IONIAN ISLANDS


Map of Ionian islands

Corfu (Kerkira) is the most popular of them all. It is a very green island and a mixture of the civilizations that have passed through at various times. The town impresses and charms the visitor with its two forts, narrow streets, tall houses, arcades, Venetian-built Town Hall, church to Saint Spyridon the island's patron saint, flower-filled gardens, and balconies with their superb wroughtiron fences. Flooded with sights, Corfu is a small paradise on Earth. From Paleokastritsa to Kanoni, from the Achillion to Pontikonissi and the northern coast, one will find crystal clear water, scenic coves, greenery and vegetation that 'sinks' into the deep blue sea. On this cosmopolitan island it is easy to combine relaxation with intense night life.

Paxi is an incredible microcosm. A verdant sanctuary for peace and quiet. A 'large-small' garden in bloom, with impressive white boulders and beautiful beaches with clear water, small coves, and sea caves. Gaios, is the picturesque village with pretty houses and narrow streets. The old windmill, the Venetian fort, and the Ipapanti sea cave are the sights to see on the island before one crosses over to Parga or to Antipaxi. A virgin, quiet island, just made for truly relaxing holidays, Antipaxi has some wonderful beaches and a tiny village.

Corfu Lefkada's eastern side has dense vegetation and smooth shores. On the west, the coast is steep though there are many long sandy beaches. But the sea everywhere is that deep blue. Lefkada is a distinguished island with its impressive Venetian castle and the monastery of Phaneromeni. The capital town is a picturesque and quiet place with its characteristic multi-coloured wooden houses. Villages built next to the sea. Excursions through the forests to the many sights, such as the ruins of the prehistoric city and the circular tombs. Scenic fishing villages on the western pebbled shores lapped by the crystal clear sea.

Kefalonia is the largest of the lonian islands. Green rocks plunge suddenly into the deep blue waters. Picturesque villages and small beautiful towns highlighted by old mansions and "humble" farmhouses; a little further over, the ruins of some ancient city. Kefalonia has been justly called the island of contrasts: Roman, Venetian, and Byzantine ruins, side by side with famous beaches.

The capital Argostoli is where the sea pours into spectacular swallow-holes and disappears endlessly into subterranean tunnels forming a rare geological phenomenon. The water reappears at Lake Melissani, an incredible semi-underground lake of clear turquoise and indigo water. Nearby is the Drogarati cave, a large stalagmitic cavern of rare beauty. To the north is the small village of Fiskardo, and its pretty harbour, that has escaped the earthquakes and retains the old style buildings.

Kefalonia Ithaki is known to the world as being Odysseys' homeland. Its enchanting coves turn it into paradise on earth despite its small size and mountainous nature. The west side of the island is steep and bare in contrast with the east which is verdant and slopes gently down to the sea. The visitor can go on excursions to the intensely lonian, traditional seaside villages, and visit the medieval monastery of Taxiarhon and the wonderful caves of the island that are just begging to be explored. Green Ithaki is a much loved place, with scenic beaches, sleepy little villages, and an ideal spot for an unforgettable vacation.

The southernmost island of the lonian, almost triangular in shape, is idyllic Zakinthos. It has its own way of enchanting the visitor and engraving itself in his memory. It is not easy to forget the emerald sea, the pine covered hills, or the hospitable and openhearted inhabitants of Zante, as it is otherwise called. Up high, above the modern town with its beautiful buildings in the typical Zakinthian style, is the Venetian castle; churches are everywhere in the city of St. Dionysios, the island's patron saint. Small coffee shops and picturesque villages are to be found among the olive and almond trees, in or around fields planted with vines and vegetables.

Zakinthos has many fine sandy beaches with calm, clear waters. On some of them, the visitor can meet the sea turtles Carettacaretta, just before he crosses over to beautiful Strofades, a group of small islands.

The verdant island of Kithira is located off the southeast corner of the Peloponnese. It is ringed by wide sandy beaches and clean seas, while the interior justifiably impresses with traditional villages, castles, monasteries, and churches.



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