Ionian Islands

Untamed Beauty

ClassCompany NameTelephoneDestinationAddressEmailWeb
LApollonion Resort & Spa+30 26710 94400Kefalonia IslandXi Beach Lixouri, 28200
LApostolata Island Resort & Spa+30 26710 83581Kefalonia IslandSkala, 28086
LBozonos Luxury Villa & Spa+30 6976 220005Zakynthos IslandAkrotiri, Mpochali, 29100
LCorfu Holiday Palace Resort & Spa+30 26610 36540Corfu Island2 Nafsikas Str., 49100
LCorfu Palace Hotel+30 26610 39485Corfu Island2 Demokratias Ave., 49100
LElectra Kefalonia Hotel & Spa+30 210 3370006Kefalonia IslandSvoronata Beach, 28100
LEmelisse Nature Resort+30 26740 41200Kefalonia IslandEmblisi Bay, Fiskardo, 28084
LGelina Village+30 26630 64000Corfu IslandAcharavi, 49100
LGrecotel Corfu Imperial Corfu+30 26610 88400Corfu IslandPo Box 130,Tzavros-Kommeno, 49083
LGrecotel Eva Palace+30 26610 90003Corfu IslandKommeno, 49083
LIkos Dassia+30 26614 41600Corfu IslandDassia Bay, 49100
LIonian Blue+30 26450 29029Lefkada IslandNikiana, 31100
LIonian Emerald Resort+30 26740 22779Kefalonia IslandSami Karavomylos, 28080
LKontokali Bay Resort & Spa+30 26610 99000Corfu IslandKontokali, 49100
LMabely Grand Hotel+30 26950 41302Zakynthos IslandKampi, 29091
LMarbella Corfu Hotel+30 26610 71183Corfu IslandAgios Ioannis Peristeron, 49084
LMediterranean Beach Resort+30 26950 55230Zakynthos IslandLaganas, 29092
LOlea All Suite Hotel+30 26950 22265Zakynthos IslandTsilivi, 29100
LPerantzada Hotel+30 26740 33496Ithaca IslandOdissea Androutsou Str., 28300,Vathi
LPorto Zante Villas & Spa+30 210 8218640Zakynthos IslandTragaki, 29100
LRegina Dell’ Acqua Resort+30 26710 83390Kefalonia IslandSkala, 28082
LRoda Beach Resort Spa+30 26630 64183Corfu IslandKaroussades, 49081
LSt. John Resort Villas & Spa+30 26950 24178Zakynthos IslandTsilivi, 29100
LThe Lesante Luxury Hotel & Spa+30 26950 41330Zakynthos IslandTsilivi, 29100
AAeolos Beach Resort+30 26610 33132Corfu IslandPerama, 49100
ABest Western Zante Park+30 26950 52310Zakynthos IslandP.O. Box 191 Laganas, 29100
ACephalonia Palace Hotel+30 26710 93112Kefalonia IslandXi beach, Paliki 28200
ADelfinia Hotels Corfu+30 26610 76320Corfu IslandMoraitika, 49100
ADiana Palace Hotel+30 26950 23070Zakynthos IslandArgassi, 29100
AEmerald Villas & Suites+30 26950 32006Zakynthos IslandAg. Nikolaos, Volimes, 29091
AKaterina Palace+30 26950 26998Zakynthos IslandArgassi, 29100
AKefalonia Bay Palace+30 26740 23860Kefalonia IslandAghia Efimia,
ALouis Plagos Beach+30 26950 62800Zakynthos IslandTragki, 29100
ALouis Zante Beach+30 26950 51130Zakynthos IslandLaganas, 29092
AMarblue Beach Resort+30 26630 98500Corfu IslandSpyridon Str., Perithia, 49100
AMediterranee Hotel+30 26710 28760Kefalonia IslandLassi, 28100
AMessonghi Beach Holiday Resort+30 26610 83000Corfu IslandMoraitika, 49100
ANefeli Hotel+30 26950 25418Zakynthos IslandArgassi, 29100
ANissaki Beach Hotel+30 26630 91232Corfu IslandPo Box 69, Gimari, 49100
APalatino Hotel+30 26950 27780Zakynthos Island10 Kolokotroni & Koliva Str., 29100
APorto Galini Hotel+30 26450 93290Lefkada IslandNikiana, 31100
APorto Skala Village Hotel+30 26710 83501Kefalonia IslandSkala, 28082
ATUI Sensimar Caravel Resort & Spa+30 26950 45261Zakynthos IslandPlanos, 29100
AZakantha Beach Hotel+30 26950 26441Zakynthos IslandArgassi, 29100
AZante Maris Hotel & Spa+30 26950 24830Zakynthos IslandTsilivi, 29100
BBelvedere Hotel+30 26610 72442Corfu IslandAgios Ioannis, Benitses, 49100
BBest Western Galaxy Hotel+30 26950 51171Zakynthos IslandLaganas, Zakynthos Island, 29100

Location

Paleokastritsa beach, Corfu, Ionian Islands, GreeceThe Ionian group of islands comprises seven principle islands: Corfu, Kefallonia, Zakynthos (or Zante), Ithaca, Lefkada, Kythira and Paxi. Strung along the west coast of Greece, the isles of the Ionian Sea constitute the Greek boarders to Europe and in many ways they are more reminiscent of their close neighbour, Italy.

