The Ionian Islands are situated in the Ionian Sea, just off the west coast of mainland Greece. Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Lefkada, Ithaca, Paxos and Kythira are the principal islands with Kefalonia being the largest. The Ionians are blessed with beautiful stunning beaches, bluest of blue seas, quaint villages of which can often be found in the mountains and amazing wonderful countryside which is lush and blooming with greenery. Mother nature at her best. The islands have their own individual quality and they all deliver everything you could wish for regarding a Greek holiday. A favourite area for sailing holidays and diving trips due to the Ionian waters amazing clarity, quayside tavernas, 'short-hop' sailing. Corfu is probably the most famous of the Ionians, as it's been a package holiday favourite since the 1960s. Regardless of being busy with countless hotels and apartment blocks, you can still find the true spirit of the island away from the beach resorts if you try.
Zante is also extremely popular with travellers and is frequented in mass in the summer season but still has its charm. Kefalonia a true darling was made famous by Louis de Bernières book Captain Corelli's Mandolin, but remains unspoilt.
Mythical Ithaca, the legendary kingdom of Odysseus, a stunning jewel of the Ionian. Lefkas although pretty with mountain villages isn't the home of the best beaches but is known for its walking trails.
A Devastating chain of earthquakes hit the Ionian Islands beginning on August 8, 1953. A total of 113 earthquakes were recorded in the area. The most powerful earthquake struck the region on August 12, 1953. It hit at the southern tip of the island of Kefalonia. This earthquake measured 7.3 on the Richter scale and caused widespread damage across the island of Kefalonia and the island of Zante. Many lives were lost due to the earthquake. Nearly every single home was destroyed. The northern part of Kefalonia Island near Fiskardo escaped the worst of the damage. The episode of earthquakes has been the worst natural disasters to involve the Ionian Islands. This earthquake struck around midday and caused massive destruction. In the town of Zakynthos on Zante, only two buildings survived the earthquake and the rest of the town had to be rebuilt. New buildings have been replaced in some instances next to ruins of original houses. You can still see some ruined mountain villages which were ravaged in the earthquakes eg Old Farsa, Kefalonia.
The Ionians were settled at an early date, possibly as early as 1200 BC. Since, they have been ruled by the Roman Empire, the Repubic of Venice, Napoleon Bonaparte and, at the beginning of the 19th century, briefly by the British.
The French French and British occupations explain some of the reason the Ionian Islands vary in character from neighbouring island groups.
They are also greener and have lush vegetation this is due to a high level of rainfall compared to the rest of Greece.
People of the Ionians are a very open hearted and friendly folk and it doesn't take long to get to know them.
It is possible to travel between islands via ferries which run daily from some destinations. Flight times from the UK to the Ionians are approx 3 and half hours. Thomson, First choice, Skytours, Olympic, Monarch and Thomas Cook travel to Corfu, Kefalonia, Ithaca, Zakynthos and Lefkada, there are some smaller companies which offer a more tailormade trips to the smaller islands. Easyjet also have flights to these islands.