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Traditionally known as 'the seven islands', the Ionian islands are clustered off the coast of western Greece. Pick one for family holidays and winter sun, or choose two or three to visit during your trip.
When on Corfu, you can set your own pace for your holiday. Relax on the sand, read under a cypress tree, or take advantage of the island's bustling nightlife and watersports. The buildings and streets show off European influences and lots of colour. A walk in the arcades will transport you to Paris, and the smaller alleys and back streets have clear Italian design roots.
You can see Greece from Kefalonia, as it's only 30 miles away. Holidaymakers come here to explore the breathtaking mountain ranges and forests. Myrtos, to the north of the island, is a popular sunbathing spot with white sands and limestone cliffs. A wine tasting tour is the ideal way to see more of the island, particularly the ancient vineyards.
Zante is a consistently popular choice for Ionian islands holidays. Nicknamed 'the flower of the Levant', the island has broad appeal and plenty to see and do. All amenities can be found here, as well as a wide choice of foods. Swimmers can explore the sea caves around Zante – where you might spot a turtle.
Paxi is actually two islands: Paxos and Antipaxos. They are the smallest of the Ionian islands and can only be reached by ferry. Antipaxos is a quiet, secluded place to enjoy some of the region's best beaches and wines. On Paxos, the vast olive groves and friendly local hospitality give you an authentic taste of Greece.
The first things you'll notice about Lefkas is how bright it looks: the lush greenery and turquoise waters are simply beautiful. Head for the middle of the island and you might also see sheep wandering around. You can reach Lefkas via a causeway linked to mainland Greece, as there is no airport on the island itself. The weather can be breezy at times, making it ideal for windsurfing and kite flying.
Ithaca is a short ferry ride from Kefalonia. Odysseus, the hero of The Odyssey by Greek poet Homer, famously comes from Ithaca. Numerous street names and attractions on the island are named for Odysseus. Wander around ancient monasteries, yacht-filled marinas and sleepy harbours at your leisure. If you visit in summer you may also experience a 'panigiria', one of Ithaca's many local festivals.
As one of the lesser-visited islands, Cytheria has plenty of appeal for the curious. It's also irresistibly romantic, with historic links to Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Fly from Athens, Kefalonia or Zante, or sail from Crete to discover this unspoilt island.