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The crystal clear waters of the Ionian Sea will welcome you to paradise when visiting the Ionian islands. These islands have a surface of about 2,200 square kilometers and iclude Kefalonia, Corfu, Zante, Lefkada, Ithaca, and Paxi. All of these holiday destinations are wonderful.
The major islands of the Ionian lived for centuries under Venetian rule and this can be seen in their castles and churches. Covered with olive trees, pines and vineyards, they are fertile and green, a stunning setting for their award-winning white-sand beaches and peacock-blue waters. You’ll also find that the hospitable and kind citizens have music in their souls.
On land, you’ll want to explore the monasteries and mountain villages and seek out waterfalls, hiking trails and scenic routes by car or motorbike. Nature lovers can retire to the wetlands for birdwatching or the marine parks for glimpses of elusive monk seals and Loggerhead turtles. As for sailing or cruising, there’s no better place than the Ionian, where the winds are favourable the anchorages safe. Kite and windsurfers already regard the Ionian as THE prime location for their sports.
A mix of cultures
The Ionian Islands have been inhabited since Paleolithic times, have been through many invasions, and have received the influence of a variety of cultures. The Ionian Islands were part of the Byzantine Empire until 1204 when the Franks took over Constantinople and the Ionian Islands were eventually ceded to the Venetians. Under Venetian rule, the Ionian Islands formed their own local nobility whose register survived as late as the 19th century.
Relax, long walks and windusrfing
The Ionian islands have a mild and temperate climate which makes them the ideal location for vacation or residence. In winter, the mountains of Central Greece stop the cold northern winds from reaching the islands while, in summer, the heat is tempered by the Meltemi, the soft, northwestern winds, and the sea breezes. Due to the air currents prevalent on the Ionian islands, many of the island beaches have developed into internationally acclaimed windsurfing centers.
Kefalonia is probably the island with the best landscape view. Corfù is famous for it’s Italian architecture and partially English culture. If you visit Zakynthos remember that some parts of the island like Laganas are now very touristy even if a visit to the Blue Caves and the western part of the island are a must. Last but not least there is Lefkas with it’s lush hills and it’s crystal clear waters.
Crystal clear water and marvellous beaches
Corfù and Zakynthos are the most popular islands of the Ionian sea but in the last years Kefalonia and Lefkada have started developing too. Navagio in Zakynthos, Myrtos in Kefalonia, Agios Gordis in Corfù and Porto Katsiki in Lefkada are the most photographed beaches of the Ionian islands. Lefkada is famous for it’s blue water on the western coast while Paxi and Antipaxi have some beautiful bays that are worth visiting.
The rest of the Ionian islands like Ithaca and Citera haven’t got many beautiful beaches but a lot of people visit them because of they’re natural beauties and relaxing atmosphere. Since almost all the islands are close to each other the Ionian sea a great destination for sailing boats.
Hotels and accommodations for everyone
Accomodations on the Ionian islands can vary from island to island. Corfù and Zakynthos being the two most famous islands offer any type of accomodation, from villas to hotels and apartments. Kefalonia and Lefkada are also quite popular and here you will find may places for the night. The rest of the islands tend to have less luxurious accommodations except from Paxos and Meganisi that despite having these new constructions still haven’t lost their true identity.
How to get to the ionian islands quicker By plane: There are airports in Corfù, Lefkada (Akiton/Preveza), Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Citera. The airports of Corfù, Kefalonia and Zakynthos all receive national flights from Athens and Thessaloniki. The airport of Lefkada (Aktion/Preveza) only opens in summer and receives charter flights from abroad. The airport of Kythira receives flights from Athens. By ferry: All the ferries for the Ionian islands leave from the ports of the western Greek islands. There are ferries from Patra to Kefalonia and ithaca, from Igoumenitsa to Corfù and Paxi, and from Kilini to Kefalonia.