Tucked into the western flank of the Greek mainland, the Ionian islands have long drawn travellers looking for Greek island charms. Big hitters like Corfu, Zakynthos and Kefalonia have awed visitors for decades; but there’s a clutch of hidden-away islands that offer a rare, untamed quality. Discover an Ionian island getaway where you can truly get away from it all.
Home of Odysseus, Ithaca is a mythical destination, with a rugged landscape swept by legends and ancient monuments. Gorgeous harbour villages and verdant inland trails await, making Ithaca a great outdoors destination for secluded natural experiences. The best beaches are accessible by boat, with a chain of hidden coves to explore offering incredible off-the-beaten-path beach days. Set off on breathtaking hikes, before kicking back on stunning beaches like green-clad Filiatro, picture-perfect Aspros Yalos, or Sarakiniko bay, where two beaches are fringed by olive trees that drop down to white pebbles and emerald waters. Sip coffee in Ithaca’s main town Vathi, where the picturesque seafront exudes understated style, before goggling the village idylls of Stavros and Anogi.
This tiny island chain is a veritable Greek paradise, where picture-perfect beaches meet quaint and traditional island living. Explore the picturesque Venetian harbour town of Gaios, the pretty villages of Loggos, Lakka and Ozias and immerse yourself in the ancient olive groves that dot the vibrant landscape – Paxi offers a dreamy island escape. Indulge in fresh fish in beachside tavernas, discover secluded beaches like Plakes, Levrechio and Pounda, or pop over to the island’s smaller neighbour Antipaxos for incredible local wines, renowned beaches and a cosmopolitan vibe. For a truly refreshing escape on Paxos, don’t miss the island’s famed hot springs.
Birthplace of Aphrodite, Kythera is a remote and romantic getaway nestled in the Laconian Gulf, which has inspired poets and filmmakers for years. Hidden-away mountain villages and dramatic gorges beset with shimmering waterfalls fill the interior, whilst the coast offers the usual jaw-dropping beaches, Byzantine castles and evocative Venetian harbour towns. The beautiful villages of Potamos, Platia Ammos and Agia Pelagia are must-sees for culture lovers, where historic streets hide traditional handicrafts and family-run tavernas; make sure to pick up the locally made thyme honey, an island favourite. As it takes a little more effort to get to than most islands, it has an unspoilt, time-warp quality to it; a rare gem for a spellbinding Greek island getaway.
Just off the coast of Lefkada lies the tiny island of Meganisi. Starting at the small harbour town of Vathy, discover the island life at its most relaxed. With the occasional boat of visitors and some passing yachts in the harbour, Meganisi remains a relatively untouched rock, where charming family-run tavernas can be counted on two hands and hidden sandy coves are only reachable by boat. For wonderful seclusion, Meganisi should be top of your list.
Mathraki is about as wild as it gets. Just off the coast of Corfu, the island offers a truly intrepid getaway, where the main transport is either two wheels or two feet. It’s very popular with campers due to its genuinely untamed feel. Discover rural hikes and secluded beaches, in a landscape that rewards explorers with paradisiacal beauty.
Sponsored article in collaboration with Visit Greece.