There are seven main Ionian islands, which gives the group its Greek name of Eptanisa, which literally means 'seven islands'. There are also one or two smaller islands such as Antipaxos and Antikythira too. Six of the main islands are in the Ionian Sea, tucked between Greece and Italy, while the seventh, Kythira, stands on its own at the foot of the Peloponnese, not really logically in any of the main Greek island groups.
Because of their location the Ionians are rather different from the Greek islands in the Aegean, being greener and not quite as burningly hot in the summer. In winter they can get quite a lot of rain, especially the most northerly island, Corfu. It's what gives the island its lushness, and is why it's got an unusual feature for a Greek island: a golf course.
The Ionians are all popular holiday destinations, and quite right too. They're very good for windsurfing and sailing, and they all have some spectacularly beautiful beaches. Corfu Town is one of the most cosmopolitan towns in all the Greek islands, having been influenced by the French, the Italians and the British, while retaining its uniquely Greek atmosphere.
We especially love Corfu, as we've each written a guide to the island, and we've also written two together: Spiral Corfu and Corfu and Beyond.
Click on the picture links below for more information about the individual Ionian Islands.
Want some ideas on what to do in Heraklion when you have your kids with you?
The best things to do on Crete and top things to see include the Samaria Gorge, the Minoan Palaces at Knossos, Malia and Phaistos, the towns of Iraklion, Ayios Nikolaos, Sitia, Hania and Rethymnon.
Greece Travel Secrets goes hiking in southwest Crete with Ramblers Walking Holidays based in Paleohora and hiking the E4 footpath and to Anidri and Azogires.
If you're going to Corfu take a look at our travel guide for the Kindle: Corfu and Beyond. This is what one US 5-star review said: 'Just back from our trip to Corfu and this was by far the most helpful of the travel guides we read.'
Click on the cover to go to the Amazon UK page for the book. Click here if you want the Amazon USA site.
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