Travel by ferry to Ionian Islands from the two main ports of Western Greece, Patras and Igoumenitsa, and discover some of the most popular islands of Greece!
The Ionian Islands are on the list of the most popular along with the Cyclades and Crete and are a cluster of seven of the largest islands, known as the Seven Islands, stretching along the west coast of Greece. They consist of Zakynthos, Ithaca, Corfu, Corfu, Kefalonia, Lefkada, Paxos and the somewhat isolated from the rest of the Ionian Islands, Kythera, located in the south of the Peloponnese. The architecture of the capital cities, including Corfu Town, Zakynthos Town and Argostoli, is very similar to the Venetian style, as these islands were occupied by the Venetians in medieval times, with the result that their culture and history are closely linked to Italy.
In addition to this Italian flair, these islands have a magnificent natural beauty with lush greenery with olive groves and pine trees reaching down to the water, medieval castles and monasteries, mythical buildings and museums, all of which highlight their culture and rich history, wonderful beaches, amazing routes, marine parks where turtles and seals find refuge, beautiful mountain villages and interesting sights. Apart from the natural beauties, and the wonderful climate, these islands play a leading role in the water sports sector for windsurfers and kite surfers, but also for nature lovers with tours through paths in green landscapes as well as wonderful cycling routes.
Corfu, Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Lefkada are the most popular holiday islands, while Ithaca, Paxos and Kythera are ideal for peaceful and relaxing holidays.
There are so many reasons to visit the Ionian Islands, all you have to do is make a booking in advance to find availability according to your preferences!
Getting to the Ionian Islands by ferry
Getting to the Ionian Islands by ferry is possible only from the ports of western Greece. There is no connection from the ports of Athens. More specifically, the ports which serve routes to the Ionian Islands are Patras, that connects you with Kefalonia and Ithaca, Igoumenitsa, that links passengers with Corfu and Paxi and lastly, the port of Kyllini, that offers routes to Kefalonia and Zakynthos. Ferries to Kythira depart from Neapolis in the Peloponnese and few from Piraeus port. The approach to the port of Lefkada is by road.
From Patras port to Kefalonia and Ithaca
- The connection from the port of Patras to the island of Kefalonia and Ithaca is on a daily basis and the duration of the crossing is 3.5 hours and 4 hours respectively
From Igoumenitsa port to Corfu and Paxos
- There are daily trips from Igoumenitsa to Corfu and from Igoumenitsa to Paxi, all year round. The ferry duration for the crossing to either Corfu or Paxi is almost 1.5 hours
From Kyllini port to Kefalonia and Zakynthos
- From the port of Kyllini there are daily multiple routes to Kefalonia and Zakynthos.The duration of the trip is 1.5 hours and 1 hour and 15 minutes respectively. The port of Kyllini is located 7 km south of Patras and is easily accessible by car or bus
Ferry Connections to Kythira
- The connection with the island of Kythera is made from the port of Neapolis in the Peloponnese 5 times a week and the cruise takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. In addition there is a connection to Kythira from the port of Piraeus with 2 calls per week and a travel time of 6.5 hours
Getting to Lefkada Island
- Considering that Lefkada is connected to mainland Greece by a bridge, it is more convenient to reach it by bus or car. Therefore, there are no ferry connections to Lefkada. You can reach Lefkada by ferry only from Ithaca, Kefalonia and Meganissi. The ferries arrive either at the port of Nidri or at the port of Vassiliki
Holidays in the Ionian islands
Undoubtedly, holidays on the Ionian Islands are a favorite destination for thousands of tourists every year from every corner of the world. The mild climate, lush vegetation, beautiful mountains, and gorgeous beaches are without a doubt some of the advantages of the Ionian Islands.These heavenly islands include some of the most famous and photographed beaches such as Egremni and Porto Katsiki in Lefkada, the Shipwreck of Zakynthos and the stunning Myrtos beach in Kefalonia are all award-winning beaches worth visiting.
The presence of Europeans in the Ionian Islands, when the rest of Greece was still under Ottoman occupation, brought significant intellectual development, which is visible in the architecture of their cities, their customs and their culture.
All the Ionian islands have something special, from cosmopolitan Corfu, the picturesque Paxos, the unique Lefkada, the green Kefalonia, the unique Zakynthos and the enchanting Kythera with its remarkable archaeological findings.
Each island charms the visitor with its magnificent natural beauty, fantastic sights, opportunities for activities for the most active and high gastronomy with unique refined local specialties of Corfu such as sofrito, bianco, burdeto and pastitsada and local products such as tzitsibyra and kumquat or sweet mantolato in Zakynthos.
Highlights of the Ionian Islands
The highlights of the Ionian Islands are many and are detailed on the page I have dedicated to each of them.
