The Ionian Islands lie in western Greece, in the Ionian Sea. Traditionally called the Heptanese (“Seven Islands”, like the 12 in the Dodecanese), their Greek-Italian mixed heritage makes them unique. For instance, a lot of the villages on these islands do not sport the traditional blue and white of most Greek villages. Why not start your tour of the region near Kythira, which lies at a distance from the other islands in the Heptanese. From the majestic Kythira Castle in the mountains to the ruins of Paliochora, history buffs will be delighted. But if you are looking for more nature, sail on down to Avlemonas and dive in its azure waters. Or enjoy the more secluded Fonisa Waterfall in Mylopotamos. Or stroll in the streets of Chora, its capital.
The third largest Ionian Island is Zakynthos, and you can remain aboard to see its most magnificent landmarks: the Navagio (shipwreck) bay and the cliffs and stone arches at Cape Marathia. Then you can land on one of its many pristine white beaches. A tour of the Ionian Islands would also be incomplete without Odysseus’ home: Ithaca. A glance at Kioni Bay or northern Ithaca seen from across the isthmus of Aethos will make you instantly understand why the king fought so hard to return home.
In the west, Corfu is the site of many historic battles and events, it is also a sprawling cultural hub with everything you want to see when you go to Greece: from its awe-inspiring temples (Kardaki Temple, the Temple of Artemis, the Palaiopolis) to its tall castles (Palaio Frourio, Angelokastro, Kassiopi Castle), renowned theatres (San Giacomo and the Municipal Theatre) or magnificent beaches such as the one at Canal d’Amour, Corfu has it all. However, it has tough competition in the largest Ionian Island: Kefalonia. Its most popular spots are the quaint fishing villages of Fiscardo and Assos (where you can enjoyed fresh grilled fish and the local specialty: pissara), the Melissani underground lake, the Drogarati cave and Myrtos Beach. But it holds many more surprises for visitors, such as its temples, museums, the Russian-styled Church of Antipata, the narrow streets of Fiskardo, the cerulean waters of Assos, and many more!