Ionian Islands

The Ionian Islands are a group of islands in the West part of Greece. They are traditionally called the Heptanese, i.e. “the Seven Islands,  but the group includes many smaller islands as well as the seven principal ones. As a distinct historic region they date to the centuries-long Venetian rule, which preserved them from becoming part of the Ottoman Empire, and created a distinct cultural identity with many Italian influences. The Ionian Islands became part of the modern Greek state in 1864.

The seven islands are; from north to south:

  • Kerkyra usually known as Corfu in English
  • Paxi also known as Paxos in English
  • Lefkada also known as Lefkas in English
  • Ithaki usually known as Ithaca in English
  • Kefalonia often known as Kefalonia, Cephalonia and Kefallinia in English
  • Zakynthos sometimes known as Zante in English and Italian
  • Kythira usually known as Cythera in English and sometimes known as Cerigo in English and Italian

The six northern islands are off the west coast of Greece, in the Ionian Sea. The seventh island, Kythira, is off the southern tip of the Peloponnese, the southern part of the Greek mainland.


The islands were settled by Greeks at an early date, possibly as early as 1200 BC, and certainly by the 9th century BC. The early Eretrian settlement at Kerkyra was displaced by colonists from Corinth in 734 BC. The islands were mostly a backwater during Ancient Greek times and played little part in Greek politics. The one exception was the conflict between Kerkyra and its mother-City Corinth in 434 BC, which brought intervention from Athens and triggered the Peloponnesian War.

Ithaca was the name of the island home of Odysseus in the epic Ancient Greek poem the Odyssey by Homer. Attempts have been made to identify Ithaki with ancient Ithaca, but the geography of the real island cannot be made to fit Homer’s description. Archeological investigations have revealed interesting findings in both Kefalonia and Ithaca.

Sailing Ionian Islands:

In our opinion, the islands off the west coast of Greece are the most magical in the world.