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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 Agapi Mou
Villa Agapi Mou, Karavomylos
Located in Karavomylos, this detached villa and is 1.2 miles from Sámi. The property is 11 miles from Póros and free private parking is provided. more...
 Pelecas Country Club
Pelecas Country Club, Pelekas
Featuring free WiFi and an outdoor pool, Pelecas Country Club is located in Pélekas, just 5 miles from Corfu Town. Glyfada is 1.4 miles from the property. Free private parking is available on site. more...
 Villa Di Capri
Villa Di Capri, Skála Kefalonias
Villa Di Capri is a villa located in Skála Kefalonias and featuring free WiFi and a terrace. It provides free private parking. A dishwasher, an oven and a microwave are provided in the kitchen. more...
 Ionian Heaven Villas
Ionian Heaven Villas, Nikiana
Featuring a garden and year-round outdoor pool, Ionian Heaven Villas is located in Nikiana. The property is air conditioned and is equipped with a spa tub. Lefkada Town is 6 miles away. more...
 Villa Chloe
Villa Chloe, Virós
Featuring a seasonal outdoor pool, Villa Chloe is a detached villa located in Virós. It provides free private parking. There is a dining area and a kitchen. more...
 Cosmos Beach House
Cosmos Beach House, Afionas
Cosmos Beach House is a villa with a sun terrace, located in Afión. The property is 15 miles from Corfu Town and free private parking is featured. more...
 Villas Cape
Villas Cape, Minia
Located in Miniá, Villas Cape offers a garden and outdoor pool. Sámi is 12 miles away. Free WiFi is available throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. more...
 Villa Alkmini
Villa Alkmini, Agnítsini
Villa Alkmini is a villa with a hot tub, located in Agnítsini. It features an outdoor pool and a hot tub as well as free WiFi and air conditioning. Free private parking is available on site. more...
 Villa Evanna
Villa Evanna, Lefkímmi
Villa Evanna is a villa with a terrace, located in Lefkímmi. It provides free private parking. The kitchen is equipped with a dishwasher. A flat-screen TV is featured. more...
 Cactus Hotel
Cactus Hotel, Laganas
This complex in Laganas features air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi and satellite/pay-per-view TV. It has a large swimming pool with adjacent, free lounge chairs and sun umbrellas, and cocktail more...
 Villa Melenia
Villa Melenia, Almiros Beach
Featuring an outdoor pool, Villa Melenia is a detached villa located in Almiros Beach in the region of Corfu. You can relax by the year-round outdoor pool in the garden and use the barbecue. more...
 Irini Apartment
Irini Apartment, Lassi
Enjoying a hilltop position in Lassi, Irini Apartment provides air-conditioned accommodation with free WiFi access. more...
 Pension Gerania
Pension Gerania, Asos
Showcasing a sun terrace and views of the sea, Pension Gerania is located in Ásos in the region of Kefalloniá, just 10 miles from Sámi. Free private parking is available on site. more...
 Pictures Suites
Pictures Suites, Agios Stefanos
Featuring free WiFi and air conditioning, Pictures Suites is located in Agios Stefanos. Corfu Town is 17 miles away. Some units feature a terrace and/or balcony with sea views. more...
 Ideales Resort
Ideales Resort, Trapezaki
Located at the foot of Mount Ainos, on the southwest of Kefalonia, Ideales Resort features villas with a private swimming pool and lounge chairs. more...


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