Review: MS Christina Forgotten Islands (aka the Best Boat Trip on Lefkada)

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Whilst researching my trip to Lefkada there was one boat trip that came up again and again as recommended – the MS Christina Forgotten Islands cruise. At €70 a bit pricier than most of the other group boat trips in Nydri – is it worth it? Let’s find out.

The MS Christina is a lovely traditional wooden boat, very similar to Turkish gulets if you’ve ever been on one of those. One of the best things about this boat compared to others in Nydri is that there’s a sunbed/deck mattress space for everyone so you can lie down and snooze or sunbathe between swim stops. 

MS Christina.

MS Christina gangplank.

The route explores some of the small islands between Lefkada and the mainland. The main stops are Kastos and Kalamos which you can only reach by private boat, there are no ferries from Lefkada.

I arrived in the morning just before 9 am for departure. I booked online through their website as it fills up a few days in advance but you can also reserve through various travel agencies on the island. It’s a family affair, owned and crewed by Jane and Stelios and their sons plus one or two helpers. 

If you have a big group I recommend getting here at a good time if you want some of the choice seats. However, the crew might do a little rearranging so that everyone sits together.

We had unusually changeable weather for a July day in Lefkada but when the sun was out I greatly appreciated the shade from the bimini. Once everyone was settled on board and we were underway the crew brought around hot drinks and pastries. 

Our first stop was at Phermikoula, a tiny uninhabited island where you’ll often find Mediterranean monk seals chilling out in small caves. It was still a bit cloudy and cold by this point so I didn’t swim or take any photos.

Kastos port.

Shady taverna in Kastos.

The next stop was a short sail away on the island of Kastos (population: around 120), where the main village is also called Kastos. It’s a small harbour village and there are a few yachts here but no other big boat. 

Jane leads a group of people who want to see the village church. I prefer to take a wander by myself. Thankfully the weather has warmed up by now and I go in search of a cold drink and a scenic sit down. 

I love these kinds of tiny islands and I’d love to come back here for longer. You can just tell it’s the kind of place where once the daytrippers have left the tavernas are full of ouzo-fuelled conversation about adventures underneath a clear night sky. It reminded me a bit of Ithaka but much smaller. It gets a fair amount of yacht traffic over the summer.

From Kastos village we motor around the corner to a swim stop at Kastos Beach where the water is unbelievably clear and deep. The beach itself is pretty tiny, it’s more of a bay.

Everyone hurls themselves into the inviting water at the earliest opportunity. There’s enough snorkel gear on board for everyone – one of the crew comes around to take your snorkel ‘order’ so there’s no scrum for the masks. It’s a nice touch.

MS Christina at Kastos beach.

Plateful of lunch on MS Christina.

Whilst we’re swimming the crew prepare lunch. It’s a homemade Greek-style range of salads, fritters, meatballs, chicken, feta, and bread. There’s even wine. There’s enough food that I managed cheeky seconds.

There’s also a bar on board the boat. Not just beers but some quite elaborate cocktails (and mocktails!). The children of the family sitting next to me were very excited about the mocktails. I settled for beers.

Once lunch has finished we sail on to Kalamos. Just a swim stop here, at a larger beach with vibrant turquoise waters. There are a few other yachts moored here, and a guy with a dog on the beach, but not enough to spoil the tranquillity.

We may or may not have had another swim stop after this, my memory is a little hazy (perhaps on account of the beers).

Asprogiali beach, Kalamos.

Crystal-clear turquoise waters, Kalamos.

Onwards back to Nydri. When we reach Skorpios, the famous private island that belonged to the Onassis family, Jane does a great job telling us all about the fascinating history – and current situation – of this little island. It’s currently owned by Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev.

He and his family weren’t on the island when I was there which meant we could sail a little closer. His superyacht is permanently moored there and we watched its crew entertaining themselves with games off the boat.

The island is being turned into an ultra-luxury resort. We’re talking millions. 

Rybolovlev is trying to buy tiny neighbouring Skorpidi but apparently, the owners won’t sell! Good for them.

Skorpios is very close to Nydri so before we knew it we were back at the harbour. I can definitely recommend a trip with MS Christina, it’s a great way to spend a day and see some of the islands near Nydri. It’s nearly twice the price of some of the other boat excursions from Nydri but it’s a much more relaxed and enjoyable experience on the boat itself.

If you’re in Lefkada you’ve just got to find a way to get out on the water and experience these magical bays. It’s easy to see why the area is so popular with yachties.

The only thing I would say is that the sun beds are very cosy – expect to get chatting with your new neighbour. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get a photo of them before they filled up. But I guess the only solution to this is a private charter (which they do offer!). And it’s still an upgrade on the other boats where you get to sit on sweaty seats if you’re lucky.

Read more about Lefkada:

Lefkada Resort Guide

10 Most Beautiful Beaches on Lefkada

Lefkada Bus Guide

Image credits: © The Mediterranean Traveller