Also known as the Western Greek Islands, the Ionian Islands are one of the most popular vacation destinations in all of Europe. Principally comprised of the "Seven Islands" of Corfu, Paxi, Ithaki, Zakynthos, Kythira, Lefkada and Kefalonia, the Ionian Islands are famous for their sun-drenched beauty, breathtaking beaches and the remnants of Ancient Greece which dot their rolling green landscapes.
While all seven of the major islands in the chain are home to a wealth of attractions, activities and beaches, some of the top draws in the Ionian Islands include:
-Corfu Town: Small but very welcoming to visitors, Corfu Town is where most Ionian vacations commence, as it hosts the islands' main airport. Corfu Town is well worth a look around, even if you're headed on to a different destination, for its charming architecture and relaxed pace of life.
-Nymphes: If you want a slice of heaven on Earth, all you need to know about this town is that, according to ancient Greek legend, the alluring and beautiful nymphs would bathe in its waterfalls.
-Skala: On the southeastern edge of Kefalonia, Skala is perhaps the single most popular stretch of real estate in the entire island chain. This is the place for you if you want to be in the center of the action.
-Yachting and marinas: Greek island sailing is the stuff of legend, and if you are willing to spend on a yacht rental for the day, you'll be able to say you've toured the Greek Islands by yacht. Ionian sailing is also a great ideal way to spend a day if you've gotten tired of tanning on the beach.
-Inland outdoor adventure: It's easy to get drawn into the allure of the beaches and overlook the outstanding horseback riding and hiking that you can enjoy in the interior of the Ionian Islands.
One of the best ways to enjoy the Ionian Islands is by staying in a vacation rental rather than squeezing into a cramped hotel room. Vacation rentals like beach villas and apartments downtown offer more privacy and space, and they feature all the comforts of home. Consider renting a luxury beachfront vacation rental with a spectacular ocean view if you want to enjoy the best the Greek Islands have to offer.
From the Ionian Islands, it's easy to head onto mainland Greece for a tour of historic Athens. However, if you want to continue your trek through the Mediterranean Sea, the nearby Aegean Islands are every bit as spectacular.