Transportation

Zakynthos Bay, Ionian Islands, TransportationProfusion of airports in the region makes Ionians an easily accessible destination, with Corfu, Zakynthos, Kefallonia, Kythira and mainland Aktion airport, near the island of Lefkada, all offering excellent arrival points.

Ferries and hydrofoils cruise frequently from mainland ports to the islands. Large passenger ships on their way to the Italian Adriatic ports often stop to Corfu, while Kefallonia is serviced primarily from the port of Patras and Zakynthos from the Peloponnesian port of Kyllini.

History & Culture

Venetian Castle, Byzantine Museum of Zakynthos, Ionian Islands, GreeceThe Ionian islands share a long common history. According to Homer, they were very important during Mycenaean times. Corfu was the isle of the potent Phaeacians, Odysseus last stop on his journey home to the isle of Ithaca, next to Kefallonia. Nevertheless, no magnificent palaces or other constructions from that period have been revealed, apart from Mycenaean tombs. Then, most of these islands passed the classical antiquity and Hellenistic times being backwater colonies or vassals of other Greek city-states.

It is certain that their lands have seen many conquerors: Romans, Saracens, Normans and Franks, but the ones who really made a difference were the Venetians, who ruled them between 1485 and 1797. Venetian traces are currently particularly evident in their architecture – especially in Corfu, which has escaped any disastrous earthquakes – and in their local Greek dialects, which still contain many Italian/Venetian words.

In 1797 the French democratic flag was raised in the Ionians. A year later, the Turks tried to invade the islands only to be repelled by the fleet of the Russians, who established the Autonomous Greek State of the Seven Islands. In 1809 the region becomes a domain of the British Empire before its restitution to Greece in 1864.

Sightseeing & Monuments

Corfu Old Town, Ionian Islands, GreeceCorfu Town is the premier tourist attraction of the Ionians, thanks to the delightful mix of Venetian, French and British Georgian buildings, straddled by two majestic fortresses. The focus of the town is park-like Spinada Square or Esplanade, made up of cobbled alleyways, arches and colonnades. Near the square lies Corfu’s Archaeological Museum, which houses the pediment sculptures from the Temple of Artemis (580 BC) in the ancient town and other finds from local archaeological excavations. Recommended sights are also the Town Hall, which is a splendid example of Venetian architecture, and the 12th century Byzantine Churches of St. Jason and of St. Spyridon. The ancient Kerkyra (which is also the Greek name of the island) lies just south of Corfu town. Beyond its ruins stands Kanoni; jumping off point for a couple of beautiful islets. The first – church topped Vlacherna – is linked to Corfu by a picture-postcard causeway, while verdant Pontikonissi (Mouse island) is reached by regular caique and said to be the boat of Odysseus turned into stone by the wrathful Poseidon. Further afield, Corfu has a disparate collection of other sights like the Royal Palace at Achillion, built by Empress Elizabeth (Sissy) of Austria in the 1860s (now housing a museum and the island’s casino), and the beautiful spot of Palaeokastritsa, home to a castle and a monastery replete of important icons.

In Kefallonia, apart from the Archaeological museum at Argostoli, the island’s main attractions are the Venetian Castle of St. George and the Monastery of St. Gerasimos, Blue Caves, Ionian Islands, GreeceBlue Caves, Ionian Islands, Greece​home to the body of the monk who is the island’s patron saint. In addition, the area of Lassi, near the capital Argostoli, is the location of “Katavothres” (swallow-holes), a rare geological phenomenon. Here, seawater enters openings in the rock and “disappears”. Only recently were scientists able to trace it; they found that it travels underground northeast all the way across the island finally to emerge at a partially visible subterranean lake at Melissani. When the sun is directly over the cave of Melissani, its rays strike the ultramarine water, shattering into a myriad of colours and creating an unmatched sight.

The inspiring Zakynthos town is the capital and port of the island, featuring wide arcaded streets, imposing squares and gracious neoclassical public buildings. It has two museums, the Neo-Byzantine and the Solomos museum. The latter is dedicated to poet Dionysios Solomos who was born there and is regarded as the father of the modern Greek poetry as his “Hymn to Liberty” became the Greek national anthem. Don’t forget to visit the sea caves to the North (they resemble to the famous Blue Grotto of Capri), and a sailing trip to the west side of the island will bring you to an extraordinary secluded beach with a shipwreck embedded in the sand.

