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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.


 

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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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 Alegria Villas Complex
Surrounded by pine and olive trees, a five-minute walk from St. Nicholas Beach, Alegria Villas Complex consists of self-catering guest houses overlooking the Ionian Sea. more...
 Marelen Hotel
Set in beautiful gardens with a lounge bar on-site, Marelen Hotel is located in Kalamaki. The property has a poolside bar, as well as a restaurant with rooftop terrace. more...
 Hamre Apartments (Nicholas)
Located in Agios Georgios Pagon in the Corfu region, Hamre Apartments (Nicholas) provides accommodations with free WiFi. Guests at the apartment can enjoy a continental breakfast. more...
 Rokamare
Located 1.4 mi from Chomi Beach, Rokamare provides accommodations with a restaurant, a garden and an ATM for your convenience. more...
 Ikos Dassia
Featuring a 400-yard long beach in Dassia Bay, Ikos Dassia offers 7 swimming pools surrounded by landscaped gardens. 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...
 Pantheon Villas
Villas Pantheon offers self-contained villas and two-story apartments in Agios Nikitas, one mile from Kathisma Beach. It features 2 pools with sun-lounger terrace, and a sitting room with satellite more...
 Zante Atlantis Hotel
Offering an outdoor pool and a restaurant, Zante Atlantis Hotel offers self-catering accommodations. Free WiFi access is available in public areas. more...
 Potamaki Beach Hotel
Potamaki Beach Hotel enjoys a beachfront location in Benitses village, in Corfu. The hotel’s reception is available 24 hours a day. more...
 Valentino Corfu
Set amid the lush surroundings of Pyrgi, within a 5-minute walk from Ipsos Beach, the family-run Valentino Corfu offers apartments with views over the palm-tree garden. more...
 Labranda Sandy Beach
Located 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 children . more...
 MarBella Corfu
Featuring an organized beach area in Agios Ioannis Peristeron, MarBella Corfu is a MarBella Collection Hotel and features 3 pools and a spa center. more...
 Hotel Aggelos Kefalonia
Located in the scenic Argostoli, just a few steps from the beach, Hotel Aggelos Kefalonia features a sea-view snack bar and provides free Wi-Fi throughout. more...
 Caretta Beach Hotel & Waterpark
Located in Kalamaki, 2789 feet from the beach, Caretta Beach Hotel & Waterpark features a water park with 6 adult slides, 6 kid slides, a wave pool and a lazy river. more...
 Al Mare Hotel
Located at Tsilivi Beach, the newly-built Al Mare Hotel offers rooms with furnished balconies enjoying pool or Ionian Sea views. It has a pool, bar and provides free Wi-Fi throughout. more...
 Locandiera
Locandiera is located in the Corfu Old Town district in Corfu Town, 328 feet from Liston and 656 feet from Kolla Square. Each room is fitted with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. more...
 Agios Nikitas Resort Villas
Agios Nikitas Resort offers fully equipped villas with private pool, on the tree-covered hills of Agios Nikitas. The complex enjoys stunning views of the picturesque village and the Ionian Sea. more...
 Strada Marina
Strada Marina is conveniently located within 328 feet from the port and the center of Zakynthos. more...
 Kerasoula Apartments
Set amid well-tended gardens with tall palm trees, Kerasoula Apartments offer accommodations with a furnished balcony enjoying views over the Ionian Sea. more...
 Red Tower Hotel
Located in Nikiana village, Red Tower Hotel offers a beautiful swimming pool with hot tub and stone-paved sun terrace. Its rooms have a balcony overlooking the Ionian Sea. more...
 Philoxenia
Located on the northwest coast of Corfu, just 8.7 mi from Corfu Town, Hotel Philoxenia is found in the small beach resort of Ermones. more...
 Casa del Mar
Located 1.6 mi from Petriti Beach, Casa del Mar offers an outdoor swimming pool, a garden and air-conditioned accommodations with a balcony and free WiFi. more...
 ALYKANAS VILLAGE RESORT
Facing the beachfront, ALYKANAS VILLAGE RESORT offers 4-star accommodations in Alikanas and has a bar, shared lounge and garden. more...
 Beyond Villas
Each with a private pool and unobstructed views of the Ionian Sea, the EU Ecolabel-awarded Beyond Villas are just 328 feet from Mylos Beach. more...
 Yialos villa
Boasting pool views, Yialos villa features accommodations with a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and a patio, around 328 feet from Gialos Beach. more...


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