The Ionian Islands in Greece are one of the most popular destinations for holidaymakers and travellers in all of Europe. The vast array of towns and cultures, mixing the quaint with the boisterous, combined with a selection of stunning beaches and a wide range of activities to enjoy means that there is always somewhere that suits your tastes. Chocked full of incredible places to see and experience, we recommend you try to visit at least one of these incredible locations while visiting the Greek Ionian Islands.
Navagio Bay, Zante
The poster child for the Greek Islands, Navagio Bay, also known as Shipwreck Beach, is found in a rocky cove on the island's west coast. Impossible to reach by land, unless you skydive from atop its vibrant white cliffs, visitors can travel either via their own private boat or by locally operated water taxis to the bay. At Navagio Bay, you can sit back and take in the splendour of this beautiful piece of planet Earth. A perfect spot for swimming, snorkelling, relaxing, sunbathing and even partying if you visit at the right time, the striking nature of this place is guaranteed to leave a mark on your memory for years to come.
Melissani Cave, Kefalonia
There is nowhere in the world quite like Kefalonia's Melissani Cave. Found deep beneath the island's surface, it is accessible either via an ocean cave or a man-made tunnel; but we definitely recommend going in via the cave. Travelling by rowboat through jagged and enclosing rock walls, you will eventually come to a small underground lake. Light floods in from a large sinkhole opening from above, illuminating the amazing colours of the water. This combination of light and water has also allowed lush plant life to grow up the walls of the cave, creating the sense of some sort of ancient underground utopia. An unparalleled visual treat, it is impossible not to get swept up in the majesty of this natural Greek wonder.
Marathonissi, Laganas Bay
An island like no other, Marathonissi can be found in Lagana's bay off Zante's southern coast. A peaceful paradise only a short distance from the bustling town centre across the bay, Marathonissi boasts two beautiful beaches, clear waters and a real taste of Mediterranean paradise. The only issue, however, is that it is only accessible by private boat. The area is a protected turtle nesting ground, meaning that large ferries are not permitted, nor is any type of vessel allowed to drop anchor close by. Your best option is to hire out a small vessel that can be docked on the sandy shores of the island, something small and light, but with enough power to cross the deceptively large Lagana's bay.
A renowned Greek beauty spot, Paleokastritsa is a small village found on the western edge of Corfu. In essence it is a traditional piece of Greece built around the wild coastline of the island, apartments and houses weave between the rustic woodlands and sit on the side of soft flowing hills. Visitors to the village can experience the best of everything Greece has to offer, mixing the classic aspects of Greek culture with stunning landscapes. The fact that Paleokastritsa is also home to some beautiful Mediterranean coves and beaches doesn't hurt either.
Words by Cliff Blaylock of Deep Blue Yachting.