Ionian Islands

Ionian Islands: Why go

If you're after the Greece of turquoise seas and sculpted cliffs, as seen in countless tourist board ads, then head for the Ionian islands, fringing the west of mainland Greece. Those particular beaches are on Zakinthos ('Shipwreck beach') and Kefalonia (Myrtos), but there are countless more like them. A mild climate and the occasional rain shower keep the interiors lush and green, while gentle but reliable winds make these 6 islands a perfect destination for a sailing holiday.

Kefalonia (Cephalonia) is Captain Corelli country, and perhaps the most spectacular in terms of coastal and mountain scenery. Fiskardo is also one of the prettiest harbour villages in Greece. Just across the cobalt-blue straits, the deeply indented shoreline of neighbouring Ithaca is Homer’s mythical homeland, and our favourite spot to unwind, But it's northerly Corfu which is the best known, thanks in part to the magically evocative novels of Gerald Durrell. Don’t miss Corfu Town (Kerkyra), with its Italianate architecture and quaintly English customs (cricket and ginger beer), but do steer clear of teenage ravers in southerly Kavos. If you visit Zakinthos, tread carefully: some parts, such as Laganas, have succumbed to mass tourism (mostly British), though the Blue Caves and the jaw-dropping west coast are worth a visit. Finally don't overlook Lefkas (Lefkada): it may be linked to the mainland by a tunnel but it has a wonderfully hilly, unspoiled interior and some of the most translucent, azure waters imaginable.

16:32 | GMT + 2 Hours