However, for your reference we mention below some of the most important ones:
Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach): is a popular day trip destination where the beach’s centerpiece is a long-abandoned freighter—the remains of a smuggler’s shipwreck with white sand and marble cliffs.
Blue Caves: visit these sea grottoes, carved by thousands of years of erosion, to bask in the glow of the cobalt-blue water that creates a magical reflection on the caves' pale stone walls.
Myrtos Beach (Paralía Mirtos) : a regular on lists of the world’s best beaches, Myrtos Beach (Paralía Mirtos) is a 0.5-mile (700-meter) expanse of gleaming white sand curving between two high promontories on Cephalonia’s north coast.
- Paleokastritsa: a village with a string of beaches, olive groves, and cypress forests set against the glittering Mediterranean Sea
- Old Fortress (Palaio Frourio): a 14th-century Venetian fortress is a striking sight in Corfu, sitting atop the promontory between the Gulf of Kerkyra and Garitsa Bay and separated from the mainland by the Contrafossa moat. Today, the Old Fortress (Palaio Frourio) is home to a Byzantine art collection, Church of St. George, and a panoramic lighthouse
- Achilleion Palace: built as a summer residence by Empress Elisabeth of Austria in 1890, Achilleion Palace in the village of Gastouri is among the top attractions on the island of Corfu. Visit the palace designed by Italian architect Raffaello Caritto in a Pompeian style to see paintings and sculptures of mythical gods, including art dedicated to Achilles
- Kanoni: today is a quarter of Corfu Town, the island’s modern day capital. The name Kanoni is derived from the canons that protected the city near the entrance to the lagoon, which once featured the main port of Corfu. With a steep, rugged coastline covered in trees, Kanoni has just two beaches for visitors to enjoy, but there is plenty else worth seeing
- Corfu Town: the capital of the Greek island of Corfu, Corfu Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Twin fortresses, known as the Old Fortress and the New Fortress, stand atop two hills overlooking the old town, where you’ll find cobbled lanes strung with clotheslines, squares, museums, and an astonishing number of churches for a city of its size
- Spianada (Esplanade): also known as the Esplanade, the Spianada is the largest town square in Greece, located in Corfu Town on the island of Corfu. Located in front of the Old Fortress, its construction dates back to the French occupation during the Napoleonic Wars. It is one of the most popular tourist sites in the city, as well as the liveliest part of Corfu Town, reflecting the history of the island with a mix of Venetian, French, British and Greek buildings
- Porto Katsiki:on any tourist website or brochure for Lefkada, or Greece as a whole, you’ll see an image of this extraordinary beach, dwarfed by the white concave cliff behind. As you descend the 347 steps you may find yourself stopping to appreciate it from above
- Nydri Waterfalls: there’s an easy and scenic hike from the coastal town of Nydri to this waterfall in a gorge
- Cape Lefkatas: South of Porto Katsiki, the peninsula on the west side of Vasiliki comes to an end at Cape Lefkatas, which gives the island of Lefkada its name.The cape has white cliffs that tower to 70 metres, and it’s no wonder that this dramatic setting was significant to the islanders in ancient times
- Gerakari - the forest of Kythira : to the north of the island, after the traditional village Karavas meet the picturesque village Gerakaris which is located in the largest woodland in Kythera. Extends to the north-western side of the island and consists of pine, eucalyptus and native scrub vegetation in many cases reaching the sea. In Gerakaris not allowed camping and burning fires
- Water Mills: The natural area Mills is located in the traditional village Mylopotamos western in Kythira. The area is a valley with running waters that springs welling from the central square of the village, and a few dozen meters creating a waterfall Neraida, continuing their course along the valley, leading down to the sea
- The castle of Agios Nikolaos: on the homonymous island near the port of Gaios, has been declared a listed monument. It began to be built in 1423 and was rebuilt in 1510 by the Venetians according to a design by Leonardo da Vinci, which is still in the Venice Archives
Famous beaches on the Ionian Islands
The complex of the Ionian Islands is known all over the world for its spectacular beaches as it is home to some of the most famous and beautiful beaches in Greece. From secluded to popular, and from sandy to pebbly, these beaches have one thing in common - an unmatched unique beauty.
Some of the most representative beaches are:
- Zakynthos - Shipwreck or Navagio Bay
- Kefalonia - Myrtos
- Kefalonia - Antisamos Beach
- Lefkada - Porto Katsiki
- Lefkada - Egremni
- Corfu - Agios Gordios
- Paxoi - Mesovrika beach
- Kythera - Lagada beach
*Those who are unable to choose between which Ionian Island to visit, they can see them all in an unforgettable Greek Island hopping experience that will give them the best memories of their lives!