Greece / Ionian Islands

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The Ionian Islands (Heptanese)

Gateway to a dreamworld with exotic beaches, scenic routes and luxury resorts.

Ionian islandsThe Ionian islands: a story of tropical beaches, turquoise water and white sand, medieval castles that once protected entire civilisations, neoclassical palaces which housed princes and kings, Byzantine churches where the greatest saints of the Orthodox church were praised, caves and shipwrecks which hold thousand year old secrets. Take your part in the story and let these enchanting islands become the scene for your holiday memories. Corfu, Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Lefkada, Ithaca and Paxoi invite you on an unforgettable trip to the Ionian. An ideal destination for those who have their own boat, organized facilities for those who are looking for extreme activities but also for those who need peaceful, rejuvenating holidays the Ionian Islands feature some of the best beaches in Greece with which you will fall in love at sight.

Sapphire Blue Beaches

The Ionian Sea has some of the most beautiful beaches in the whole of Greece, each awarded with a blue flag. Tropical Myrtos in Kefalonia, with water which is deep blue in some lights and green in others, white sands and steep imposing cliffs, has been called the finest coastline in Greece. The Shipwreck, Zakynthos’s most famous beach, hidden between cliffs, inaccessible and enchanting, Skinos in Ithaca with pines that reach down and touch the clear water, the Canal d’Amour in Corfu with white sculptured rocks and Kipiadi in Paxoi, with its magnificent blue waters and white pebbles, are just some of the amazing choices.

Architecture of Historical Importance

Starting from the island of Faiakes, Corfu, you could start your tour with two neoclassical palaces. First of all the Achillion, a palace where Austrian Empress Sisi spent a large part of her life and which was designed with the hero Achilles as its central theme. In the gardens there is a statue of the dying Achilles with the arrow piercing his heel. Then there is Mon Repos, the villa of the British Lord High Commissioner Frederick Adam, which was built in the centre of Palaiopolis.

From neoclassical creations to medieval castles and defensive fortresses. In Lefkada, the impressive castle of Santa Maura protected the island’s capital for centuries, in Zakynthos, the well-known fortress of Bochali is still a good state of repair while in Kefalonia, the castle of St George with the church of Evangelistria built on the hill outside Argostoli offers one of the most amazing views you will ever see.

The most important churches of the Ionian

There are three major religious centres in the Ionian: The church of Saint Dionysus in Zakynthos, St. Gerasimos in Kefalonia and St. Spiridon in Corfu. They are magnificent buildings with unique hagiography. Three places of worship which are well worth visiting. On the two smaller islands, Paxoi and Ithaca, two impressive churches are Agion Apostolon and Panagia Kathariotissa.

Natural beauty under protection

In Zakynthos something quite unique has been created. The first National Marine Park which looks after the loveable loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta Caretta) which are a protected species and lay their eggs on the beaches of Zakynthos in the safekeeping of those responsible for the park. Also, the cave of Melissani with its 20,000 year old stalactites and the green blue lake, along with the Drogarati cave is considered to be among Kefalonia’s most important sights.

Sea-related activities

It can’t be denied that the coastline of the Ionian features scenes of incomparable beauty. Its crystal clear waters are ideal for swimming. This, in combination with occasional strong winds, create the perfect conditions for watersports. Windsurfing, kitesurfing, wakeboarding, water skiing and diving are just some of the activities on offer. The beaches Milos, Vasiliki and Agios Ioannis in Lefkada are the top organized spots for those who are excited by the idea of extreme water sports. In Kefalonia, Xi and Skala and in Zakynthos, Alikanas and Alykes have well equipped water sports schools.

Heptanese Cuisine

The islands offer a variety of flavours, tastes and of course Italian influences. Traditional cheese products, tasty olive oil, plentiful fish and seafood, homemade liqueurs, (rosolia) the aromatic Corfiot kumquat, nougat and lentils are just some of the features of this delicious cuisine. Italian recipes and flavours are particularly popular such as “pastitsada” (meat casserole), “bourdeto” (fish in tomato sauce) and “savoro” (marinated fried fish), while Venetian culture also heavily influenced Ionian cuisine.

 
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