The Ionian islands and mainland
The Ionian islands, especially Lefkada and the small fishing village of Vassiliki are well known amongst the windsurfing community. Vassiliki has become a famous windsurfing destination due to the extraordinary local weather effect creating impressive wind statistics throughout the summer months. The bay is big enough to accommodate over two hundred windsurfers and the outer distance marker is over 1km for cross shore blasting making the actual sailing area huge.
A standard day in Vassiliki starts with a gentle onshore breeze (F1-2). This coupled with a shallow sand bar off the beach creates perfect conditions for beginners and an ideal learning environment for developing skills. In the afternoon “Eric” Vassiliki’s famous thermal wind arrives producing a strong cross-shore breeze, the ideal flat-water playground for the advanced sailor. Due to the size of the bay and the cross-shore winds there is a small amount of fetch so conditions stay fairly flat, even in very high winds. Typically, any forecast over 8 knots blowing in a westerly direction will give good planning conditions in the bay.
Further north on the mainland in a bay opposite the island of Lefkada is Paleros. Here the winds are light in the morning, usually a southerly F1-2, perfect conditions for beginners. The wind then usually switches direction in the afternoon (2-3pm) and increases as the evening approaches, looking at F3-4, very occasionally 5-6. These conditions are perfect for intermediates, but also for beginners looking to challenge themselves. It’s not a place we would recommend for advanced windsurfers.
If this all sounds a little too extreme for you and you’re trying windsurfing for the first time the mainland coast opposite the island of Corfu (another great windsurfing destination) offers sheltered conditions and calm water to learn and practise your skills. The wind in this part of the world never really goes above F2 and even this is still not an everyday occurrence. The prevailing wind direction is north west and with shelter from offshore islands the water is calm and flat – so you can focus on practising those basic manoeuvres. The winds are usually very light or non-existent in morning and build slowly until about 2pm when they start to drop back again.