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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