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.
Greece Travel Secrets page on Phaistos or Faistos, the site of one of the finest Minoan palaces on Crete and is where the mysterious Phaistos Disc was found.
The culturally rich city of Kavala in eastern Macedonia is the area's major seaport and the base for ferries to the islands of the North East Aegean, including Thasos, and beyond to the Dodecanese.
Aegina in the Saronic Gulf Islands of Greece is an easy day trip from Athens. This page from Greece Travel Secrets also gives details of ferries and what to do on the island.
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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