Discover Corfu, a sailor's paradise in the Ionian Sea. Enjoy crystal-clear waters, picturesque anchorages, charming harbors, and friendly locals. A must-visit destination for unforgettable sailing adventures.
Considered today to be somewhat outside the regular circuit, Gouvia is nonetheless a beautiful summer resort on the island of Corfu in eastern Greece. Just 8 km from Corfu Town, it has the advantages of being isolated and thus providing its tourists with the much-needed privacy and it’s still easily accessible. Travel & Arrival
Most ways of getting to Gouvia involve getting to Corfu Town first one way or the other since the distance between the two locations is just a couple of minutes by car. There is an airport in Corfu which is served by lots of airlines, including low-cost companies. can get flights from Athens on a daily basis as well as from Germany, Great Britain and France. There is also the option of arriving by sea plane to Gouvia itself with the possibility of booking from Corfu Town and also flying to other Greek islands.
By road, Corfu island is linked by daily bus transports with the Greek mainland, specifically cities like Athens, Patra and Thessaloniki which makes connecting with these cities and their airports that much easier for traveling groups. Avant & Apres Sail
Set in a deep, protected bay, Gouvia used to be a Venetian naval base before becoming the quiet tourist resort. Today, the shingle beaches are the main attraction as well as the place where most of the fun can be had. Gouvia is also the place for Greece’s best privately owned marina which means you’ll be seeing a lot of yachts cruising the bay area.
However, you’ll find that most sights are outside of this small town, mostly in Corfu Town, as well as around the island, among the idyllic backcountry, with the olive groves and Cyprus trees covering the rolling hills.
Shopping in Gouvia is mainly made up of mini-markets that sell mostly food, but there are also some good leather goods stores, some clothing boutiques and jewelry shops. Of course, holidaymakers can take a little piece of the Mediterranean home with them by visiting any of the souvenir shops.
Most of the eating out is done in the local restaurants and tavernas which the British tourist masses with a combination of Greek traditional dishes as well as some typically Mediterranean. For those intrepid guests who don’t have time for a fancy lunch, the beach is lined with fast food stalls selling that Greek snack favorite, the souvlaki and the gyros wrapped in pita.
What is interesting about the nightlife is the fact that it’s very lively compared to the overall size of the resort. It may have something to do with the locals adapting to the large numbers of devotees coming here in search of after dark entertainment. So a lot of clubs and discos popped up, especially on the waterfront. Downtown, you’ll find open-air venues where you can dance the night away. In contrast, the harbor region is quieter and thus perfect for serving a glass of wine while watching the sun set. Events & Actions
Water sports and other water-related activities reign supreme in Gouvia, especially since the beaches here are very clean and family-friendly. From banana-rides on the water to jet skis and boat rentals, there is a lot of fun that can be had on the water, so that’s why many sailors come here with their families.
Two-Week Sailing Itinerary from Corfu, Greece
Day 1: Corfu to Sivota (25 nautical miles)
Set sail from the bustling marina of Corfu towards Sivota, a picturesque bay on the mainland. Drop anchor at the scenic Bella Vraka beach for a refreshing swim and a spot of sunbathing. The crystal-clear turquoise waters will make you feel like you're in a postcard.
Day 2: Sivota to Parga (20 nautical miles)
Hoist the sails and head south to Parga, a charming coastal town with a Venetian castle overlooking the sea. On your way, stop at the enchanting Blue Lagoon to snorkel among the colorful fish and explore the sea caves. Just be careful not to disturb the local mermaid population!
Day 3: Parga to Lefkada (35 nautical miles)
Leave Parga behind and sail to the island of Lefkada. Pause at the breathtaking Egremni Beach, where the cliffs will have you wondering if you've somehow teleported to a Caribbean island. Take a dip in the pristine water or just relax on the beach – but watch out for the sneaky seagulls eyeing your snacks!
Day 4: Exploring Lefkada
Spend a day exploring Lefkada's beautiful beaches, like Kathisma and Porto Katsiki. Don't forget to visit the island's inland villages, where you can try the local delicacy: sun-dried octopus with a side of ouzo. Just remember to keep an eye on the wind conditions for a smooth sailing experience!
Day 5: Lefkada to Ithaca (35 nautical miles)
Set a course for Ithaca, the legendary home of Odysseus. Drop anchor in the calm waters of Kioni Bay, a perfect spot to test your paddleboarding skills or simply float around pretending you're a Greek hero returning home after a decade-long adventure.
Day 6: Ithaca to Kefalonia (20 nautical miles)
Leave Ithaca behind and sail to Kefalonia, the largest Ionian island. Stop at the stunning Myrtos Beach, where the dramatic cliffs and sparkling waters will make you feel like you've stumbled upon a hidden treasure. Just remember to drop anchor at a safe distance from the shore to avoid any surprises!
Day 7: Exploring Kefalonia
Spend a day discovering Kefalonia's natural wonders, like the Melissani Cave and the Drogarati Cave. If you're feeling extra adventurous, try scuba diving in the crystal-clear waters or take a hike to the island's highest peak, Mount Ainos.
