Ionian Islands


The Ionian Islands are a group of islands west of the Greek mainland and Peloponnese. The islands were initially Greek, later became Macedonian. For most of their history the islands were part of whatever empire had invaded Greece. First came the Romans and then the Eastern Roman Empire. This was followed by a long and prosperous period where they were under the Byzantine Empires rule.

As a result of the Crusades they became part of the Republic of Venice. This happened in the 12th century. After the fall of Venice in the Napoleon war they came British under British protection. Initially this was welcomed by the islanders but when Greece became independent in 1830 not so much anymore. In 1864 the Ionian Islands were finally given to Greece. With this gesture the British supported the enthronement of the George I. who - unlike his successor Otto - they considered pro British.

A Bay with a nice beach on Zakyntos
Picture: © Mirko Wilhelm - Fotolia.com

The Ionian Islands consist of six larger and countless small islands. Most important are: Corfu, Kythira, Lefkada, Ithaki, Kefallonia, Zakynthos and Paxos. The islands are greener with more rain than the islands in the eastern part of Greece. Corfu, Kefallonia and Zakynthos have an airport. The others are easy to reach by boat.


The islands from north to south:

Corfu is biggest of the islands and probably also the best known. The island is only a few kilometres off the Albanian coast. Corfu can be reached directly by boat from Italy. The "Pink Palace" is probably the most famous Youth Hostel in all Europe. It's massive. The only available option to book is half board (from 21 Euro in dorm room). Staying there means party 24/7. They got pool table, table tennis, whirlpool and other amenities available. If you look for peace and quite this is the wrong place to be. If you up for mayhem Pink Palace is your first choice.

Corfu Town
 Picture: © eyewave - Fotolia.com

Paxos ist he smalles of the islands. It has an area of only 20 km˛ with about 5000 people living there. There are a few nice villages and beaches.

Lefkas is connected to the mainland by a bridge. There is little tourism. It is therefore relatively unspoiled.

Kefalonia is quite big (40.000 inhabitants) and surprisingly green. Despite its size and he presence of an airport there is very little tourism. Most of the locals are farmers. The main attraction of the islands are the caves.

Ithaka is a beautiful island. It's quite small but famous. Odysseus allegedly lived here.

Zakynthos is a popular destination for package holiday makers. Despite the tourism the island is still a good place to go. The beaches are awesome, hiking and cycling are most popular. The island is also famous for sea turtles.

Zakynthos at Night
Picture: © Argonautis - Fotolia.com

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