Assos harbour

Ássos, Greece.

GPS: 38°22’43.4″N 20°32’19.3″E / 38.378713, 20.538705

Assos (Άσσος) or Port Assos is a picturesque small harbour on the NW coast of Kefalonia, around six miles S of the northernmost tip of the island. The village and harbour are situated on a narrow isthmus which joins the mainland to a large promontory dominated by a Venetian fort. The site is very popular with land tourists but the exposed position of its harbour and the need to visit in very settled weather is a deterrent for most cruisers visiting the island. However, as an early lunch stop on passage down to Argostoli at the S end of the island or even as an overnight stop in settled weather, the harbour is a delightful place to call in and the coastline on either side is spectacular, indented with sandy coves with turquoise water so luminescent it almost hurts the eyes. Most visiting yachts will need to anchor off in the bay but it is possible to take long lines ashore if staying overnight. Shelter in Assos is only moderate and the harbour is exposed in any winds from W round to NE, which cause an uncomfortable swell. It is best visited in a flat calm. Apart from the charms of the setting, the 1.8 km walk up to the ruins of the Venetian fortress offers great views and is very enjoyable.

There are no dangers in the approach. Most yachts are likely to approach from N in view of the prevailing winds, when the ruins of the castle and a Venetian lighthouse on the N end of the promontory will be visible. The harbour lies on the E side of the promontory, partly sheltered by a short mole extending W from the shore.

Assos is not a port of entry. The nearest port of entry is Argostoli.

Visiting yachts will need to anchor off in the harbour, clear of the small craft moorings on the E side, in depths of 5.0 – 8.0 metres. The holding here is not always good as the bottom has mud, weed, and shingle, so make sure your anchor is well dug in if going ashore. It is difficult to get a good anchor set even with long scope, making this only viable in light weather. You can take a long line to the outer part of the mole if necessary, where there is a lamppost, a bollard and a couple of mooring rings, but it is unwise to come too close here since the depths are only 1.0 metres at the inner end and 1.5 metres at the outer end and there is rock ballasting which reduces this still further in places. Larger vessels can anchor N of the mole in depths of 10 – 15 metres and take lines ashore to rings set into the rocks on the E and W sides. Shelter in the bay is only moderate and Assos should be avoided with winds of anything more than force 3-4 coming from W round to NE, which cause a very uncomfortable swell. A good motto for Assos is: if there are white horses at sea and the winds are W or N, don’t plan a visit.

The village itself is delightful and not yet spoilt by tourism – although there are more rental villas going up every year, so this may not last. There are no large hotels, but mostly apartments and villas, which tends to preserve the intimate atmosphere of the place. Apart from enjoying the village and its shingle beach, the most popular pastime is to walk the 1.8 kms up to the Venetian castle on the top of the promontory. The views on the way up are wonderful, although the castle itself is something of a disappointment, as it is a scramble through thick vegetation to get to the walls on the E side, where the best views are, while the cobbled path inside goes left downhill to the remains of the former prison and goes right to the stubby ruins of the Venetian lighthouse at the N end of the promontory.

Irregular bus service to Argostoli and Fiskardo

Places of interest

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Kato Assos 200 06, Greece

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