Ionian Islands

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The Ionian group, like their most famous member Corfu, are a cooler, more verdant version of Greece, with more cypresses and olive groves. They feel a bit more European. Until you get to the beaches, which are fine examples of the very best of white-sandy-turquoise-waters Greek island perfection. Each island in the group has an independent culture, which runs from the architecture to the food. And the best places to stay in the Ionian islands reflect these charming differences.

Corfu has long been a favourite of travellers who like their beach break with a side of culture. For about the last 130 years, people have travelled to this lushest of the Ionian islands, with its mountainous north of steep cliffs and pebbly coves, and its flatter, sandier south covered in cypress forests and farmland. The island's bounty has meant it's been historically wealthy, and this wealth has been expressed with the construction of great libraries and centres of learning and gorgeous villas.

Kefalonia is best known for its Caretta caretta - Loggerhead turtles which visit the lagoon just beyond the island's capital Argostoli - Myrtos Beach, voted 'Best Greek Beach' more than ten times, and as the location for Captain Corelli's Mandolin. The success of the book, and the film, haven't spoilt this unspoilt island, and the pretty villages of the story are still pretty - especially those of the charming, and sandy, Livatho Peninsula.

Lefkada is called an Ionian island, but it's actually connected to mainland Greece via a narrow causeway and small bridge. But despite this easy access, and its beautiful beaches and cosmopolitan capital, Lefkada is still one of the least visited islands in the group.

Kythira, positioned just south of the Peloponnese, is another of the 'less travelled' Ionian Islands. Sure, it's well set up for visitors, but it's not as popular as the beauty of its beaches and the variety of its attractions mean it could be. So its reputation is of being secluded and relaxing - just like its beaches.

As with most Greek destinations, the best places to stay in the Ionian Islands get quickly booked up in the busy summer season. So if you don't want to miss out, get organised and book early!

Best Places to Stay in the Ionian Islands

For the Greek Island Idyll

  • The Corfu Palace is just a 10 minute stroll from the centre of Corfu Town, yet it still has wonderful ocean views - right across to the mainland. The Corfu Palace was also one of the first hotels built on Corfu, so it's got something of the grand old dame about it with its private balconies and terraces.
  • Emelisse Hotel in Fiskardo, Kefalonia is a luxurious choice, with four poster beds, balconies with stunning views and if you stretch the budget you'll get your own pool!
  • Lefkada's San Nicolas Resort is one of the best places to stay in the Ionian Islands if you want to get away from it all, but still have luxurious contemporary surrounds and all the mod. cons.. Built right over a gentle cliff, this hotel has incredible sea views, a stunning pool and it's just a short stroll to the beach.
  • Delfino blu ticks all the boxes being located just above one of Corfu's most beautiful beaches but also close enough to happening Sidari so that you can 'visit' the nightlife.

For a Historic Holiday

  • Hotel Margarita on Kythira is traditional and cheerful. Converted from a 19th Century mansion, the hotel is all exposed flagstone floors and stone arches around a courtyard terrace with a beautiful view. Just off the narrow high street, this is ideal if you want to be close to the centre of town and to the beach. With twelve rooms starting from just £42 a night, this is also really good value.
  • Hidden away in the Corfu countryside, the Villa de Loulia is one of the best places to stay in the Ionian Islands if you want to experience some of their lesser known pleasures. Only 400metres from the nearest beach, you're also quite close to the mountains of Perithia and several interesting abandoned villages. This is also a great place for foodies - the gourmet restaurant serves local specialities.

For a Beach Break

  • Corfu's Marbella Beach Hotel is the perfect place for a beach break: five stars and right on a private beach, you have everything you need here and more. Including four different restaurants, watersports facilities galore, an extensive spa, pool and the opportunity to do some sailing or diving.

For Corfu Town

  • Corfu's Siorra Vittoria is in the heart of old Corfu Town, a gorgeous neo-classical building right by City Hall Square and the Ionian Parliament. Originally a mansion, this hotel is elegant and charming, a good choice for a romantic sunny-city-break.
  • The Bella Venezia is right by Corfu Town's 'Spianada', which is the main street, and within easy walking distance from the main attractions of the main town. It's also great value.

For families

  • If you're travelling with children we'd recommend the Petani Bay Hotel, overlooking the Ionian Sea on Kefalonia. Luxurious, yet not overpriced, it offers superb facilities including a children's pool, and they can arrange activities for all ages.

Still not sure which to book? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in the Ionian Islands, or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.


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The best hotels in Ionian Islands

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  • Bella Vista

    Avramis, Corfu

    A gorgeous family-run Greek house facing the beach. Rustic rooms and apartments in creams with private balconies, fabulous roof top restaurant and cocktail bar, and close to the main attractions. A family friendly choice slightly off the beaten track.

    23 rooms from $47
    Beach Life
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Sights nearby  -  The Achilleion, Bay and monastery of Paleokastritsa, Bay and monastery of Paleokastritsa.
  • Hotel Margarita


    Historic lodgings turned boutique hotel with old-fashioned charm. Spacious but simple rooms with period features. A great low cost slice of paradise with sun-kissed beaches and towns for you to explore and relax in.

    12 rooms from $56
    Local exploring  -  Perfectly located for exploring the historic town of Chora
    Value chic  -  A quaint, traditional stay at an inviting price
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Fishing  -  Excellent fishing nearby.
  • Levant Hotel

    Pelekas, Corfu

    Lovely neo-classical hotel in the hills above the Ionian sea. Attractive traditional building, charming rooms with sea facing balconies, lovely terrace and cafe, and swimming pool. A great value choice within striking distance of beaches, golf and Corfu Town. Suited to couples, families and groups.

