Last year we sailed around the Ionian Islands for a couple months – we spent time in the blue waters and green islands for the month of June and again, at the end of the season, for the month of September. (Please read Sailing Around The Greek Ionian for a Month)
This year, our plan was to head west from Sicily, knowing our Atlantic crossing is imminent
That being noted, we went east instead and spent yet another wonderful month enjoying the Greek Ionian.
A 360 Degree View of Port Kastos in the Greek Ionian
The Greek Ionian has such a pull to it that it’s not surprising to hear about people that set sail for a world circumnavigation and 10 years later still haven’t left!
A great anchorage and harbor that missed our radar on previous trips was Port Kastos. In years gone by we mainly focused on the larger islands – Corfu, Cephalonia, Zakinthos, Meganisi, Ithaca and Paxos.
Port Kastos in the Greek Ionian Sea is well worth a visit as it ticks many boxes
- It’s quieter than most other ports
- As long as a flotilla isn’t in there’s usually several spaces to moor up in the harbor
- The anchorage (outside the harbor) is lovely so even if you don’t venture into the small town, the surrounding views are beautiful
- There’s a selection of tavernas and café’s
- The food we enjoyed was not only authentic Greek food but also it tasted divine. Admiral Stefano (periodic crew member) and I enjoyed stuffed tomatoes and fresh fish. The tomatoes melted in your mouth and the fish had a lovely flavor.
- Although many people were unable to speak English (strange for Greece!) all the menus were in Greek and English. It was kind of nice to be able to practice speaking the few Greek words I knew. Usually, I try to speak Greek and the other person, says, ‘no – please speak English so I can get better at it…’
- There’s a café/bar on the beach within the harbor that offers a lovely view out into the harbor and surrounding area. As the sun sets, you can enjoy a drink (wine is always my choice!) and appreciate a golden pink color cast a glaze on the land and sea.
- A small grocery store offers all the basics. On a second visit we took two of Sienna’s friends with us and the grocery man helped the children pick out ice creams. As we were leaving, he threw in three free candy bars too!
- There’s a playground for children to play on – it’s a bit dated but very roomy. In the evening the local and boat kids seem to mix easily and enjoy playing.
- The church and cemetery have quite a bit of character – my daughter and I enjoyed a wander around. Many of the graves have pictures of the diseased on them. Sienna would comment, ‘that man (or woman) looked like they were kind…’
So, Port Kastos is quiet yet has a calming buzz to it
As I mentioned there are a few tavernas dotted around the harbor, a couple cafes, one handmade jewelry/boutique store and a tiny little grocery store.
On our first visit to the area, we anchored just outside the harbor. Within the small port you and moor stern to a wall or put an anchor out and run a stern line to the beach. Either way, our boat was a tad too large – chances of our anchor going over or under someone else’s was high.
Anchoring is our preferred mooring – especially if there’s light winds
Id rather have space to swing naturally, privacy to go about my routine unnoticed and cleaner water to swim in. Mooring up to a wall is great if you want to get on and off the boat easily and quickly…but other than that, there are more negatives than positives (but I’ll save that for another article!)
When we were first introduced to Port Kastos, our friend and regular crewmember, Stefano, helped us to anchor outside the harbor. We then lowered the tender and took a ride into the port. After tieing off the dingy, my daughter ran to the playground to play and hubby, Stefano and I set off to find a tavern for dinner.
The meal was, excellent
Sienna made friends quickly and played into the night. And after dinner, we enjoyed a relaxing cocktail at the café/bar on the beach. The conversation was good, our tummies were full and the surrounding views couldn’t have been more peaceful.
During our second visit to Port Kastos, we brought our friends from sailing vessel ‘Why Knot.’ We anchored in the evening, enjoyed dinner on their boat and had a swim at the beach.
In the morning, the owners of ‘Why Knot’ pushed onto the next destination, but the children from the boat (Tanna – age 12 and Sienna – age 10) jumped ship and stayed with us.
Hubby and I took the three girls into town for a play on the playground, an orange juice at the café/bar and an ice cream from the grocery store.
Additionally, he taught them all how to do the coolest knot EVER
We call it the quick release knot, but it’s better known as the Highwayman’s Knot. If you haven’t see the video on how to do the knot, go here: Quick Release Knot for Tenders
As a side…I tend to write about the places I’m impressed with rather than those that I’m not. I think it’s important to realize that not every harbor is nice – some of them smell, are very noisy or are in a bad state. Many tavernas are not very nice – many of them get a constant flow of tourists, no matter what, so they don’t pride themselves on good food. And so forth.
Based on my visit to Kastos Harbor I was very impressed with the simplicity, peacefulness and light-natured buzz about the area
As with any harbor, when the flotilla’s come in it can be a bit nerve wracking if you’re worried about an anchor going over your anchor or a boat getting to close. Not a week goes by where I don’t hear a story of a chartered boat hitting a live-aboard cruisers boat… That being noted, if you worry about flotillias, simply anchor outside the harbor.
Other than that, the island gets all it’s supplies from the mainland and the supply boat doesn’t come as often as other islands.
When things run out, they run out
For example, Stefano and I were so impressed with the stuffed tomatoes that we wanted to purchase a tray of them from the restaurant before we left. We were told the tomatoes are prepared in the morning so we stopped by the taverna. Unfortunately, they ran out of tomatoes and were waiting for the delivery scheduled for the following day.
No stuffed tomatoes for Stefano and me 🙁
Finally, there are tourist boats that enter the harbor to let their guests have a wonder around. They boats are relatively small, but it’s possible to be enjoying a very quite lunch and then suddenly find yourself surrounded by a few more people!
Anything else? Yes…if you’re interested in eating sea urchins, Admiral Stefano, successfully fished out a bag of urchins from the small island outside the Kastos Harbor.
We then sailed over to Meganisi where Stefano cleaned the urchins and extracted the eggs (it’s the eggs that you eat). Even if you’re not going to taste a sea urchin, this video is worth watching just to see what an urchin looks like inside: Don’t Step in Sea Urchins – Eat Them!
Would you like to add your comments about Kastos Harbor? Please do so below…