Great Explorations


The east coast up to Kassiopi takes you through the resorts of Dassia, Gouvia, Ipsos, Barbati and Nissaki and up to Kalami and what is sometimes referred to as Durrell country. Kouloura fishing village is perhaps the best known view of Corfu. Great views of Albania and Lake Butrinto are to be seen on this drive too. Kassiopi is an old fishing village with a great harbour and the remains of an old castle. The emperor Nero and other famous personages passed through here.


Paxos

Paxos lies just to the south of Corfu and offers an idyllic contrast to the pace of life on Corfu. Quiet, small and beautiful it has famous Blue Caves on the west coast, old windmills, monasteries and charming coastal villages at Gaois, Lakka and Logos. AntiPaxos, just to the south, is famous for its wine and clear beaches. You can take boat trips to Paxos and Antipaxos.


Lefkada

The main port and capital of the island, Lefkada Town is surrounded by beauty and history. There is the town itself with many old streets and houses, the towering castles guarding the entrances to the island, the causeway and its boats and beaches, the large wetland lagoon with wild birdlife and the sense of history that pervades the whole island. There are Mycaenean remains, enchanting islands on the east coast, notably Skorpios of Aristotle Onasssis fame, forested highlands in the centre and some of the Ionian regions greatest views and beaches. The resorts at Nydri, Sivota and Vassiliki are situated around traditional fishing villages - there are also waterfalls near to Nydri.



Each of the regions of the Ionian is packed with fun places to visit or explore.


Corfu

Explore the old city of Corfu with its two famous forts, its UN World Heritage Old Town dating from the Middle Ages and its world-renowned historical buildings of Venetian, French and British origin.   

Visit the Kanoni Peninsula where Ancient Corkyra was established in the 6th century BC where you can find the ruins of ancient temples, early Christian churches and monasteries, the famous view of Pontokinissi or Mouse Island and the Mon Repos royal palace and gardens.

On the west coast there is Paleokastritsa and its famous monastery, then a short drive to Krini above Paleokastritsa to  Angelokastro, a Byzantine fortress and you can admire the most enchanting view in Europe overlooking Paleokastritsa. You can drive on over the headland to St George's Bay, Afionas and Arillas with spectacular views and beaches on the way.

Also on the west coast look out for great sights and beaches at Glyfada, Myrtiotissa and Ag. Gordis. The view of the sunset from Kaiser's Throne near Pelekas is a must.

The Achillion Palace in Gastouri, to the south of Corfu Town was once the summer residence of Elisabeth, Empress of Austria and later of Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.

It is now a museum with magnificent gardens. Kaiser Bridge, just below was the small harbour the Kaiser's yacht was moored to.

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Kefalonia

The largest of all the Ionian islands, it also has the highest peak in the region, Mount Ainos at 1,626m. The pine trees growing on the slopes of the central mountain range are unique to the island and the Ainos national park is one of the major attractions of Kefalonia.

The Palic peninsula with its magnificent west coast beach at Petani, has monasteries, pristine traditional villages and the second largest town, Lixouri and it offers many surprises - especially the southern beaches around Xi and Ag. Nicholas.

In the north, Fiskado, is a traditional fishing village that now offers superb yachting holidays while Myrtos beach on the way north has become the best known beach on the island. Assos nearby is like a fairy tale with its beautiful bay and Venetian fort on the headland.

On the east coast visit the beautiful fishing villages of Ag Efimia and Sami with views of Ithaka in the background. Nearby is the underground lake of Melissani and the amazing cave system at Drogarati.

Heading south from Argostoli, visit St. George's castle - originally dating  from Byzantine times and once the capital of Kefalonia. Nearby is the Omalos Valley with the famous monastery of Ag. Gerasimos and further south the great beaches around Skala and Poros. The turtle nesting beach is nearby at Mounda beach just after Katelios.

Argostoli, the capital (since 1757), is an attractive, tranquil port almost completely rebuilt since the earthquake in 1953. To the east of the town near Lassi are the katovothres or swallow holes - openings in which sea water disappears down seep holes to reappear near Sami. Lassi, just over the hill from Argostoli is one of the most popular beach resorts in Kefalonia. it has many excellent bays, beaches and coves to explore - and a great place to watch sunsets.

Ithaka

Always associated with Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey and regarded as the home of Odysseus, the hero, this small and compact island packs a lot of places to explore. The main port at Vathi is full of well-preserved and cared for waterfront houses and picturesque streets and enchanting views of the bay and Lazzaretto island. Not far away and overlooking the bay are the remains of an ancient city. There are also caves, particularly the Cave of Nymphs near Vathi, and lovely fishing villages at Frikes and Kioni. Look for the monastery of Panagia Katharion dating from the 16th century. Panagia Kathariotissa is the patron saint of the island.


Zakynthos

This popular holiday island is best known for its fascinating shoreline caves including the famous Blue Caves near Ag. Nikolaos. It is also the birthplace of the poet and author of the Greek National Anthem Dionysios Solomos. The capital and main port, Zakynthos Town is dominated by the bell tower of the Ag. Dionysos church and lies at the foot of a tall cliff atop of which are the exquisite remains of a Venetian fort set in a pine forest. There are well-known resorts at the sandy beaches on the south and east coasts like Laganas and Kalamaki and Argasi and Tsilivi but Navagio Beach in the north west is certainly the most famous; it is here that a shipwrecked cargo boat ended up after a great storm in 1983.

Zakynthos is famous too for its wildlife and fauna. Much of the island is forested and there is a wildlife park at Volimes. But more important is the Bay of Laganas which is one of the major nesting areas of the Mediterranean Loggerhead sea turtle.


Epirus

This ancient region of Greece has an abundance of exciting places to explore ranging from Alpine resorts and mountains to historic old towns and cities, ancient sites, lakes, rivers, wetlands and wonderful, unspoilt  beaches.

Ioannina and Dodoni are within easy reach of Igoumenitsa by car or by bus. Dodoni is perhaps the most famous Ancient Greek site in Epirus while Ioannina has a lake, a small island, the remains of a Turkish fortress and the old town to visit. The mountainous regions of Zagoria and Tzoumerka are just to the north and south of Ioanina respectively. Beautiful scenery, exquisite traditional villages and the second and third highest peaks in Greece after Mount Olympus.


Parga and Syvota are popular resorts on the coast of Epirus but there are other great beaches, some untouched, from Plataria to Preveza. There are also ancient Greek remains along the coast. Both Parga and Syvota have wonderful bays and sea fronts while Parga has an Old Venetian castle and nearby a castle built by Ali Pasha, the despot of Ioannina. Look out too for the Acheron river springs at Glyki and the Souli villages in the mountains above the river. There is Ancient Nikopolis at Preveza - built to celebrate Augustus Ceasar's victory over Anthony and Cleopatra - and the Zalongo Memorial to the women of Souli who threw themselves and their children off the mountain rather than be captured by Ali Pasha's men. Not to forget the famous Ancient burial site at Necromantion and much more; the area abounds in Ancient Greek and Roman, Byzantine and Medieval sites, monasteries and fortifications.

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Great Explorations   |   Taste   |   Eating out, entertainment and Clubbing   |   Beaches   |   Museums   |   Religious tourism   |   Things to do

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Great Explorations  |  Taste  |   Eating out, entertainment and Clubbing   |   Beaches   |   Museums   |   Religious tourism   |   Things to do

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