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Ionian Islands Travel Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Discover the Ionian Islands

May 26, 2024 12 min read.

The Ionian Islands offer visitors a unique combination of natural beauty, history, culture, and entertainment. In this travel guide to the Ionian Islands you will find the necessary information to plan your trip.

What Are the Ionian Islands?

The Ionian Islands are a group of islands located off the western coast of mainland Greece. There are seven main islands in the group: Corfu, Paxi, Lefkada, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and Kythira. Here we tell you everything you need to know to discover the Ionian Islands without missing a thing.

The islands are known for their stunning natural beauty, crystal clear waters, sandy beaches, and lush green vegetation. The climate is Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and mild winters.

The Ionian Islands are a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to enjoy the beautiful scenery, explore the historical sites, and experience the local culture and cuisine.

Each of the Ionian Islands has its own unique character and attractions. Corfu is the largest and most cosmopolitan island, with a rich history and lively nightlife. Paxi is a quaint little island with crystal clear waters and charming villages.

Lefkada is famous for its stunning beaches and water sports. Ithaca is a quiet and unspoiled island with beautiful scenery and ancient ruins. For its part, Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands, with rugged coastlines and beautiful beaches.

Zakynthos is known for its beautiful beaches and sea caves, as well as its lively nightlife. In turn, Kythira is a quiet island with a rich cultural heritage and beautiful landscapes.

Picture of Victor Malyushev on Unsplash

Location of Ionian Islands 

Next, we show you where the Ionian Islands are located:

Map of Ionian Islands on Google Maps

What to Visit in the Ionian Islands?

The Ionian Islands are home to a wealth of historical, cultural, and natural attractions. Here are just a few examples of the many fascinating and beautiful sites of interest if you're wondering what to explore in the Ionian Islands.

Achilleion Palace

Located on the island of Corfu, this impressive palace was built for Empress Elisabeth of Austria at the end of the 19th century. It has beautiful gardens and spectacular views of the sea and the surrounding countryside.

Navagio Beach

This iconic beach on the island of Zakynthos is famous for its crystal clear waters and the rusting hulk of a shipwreck that has been stranded on the beach since the 1980s.

Myrtos Beach

Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, Myrtos Beach is located on the island of Kefalonia. It has crystal clear waters, dramatic cliffs and stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Ancient Olympia

Located on the western coast of the Peloponnese, the ancient city of Olympia hosted the first Olympic Games in 776 BC. Visitors can explore the ruins of the old stadium and temples, as well as a museum with a collection of artifacts from the site.

Fanary Village

This picturesque village on the island of Lefkada offers stunning views of the sea and the surrounding countryside. Visitors can explore the narrow streets and traditional architecture, as well as a nearby lighthouse and several beautiful beaches.

Melissani Cave

Located on the island of Kefalonia, this impressive sea cave features crystal clear waters and an underground lake with an island in the middle. Visitors can explore the cave on guided tours.

Venetian Fortress

Located in the town of Zakynthos, this historic fortress was built by the Venetians in the 16th century to protect the island from invaders. Visitors can explore the fortress and enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding sea and city.

What to Eat and Drink in Ionian Islands

Would you like to explore the Ionian Islands from its delicious flavors? The Ionian Islands are known for their delicious and unique cuisine, which combines traditional Greek flavors with influences from Italy and other Mediterranean countries.

A popular dish from the region is sofrito, a meal made with thinly sliced ​​beef or veal that is marinated in white wine, garlic, and vinegar, then stewed with onion and parsley.

We also recommend trying the Pastitsada, a succulent pasta dish that is very popular on the islands of Corfu and Lefkada, and the Avgotaracho, a traditional appetizer made from cured fish roe, which is served thinly sliced ​​and is usually accompanied by lemon, oil olive and bread. .

And another typical dish is the Bourdeto. This spicy fish stew is a specialty of the island of Corfu, made with scorpion fish or other white fish, cooked in a rich tomato sauce with hot peppers and served with potatoes or rice.

As for dessert, you cannot miss the Ladopita. This traditional dessert is a sweet and savory cake made with layers of phyllo dough, cheese, and honey.

As for drinks, you must try the kumquat liqueur, made from the small, bitter citrus fruits grown on the island of Corfu.

