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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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 Venus Hotel
This attractive 4-star Kalamaki Beach resort features a large outdoor pool with spacious sun-lounger terrace. The air-conditioned rooms have a balcony or terrace. more...
 Exensian Villas & Suites
Exensian Villas & Suites is just 150 yards from the beach of Marathia. It features villas on a hillside with private hydro-massage pools. more...
 Suzanne's Apartment
Located in Glyfada, just a few steps from Glyfada Beach, Suzanne's Apartment has beachfront accommodations with a restaurant, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a bar and free WiFi. more...
 San Antonio Corfu Resort (Adults Only)
Within 66 feet of Kalami Beach, San Antonio Corfu Resort - Adults only is perched on a hillside among olive groves. It features 2 pools, and offers rooms and suites overlooking the Ionian Sea. 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...
 Deifilia Villa
Located 1.3 miles from Laganas Beach, Deifilia Villa offers a garden, and air-conditioned accommodations with a balcony and free WiFi. more...
 Cavo Orient Beach Hotel & Suites
Boasting an outdoor pool and a sun terrace with unobstructed sea view, the beachfront Cavo Orient Beach Hotel & Suites is located in Tragaki. more...
 Emerald Villas
Within 984 feet from Agios Nikolaos Beach, Emerald offers luxurious villas with private swimming pools enjoying panoramic views over the Ionian Sea. more...
 Casa del Mar
Located 1.5 mi from Petriti Beach, Casa del Mar offers a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a garden and air-conditioned accommodations with a balcony and free WiFi. more...
 Sun 'n Chill
Located in Melíkia, Sun 'n Chill offers accommodations with free WiFi and flat-screen TV, as well as barbecue facilities and a garden. A shared outdoor pool is also available. more...
 Eucalyptus Apartments
Just 33 feet from the sea, Eucalyptus Apartments offer modernly decorated accommodations in the traditional village of Karavomylos. The property also features an outdoor pool. Sami Town is 1.2 mi more...
 Glyfada houses sea view
Located in Glyfada, a few steps from Glyfada Beach and a 9-minute walk from Mirtiotissa Beach, Glyfada houses sea view provides accommodations with air conditioning and access to a garden with a more...
 Glyfada Beach Hotel
Glyfada Beach Hotel is located just 98 feet from sandy Glyfada Beach. It features direct sea view and it is surrounded by hills covered with olive and pine trees. more...
 Lithalona Villas & Houses
Located directly above the pebbly beach of Marathias, Lithalona Villas & Houses is set amid 13000 square yards of olive groves, 8.1 mi from Zákynthos Town. Laganas is 3.7 mi from the property. more...
 Bella Vista Apartments
Only 656 feet from Pelekas Beach, Bella Vista offers accomodation with views to the Ionian Sea from their private balcony or patio. The on-site restaurant serves home-cooked, Greek and local dishes. more...
 Aeolos Studios Kefalonia
Enjoying panoramic views of the Ionian Sea and surrounded by a 2,000-m² garden full of olive trees and flowers, Aeolos Studios offers self-catered accommodations. Argostoli is only 2.5 mi away. more...
 Bella Mare Beachfront Apts
Bella Mare Villas-Fafla beach has garden views, free WiFi and free private parking, located in Akrotiri, a 4-minute walk from Tsilivi Beach. more...
 Cosmos Beach House
Featuring a terrace with garden views, and a garden and barbecue facilities, Cosmos Beach House can be found in Afionas, close to Agios Georgios Beach and a 13-minute walk from Porto Timoni Beach. more...
 Fiscardo Studios
Just 33 feet from the scenic harbor and 164 feet from Fiscardo Bay Beach, this property offers a restaurant and bar. more...
 VANGELIS HOUSE
Located in Keramiaí, a 20-minute walk from Avithos Nudist Beach and one mile from Avithos Beach, VANGELIS HOUSE offers a terrace and air conditioning. more...
 The Olive Press - Agni Bay
Featuring a terrace, The Olive Press - Agni Bay is a villa, located in Agní. The property is 8 miles from Corfu Town and features views of the sea. There is a dining area and a kitchen. 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...
 Villa Rita & Helena
Surrounded by palm trees, Villa Rita & Helena offers a sun terrace with BBQ facilities and free WiFi in public areas. It is located 66 feet from the beach Kalami in Corfu. more...
 Anthi's Beach Apartments
Just 328 feet from the scenic harbor of Fiscardo, Anthi's Beach Apartments offer an outdoor pool with sun terrace. They feature self-catering accommodations with views over the Ionian Sea. more...
 Kouros Hill
Located in Xirokástellon, Villa Kouros provides accommodations with a seasonal outdoor pool, free WiFi, a bar and a garden. more...


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