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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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 Infinity Villa
Infinity Villa, Kato Pavliana
Located in Káto Pavliána, Infinity Villa provides accommodations with a private pool, a terrace and mountain views. more...
 Vigla
Vigla, Volimai
Perched on a green hill overlooking the Ionian Sea, the family-run Vigla is located in Agios Nikolaos of Volimes, within 0.6 mi from the beach. more...
 Villa Petros
Villa Petros, Apraos
Set in a quiet location and surrounded by lush trees, Villa Petros offers spacious accommodations with views over the Ionian Sea. The sandy beach of Apraos is just 328 feet away. more...
 Dionysos Apartments
Dionysos Apartments, Apraos
Featuring an outdoor pool, Dionysos Apartments offers a garden and sun terrace. Located in Corfu, it features apartments with free WiFi and a balcony overlooking the sea. more...
 Villa Zerbera
Villa Zerbera, Vouyiáton
Located in Vougiato, Villa Zerbera features a terrace and a garden. The air-conditioned unit is 5 mi from Zakynthos Town, and guests benefit from free WiFi and private parking available on site. more...
 Galini Apartments
Galini Apartments, Trapezaki
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...
 Sole e Mare Apartments
Sole e Mare Apartments, Tsilivi
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...
 Alkioni Studios
Alkioni Studios, Trapezaki
Boasting Ionian Sea views, Alkioni offers air-conditioned studios with a kitchenette. It is quietly located amid a flower garden, 0.6 mi from Trapezaki Beach. more...
 Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort, Corfu - Adults Only
Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort, Corfu - Adults Only, Moraitika
Located in Moraitika, Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort, Corfu - Adults Only has a private beach area and free WiFi. more...
 Sunshine Studios
Sunshine Studios, Karavadhos
Built on a hillside, Sunshine Studios offers self-catered accommodations with Ionian Sea view from their balcony. It is surrounded by a well-tended garden and lies 0.9 mi from Agios Thomas Beach. more...
 Sinies Cottage
Sinies Cottage, Agnítsini
Sinies Cottage is located close to Agnítsini. The property features sea views and is 20 mi from Corfu Town. Glyfada is 23 mi from the apartment. more...
 Linardos Apartments
Linardos Apartments, Asos
Linardos Apartments is located 49 feet from the beach of Asos in Kefalonia. more...
 Lesante Blu - The Leading Hotels of the World
Lesante Blu - The Leading Hotels of the World, Tragaki
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...
 Labranda Sandy Beach
Labranda Sandy Beach, Agios Georgios
Situated on the sandy St George Beach in the south west of Corfu, the all-inclusive Labranda Sandy Beach offers extensive dining options and sports and entertainment facilities for adults and more...
 Diana Studios
Diana Studios, Trapezaki
The newly built Diana Studios is located in Trapezaki village, just 0.9 mi from the sandy beach. Offering a panoramic sea and mountain view, it features an outdoor pool. more...


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