Also, kumquat liqueur is a popular after-dinner drink that is sweet and spicy, or Robola wine, produced on the island. from Kefalonia, is a fresh, dry white wine made from a local grape variety and pairs well with seafood and other light dishes.

Other popular drinks in the Ionian Islands include ouzo, an anise-flavored hard liquor that is popular throughout Greece, and tsipouro, a hard liquor that is often served as an aperitif.

How Is the Culture in the Ionian Islands?

The culture of the Ionian Islands is a unique blend of Greek and Italian influences, reflecting the island's strategic location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean.

The Ionian Islands have a rich musical heritage, with a wide range of styles and influences. Traditional Greek music is prominent, but the islands also have a strong tradition of Italian-style opera, as well as jazz and other genres.

Likewise, when visiting the islands you will observe a unique architectural style, with colorful and ornate buildings, with balconies, arches and other decorative elements.

In turn, the Ionian Islands have a strong religious tradition, with Greek Orthodox Christianity being the dominant faith. Religious festivals and celebrations are an important part of the cultural calendar, and many churches and monasteries are important landmarks in the region.

Additionally, the Ionian Islands have their own distinctive dialect of Greek, incorporating Italian and other influences. Italian is also widely spoken, particularly on the island of Corfu, which was under Venetian rule for centuries.

In general, the culture of the Ionian Islands is a unique and fascinating mix of Greek, Italian and Mediterranean influences, shaped by the history, geography and cultural heritage of the islands.

Picture of Alexander Mils on Unsplash

How to Get to the Ionian Islands

The Ionian Islands can be reached by air, sea, or land, depending on your location and travel preferences. Here are some of the main ways to get to the Ionian Islands:

  1. By air: The easiest way to reach the Ionian Islands is by air, as most of the islands have their own airports. Corfu, Zakynthos and Kefalonia have international airports with flights from the main European cities during the summer season. Lefkada can be reached by flying into Preveza airport on the mainland and then taking a short drive to the island.
  2. By ferry: Ferries connect the Ionian Islands with the Greek mainland and other islands in the region. Corfu is the main ferry hub for the Ionian Islands, with regular connections to Igoumenitsa and Patras on the mainland, as well as Italy. Other islands also have ferry connections to nearby destinations.
  3. By car: The Ionian Islands are connected to the mainland by a network of roads and bridges. If driving from Athens, you can reach the Ionian Islands by crossing the Rio-Antirrio bridge to reach the mainland city of Patras and then taking a ferry to the islands.
  4. By bus: There are bus services that connect the Ionian Islands with the main cities of the mainland. Buses usually leave from Athens and other cities and stop in the main towns and cities of the islands.
  5. By private transfer: Here you will find our offer of private transfers to enjoy your vacation with all the comfort and security, with permanent monitoring and without surprising extra charges.

How to Get Around the Ionian Islands?

There are several ways to get around the Ionian Islands, depending on your preferences and budget. These are some of the main options:

  1. Car Rental: Renting a car is a popular way to get around the islands, giving you the freedom to explore at your own pace. There are several car rental agencies available on each island, and prices vary depending on the type of car and the duration of the rental.
  2. Public Transport: Public buses operate on most of the islands and connect the main cities and towns. The schedules and frequency of the buses vary according to the island and the season, so it is advisable to check in advance. Taxis are also available on each island, but they can be expensive, especially during high season.
  3. Scooter or ATV Rental: Scooter or ATV rental is a popular alternative to car rental, especially for those who want to explore the island's roads and smaller towns. Rental prices are generally cheaper than car rental, and there are many rental shops available on each island.
  4. Boat Hire: Renting a boat is a great way to explore the islands; coast and nearby islands, especially if you are staying on an island with many coves and bays. Boat rental agencies are available on each island, and prices vary depending on the size of the boat and the duration of the rental.

Best Time to Visit Ionian Islands

The best time to visit the Ionian Islands is during the summer months, from June to September, when the weather is warm and sunny with little rain.

Peak tourist season is in July and August, when the islands are busiest and most expensive. If you prefer a quieter, more affordable vacation, it's best to visit in June or September, when the weather is still warm and the crowds are thinner.

