With their cooler climate, abundant olive and cypress trees and forested mountains, the Ionians (Τα Ιόνια Νησιά) are a lighter, greener version of Greece. The Venetians, French and British have all in their own way shaped the architecture, culture, (excellent) cuisine – and the unique feel of Ionian life.
Though the islands appear linked in a chain down the west coast of mainland Greece, each has a distinct landscape and cultural history. Corfu Town has Parisian-style arcades, Venetian alleyways and Italian-inspired delicacies. Kefallonia boasts soaring mountains and vineyards; Paxi's Italianate harbour villages are impossibly pretty; and soulful Ithaki preserves wild terrain and a sense of history. Zakynthos has sea caves and waters teeming with turtles. Lastly, Lefkada has some of the best turquoise-lapped beaches in Greece, while Kythira feels off-the-beaten-path and mysterious. The Ionians offer something for adventure seekers, food lovers, culture vultures and beach bums alike.