    25 rooms from $75
    Groups  -  The hotel welcomes groups of artists, musicians and yoga enthusiasts.
    Views  -  Breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    House party feel  -  Be prepared to meet people.
    Recommended by  -  Fodors
  • Marbella Beach Hotel

    Nr Stroggili, Corfu

    Five Star luxury on the beach. Contemporary chic rooms, suites, and apartments in creams and whites with all the mod cons and sea-facing balconies. Fabulous restaurants, extensive spa, gorgeous pool and lounge area, private beach. Romantic, family friendly, often good value.

    393 rooms from $116
    Restaurant  -  4 restaurants; seafood, Mediterannean, Greek, Italian.
    Views  -  Incredible views across to mainland Greece
    Families  -  Two-bedroom suites.
    On the beach  -  Private beach.
  • Kontokali Bay Resort & Spa

    Kontokali, Corfu

    Contemporary chic hotel and spa resort with private beach. Rooms, suites and garden bungalows have creamy furnishings, wooden floors, modern gadgetry and sea views from private balconies. Extensive spa, salt water infinity pool and good restaurant and bar. Great for a beach holiday, family friendly.

    259 rooms from $111
    Views  -  Wonderful views over the Ionian Sea
    On the beach  -  Private beach.
    Beach Life
    Spa breaks
  • Bella Venezia

    Kerkira, Corfu

    A traditional townhouse hotel with sophisticated living areas and contemporary rooms and suites. Excellent value for its central location. A smart choice with no added frills.

    31 rooms from $112
    Sights nearby  -  Central location in Corfu Town a stone's throw from the "Spianada" and easy walking distance to all main attractions.
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
  • Siorra Vittoria

    Kerkira, Corfu

    A gorgeous neo-classical mansion in Corfu's old town. Elegant rooms and suites have parquet floors, high wooden-beamed ceilings, and all the mod cons. Lovely garden, sitting room, and breakfast dining room. Easy access to restaurants, beaches and sights. A great choice for romantics and groups.

    9 rooms from $112
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Romantic Break
    Sights nearby  -  Neo-classical building of Corfu old town, close to City Hall Square and the Ionian Parliament
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Recommended by  -  Fodors, CN Traveller
  • Perantzada Hotel

    Vathi, Ithaca

    A chic all white hotel on the coastline in Vathy. Rooms and suites are romantically decorated, have private balconies, sea views and all the mod cons. Lovely pool and terrace. Walking distance to main attractions. A spot for honeymooners and romantics.

    19 rooms from $129
    Views  -  Great views over Vathy Bay
    Romantic Break
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape
  • Corfu Palace

    Kerkira, Corfu

    One of the first hotels to be built on Corfu. A large imposing building in a prime location. A mixture of contemporary and old-fashioned rooms with private balconies/terraces. Good spa, pool, restaurant. Well equipped, friendly staff, excellently positioned.

    115 rooms from $135
    Views  -  Great views over Garitsa Bay to the Greek mainland
    Sights nearby  -  10 minute walk from the centre of Corfu Town
    Spa  -  Thalassotherapy spa centre
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor and Indoor Pools
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller
  • San Nicolas Resort

    Mikros Gialos, Lefkada

    A gorgeous contemporary classic hotel with stunning seaviews. Rooms and suites in white and pale blue have private balconies and all the mod cons. Stunning pool and relaxation area, and a short distance from the beach. For romantics and sun seekers.

    17 rooms from $135
    Views  -  Wonderful views over the bay
    Beach Life
    Romantic Break
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
  • Delfino blu

    Agios Stefanos, Corfu

    Wonderful beach boutique hotel with contemporary chic suites and apartments. Fabulous Greek restaurant, champagne breakfasts, pool and beach bar. Very romantic, yet still family friendly (some apartments sleep 4). A great choice for a faultless beach holiday.

    15 rooms from $146
    Foodies  -  Wonderful Greek restaurant.
    Beach Life
    Romantic Break
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
  • Petani Bay Hotel

    Pelaki, Kefalonia

    A very well positioned and good value hotel on the coastline with fantastic sea views. A collection of suites with kitchenettes and private balconies, all in muted tones. Lovely pool and relaxation area, restaurant and bar. Very family friendly, and lots to do in the sea and around.

    12 rooms from $148
    Views  -  Looking out to the Ionian Sea
    Value chic
    Beach Life
  • Villa de Loulia

    Peroulades, Corfu

    A romantic manor house hidden away in the countryside, but driving distance to the beach. Traditional elegance throughout; pink archways strewn with bougainvillea, pastel bedrooms and suites, and lovely central courtyard swimming pool. Excellent table d'hote.

    9 rooms from $179
    Romantic Break
    Sights nearby  -  Mountains of Perithia and discover the ancient abandoned village.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, CN Traveller
  • Emelisse Hotel

    FISKARDO,, Kefalonia

    Supreme luxury on the coastline. Fantastic rooms and family apartments (sleep up to 5) have all the mod cons, four poster beds, balconies and private pools (some). Excellent spa, restaurant, and boats to charter. Great for an indulgent holiday.

    36 rooms from $241
    Views  -  Most rooms enjoy wonderful sea views
    Families  -  2 bedroom apartments.
    Cinema  -  Open-air.
    Beach Life
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Tablet
  • Levendis Estate

    Stavros, Ithaca

    A fantastic choice for honeymooners or families. Rustic cottages surrounded by nature and sunny shores with beautiful views. Rambling gardens, wildlife, beaches, and biking. Magical and understated.

    4 rooms from $399
    Back to Nature
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
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