Explore The Greek Ionian Islands

If you’re planning the perfect European vacation but you aren’t quite sure where to go this summer? Look no further and check out the stunning Greek Ionian Islands.

Greece has been my favourite European holiday destination since the age of 3. I used to spent all my summers in a little village called Perdika and had some of the most beautiful childhood memories there. But when I was old enough to explore the world on my own, I started traveling around the rest of the world. However, I always enjoy coming back to the Greek islands and this is why.


My first love, Perdika


Perdika, only 2 hours from Lefkas


Acheron River, Gliki

Driving from Perdika, you must have a stopover at the Acheron River in Gliki. The springs of River Acheron are surrounded by wild rocks, waterfalls and lots of greenery. Ancient myths say that this river led to the gates of Hades. (whatever that means!) You can hike or water raft all the way up and down but the most fun way is to walk, climb and swim through the river. I’ve done this wild water hike about 6 times but it never get’s boring. Beware, the water is cold at first but after a while you get use to it and your skin feels incredibly soft afterwards! At some parts are so deep that you need to swim so make sure you have a waterproof camera if you want to take some good shots! 

Tip » buy some water shoes to protect your feet, these will come in handy at some of the rocky beaches.

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Ice cold, but so worth it! (here, trying to keep my lunch dry!)


Lefkas

After this refreshing hike, you drive further up towards the first Ionian Island; Lefkas (Lefkada in Greek) This island has pretty much left unspoiled by massa tourism. Prices are low, and if you walk far enough, you can find some pretty long deserted beaches. I advise you to rent a car or otherwise a scooter. This way you can really explore Lefkas and get to the best beaches. I stayed at Sofia Apartsments in Nydri where the friendly owner welcomed us with a traditional Greek drink from the island. His grandmother even baked us a cake! This is why I love the locals! From Nydri you can easily acces all the main roads and enjoy the night market.

Local food

The food in Greece is a-ma-zing and in Lefkas you can enjoy the islands traditional disches like lentils and chickpeas. One of the best restaurants on the Island is without question Rachi. Beautiful ocean views and delicious food makes this restaurant extremely popular, so expect to wait for a table during high season.

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Stunning views whilst having dinner at Rachi

The best beaches

I have been to a few incredible beaches in my lifetime but the beaches you will find here are something else. The water is crystal blue so prepare for some jaw dropping moments. My 3 favourite beaches on the island are Egremni beach (400 steps down!) Porto Katsiki and Kathisma beach.


Just looking at the bluest sea..ever! (Egremni Beach)

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Walking down to Porto Katsiki beach in Lefkas

Off the Beaten Track Tip » If you walk a towards the right side of Kathisma Beach and all the way in the end you will find a perfect spot, just for you. A beautiful long beach with no one around. Crazy! If you are brave enough, you can even go skinny dipping!

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A private beach? Hell yeah! (Kathisma Beach)


Kefalonia

From the port in Vasiliki (in Lefkas) you can take the boat to Kefalonia which takes about 3 hours and departs daily. Check http://westferry.gr/ for ferry times. This island is larger than Lefkas and with that a little bit busier. One of the main attractions is the Melissani cave, where can pay a small fee for a quick tour in this world wonder. The roof collapsed 20.000 years ago and when the sunlight kisses the water at noon, this results in an amazing blue/green colour of which many tourist want to see. It’s worth it if you want to take some good shots of this geological phenomenon.


Melissani Cave. A must see

Explore by scooter

Kefalonia is also home to some beautiful beaches of which Myrthos beach is the most popular. Make sure you bring a sun umbrella as there is no shade except for underneath the rocks and that almost cost me my head! (mountain goats created a small lawine on top of the cliff and rocks started falling down which just missed my head!) I rented a scooter and this is the perfect way to explore. Be aware that renting a scooter in high season is only possible when you hire one for more then 3 days. Because I don’t like the mass tourism, I picked a cute village to spend my first 2 nights.

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Myrthos Beach, Kefalonia

Cute Villages

My favourite town on Kefalonia is definitely FiskardoThis fishers town is full of boats and cute shops where you can buy art, homemade nougat and olive oil. At night when the sun goes down and the lights are glowing, the town changes into a magical place with Mediterranean vibes and delicious seafood. Tip » Plan a full day trip as it’s all the way up north depending where you will depart from.


One of the many cute stores in Fiskardo

From Kefalonia you can take a boat to Zakinthos (the beautiful beach you see on every travel instagram feed) I decided not to go. I was happy here without too many tourist and it was perfect. This part of Greece is relatively cheap if you compare it to the eastern islands like Mykonos and Santorini. (where I will be going this year!) So if you plan your trip way ahead, you can have a a brilliant holiday for little money.

Ionian Islands

So what will it cost you?

  • Flights » 350 euro return flights from Amsterdam to Corfu
  • Propellor flight » 55 euro’s one way from Kefalonia back to Corfu
  • Ferry » about 50 euro’s all together
  • Accommodation » about 25 to max 65 euro’s per night
  • Car hire » 30 euro’s per day
  • Scooter hire » 15-20 euro’s per day
  • Food » Main courses are about 8 euro’s per dish
  • Shopping » You can really make it as expensive as you want!
  • Tip » Avoid the tourist markets and go for something local.

Love,

Elke

More Greece?

Top 5 » Why you should visit Greece

I have been coming to Greece since the age of 3. This country is very close to my heart. Unfortunately Greece has a lot of financial struggles at the moment but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit! Greek people live of tourism most of the time, so I can only recommend you go. So why visit Greece?

1. The Beaches
I have been all over the world but the best beaches I have seen so far were all in Greece. The water is so blue that you think it’s a swimming pool!

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Egremni beach, Lefkas

2. The Food
OMG. The food. Whats not to love? I don’t even eat meat but even then they have one of the best cuisines. From stuffed tomatoes to the amazing calamari.. Yummie! Be sure that there will be a recipe on our blog soon!

3. The People.
Greek people are welcoming, warmhearted people. Even in Athens the people have always been so good to me. Last summer I stayed in an apartment and the owner welcomed us with a home baked cake from his grandmother. Just because their like that.

Why you should visit Greece

4. The Music
Ok, not everybody is a fan but once you’ve learned to dance to it, it’s amazing!
I was taught at a young age so I know 1 or 2 traditional dances. If you do it well, someone will give you a free shot (they call it a svinaki) or they smash some plates! 

5. The Weather
Yes, this wouldn’t be a good top 5 if I had not mentioned the weather. During the high season it’s between 25 and 30 degrees which is the perfect weather for me but Greece is still wonderful in October with 18 to 25 degrees. Happy days!

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Kathsima beach, Lefkas

Enjoy the beauty of Greece!

Love,

Elke