Spring and fall are also great times to visit, especially for those who enjoy cooler weather and outdoor activities like hiking and biking. The islands are less crowded during these months and prices are generally lower.

It is important to note that the weather in the Ionian Islands can be unpredictable, with occasional storms and showers, even during the summer months. It's a good idea to check the weather forecast before your trip and pack accordingly.

In general, the best time to visit the Ionian Islands depends on your personal preferences and travel plans. Whether you're looking for a busy summer vacation or a quiet getaway in the off-season, the Ionian Islands offer something for everyone.

Beaches of the Ionian Islands 

The Ionian Islands are, within the Greek Islands, known for their impressive beaches, with crystal clear waters and an impressive natural landscape. Here are just a few of the many examples to be found of the beautiful beaches of the Ionian Islands, each with its own unique charm and character.

Picture of Marija Zivanovic on Unsplash

Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach), Zakynthos

This iconic beach is famous for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, white sand, and the shipwreck that sits on the shore. It can only be accessed by boat.

Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia

This stunning beach is surrounded by cliffs and offers panoramic views of the Ionian Sea. The beach itself is made up of fine white pebbles and crystal clear water.

Porto Katsiki, Lefkada

This beach is known for its spectacular scenery, with steep cliffs and crystal clear waters. It can only be accessed by a long staircase or by boat.

Paleokastritsa Beach, Corfu

This beach is located on the northwest coast of Corfu and is surrounded by lush green cliffs. It is a popular destination for swimming, diving and water sports.

Voutoumi Beach, Antipaxos

This small but impressive beach is located on the tiny island of Antipaxos and is famous for its crystal clear waters and fine white sand.

Agios Gordios Beach, Corfu

This popular beach is located on the west coast of Corfu and offers a long stretch of golden sand and crystal clear water.

Is It Worth Visiting the Ionian Islands?

Of course! The Ionian Islands stands out for its incredible landscapes and its fascinating culture. In addition, the region is known for having amazing beaches for a wonderful holiday in the sun.

In turn, due to its proximity to Athens and Santorini, many travelers combine their trip to the Ionian Islands with these destinations, which is why you will find these sites in several of our offers.

Are you looking to marvel at the most incredible landscapes? Do you want to know a fascinating culture? Do you want to taste exquisite cuisine?

If your answer is "yes", at Greca we have several proposals for tourist packages to the Ionian Islands, which you can modify and adapt according to your needs and times.

There are travel packages for all tastes. Choose your own adventure according to your needs!

More Travel Guides!

If you have been interested in our travel guide to the Ionian Islands and you want to continue learning about this and other wonderful destinations, we invite you to look at the section of all our Travel Guides. Plan your next adventure with Greca!

How much does it cost to eat in the Ionian Islands?

A meal in a local tavern can cost between 15 and 30 euros per person.

What month is cheapest to travel to the Ionian Islands?

In general, the cheapest months to travel to the Ionian Islands are spring and autumn.

When is the high season for the Ionian Islands?

The high season of the Ionian Islands normally falls during the summer months, from July to August.

What are the requirements to visit the Ionian Islands?

You must have a 6 month old passport to enter the Ionian Islands.

What currency is used in the Ionian Islands?

The currency used in this region is the euro.

How many days are needed to visit the Ionian Islands?

This will depend on your itinerary and personal preferences, however if you only plan to see the highlights of the Ionian Islands, a week will suffice.

Is it safe to travel to the Ionian Islands?

Traveling to the Ionian Islands is completely safe. However, as in any trip to another part of the world, it is recommended to be cautious.

How do I book my trip to the Ionian Islands?

To book your trip to the Ionian Islands, you can contact one of Greca's sales representatives or contact us through our official page, completing the form for your place and date of interest.

What airport to arrive to go to the Ionian Islands?

Corfu, Zakynthos and Kefalonia have international airports with flights from major European cities during the summer season

What is the most picturesque island of the Ionian Islands?

Ithaca is a quiet and unspoilt island with beautiful landscapes and ancient ruins, so if you are looking to feel sheltered by a destination with a friendly and calm atmosphere and at the same time to be amazed by the most impressive views, then this is definitely the island for you. that should be on your itinerary.

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