After the Cyclades and Crete, the Ionian islands are the most popular Greek islands complex of Greece.
Although the Ionian Islands are more difficult to access from Athens, the plane ride going there is worth every penny. If local charm, splendid natural scenery and sumptuous cuisine are what you are looking for in a great holiday destination, then this group of islands will pass the mark with flying colors.
Here are some of the attractions you may be interested in when visiting the area.
The Ionian Islands most popular destination is Corfu. A visit to the town center is like stepping into a charming Italian city due mainly to its elegant architecture, thanks to the island’s Venetian heritage.
Fortresses are also some of the attractions, one of which dates back to the 1500s and comes complete with a moat and a fantastic view of the city below. The idyllic Vlacherna Monastery in Kanoni is also a popular attraction in the area.
Also on top of the list of popular Ionian Islands is Kefalonia which inspired the famous novel turned into a movie – Corelli’s Mandolin. The island’s central square, Plateia Valianou is a favorite hang-out of locals and tourists alike. It is surrounded by plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops, as well as a sprinkling of museums on the island.
If you are an avid horse rider or if you have always wanted to try horseback riding, you will be glad to know that there are several stables located in the island. They usually cater to tourists who want to explore the island on horseback, which is a perfect form of transportation in the mountainous terrain of Kefalonia.
There is also the small village of Assos where you can go on hikes past the island’s characteristic whitewashed buildings towards the picturesque peninsula and the breathtaking views it affords.
For those who love a bit of history and beautiful architecture, the village of Fiskardo is a must visit and those who want to stay by the beach with accessible tourist facilities will enjoy what the resort village of Sami has to offer.
Island of Ithaki
If you are into trekking and do not care much about nightclubs and bustling tourist scenes, the island of Ithaki is a better fit for you. It is the least developed of the Ionian Islands and it features a rugged terrain of mountainous peaks and pebbled beaches. A good trekking trip around the island will take you along olive groves, vineyards and pine forests. The island is also said to be one Homer wrote about in the epic journey of Odysseus.
There is also Paxos, a small Ionian Island known for its olive groves and olive presses. In fact, there is an Olive Press Museum here that makes for an interesting stop while you are in the island.
The island is only 10 kilometers long, so you can easily explore it on foot if you are up to it. There are also exquisite coves and stunning beaches to discover along the coastline. Several day trips to nearby island destinations are also possible from Paxos such as the Grotto of Onananti, the Venetian Fortress of Parga and the yet unspoiled and stunning island of Andipaxi.