With their cooler climate, abundant olive and cypress trees, and forested mountains, the Ionians are a lighter, greener variation on the Greek template. Venetian, French and British occupiers have all helped to shape the islands’ architecture, culture and (excellent) cuisine, and contributed to the unique feel of Ionian life.
Though the islands form a chain along the west coast of mainland Greece, each has its own distinct landscape and history. Corfu Town holds Parisian-style arcades, Venetian alleyways and Italian-inspired delicacies. Lefkada boasts some of Greece's finest turquoise-lapped beaches, while Kefallonia is adorned with vineyards and soaring mountains. Paxi's Italianate harbour villages are postcard pretty, and soulful Ithaki preserves wild terrain and a sense of myth. Zakynthos has sea caves and waters teeming with turtles, and Kythira offers alluring off-the-beaten-track walks. Whether it's your first or 50th visit, the Ionians hold something new for adventure-seekers, food-lovers, culture vultures and beach bums alike.