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Ionian Islands

Just to the west of mainland Greece, the Ionian Islands have an air of the mysterious etched into their rugged mountains, patchwork farmland, shimmering olive groves, and pristine beaches, all surrounded by an endless expanse of green or blue sea. Covetous invaders have conquered and re-conquered these isles: Venetians, British, French, and Russians have all left cultural and architectural fingerprints behind. Today the islands are a favorite among Western Europeans and ferry-hopping backpackers heading to Italy. Multicultural for millennia, each of the Ionian Islands possesses a unique identity and singular beauty.

Homer first sang Corfu's praise, writing of its "honied fig," "unctuous olive: and "boisterous waves"; since then, Goethe, Wilde, the Durrell brothers, Sisley, and Lear have all thrown in their two cents about Corfu's perfection. Handed down from the Franks to the Venetians to the British to today's tourist hordes, Corfu (also called Kerkyra) has captivated them all. As in most of Greece's beautiful places, those who stray from the beaten path encounter unspoiled, uncrowded beaches. Try the less frenetic resorts at Pelekas, Kalami, or Agios Stefanos, or make Corfu Town your daytripping base. Even party-central Corfu holds hidden mountain villages and traditional coastal towns, where olive groves blanket the hills and you can hear the leaves rustle in the absence of rumbling tour buses.

Thucydides reports that Lefkada was part of the mainland until 427 BC, when the inhabitants dug a canal and made their home an island. A modern bridge now con¬nects Lefkada to the mainland, just 50m away; it only recently replaced an archaic chain-operated ferry built by Emperor Augustus. Modern Lefkadians are devoted to the business of tourism. Souvenir shops and overpriced restaurants abound, especially in Nidri, which is mostly composed of tourist traps and a profusion of liquor stores. Still, miles of white-sand beaches and astonishing natural beauty remain; with a little effort, you can skirt the patches of tacky tourism and find the island's unspoiled secrets.

The least touristed and perhaps the most beautiful of the Ionian Islands, Ithaka retains a close-knit feel and is happily Greek amid heavily-touristed neighbors. Those who discover Ithaka delight in the island's undeveloped pebbled beaches, rocky hillsides and terraced olive groves. Tiny villages packed with colorful homes surround the many natural harbors on the island, where the ambling pace of local life creates a much more relaxing and quiet atmosphere than that found on nearby Kephalonia or Lefkada. Ithaka was the kingdom that Odysseus left behind to fight in the Trojan War (and to wander ten years on his way home). His wife Penelope faithfully waited 20 years for his return here, while crowds of suitors pressed for her hand-and Odysseus's kingdom. A glimpse of one of the isle's sparkling azure bays from the winding mountain roads makes it clear what all the fuss was about.

Massive mountains, subterranean lakes and rivers, caves, dense forests, and more than 250km of sand-and-pebble coastline make Kephalonia a nature lover's paradise. Its beauty has been fought over by the Byzantine, Frankish, Ottoman, Venetian, Napoleonic, and British Empires. During World War II, after Italy had abandoned the Axis, 9000 Italian soldiers occupying the island fought their exallies for seven days, as Germans invaded and killed all but 33 Italians. In 1953, a disastrous earthquake forced the island to rebuild, leaving only relatively undamaged Fiskardo with the Ionian pastel neoclassical look. Today, Kephalonia's beauty draws a diverse crowd, from the upscale yachting set to budget-conscious backpackers. Inconvenient bus schedules and a number of attractions make Kephalonia perfect for a longer stay.

The varied landscapes and seascapes of Zakynthos (also known as Zante) comprise an exceptionally subtle palette of colors-white cliffs rise from turquoise water, sun-bleached wheat waves in the shadow of evergreens, and magenta flowers frame the twisting streets. Known as the greenest of the Ionian Islands, Zakynthos is home to thousands of flower and plant species, some of them unique to the island. The island is also the home of a large population of loggerhead turtles, a source of pride to the islanders. Still, in Zakynthos Town or its neighboring beaches, you'll see the sweaty backs of other tourists more than the beauty of nature. Set out for the countryside to appreciate Zakynthos's natural sights, like its famous blue caves in the north. Those who venture there will understand why the Venetians christened it Fior di Levante-the flower of the east.


