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Ionian Islands

Asos at Kefaloniá

Sprinkled randomly off western Greece, the Ionians are also known as the Eptánissa, the Seven Islands. Politically lumped together since Byzantine times, they share a tendency towards scenic grandeur, but, where the cliffs and mountains give way, the landscapes are more Tuscan than the Greek island stereotype, swathed in olive groves and cypresses, bathed in a soft light. They also get more rain, only to be rewarded with spectacular displays wild flowers in spring. Summers, however, tend to be hot, lacking the natural air-conditioning that is provided by the meltémi wind in the Aegean.

Weather and history aside, each Ionian island has a distinct personality. Corfu (Kerkyra in Greek) is a major international destination, with its gorgeous beaches and World Heritage town. Zakynthos, with more lovely beaches, is a popular clubbers’ choice, but has calmer bits as well and spectacular scenery.

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Corfu

Diapontia Islands

Kefaloniá

Lefkada

Zákynthos

Antikythera

A famous shipwreck and climate research

Antípaxos

Bijou island of beaches and wine

Átokos

A little islet for sailors

Echinádes

Spiky hedgehoggy islets

Elafónisos

Soft pink sands and an ancient city

Ithaki

At the end of the Odyssey

Kalamos

A small and piney best kept secret

Kastos

More obscure than Kálamos

Kythera

Island of Aphrodite

Meganisi

Jagged jigsaw beauty

Páxos

Small is beautiful

Strofádes

Text © Dana Facaros

Images by mitko_denev, Orange Tuesday, Creative Commons License, orientalizing, Public Domain, Rachel Bickley, Victor Malyushev on Unsplash