Ionian Islands

12 Itineraries

About Ionian Islands

The Ionian Islands are also called the Heptanese Islands, despite consisting of many smaller islands, in addition to the seven main ones. They are all situated in western Greece and stretch into the Ionian Sea, except for the seventh island of Kythira, which lies south of the Peloponnese. The other six principal islands are Corfu, Paxos, Lefkas. Ithaca, Kefallinia and Zakynthos.

The culture of the islands has been influenced by their diverse history, including its period as part of the Ottoman Empire. There are also many Italian cultural influences present. You can savour the many distinctive flavours of the local cuisine, from Pastrokio to Sofrito at the many excellent local restaurants.

All of these islands are attractive and very green and offer great attractions for holidaymakers. Many of the best destinations in the Ionian Islands are also surprisingly affordable. You can relax on and luxuriate in the beautiful sandy beaches of Corfu while staying in the luxury hotels. You can choose to sunbathe at Faliraki Beach or swim in the shallows. At Anemomilos Beach near to Corfu Town, you can find a place where you can mingle with both tourists and locals. If you fancy finding a more secluded area to enjoy, you can head to Dassia Bay to enjoy the surroundings and abundant greenery. Kontokali is a great place for families to enjoy the sand and sea, while Barbati is where to go if you want to make the most of the nightlife.

On the north coast of Corfu, you’ll find Sidari Beach and the Canal D’Amour. If you venture to the west coast, you can visit Rovina Beach which is particularly scenic, and can only be reached by boat.

If you enjoy history, you should pay a visit to the island of Lefkas (also known as Lefkada) to see the castle of Agia Mavra, which was built in the 14th century. You can also admire the beautiful Church of Agia Mavra. Lefkas also boasts splendid beaches and breath-taking scenery to rival anywhere in Corfu. One of the best sights to see is the Dimossari Waterfalls near Nidri, which ooze peace and tranquillity. You can also visit the Archaeological Museum which displays artefacts dating back to Roman times. 

If mythology and legends are more your thing, don’t miss out on a trip to Ithaca. Famed for being the home island of Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey (also known as Ulysses), there are wonderful sites to see on this island. You can explore the Cave of the Nymphs and indulge your passion for legend and folklore at the Folklore and Nautical Museum to name just two things you can do here.

You can journey to the gorgeous vineyards on the island of Kefallonia, and go and see the beautiful village of Fiskardo, which affords spectacular views of crystal clear waters. Be sure to visit the iconic Navagio beach on the island of Zakynthos. Last but not least, remember to go and see the beautiful Fonsia waterfall on the island of Kythira, too.

History

The Ionian Islands were settled by Greeks in about 1200 BC and was colonised by people from Corinth in 734 BC. The islands were a backwater in the time of the Ancient Greeks and played little part in political life, except during the conflict between Kerkyra and its mother-city Corinth in 434 BC, which set off the Peloponnesian War.

Later, there came 400 years of peaceful Roman rule, before the islands came under Byzantine rule. In this period the islands were the target of many a Saracen raid, with many of the islands coming under the control of William II of Sicily in 1185. 

Still later, the islands came under Venetian rule, beginning with the island of Corfu, until Napoleon conquered Venice in 1797. When the British defeated the French in Zakynthos in 1809 they came under British control. Communications were greatly improve in this era and a new constitution was drawn up for the islands, leading eventually to a form of Greek Independence in 1830. The islands were finally granted to Greece in 1862. Today, the major industry of the Ionian Islands is tourism. 

With their absorbing history and multifaceted culture, what other reason do you need to start planning a wonderful, unforgettable holiday to the Ionian Islands? Begin planning your trip today.

Weather in Ionian Islands

Light rain tomorrow through Thursday.

Current Weather
Ionian Islands, Europe/Athens
Ionian Islands partly-cloudy-day
 
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