After the Cyclades and Crete, the Ionian islands are the most popular island group in Greece.
Located on the western side of the country, these islands have been strongly connected to Italy in terms of history and culture since the Venetian occupation period.

Apart from their unique architecture, the Ionian islands are known for their lush green nature and wonderful beaches, with emerald waters and an exotic landscape. Corfu, Zakynthos, Kefalonia, and Lefkada are the liveliest and most popular holiday islands while Ithaca, Paxi, Kythira, and Meganisi are ideal for calm and relaxing holidays.

Let’s explore the Ionian islands!
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The Ionian islands are located west of the Greek mainland, in the Ionian Sea, close to the sea border between Italy and Greece.
The group consists of over 20 islands in total, although most of them are small uninhabited islets.

The biggest ones that attract the most visitors are Corfu, Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Lefkada, that are touristically well-developed, followed by the calmer Ithaca, Paxi and Kythira.
In addition, small and more secluded islands such as Meganisi and Mathraki are lesser known, alternative destinations with a limited number of facilities.

Most people travel to the Ionian islands during the summer, which is the best season to savor time at their sandy beaches, including the world-famous Shipwreck Bay in Zakynthos. The Ionian seashores are characterized by crystal clear turquoise waters and an amazing natural background, full of dense vegetation!

At the same time, they offer countless opportunities for nature exploration, at amazing locations such as Melissani and Drogarati caves in Kefalonia and Nydri waterfalls in Lefkada. The natural scenery of these islands makes it possible to combine sea and mountain vacation in one go!

Another important aspect of the islands is their unique architecture that you won't find in any other location in Greece. Many fortresses, churches, mansions and historic buildings were constructed during the Venetian occupation period of the Ionian islands.
Corfu Town is, hands down, the most prominent example of Venetian architecture, while Kefalonia offers some of the most impressive monasteries. Medieval monuments are scattered all around the islands, while the charming Ionian villages and towns will easily steal your heart!

As for the smaller islands, including Ithaca and Paxi, these are quite popular for day trips and island hopping by visitors who are staying on one of the bigger islands.
These small gems of the Ionian Sea are mostly known for their exotic beaches and lush nature alike. Their postcard-like settlements are full of colorful mansions and offer a breathtaking seafront sight!

It is also possible to approach a few of the uninhabited islets by boat to swim in the most secluded beach waters. On the other hand, islands such as Meganisi and Mathraki do offer some facilities (very few) and they are great if you are seeking a peaceful vacation with privacy, away from everything!

Last but not least the island of Kythira is in a category of its known, as it is located quite far from the rest of the islands geographically. Its remote location makes it one of the best secluded destinations in Greece, with traditional villages and unspoiled beaches!

Even the most popular of the Ionian islands offer plenty of non-touristy places to visit and their laid-back atmosphere makes them a great option for family vacation.
At the same time, several all-inclusive resorts near the sea or villas in peaceful locations make the Ionian islands an excellent choice for those seeking a luxurious getaway.

In addition to visiting landmarks, seafront settlements and stunning beaches, the biggest Ionian islands are also suitable for a more adventurous vacation, with opportunities for watersports, hiking and more!


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