The Ionian Islands are located off the west coast of Greece and are composed of Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Lefkada, Ithaca, Paxos and Kythira. The islands are well known for their beautiful sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and charming villages. Each island boasts a distinct tradition, cuisine and architecture – the remaining influences of former invading forces such as the Venetians, French and British. These influences are obvious in Corfu Town, where you can watch a cricket match on the Spianada, drink under Parisian-style arcades and wander through the town’s Venetian-style alleyways. Elsewhere in the Ionians – in the traditional fishing or mountain villages – you can stroll through central plazas shaded by bougainvilleas and plane trees, or relax under a taverna’s vine-covered canopy with the soporific scent of jasmine. You can find your own isolated swimming coves by yacht, wander through olive groves, or stumble across an authentic kafeneio (coffee house).
Once, the Ionian Islands were part of Central Greece but were torn apart when the terrain sank due to the seismic activity along the great coastline fault of the Ionian Sea. This accounts not only for the ragged shores and hauntingly beautiful beaches but it also accounts for the islands’ tall mountains, once part of the Pindos mountain range which crosses Central Greece. It also accounts for the great depth of the waters in the area which, at 4,406 meters, is the greatest in the Mediterranean.
Discovering these islands is a tantalising odyssey. Their natural beauty embraces the visitor – the vast olive groves, intriguing mountainscapes and iridescent waters of the Ionian Sea offer something for adventure seekers, culture vultures and beach bums alike; everything you could wish for from a Greek Island holiday.