Sports & Leisure

Kanakades hiking, Corfu, Ionian Islands, GreeceThe Ionian islands offer a wide range of sporting facilities, which can be integrated into every visit. In Corfu the Golf Course of the island is an 18-hole championship course, designed by the British specialist Donald Herradine, while the island capital has one of the few cricket grounds in Greece. The verdant tame mountains of Zakynthos and Kefallonia are ideal for trekking and climbing. Modern sporting facilities for tennis, cycling, horse-riding and mini-golf, along with an array of water-sports, complete the picture of the impressive sporting infrastructure of these islands, guaranteeing an extraordinary time for sports enthusiasts in the Ionian.

Gastronomy & Shopping

The cuisine, like the culture of the Ionians, is unique and differs from the rest of the Greek islands and the mainland. The favorite dish in Corfu is “bourdeto”, a selection of fishes cooked in lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Other local specialities are the white wine of Corfu, the Kumquat liqueur and the local cheese. When in Kefallonia, don’t forget to taste the thyme scented honey, the special cookies of Lixouri and the famous local “robola” wine, which carries the aroma of the fir-covered slopes of Aenos. Don’t leave Zakynthos before tasting the best-known delicacies of the island, the “mandoles” and “mandolato” or nougat, the local traditional almond sweets.

All three islands have an impressive variety of goods to offer to shoppers, from top designer labels and exquisite jewellery to fine antiques and high quality leather goods. Fine examples of folk art and crafts are displayed in shops all over the islands: hand-woven textiles and embroideries with intricate designs, objects of all kinds carved out of olive wood, silver utensils and lovely jewellery.

Cultural Events

Local Traditions, Corfu, Ionian Islands, GreeceThe finesse of the Ionian islands in combination with their great contribution to the arts and culture for centuries, will fascinate visitors even more. Of the many cultural events that take place in Corfu, the most significant is the “Varkarola” feast on the 10th of August. During the celebrations commemorating the defeat of the Turkish fleet by the Venetians, the sea in the bay of Garitsa is flooded with lights from fire carrying boats and islanders sing traditional local songs. From August to September one may view the performance of the Corfu festival, including opera and ballet. Various musical and theatrical events are also organised by the Municipalities of Zakynthos, Kefallonia and the rest of the Ionian islands from May to September.

People & Lifestyle

Corfu Peopole, Ionian Islans, GreeceThe turbulent history and the many conquerors enriched instead of weakening the cultural characteristics of the inhabitants. Influences from Mediterranean Europe and Britain have been stronger, yet incorporated with special individualities on each island. The people of the Ionians have managed to develop their own distinctive culture, which has produced many of modern Greece’s finest scholars and personalities of theatre, literature and music. The islanders are also famous for their good humour, mellifluous dialect, cheerful manner and particularly friendly attitude. At night the streets in Zakynthos and Kefallonia echo with the “candades”, the joyous or melancholic local songs, accompanied by tender tunes on guitars. In Corfu the artistic tradition of the island is to be seen everywhere with exhibitions of plastic arts, performances and competitions of philharmonics and majorettes parades.

Nightlife & Entertainment

Ollea All Suite Hotel, zante, Tsilivi, GreeceThe islands of the Ionian seem to exist between two worlds: one of escape into an exquisite serenity, and the other of fun and entertainment against a background of cafes, bars and beach clubs to deluxe night-clubs and the famous casino of Corfu for the elite. Traditional taverns, especially in Zakynthos, offer romantic serenading with local Italian-styled music, for those who prefer a personal “note” with their meal.

Ecology

Caretta-Caretta, Zakynthos, Ionian Islands, GreeceLaganas bay in Zakynthos, blessed with a number of gently shelving beaches of particular fine sand, is the nesting area for some 80% of the Mediterranean’s population of the Loggerhead turtle “carreta-carreta”. The World Wide Fund and Greenpeace have called for the area to be declared a marine national park for the protection of this endangered species. Corfu, on the other hand, is famous for attracting bird-watchers and flower enthusiasts, while in the national park of Kefallonia there is a protected zone for the wild horses of Mt. Aenos and other rare species of fauna and flora.

Conference Facilities

Grecotel Corfu Imperial, Corfu, Ionian Islans, GreeceCorfu, Zakynthos and Kefallonia boast a great number of excellent hotels, many of which operate all year round, offering a full range of facilities. Most hotels on the islands offer convention and congress facilities, while there is a number of tourist agencies catering to all the needs of business travel. New modern conference centres are currently being constructed in Corfu (400 delegates) and in Zakynthos (1,700 delegates) which, combined with the high cultural standards, the natural beauty and the modern transportation facilities of the islands, elevate them as one of Greece’s premier destinations for conference and business related tourism.

More Destinations in Ionian Islands

Corfu Old Town, Ionian Islands, Greece
Corfu
Island
Kefalonia, Ionian Islands, Greece
Kefalonia
Island
Zakynthos, Ionian Islands, Greece -
Zakynthos
Island
Lefkada, Ionian Islands, Greece
Lefkada
Island
Kioni, Ithaca Gastronomy, Ionian Islands, Greece
Ithaca
Island