Ionian Islands, Zakynthos
Zakynthos island at the Ionian sea in Greece/ Photo 25805278 | Corfu © Panagiotis Karapanagiotis | Dreamstime.com

Ionian Islands ( Region )

Based at Corfu, the region's administrative centre and divided into five regional units: Corfu, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Lefkada, Zakynthos

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OVERVIEW

Scattered off the west coast of Greece, the Ionian islands, are a fascinating mix of Greek mythology, medieval influence, and modern popularity. The group consists of over 20 islands in total (including uninhabited islets), with Corfu, Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Lefkada, attracting the most visitors. Historically and culturally, the Ionian islands, have a strong connection to Italy. Unique architecture, Venetian castles and churches, storied buildings, breathtaking sights, olive groves, pine forests,lush vegetation, impressive sandy beaches,  crystal clear turquoise waters,  will easily steal your heart. Corfu, Homer’s kingdom of the Phaeacians, Ithaca, worldwide famous as the home of Odysseus, Lefkada-surrounded by a total of 24 islets – shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis’ Skorpios being one of them, Zakynthos (aka Zante) where the rare caretta caretta sea turtles lay their eggs, Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian Islands and finally Paxi, are all wonderful holiday destinations full of myths and colourful traditions.

.HISTORY

The Ionian islands were settled by Greeks at an early date around the turn of 1000BC. By the 4th century BC, most of the islands were absorbed into the empire of Macedon with some of them remaining under the control of the Macedonian Kingdom until 146 BC, when the Romans invaded and stayed for around 400 years. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the islands continued under the control of the Byzantine Empire. After the fall of Byzantium, possession passed to powerful Maritime Republic of Venice from the 11th century until 1797. In 1479 the Turks captured the islands of Kefalonia, Zacynthus, Lefkada, and Ithaca, annexing them to their empire. The Venetians soon counterattacked and retook them during the 15th and 16th centuries. From 1815 to 1864, the islands are under British military protection. The islands were occupied by Italy and, later, Germany during World War II. They were liberated with the rest of Greece in 1944.

.ECONOMY

Tourism has become the most dynamic branch in the region’s economy. The islands boast three major international airports, some 100,000 hotel beds and more than 80 ports and marinas. With good rainfall and much arable soil, the region produces olive oil, citrus fruit, honey, various dairy products and wine, as viticulture extends back over 2500 years. 


.REGIONAL ADMINISTRATION

The Ionian Islands region was established in the 1987 administrative reform and is the smallest by area of the 13 administrative regions of Greece. Along with West Greece and Peloponnese regions, it is supervised by the Decentralized Administration of the Peloponnese, West Greece and the Ionian Islands based at Patras.

Region’s capital: Corfu Region’s area: 2,306.94 km2 Region’s population (2021): 207,855 Postal Address: Region of Ionian Islands, 7 Paleokastritsa National Road 49100, Alykes, Corfu Region’s Website: www.pin.gov.gr Tel: +30 26610 39606, 31696

Ioannis Trepeklis Regional Governor of Ionian Islands


Ioannis Trepeklis is an Architect Engineer. He studied in Rome and then settled in Corfu. He is the founder of an Engineering and Consultants company based in Corfu where he is professionally active since 1983. He is a former mayor of Corfu. In October 2023, he was elected as Governor of the Ionian Islands Region.


Explore the five regional units of the Ionian Islands. Click on each box to find out about history, museums, top attractions, beaches, gastronomy, festivals, activities, transportation, accommodation and much more.

Note: Some regional units are not available yet, they will be soon.