The pleasantly mild climate, deep waters (the deepest in the Mediterranean) and the famous meltemia: the soft, northwestern winds and sea breeze, make the Ionian Islands perfect cruising grounds. Zakynthos, Ithaca, Corfu, Kefalonia, Lefkada, and Paxos are the six large Ionian Islands. Antipaxi, Erikousa, Mathraki, Othoni, Meganisi and the uninhabited islets of Strofades complete the set.
From Zakynthos in the south to Corfu in the north, the islands are lush and green, with towering mountains at their spine and stunning horseshoe beaches fringing the water, which is ideal for windsurfing and diving. Although Ithaca lacks sandy beaches, it is less touristy and offers some excellent hiking trails. As the island that featured in the best-selling novel, and film - Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Kefalonia is perhaps the best known in the family.
Less touristy, but offering up some of the most magical beaches, is low-key Lefkada. When the sun gets low, head inland to the mountain tavern, Panorama, in Athani. As the name suggests, the view alone makes it worth the journey, but they also serve a reliably good selection of Greek classics. If the beaches in popular Paxos are too busy, anchor in one of the nearby quieter coves and enjoy the tranquillity. In Corfu Town, head to the lively locals’ haunt, Tsipouradiko, located near the Old Port and visit the Moni Theotokou 13th century monastery perched on the rocky promontory at the end of Paleokastritsa