 

Online Travel guide with the best accommodation in Ionian Islands. Find the cheapest hotels is Ionian Islands & get exclusive online deals. Great rooms at bargain prices. Book online now! Compare Hotel Prices and read Reviews from others.

Great Hotel rates and information See photos, reviews & what's nearby Ionian Islands . Detailed tourist and travel information about hotels of Ionian Islands providing also regional information.

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 Villa Melolia
Villa Melolia, Ýpsos
Featuring an outdoor pool, Villa Melolia is an elegant country house set in the luscious greenery in Ypsos, on the upper side of the internal bay of Corfu. more...
 Thermanti Villas
Thermanti Villas, Spartia
Thermanti Villas enjoy a quiet location 300 metres from Thermanti Beach and 500 metres from Spartia Beach. It offers self-catering accommodation with a swimming pool surrounded by an olive-tree more...
 Torri e Merli
Torri e Merli, Lákka
Amongst olive groves leading to the fishing village of Lakka, Torri e Merli features a pool and a Mediterranean restaurant. more...
 Seirios Luxury Villa
Seirios Luxury Villa, Svoronata
Located in Svoronata, Seirios Luxury Villa provides accommodations with a garden, free WiFi, a shared kitchen, and a shared lounge. With sea views, this property has a terrace. more...
 Villa Eleonas
Villa Eleonas, Ieromónachos
Villa Eleonas is a detached holiday home featuring a garden with a sun terrace, set in Ieromónachos in the Paxos Region. Guests benefit from terrace. Free WiFi is featured throughout the property. more...
 Pelecas Country Club
Pelecas Country Club, Pelekas
Surrounded by lush greenery, Pelecas Country Club consists of three 18th century restored buildings on a 200,000 m² estate, 3 km from Pelekas Village. more...
 Lido Paradise Apartments Corfu
Lido Paradise Apartments Corfu, Agios Gordios
Located in Agios Gordios, Lido Paradise Apartments Corfu offers accommodations with a balcony, kitchen and free WiFi. more...
 Alseides Villas
Alseides Villas, Chortáta
Located in Chortáta Village of Lefkada, the stone-built Alseides Villas come with outdoor, private pools and offer views over the Ionian Sea. Free WiFi access is provided throughout. more...
 Kefalonia Houses
Kefalonia Houses, Sarlata
Offering an outdoor pool, Kefalonia Houses is set in Sarláta, 9 km from Argostoli and 2 km from Lassi. Free WiFi is offered throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. more...
 Corfu Erimitis
Corfu Erimitis, Ágios Stéfanos
Set in Avlaki Beach, Corfu Erimitis offers a private pool and free WiFi. The villa is in an area where guests can engage in activities such as snorkelling and fishing. more...
 Aliki House
Aliki House, Barbati
Set within La Rigiera Complex with a shared outdoor pool and a restaurant, Aliki Home is 50 metres away from Barbati Beach. more...
 Villa Marika
Villa Marika, Vathi
Offering free WiFi and sea views, Villa Marika provides accommodations located in Vathi, just 400 yards from Port of Ithaki. The vacation home is 3.9 miles from Agios Ioannis Beach. more...
 Irini Apartment
Irini Apartment, Lassi
Enjoying a hilltop position in Lassi, Irini Apartment provides air-conditioned accommodation with free WiFi access. more...
 Agnantia Hotel Apartments
Agnantia Hotel Apartments, Fiskardho
Surrounded by a forest and overlooking the Ionian Sea, Agnantia Hotel Apartments is situated in the small picturesque settlement of Tselentata. more...
 Captain's Apts Barbati
Captain's Apts Barbati, Barbati
Set on the foothills of Pantokratoras Mountain, 200 metres from Barbati Beach, Captain's Apts offers a pool and snack bar on its flowered terrace. more...


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