You don't have to put all your eggs in one basket on Ionian Islands holidays – you've got cloud-tickling mountains, blockbuster beaches and Italian-inspired towns to explore.

Wander west

The Ionian Islands trickle down Greece’s west coast in a chain. Starting in the north, you’ve got Corfu, Zante’s in the south, and Kefalonia’s sandwiched in the middle. Those are the big dogs, anyway. And they’ve got lots of green in their DNA, so the hiking’s just as good as the sunbathing.

Go green

These Ionian Sea islands challenge the stereotypical white-and-blue colour scheme with their forest-carpeted countryside. Kefalonia brings the mammoth mountains and Corfu’s great for nature walks – it’s even got a 220-kilometre-long route for hardcore hikers. And Zante’s interior’s just as wild as its nightlife. Itsy-bitsy villages and valleys are dusted with self-catering apartments and luxury villas.

Italian impact

Corfu Town’s the main contender for history buffs in the Ionian Islands arena. Corfu’s capital has been given the thumbs-up from the culture vultures at UNESCO for its Venetian forts and palace. Meanwhile, Zante Town’s a real trooper. It was hit by an earthquake and a fire in the Fifties, but it’s been rebuilt to resemble a mini-Venice, with pretty squares and churches.

Superstar sands

Kefalonia’s the Greek island with an A-list stretch of sand. The milk-white Myrtos Beach took on a starring role in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. And it’s no wonder when mountain-backed beaches are its speciality. Zante gives it a run for its money, though, with postcard-favourite Navagio Beach – also dubbed Smugglers Cove due to the shipwreck flumped on its sands.

At a Glance

  • Walk past olive groves, gorges and beaches on the Corfu Trail
  • Gawp at Kefalonia’s bright-blue Melissani Lake
  • Party ‘til the sun comes up in Zante

Top Destinations