Five Unique Experiences in Greece’s Ionian Islands

 

When most travelers think of the Greek Islands they think of islands in the Aegean Sea like Santorini or Mykonos. And though those are amazing holiday destinations, the Greek Islands in the Ionian Sea have a lot to offer travelers as well.

Situated just west of mainland Greece and across from the southern tip of Italy, these islands have been blessed with stunning beaches and charming villages. Travelers can book flights to Zakynthos, Corfu, or Lefkas and then travel between the islands by sea.

Below we have collected five unique experiences to give travelers a small taste of what’s possible during a trip to the Ionian Islands.

Breakfast at Shipwreck Bay, Zakynthos

This bay, just around the corner from the famous Blue Caves on Zakynthos, is one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Penned in between massive cliffs and crystal blue waters, the bay plays home to a large beached shipwreck, which is fascinating to explore. The lovely swimming and sunbathing attracts hundreds of tourists in the summer, but here’s the trick: pack a picnic breakfast, set off at the crack of dawn and get there in time to have the beach to yourself. Because it is only accessible by boat, there’s never anyone there before 9 or 10am. It does require an early start, but there’s nothing better than eating fresh peaches, Greek yoghurt and local honey on a stunning beach with no one else in sight.

Shipwreck Bay gets its name from the wrecked hull of a smuggler's ship which is on its shores.

Shipwreck Bay gets its name from the wrecked hull of a smuggler’s ship which is on its shores.

Beach Day at Myrtos, Kefalonia

Kefalonia is certainly a stunner, as all across the island there are picturesque villages and white-sand beaches. The small town of Fiscardo is considered to be one of the prettiest villages in the entire country, as its small lanes are packed with tavernas and old Venetian shophouses. But just a few miles south is the real attraction: Myrtos Beach. Here an impossibly white stretch of sand meets the sky-blue water in what is one of Greece’s top postcard sights.

Kefalonia's Myrtos Beach is one of the most picturesque spots in all of Greece. Photo credit Matt Sims.

Kefalonia’s Myrtos Beach is one of the most picturesque spots in all of Greece. Photo credit Matt Sims.

Tea at The Peligoni Club, Zakynthos

The Peligoni Club is the sort of place where the same families come back every year for decades on end. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t welcoming to newbies and one doesn’t have to pay club membership to enjoy the gorgeous restaurant. Come here for the afternoon, find one of the rustic booth tables built into the cliff, order a pot of tea and watch the windsurfers as the sun goes down.

Dinner at I Rachi, Lefkas

The most impressive scenery in Lefkas is the cliffs that surround the island, so it’s only fitting that the best dinner spot on the island is on top of the cliffs. Get to I Rachi by 7pm in time to watch the sunset and be prepared to wait for a table. The traditional Greek food is great, the prices are pleasingly low and the atmosphere is unbeatable.

The cliffs of Lefkas are certainly breathtaking.

The cliffs of Lefkas are certainly breathtaking.

Cocktails in Kassiopi, Corfu

There are bigger and more bustling places to start the evening than Kassiopi, but on a holiday that’s all about tranquility and cool, one can’t do better than this idyllic little harbour town on Corfu. A handful of picturesque but still authentic bars and restaurants line the waterfront and it’s certain that the big tables will be full of glamorous groups who’ve pulled into the port for the night. Angevine, on top of Passion Club, has the best views, but there’s more to watch at the much beloved Kostas Bar, as it has Greek dancing every night.

Tourists walking on the streets of Kassiopi. Photo credit Stefan Radu.

Tourists walking on the streets of Kassiopi. Photo credit Stefan Radu.

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