The Ionian islands are located on the western side of mainland Greece, forming the sea borders with Italy. Ionian Islands vacations are popular for their green landscape and the wonderful Ionian beaches with crystal water. Corfu and Zakynthos are the most popular islands, with Kefalonia and Lefkada are also developing some popularity. Navagio, Myrtos, Agios Gordis and Porto Katsiki are the most photographed sandy beaches in the Ionian Islands. Lefkada is famous for its exotic blue water, while the islands of Paxi-Antipaxi have gorgeous bays. The rest of the Ionian islands, like Ithaca and Kythira, do not have as impressive beaches, but they do attract visitors for their relaxing family atmosphere. Due to the many islands in close distance to each other, the Ionian Sea is sailors paradise. Ionian Islands vacations start with these best beaches:
Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia
Myrtos Beach is about 30km from Argostoli, the capital of Kefalonia. This serene strip of sugar-white pebbles and cobalt-blue water rewards the traveler with peaceful silence and simplicity. You won’t find any jet skis here, just a simple kiosk to grab a snack and admire the view. Myrtos Beach has long been one of the most famous beaches in Greece. It is hard to get to, with 2 km descending down a mountain road, but you’ll be glad you did. If you have kids, be careful of the sharp shelving of the beach into deeper water. There is a snack bar on Myrtos Beach, but it is worth the trip to hop in the car and head to Platanos, a wonderful restaurant that sits on pretty Assos harbor and is famous for its fresh ingredients.
Voutoumi Beach, Antipaxi
Voutoumi Beach bookended by blonde rocks, a deep-green woodland backdrop, and cyan-hued water gently lapping at your feet. This beach is not known to most people and most travelers miss it. It’s found on the almost uninhabited island of Antipaxi. You’ll have to catch a caique from sister island Paxi to reach it, and the last boat returns at 5:00 pm. There is a great restaurant, Bella Vista, which is a bit of a climb up some steps. But you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the bay below and they have a great menu of fresh fish and local fare.
Porto Katsiki, Lefkada
Porto Katsiki Beach is a very dramatic beach with foamy white waves rolling over aqua waters toward towering cliffs. Porto Katsiki Beach is one of the world’s top beaches. The beach is wind-blown and ruggedly beautiful, and your first view of this dramatic beach and ocean will likely take your breath away. In the late afternoon, the sun turns those serene white cliffs the color of honey, to match the sun tanned bodies below. If you don’t want to eat at the snack bar in the car park, take a 10 minute walk from the beach up the hill above, and you’ll find Bilvi which is a nice spot for lunch. Make sure to have the calamari or souvlaki.
Petani Beach, Kefalonia
At Petani Beach on the Paliki you’ll find beautiful navy-and-turquoise water. This is a lovely little beach with the finest white sand, and water so clear it looks as if the yachts which pull in for lunch are floating. There are loungers for the available and the sweet notes of bouzouki music that plays in the background. This is a gently sloping beach with the most enticingly clear water you’ll find in Greece. Make sure you eat at Erasmia tavern which has front-row sunset views with a menu of fresh fish.
Navagio Beach, Zakynthos
Navagio Beach (or Shipwreck Beach) is the most famous beach of Zakynthos lying on the western side of the Ionian island, close to Anafotiria village. It is considered to be one of the best beaches in the world. The Shipwreck is one of the most photographed landscapes in Greece. The sand has completely surrounded the ship which now looks like it emerged from the sand. The vestiges of the ship can be seen in the middle of the large white sandy beach which has amazing turquoise and crystalline waters. Huge vertical cliffs of white rocks are surrounding the sand creating a unique and enchanting image. To reach this paradise, one has to take a little boat from the small port of Porto Vromi. These taxi boats are leaving every hour and the trip lasts 30 minutes.
