The Ionian Islands is a group of islands in Greece, belonging to the Ionian Sea. They are more popularly referred to as the “Seven Islands”. Aside from these 7 major islands, though, Ionian Islands are made up of several smaller islands. Travel to the Ionian Islands and you will have much to explore.
As of 2011, there is an estimated population of 207,855 people living in the Ionian Islands. It ranks third in the entire country in terms of population density. Corfu is the most populated of all the 7 major Ionian Islands.
The GDP per capita in the Ionian Islands is at 18,440 Euros, which is lower than the national median. The unemployment rate in Ionian Islands is however the lowest in all of the Greek regions. A good source of income for the island is tourism. The region is a well-known tourist destination in Greece. In fact, the airports in Corfu, Cephalonia and Zante are among the busiest in Greece in terms of international arrivals.
Official Language: Greek is the official language in Ionian Islands.
Wi-Fi Availability: There are several public wireless internet hotspots in the Ionian Islands. Most hotels also offer free Wi-Fi to their guests.
Airport/s: The Kefalonia International Airport in Greece is the closest airport for those who travel to the Ionian Islands.
Visa Required: Citizens from EU countries can travel to the Ionian Islands for an unlimited time. British citizens can enter but require a valid passport. Meanwhile, those who travel to the Ionian Islands from the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand can travel to Ionian Islands visa-free for a maximum of 90-day stay.
Driving: In the Ionian Islands, you will be driving on the right hand side of the road.
International Driver’s License Accepted? You can use a European driver’s license in Ionian Islands. If you don’t have one, you need an international driving license.
Crime: The crime rate in Greece (in general) is low and in the Ionia Islands, crime is basically non-existent. There is very little crime but you still have to be vigilant of isolated crimes especially in busy areas.
Electrical Adapters: The average voltage in the Ionian Islands is 220 volts at 50 Hertz.
Trivia: DID YOU KNOW that there are 7 main islands that make up the Ionian Islands: they are namely Corfu, Paxos, Ithaca, Lefkas, Kythira, Cephalonia and Zakynthos.
Cuisine in Ionian Islands
Greece is best known for its delicious culinary tradition. Its access to the Mediterranean Sea and a bounty of fresh ingredients make it possible for locals and tourists alike to enjoy delicious food while in the Ionian Islands.
Below are some of the must-try dishes while on the island:
Sofrito: This is a classic Grecian dish that is famous in Corfu. This dish involves the use of thinly sliced veal that is covered in flour and then fried. After frying, the veal slices are incorporated with a tart sauce and mixed with lots of garlic and parsley. This tasty dish is often served with rice or mashed potatoes.
Bourdeto: This is another signature dish from Corfu although this one is spicy. The term literally means fresh fish. Hence, bourdeto is a dish wherein the fish is cooked in a spicy tomato sauce with a liberal use of red pepper. Some versions of this dish also involve adding in potatoes.
Chicken Tserepa: This is another chicken dish famous in the Ionian Islands. It uses an age-old technique of using a clay cooking vessel over charcoal.
Other notable and must-try dishes in the Ionian Islands include pissara, omeletta, riganada, poulenta, and bianceta.
Travel to the Ionian Islands
Myrtos Beach – This beach is located in the Kefalonia island at the Ionian Sea. The beach itself is surrounded by two towering mountains: Kalon Oros and Agia Dynati. It is one of the most popular attractions in Greece having consistently ranked among the top 10 beaches in Greece.
St. Spyridon Church – This Greek Orthodox Church is located in the island of Corfu. It was built during the 16th century and is where the relics of Saint Spyridon are held. The church is a single-nave basilica with the bell tower the highest in all of the Ionian Islands.
Achilleion – This palace can be found in the island of Corfu in the Ionian Islands. It was built for by the Empress of Austria Elisabeth of Bavaria. The palace opened in 1891 and is now a museum open to tourists.
Melissani Cave – This famous cave is a sought after attraction in the Ionian Islands. The cave covers the Melissani Lake wherein you will be able to enjoy swimming in crystal clear waters. The site is popular in Greek mythology as the Cave of the Nymphs.
Meteora – This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a cultural site and monastery in Thessaly. It is located near the Pindus Mountains. There are six monasteries that make up the site which are built on natural sandstone rock pillars.