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Snorkel in the Ionian

- by Cliff Blaylock

The Ionian Islands: Best Snorkeling Spots

The Ionian Islands are one of the most exciting snorkelling spots in all of Europe. Complete with stunning reefs, wildlife and warm waters, this area of the Mediterranean is perfect for any and all underwater explorers; from experienced divers to holiday-time snorkelers.

But, when visiting the islands, you don't want to waste your time searching beach-by-beach for the best spots, you want to just get out there and enjoy your time away.

Now, you needn't worry; we've found the best places for snorkeling on each of the Ionian Islands. So no matter where you are visiting, you'll know exactly where to go.

Corfu – Afionas Beach

Corfu is one of the most popular islands in all of Greece, and for good reason. Not only does it boast a diverse culture, but it also features breathtaking underwater scenes. When looking for a great place to snorkel, head for the beach of Afionas on the east-coast. However, don't settle for the tourist-laden bit of beach spanning the town, instead head down the peninsula. Right at the bottom you'll find a cove protected from the harsh Mediterranean winds where you can safely snorkel to your heart's content.

Paxos – Marmari Beach

Marmari Beach truly is a paradise. A short distance down the road of the coastal town of Longos, Marmari's rural location gives it a unique and tropical feel. Complete with overhanging trees, white rock formations and clear blue Mediterranean sea, you don't need to be travelling to snorkel to enjoy this beach. However, if you do enter the water, you'll be treated to a vibrant world of exotic fish and plant life.

Lefkada – Amouso Beach

On the southern point of Lefkada sits the small yet beautiful beach of Amouso. Easy to access, this sheltered area is a metropolis for underwater life. From schools of fish to unique underwater rock formations, the world beneath the waves of Amouso is definitely worth exploring.

Kefalonia – Foki Beach

Located on the northern tip of Kefalonia, in the area of Fiscardo, is the haven that is Foki beach. Probably the most beautiful location on this list, Foki is shrouded in woodland and low lying cliffs, making it one of the most cutaway and serene beaches there is. Thanks to this natural aspect, the beach is well known for its underwater wildlife. Away from the harsh currents and predators of the open ocean, life in the bay of Foki Beach has thrived, making a very special snorkeling spot.

Zante – Dafni Beach

Dafni is is a glorious stretch of beach that winds its way along the southern coast of Zante. It has everything you need for relaxing or exploring, however, when it comes to snorkeling, it offers something none of the other beaches on this list can: turtles.

Between April and June, the rare and beautiful Loggerhead turtles head to the beach to lay their eggs. While they only do this at night, during the day they can be found floating about the calm waters off Dafni beach.

If you've always dreamed of swimming with turtles, this is your chance. Just be respectful of these endangered animals. There are rules and regulations of how to interact with them, which can be found here.

Kythira – Melidoni Beach

Melidoni Beach, found on the south-east coast of Kythira is a great example of a classic Greek beach. Rocky, sandy, surrounded by cliffs and set against the beautiful Mediterranean, it has to be one of the best beaches on this list for the authentic Greek beach experience. However, off the coast there are numerous reefs to be found, swarmed with a great variety of underwater life.

Ithaca – Kioni Bay

On the edge of the picturesque town of Kioni is a bay, an unassuming, yet inviting bay. It isn't the most natural of areas, Kioni has a fairly regularly used harbour, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth visiting. Beneath the surface, especially around the edges of the bay, snorkelers will be treated to a great variety marine life not often found in the more popular areas as the extremely sheltered nature of Kioni gives more fragile species the chance to thrive.

If you want to visit all of these locations, rather than be limited to just one then Deep Blue Yachting, a private chartering service can take you anywhere you want to go.