The islands of the Ionian sea

The Ionian islands are a little different from all the other Greek islands. For example, they are green, not particularly hot and with a humid climate, which is not common in other archipelagos and which is quite reminiscent of Italian nature. .

They do not have a common denominator that characterizes them in fact they are quite different from each other. They range from the very touristy ones to the quiet ones with slow rhythms.
To the north is Corfu with Paxos and Antipaxos. In the center Lefkas, Ithaca, Kefalonia and a little further south Zante. Finally, much more distant and close to the coasts of the Peloponnese, there are the very small Elafonisos, Kythira and finally Antikythira.

Due to their strategic geographical position, the Ionian islands have assumed considerable importance in the past as they are located directly on the naval route between Italy and Greece.

All very beautiful and fascinating, so which one to choose? If we don’t know any, where to go the first time? As always, it depends on expectations. Some are very lively and touristy, others a bit wild and quiet. There are cliffs, fantastic sandy beaches, green areas, fish-rich backdrops, architecture and archeology that await us. Let’s try to indicate some that are a little different from each other.

The Ionian islands to recommend as a first choice are: Corfu, Zante, Lefkas, Kefalonia, Paxos and Ithaca. They are the most beautiful from a landscape point of view as well as more easily accessible, but also the small islands Paxos and Antipaxos have a particular charm.

In the boundless blue of the Ionian Sea, they emerge set like precious jewels, with their wonderful nature, the abundant waters, the exceptional cities and villages, the mild climate, the splendid beaches with well-protected gulfs and the crystalline sea and the interesting archaeological sites, the Ionian islands. These are the eleven islands of the archipelago, small and large, scattered along the western coasts of mainland Greece and known as the Ionian Islands.

The six largest are: Zakynthos, Ithaca, Corfu, Kefalonia, Lefkada and Paxi, while the smaller ones are Antipaxi, Erikousa, Mathraki, Othoni, Meganisi and the group of deserted islands of the Strofades south of Zakynthos. In addition, the easy access, the modern tourist infrastructure, the various cultural and folkloric events, the possibility of practicing sports and the opportunities to have fun, the worldly atmosphere and above all the jovial and hospitable inhabitants, complete their enviable advantages.

Where to stay

After choosing the Ionian islands for your holidays yoy have to decide where to sleep. The accommodation options vary from magnificent resorts to simple campsites, passing through hotels of all categories, tourist villages and above all studios, typical of Greek hospitality. As for luxury accommodation, that is, the resort with every comfort and the possibility of enjoying excellent entertainment and sports, the best equipped islands are Corfu and Zakynthos.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for a campsite, the choice falls between these islands: Corfu, Zakynthos, Lefkada, Elafonisos, Kefalonia, Paxos and Kythira. Please note that in Greece free camping is forbidden but in some islands it is however tolerated, as long as it is done with respect for the environment and people.

As for hotels and hotels of all categories, they are present in abundance on all the major islands. However, the most characteristic accommodations remain the studios. Some studios also include breakfast.

Getting there

Most of the Ionian islands are easily accessible by ferries from Igumenitsa and Kylini in Greece.
Directly by plane is the best way for those islands with international airports, like Corfu, Kefalonia and Zakynthos. Lefkada instead relies on a national airport located on the continent a few kilometers away. In the high season there are direct charter flights from the UK.
By car or by other means of transport such as motorcycles or campers, if you are coming through Italy best way is to get a ferry from Ancona for Corfu or Patras. In Greece there are ferry connections from Kylini to Zante and from Patras and Igumenitsa for the other islands.

What are the Ionian islands?

Lefkada

Lefkada is the fourth largest Greek island in the Ionian Sea and the Ionian Islands and is known for its beaches with their turquoise waters. The most famous beach of Lefkada is Porto Katsiki on the southwest side of the island.

Paxos

The island of Paxos is located south of Corfu and belongs to the Ionian Islands. The capital of the island is Gaios, on the east side.

Antipaxos

Antipaxoi is a small island in the Ionian Sea, southeast of Paxos. In Antipaxos there are many vineyards and the inhabitants are mainly engaged in viticulture and wine production.

Corfu

Corfu is located north of the Ionian Sea and belongs to the Ionian Islands. Foreign tourists call it Corfu from the peaks seen from afar, as the ship approaches the island.

Kefalonia

Kefalonia is the largest island of the Ionian Islands and is located south of Lefkada and north of Zakynthos. The patron saint of the island is Agios Gerasimos, whose monastery is located in Omala, at a distance of about 15 km west of Argostoli.

Kythira

Kythira is located south of the Peloponnese and the capital of Kythera is Chora in the south of the island. Some of the local flavors that you can try on the island are the Tsirigiotiki pies, the pastitseta, the rosettes and the traditional fatourada.

Zante

The city of Zakynthos is located on the southeast side of the island and there is the port of the island, while the airport “Dionysios Solomos” is located at a distance of about 4 km from the city.

Meganisi

Meganisi is located east of Lefkada, is the largest in the archipelago called Princes Islands and is connected by ferry to the port of Nidri, Lefkada.

 
Antikythira

Antikythira is located in the area between Kythira and Crete. The capital and port of the island is Potamos in the northern part of Antikythera.

Ithaca

Ithaca is located south of Lefkada and east of Kefalonia and is one of the smallest islands of the Ionian Islands. Vathi is the capital of Ithaca and is built on a large bay formed on the east side of the island.