Agios Spyridon Beach, Corfu
The popular resort of Paleokastritsa, surrounded by olive trees, fills the area down the mountain to its six small beaches. Agios Spyridon Beach has sapphire blue water, with a backdrop of tavernas. Its the perfect spot to swim and flop on the fine sand of the child-friendly, gently shelving beach. If the kids get bored, they can go on the nearby yellow submarine, a glass-bottomed boat experience. For a lunchtime feast of swordfish, grilled prawns and a wonderful nautical theme, go to waterside Limani taverna which is only a five minute walk from Agios Spyridon Beach.
Agios Gordios Beach, Corfu
Agios Gordios Beach is one of the most popular beaches of Corfu. The beautiful cove is nested among the lush green mountain surrounded by olive tree forests, vineyards and impressive rocks. The clear waters are ideal for a refreshing swim, and water sports equipment is also available for both children and adults. During the day, the beach is quite noisy with children playing in the waves. The beach is bordered by the impressive Ortholithi, a huge rock emerging from the sea.
Paleokastritsa Beach, Corfu
Paleokastritsa Beach is quite small but extremely known for its cold waters and delightful environment. It is considered as one of the best beaches in the Greek islands. It is surrounded by many bars and taverns therefore it is rarely quiet during the day. The area offers some excellent sea views. The beach is surrounded by olive tree forests, creating a dramatic yet beautiful scenery. It is considered one of the main tourist attractions in Corfu displaying a great number of hotels, bars and restaurants.
Egremni Beach, Lefkada
Egremni Beach is a beautiful beach situated 40 km southwest of Lefkada. The long sandy beach is surrounded by impressive barren cliffs that create a magnificent backdrop. The white sand, shiny pebbles and crystal clear waters compose an exotic setting that attracts thousands of visitors every summer. the beach has a long row of sunbeds and umbrellas stretching to the end of the beach. Egremni Beach also has some beautiful and more private spots. Despite the amount of tourists that visit here, the rocky landscape offers a feeling of nice isolation. A couple of beach bars are found right on the beach. The unique beauty of Egremni Beach is one of the most photographed landscapes in the world and it offers an ideal swimming experience.
Antisamos Beach, Kefalonia
Antisamos Beach is one of the most favorable destinations for swimming and sunbathing in Kefalonia. It is located close to the port of Sami. Antisamos Beache has natural beauty with turquoise waters and wonderful green hills surrounding the area with lush vegetation. At the beach you will find umbrellas and sundecks. The stunning scenery of the area will captivate you. This beach has gained worldwide recognition from the Hollywood movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, where some of the scenes were filmed here.
Gerakas Beach, Zakynthos
Gerakas Beach is one of the most attractive beaches in Zakynthos. This beach has turquoise water and unique unspoiled features. Gerakas Beach offers a shelter for the endangered sea turtle Caretta-Caretta. Then sandy beach is great for swimming and sunbathing. It is a large cove with wonderful clear waters and golden sand. Some rock formations are scattered along the seashore giving the beach a protected and isolated feel. The beach of Gerakas has an enchanting landscape and natural beauty that characterizes the island of Zakynthos.
Kathisma Beach, Lefkada
Kathisma Beach is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in Lefkada. It is located 15 km southeast of the main town, close to the village of Agios Nikitas. Kathisma Beach is one of the longest beaches in Lefkada with fine white sand and sparkling turquoise water. The beach is surrounded by a mountain backdrop which offers a feeling of total isolation, despite the major tourist activity. It is a preferred destination among the young crowds. Enjoy a refreshing swim and relaxing sunbathing at Kathisma Beach. It is also an ideal beach destination with several water sports available including sky parachuting. There are plenty of sun beds and umbrellas that cover the area.
Agios Ioannis Beach, Lefkada
Agios Ioannis beach is the closest beach to Lefkada. The long beach stretches for many meters and is surrounded by golden sand and blue green waters. The area boasts an exotic landscape which attracts thousands of visitors. At Agios Ioannis Beach you will find plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas. The beach here is usually windy, so windsurfing is very popular here and the area attracts many skilled windsurfers. There are cafes and water sports centers along the beach as well.