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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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 Morfeas Zante Apartments
Featuring garden views, Morfeas Zante Apartments provides accommodations with a patio and an electric tea pot, around an 18-minute walk from Agios Dionysios Church. more...
 Corfu Room
Located in Ágioi Déka, Corfu Room offers garden, free WiFi, a 24-hour front desk, and room service. more...
 Sole e Mare Apartments
Set amid landscaped gardens, within 1312 feet from Tsilivi Beach, Sole e Mare offers self-catering units with free Wi-Fi and a balcony or patio. more...
 Ameadros Resort
Located in Mantzavináta, Ameadros Resort has air-conditioned accommodations with a patio and free WiFi. This self-catered villa has a private pool, a garden and free private parking. more...
 Lilliput Studio Corfu Old Town
Located in Corfu, a 9-minute walk from Ionio University and 0.8 miles from Serbian Museum, Lilliput Studio Corfu Old Town provides accommodations with amenities such as free WiFi and a flat-screen TV . more...
 Ionian Citizen 2-Renovated Residences Down Town Corfu City
Ionian Citizen 2-Renovated Residences Down Town Corfu City in Corfu provides accommodations with free WiFi, an 8-minute walk from Byzantine Museum, 700 yards from Ionio University and an 8-minute walk more...
 Heliovasilema (Sunset) Apartments and Studios
Located 1.2 mi from the scenic Fiskardo Village, the traditionally built Heliovasilema (Sunset) offers self-catering accommodations with a patio or a balcony featuring views over the Ionian Sea. more...
 Elite Corfu
Set in Kommeno, Elite Corfu has a garden, terrace and bar. Featuring housekeeping service, this property also provides guests with an outdoor pool. more...
 N&L VILLAS
Featuring free WiFi throughout the property, N&L VILLAS is set in Corfu Town, 6.2 mi from Vido Island. Port of Corfu is 6.8 mi away. Free private parking is available on site. more...
 Katarina Apartments
Featuring a swimming pool, a garden and barbecue facilities and views of the garden, Katarina Apartments is located in Kefallonia and provides accommodations with free WiFi. more...
 Lesante Blu - The Leading Hotels of the World
Located in Tragaki, 4.3 mi from Zakynthos Town, Lesante Blu Exclusive Beach resort features a private beach area, infinity pools and a spa center. more...
 Agostenga
Agostenga is a stone-built 4-bedroom villa located on a hillside close to Saint Eleftherotria monastery. more...
 Galini Apartments
Surrounded by lush greenery in Mousata, Galini offers self-catered accommodations with free WiFi and a furnished balcony overlooking the Ionian Sea, the mountains of Kefalonia or the garden. more...
 Apsedes Studios
Apsedes Studios is located in Mousata Village. It offers self-catering accommodations with Ionian Sea views. BBQ facilities and a sun terrace are available. Free WiFi is offered throughout. more...
 Corfu Imperial, Grecotel Exclusive Resort
Standing on its private peninsula with unobstructed views of the Ionian Sea, Corfu Imperial, Grecotel Exclusive Resort features 4 private sandy beaches, a pebbly beach and a large outdoor pool. more...


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