Kastos in Greece is a firm favourite of ours when we look back on our time in the Ionian. Stunning anchorages, crystal clear blue seas and a bar in a windmill with views to die for. It would be impossible not to fall in love with this charming Ionian island.
As soon as you step onto shore, ‘island life’ starts, and you are swept up by the feeling that time has stopped. The only village shop is supplied by ferry, so if something is sold out then it really is sold out. The villagers walk slowly, stopping to chat to each other, or to stroke a cat, or just to enjoy the sun.
A Little History
Measuring just 8km from north to south, and less than 1km from east to west, Kastos is a tiny island with some huge reasons to visit. There are only around 50 permanent residents living here, so you really do feel as though you are away from it all.
We were informed that when the earthquake hit Kastos, many houses were destroyed and their Greek residents fled for new lives in other countries. Slowly, the families of those residents have returned to claim their family houses on the island, which is why many residents are actually Australian or South African.
Where Is Kastos?
Kastos is situated in the Greek Ionian Sea, between Lefkada and the Greek mainland (Central Greece). Kastos is about 5 kilometres away from the Greek mainland and you can only reach it by boat.
Things To Do On Kastos Island
#1. Go Snorkelling
Kastos island is surrounded by some of the bluest, clearest water we have ever seen. Most bays on the East side (where the best protection is from the prevailing winds), are sandy and you can see to the bottom for meters and meters. Grab a snorkel and spend your days exploring the underwater wildlife around the rocky cliff edges of different anchorages. Make sure you swim into the little caves that have formed in the rocks, as they hide some of the best underwater life in their shallow waters.
Top Tip: Bring reef shoes if you have them. The rocks here are very sharp and there are a lot of sea urchins around, so if you need to clamber out you’ll want some protection for your feet.
#2. Take A Hike
If swimming isn’t your thing then there are plenty of great walking routes on Kastos island with stunning views. The island is so small that it’s possible to cover most of it on foot, just venture onto land and pick a road-they all lead to somewhere beautiful! Most of the paths here are in good condition for walking, but are uneven and gravelly. It wouldn’t be fun with a buggy or shopping trolley, but it’s fine to walk in flip flops if that’s what you’re comfy in!
#3. Enjoy A Sunset Cocktail
Perhaps you were after something more relaxing? Well, for such a small island, Kastos has a large selection of bars and tavernas to choose from. They are all scattered around the town of Kastos, mostly on the harbour front, though some are further back from the harbour and are also worth checking out. If you follow the coastline South from the harbour you will find a bar in an unused windmill with amazing views out to sea for a sunset cocktail (or three).
Top tip: If you’re here in summer then try to wake up for sunrise. It’s worth it, we promise!
#4. Visit Kastos Marine Museum
This small but friendly museum is in the main town of Kastos, and is well worth a visit if you are on Kastos for a few days. The main attraction here is the skeleton of a juvenile fin whale that washed up on the shore of the Island in the 70’s. The people there know a lot about everything on show and will be able to talk you through it all. It’s pretty interesting for a few euros!
Kastos’ Best Restaurants And Bars
If you’re moored in Kastos then it would be a crime not to visit the windmill bar. It’s a little gimmicky, and priced accordingly, but the 360 degree views are pretty hard to beat. They serve all the usual here, but you can’t really beat a sunset cocktail sat outside a windmill! To get here follow the little coastal path to the South of Kastos harbour.
Our next favourite place for a sunset drink would be El.a cafe. It is opposite the harbour and it is a tiny little place with a balcony that has beautiful views across the bay. The owner is a keen music fan, catch him on a quiet night and he’ll be happy to talk all things music! The pizzas here are delicious!
There are several more restaurants along the harbour wall that all offer great food and ambience. The fish in Kastos is spoken very highly of, check out the blackboards out the front of the restaurants to find out the daily catch.
Where To Moor In Kastos
The town quay is small. Very small. As you enter there is the biggest of the two on the port side, with enough room for a handful of boats to moor stern to on the quay.
There are several boats there that look like they are there for the long haul, so you may have trouble finding a space. There is water available on this quay. On the starboard side there is a very small space for another boat. We didn’t check depths here so be careful.
Inside Kastos harbour there is room for plenty of boats to moor stern to and tie off on the pavement (there are mooring rings all the way along).
Depths drop off quickly, so you will need to use reasonably long lines to tie to shore. The anchorage is well protected from all but Easterly winds, and is favourable for the common westerlies in the summer months. The main disadvantage to anchoring here in the summer months is the flotillas boats that flood the place daily. Expect lots of disruption as they jostle for space!
There are plenty of beautiful anchorages to choose from on Kastos so you won’t be short of choice. Not all of them are amazingly protected, so it probably isn’t the best place to be if bad weather is predicted, but most offer adequate protection from the typical summer afternoon breezes that blow through the Ionian.
If you like to be near to the action you can anchor right outside the harbour. There is a little beach to the north of the harbour and the best protection from the cliffs here. Careful where you drop anchor as there have been reports of people getting their anchors snagged on debris.
If you head North from the harbour there are half a dozen or so little inlets that make for good anchorages in calm weather. We anchored to the South of the island in ‘Wasp Bay‘ (though we saw no wasps at all!) We had this stunning anchorage to ourselves several times, well, just us and the goats. You will need to tuck in quite shallow to get a sandy patch, and tie lines to shore. Or you can anchor out in deeper depths if you have enough chain, though it is less well protected outside the bay.
From Wasp Bay it was about a 15 minute walk into town along a beautiful coastal path. Just follow the steps up from the beach and take the path to the right that hugs the cliff top.
Provisioning On Kastos
There is one small food shop on Kastos. It really does feel like you’re away from it all here! Incredibly for such a small shop, there is fresh bread twice daily. The shop keeper is Australian so talk to her about when it is delivered and try to reserve a loaf. The shop is actually pretty well stocked for such a small place, with a handful of fresh fruit and vegetables and most of what you could need, including plenty of beer and wine.
Top Tip: Provision before you come! The shop here is very expensive (for obvious reasons), so come well prepared and you shouldn’t need much!
You can get water on the harbour wall, but not electricity.
The biggest problem if you want to stay for more than a few days, is getting rid of rubbish. It is recycling only on Kastos, so think about this before you go and try to get rid of as much non-recyclable waste before you leave.
Where To After Kastos?
Wondering where to head to after Kastos? Check out these guides to nearby destinations.
- Head inland from Nidri to the beautiful Nidri waterfalls
- Check out the pretty seaside town of Lixouri
- Moor up for free in Argostoli’s well protected abandoned marina
Let us know what you thought of Kastos in the comments below!