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Ionian islands

The temperate climate; the deep and cool sea waters; the mountains; the lush vegetation; the cultural heritage; and the cheerfulness of the inhabitants, make the Ionian Islands the ideal place for a holiday as well as rest and relaxation. 

 What is more, the traits of the Ionian Islands are perfectly combined with a flawless tourism infrastructure, excellent hotel accommodations, restaurants, diving centers, sea sports, cultural events, and a multitude of sights, historic monuments and museums worth visiting. 

Scattered along the western coastline of Central Greece, the Ionian Islands as they are known, are an island cluster comprising twelve small and large islands whose total surface area comes to 2,200 square kilometers. Zakynthos, Ithaki, Kerkyra (Corfu), Kefalonia, Lefkada, and Paxoi are the six, large Ionian Islands.  Antipaxi, Erikousa, Mathraki, Othoni, Meganisi and the deserted islets of Strofades south of Zakynthos are the smaller Ionian Islands.

Together with the island of Kythira and the neighboring Antikythira the islands form the island cluster of Eptanisa. Nevertheless it should be noted that Kythira and Antikythira are completely cut off from the rest of the Ionian islands situated as they are across southern Peloponnese and the coast of Laconia.  

The Ionian islands have a mild and temperate climate which makes them the ideal location for vacation or residence.  In winter, the mountains of Central Greece stop the cold northern winds from reaching the islands while, in summer, the heat is tempered by the meltemia, the soft, northwestern winds, and the sea breezes.  Due to the air currents prevalent on the Ionian islands, many of the island beaches have developed into internationally acclaimed windsurfing centers. 

From the stripes of the national flag to its sugar cube villas and sparkling seas, Greece wears a uniform of blue and white. But Corfu throws an extra colour into the mix – green. Known as the Emerald Isle, the second-largest of the Ionian Islands is covered in cypress trees, olive groves and wild flowers. Corfu, the most northern and second largest of the Ionian Islands, and according to many people, it is one of the most beautiful islands in the country, lush, green and unique. It is also one of the best known of the Greek Islands, being the subject of many literary masterpieces, from Homer and Shakespeare to the Durrell brothers. It is a very popular destination for holidaymakers around the world. Despite its popularity is has retained much of its original charm, with its olive groves, wildflowers, magnificent beaches and colourful houses.
Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands, a green and mountainous haven, rich with flowers, trees and herbal scents that greet you as you arrive. The island has different feel to the other islands of the group, and although nearly 50,000 people live on the island, from first approach, there is a peaceful, quiet atmosphere to the island, the imposing mountains behind the shore only heightening this effect. Also, unlike neighbouring Corfu and Zakythos, the island hasn’t been over run with package tourism, allowing the island to keep its authentic, rustic feel.
The Flower of the Orient The Venetians once dubbed Zante – or Zakynthos as it’s also known – ‘The Flower of the Orient’, thanks to its lush countryside. And it’s a nickname that still rings true today. Olive groves, lemon trees and bougainvillea cover the whole island, peeking out from between rolling hills.Has miles and miles of impressive sandy beaches, particularly on the south and eastern coastline, many of which are set in quiet coves and bays.
The word-of-mouth island Lefkas is the sort of place you hear about on the grapevine rather than in the Sunday travel supplements. It’s one of Greece’s below-the-radar islands, and you’ll find it off the coast of the Preveza region, on the west coast of the Greek mainland.
The littlest Ionian island
The island has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC. It may have been the capital of Cephalonia during the Mycenaean period, and the capital-state of the kingdom ruled by Odysseus. The Romans occupied the island in the 2nd century BC, and later it became part of the Byzantine Empire. The Normans ruled Ithaca in the 13th century, and after a short Turkish rule, it fell into Venetian hands (Ionian Islands under Venetian rule).

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