gouvia Marina, your gateway to the sea. Taxis and private transfer services are available at the airport. The journey is about 10 km and usually takes about 15 minutes.

There are three ways to get to Gouvia Marina from the airport. Taxis provide a convenient and quick transfer, while rented cars offer flexibility for those who want to explore the island. Alternatively, shuttles and buses are available, offering cost-effective options for groups and travellers on a budget.

Taking the ferry to Corfu from mainland Greece

For those looking for a more adventurous journey, it is possible to take a ferry to Corfu from mainland Greece. Ferries depart from ports such as Igoumenitsa and Patras. While this option may mean an additional trip through mainland Greece to the ports, it offers a unique way to experience the Greek coastal landscape.

YACHTING.COM TIP: In our guide to the best sailing routes in Greece, we have a great historical route tip from Marina Gouvia. But check out our other routes for some inspiration. 

The marina of Gouvia on the island of Corfu, dozens of yachts, sailboats and others anchored in the harbour, the landscape in the background

Marina Gouvia on the island of Corfu.

When is the best time to set sail

Choosing the right time is essential for a smooth and enjoyable journey. The Ionian Sea, particularly around Corfu, is blessed with favourable weather conditions for the majority of the year, making it an excellent choice for sailors. Its waters are more tranquil than those of the Aegean Sea, accommodating sailors of all skill levels, including those just beginning.

Just starting out? Set sail in high season

The main sailing season in the Ionian Sea, around Corfu, extends from late spring through early autumn. The season officially starts in May and runs until September, giving sailors plenty of opportunity to explore the region. During these months the weather is generally favourable, with high temperatures and steady winds.

YACHTING.COM TIP: If you're still uncertain about exploring new sailing destinations, check out our article comparing sailing in Greece vs. Croatia. Plus, check out our Captains' review of the 2023 sailing season for insights into the latest developments and conditions.

What weather and wind conditions should you expect?

The Ionian Sea has a Mediterranean climate, characterised by mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The summer months, especially from June to August, are ideal for sailing, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 35 °C (77 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit). The seas are usually calm, making for relaxing and enjoyable sailing.

A gentle and predictable air flow will accompany you between the islands. Prevailing winds, such as the Mistral (NW) and Tramontane (NE), are generally moderate and contribute to a pleasant sailing atmosphere. These winds are particularly advantageous for sailors, including beginners, as they provide steady and manageable support for the sails.

YACHTING.COM TIP: Find out what winds rule the Mediterranean, so you won't be caught off guard.

Avoiding the summer crowds

However, some sailors prefer to avoid the peak tourist season, especially in July and August. If you choose a period in late spring or early autumn, you can enjoy a quieter experience with fewer crowds whilst still taking advantage of favourable weather conditions.

Safe sailing

When planning your sailing trip around Corfu, always pay close attention to weather forecasts and adhere to safety guidelines. The calmer waters of the Ionian Sea are an excellent choice for sailors who want to gain experience or are looking for a more leisurely sail on tranquil waters.

Are you as excited about Corfu as we are? Get in touch and I'll help you choose the perfect boat.