Day 8: Kefalonia to Zakynthos (35 nautical miles)
Set sail for Zakynthos, home to the famous Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach). Take a break at Porto Limnionas, a hidden gem where you can swim in an emerald-green natural pool surrounded by rock formations. Don't forget to bring your waterproof camera for some unforgettable underwater selfies!
Day 9: Exploring Zakynthos
Discover the beauty of Zakynthos by visiting the mesmerizing Blue Caves and the picturesque village of Bochali. If you're lucky, you might even spot the endangered Caretta caretta sea turtles in Laganas Bay – but remember to give them plenty of space and respect their natural habitat.
Day 10: Zakynthos to Astakos (50 nautical miles)
Set your sights on the mainland and sail to Astakos, a quaint fishing village with a charming harbour. On your way, stop at the uninhabited island of Oxia for a peaceful swim and a picnic in the lap of nature. Just be careful not to leave any crumbs behind – the local seagulls are always on the lookout for a free meal!
Day 11: Astakos to Preveza (40 nautical miles)
Continue along the coast towards Preveza, a historic town with a rich past. Make a pit stop at the beautiful Monolithi Beach to stretch your legs and soak up some sun. As you sail, keep an eye out for playful dolphins who love to show off their acrobatics skills to passing boats.
Day 12: Preveza to Paxos (35 nautical miles)
Depart from Preveza and set course for the enchanting island of Paxos. Stop at the breathtaking Antipaxos Beach, where the turquoise waters are so clear, you'll be tempted to jump right in. Don't forget to visit the charming village of Gaios and try some local wine – just not too much if you're the captain!
Day 13: Paxos to Othonoi (45 nautical miles)
Sail northwest towards Othonoi, a tiny island with a unique charm. Drop anchor at Aspri Ammos Beach and enjoy a relaxing swim in the crystal-clear waters. As you watch the sunset, listen to the gentle sound of the waves lapping against the hull, and wonder if life could get any better than this.
Day 14: Othonoi to Corfu (40 nautical miles)
Say goodbye to Othonoi and head back towards Corfu to complete your unforgettable two-week adventure. Take a final dip in the azure waters of Sidari Beach before returning to the marina by Friday evening. Don't forget to swap stories and share your favorite memories with your fellow sailors as you toast to a fantastic voyage!
Summary of Locations and Distances
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What are the top sailing destinations around Corfu?
Marina Gouvia is a fantastic starting point to explore the Ionian Islands. You can visit the picturesque islands of Paxos and Antipaxos, known for their turquoise waters, or venture to the larger islands of Lefkada and Kefalonia. Also, a day sail to the coastal village of Paleokastritsa on the west coast of Corfu is a must.
What are some must-visit anchor bays near Corfu?
The nearby Emerald Bay on Antipaxos Island, known for its crystal-clear waters, is a perfect anchorage spot. The sheltered bay of Lakka on Paxos also offers a safe anchorage with charming surroundings. Moreover, Ormos Garitsas bay, just south of Corfu town, is popular with yachts for its calm waters and stunning views.
Can you recommend any marinas nearby?
While Marina Gouvia is one of the largest and best-equipped marinas in the Ionian Sea, there are other marinas to explore. These include the Lefkada Marina on Lefkas Island and the Sivota Marina on the mainland. Both offer excellent facilities and services for yachts.
What can I explore in and around Gouvia while on a sailing vacation?
Gouvia itself has a rich history with Venetian naval origins. Visit the old Venetian shipyard and the 11th-century church of Ipapanti. Corfu Town, with its UNESCO World Heritage status, is also a short distance away. Here, you can explore the Old and New Fortresses, Spianada Square, and the charming Campiello quarter.
What water activities can I engage with?
The clear waters of the Ionian Sea offer excellent conditions for swimming, snorkelling, and scuba diving. There are several diving centres around Gouvia offering diving trips to local underwater caves and wrecks. Paddleboarding and windsurfing are also popular activities in the area.
What are some of the gastronomic specialties of Corfu that I can try during my sailing vacation?
Being on the island of Corfu, Gouvia offers several local dishes to try. These include "Pastitsada," a slow-cooked beef dish served with pasta, "Bourdeto," a spicy fish stew, and "Sofrito," a garlic and vinegar flavoured meat dish. Don't forget to sample the local Kumquat liqueur.
Are there any local events or festivals?
In Corfu, Easter is a significant event, celebrated with processions and festivities. During summer, the "Varkarola" festival is held in Corfu Town with music, dancing, and fireworks. Smaller local feasts known as "Panigiria" take place in various villages throughout the sailing season.
What local customs should I be aware of in the Ionian Sea?
Greek people are warm and hospitable. When meeting locals, a friendly 'Yasas' (Hello) will always be appreciated. Respect local traditions, especially during religious celebrations. Modest dress is required when visiting churches and monasteries. When sailing, ensure to respect the marine environment and follow local regulations.