Situated off the western coast of Greece, not far from Italy, the Ionian Islands are some of the most beautiful of the Greek Isles. Rich in history and natural beauty, the six main islands attract many tourists every year, but still retain a sense of authenticity and charm.
The islands are believed to have once made up part of mainland Greece, before they tore away and floated into the sea. Looking at the dramatic and craggy coastlines of the islands, it certainly seems likely, while beautiful sandy beaches and tree-topped hills soften the overall look. They are also surrounded by some of the deepest ocean in the Aegean, which is a playground for animals including turtles and seals.
The most well-known of the major Ionian Islands is Corfu, while Paxi and Zante (Zakynthos) are also popular. The other major islands – Lefkada, Kefalonia and Ithaca are a little more peaceful and relaxing, as are the minor islands south of Zakynthos. Here, you’ll find almost deserted beaches and picture-perfect traditional villages.
Having been occupied by the Romans and Venetians at various times throughout history the Italian influence is evident in the architecture, wine and even some of the food.
As well as the natural beauty, you can also expect to spy remnants of the island’s fascinating history. In particular, the Old Town of Corfu is a cobblestoned wonder with Renaissance, Baroque and Classical elements.
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