Itinerary: 7 Days in the South Ionian Islands
If there is a paradise, you’ll find it among the Ionian islands. The Ionian islands offer everything from traditional architecture and outdoor adventures to cosmopolitan cities and fine dining. With its wonderful climate, turquoise waters, and scenic harbors, the Ionian islands are a must-visit destination. This itinerary will take you from Lefkada all the way to Zakynthos and back, ensuring that you visit all the hot spots among the Ionian islands along the way.
1st DAY – Mainland Lefkada
Lefkada, located near the western coastline of mainland Greece, is known for its traditional culture. In Lefkada’s main city, you can navigate small alleyways which will take you to tiny squares, traditional houses, and elaborate bell towers. The houses in Lefkada are often painted in bright colors and are kept neat and tidy, with carefully trimmed flower beds outside of windows and along the sidewalk.
Lefkada is also home to the settlement of Agios Nikitas, a town only accessible by walking. With its picturesque harbor, abundant greenery, famous fish taverns, and delicious cafes, Agios Nikitas is a great place to spend a day.
2nd DAY – Lefkada’s Beaches
Lefkada has a number of very scenic beaches, with many different coves, rocks, and pine trees. Lefkada’s beaches include Seat, Eggs, Mills, Peukouli, and Amyglossa, but Enkremnoi and Porto Katsiki are it’s most famous.
Banked by steep cliffs, Enkremnoi has a beautiful natural look. Along with it’s turquoise waters Enkremnoi is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Greece.
Porto Katsiki is another famous beach, and it’s photographs can be seen all over the world.
Nydri a small town, is the largest tourist attraction on the entire island. Nydri is ideal for diving and water sports, as well as for it’s nightlife.
3rd DAY: Skorpios and Meganisi
Close to Nydri lies Skorpios, the island onced owned by Aristotle Onassis, a former Greek shipping magnate. In 2012, Dimtry Rybolovlev gave his daughter Ekaterina Rybolovleva the island as a gift for her birthday.
Meganisi is located in one of the hidden corners of the Ionian Sea. It is however, known and appreciated by sailing who enjoy docking in its beautiful turquoise waters.
Meganisi also sports plenty of luxurious yachts and famous visitors. But behind its high-profile guests, Meganisi has an ancient history. First mentioned by Homer in The Odyssey, Meganisi has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. There are many traditional settlements on the island, including Katomeri, which has traditional stone houses, small shops and plenty of bars.
4th DAY: Ithaca
Ithaca is a central symbol of Greece as it was home to Odysseus, the hero in Homer’s The Odyssey. One can discover the history of Ithica at the island’s archaeological museum. The capital and port of the island, Vathi, is built along a lush natural bay.
Vathi is a traditional settlement which has an intense Venetian influence. With it’s the tiled houses, large mansions and picturesque stone chapels, Vathi is sure to delight.
Vathi also has a small port, Kioni. Kioni mainly serves day cruises and week charters from the surrounding Ionian islands. It is a must-see inland known for its quiet taverns and happy people.
Also on Ithaca is the area of Kaminia, which is a wild, natural, impressive landscape, and home to emerald waters of a small bay. Ithaca is also home to Gidaki, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Ithaca and among the best in Greece.
5th and 6th DAY: Kefalonia
Kefalonia (also known as Kefallinia) is the largest island in the Ionian sea. Because of its unique beaches and green mountains, it has always been a popular destination to visit. Argostoli, the capital of Kefalonia, is a picturesque village built around the Koutavo sea.
Kefalonia is also home to world-renowned beaches, which makes it the ideal island to explore by boat.
People in Kefalonia also engage in many water activities, such as sea kayaking and diving which can occur in Kefalonia’s bays or in it’s caves.
Fteri beach is shown below, and it is one of the most beautiful places not only in the Ionian islands, but also in all of Greece.
Santa Efimia is one of the most beautiful villages along the coast of Kefalonia, and is located about 34 km away from the capital (Argostoli).
Assos, another village in Kefalonia has maintained many of its Venetian characteristics, making it a charming city you definitely should check out.
Myrtos is the most famous beach in Kefalonia and and has been rated among the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world according to TripAdvisor!
A destination that many celebrities love to visit during when they cruise is Kefalonia’s cosmopolitan city Fiskardo. Despite it’s modernization, many of the traditional aspects of the city remain. Kefalonia is sure to impress!
7th DAY: Zakynthos to Lefkas
In Zakynthos music is a huge part of the culture. Zakynthians often gather together to sing local songs.
Zakynthos has much natural beauty, with its pine tree-covered mountains, idyllic beaches, rocky shores, and impressive sea caves. The island also has a lot of historical monuments and traditions.
The Church of Dionysius is also located on Zakynthos and is the island’s most famous. Built in 1708 and situated beautifully on the beach, the Church of Dionysius dons a Venetian appearance and a bell tower exactly like St. Mark’s bell tower in Venice.
Navagio beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach, is a picturesque beach located on the north-east side of the island. In 1980, a ship allegedly smuggling contraband sailed around the island, before being abandoned on Naavagio beach, giving it its other name. According to many travel websites, the beach is one of the most beautiful in the world.
With its crystal clear waters, white sand beach, and stunning sharp cliffs, the beach is a must-see.
Gerakas is another beach in Zaynthos, and it is home to many turtle nests and baby Loggerhead sea turtes. The beach actually closes at 19:00 to leave the baby turtles in peace. If you get to the beach before dawn from May to October, you can actually see the hatching of turtle eggs and see them jump into the sea!
The beach of Mrathonissi is a small uninhabated island in the bay of Laganas on Zakynthos. It has beautiful white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and is home to plenty of those Loggerhead turtles.
The Laganas bay in Zakynthos is one of the most important shelters for sea turtles in the world.
In the morning one can return to Lefkada. This itinerary from Lefkada to Zakynthos is sure to impress for all travelers alike. It will take you to all the hot spots in the Ionian islands, and is a must-do trip for any true adventurer.