If you’re heading to Western Greece this year, then here’s a guide to help you discover the best resorts in the Ionian. I’ve listed the best islands, towns and resorts to stay, perfect for a serious dose of relaxation.
Shortlist of the best resorts in the Ionian
- Most impressive resort overall – The Westin Costa Navarino
- The best views in the Ionian – Marbella Elix
- Ultimate for All Inclusive – Marbella Corfu
- Best infinity pool in the Ionian – Angsana Corfu
- Best villas – Romanos Costa Navarino
- The most vibrant – W Costa Navarino
- The most luxurious – Porto Zante Villas and Spa
- Best value – Lesante Cape Resort & Villas
- The most serene – Emelisse resort
- Off the beaten path – Villa Veneziano
- The newest – Mandarin Oriental Costa Navarino
The Best resorts in the Ionian – An Overview
The Ionian Islands are known for their lush greenery, unique cyan waters, and charmingly colourful towns. This group of Greek islands is located in the Ionian Sea off the western coast of Greece. And it’ss home to some of the best resorts in Greece. From the Venetian architecture of Corfu to the dramatic cliffs of Kefalonia. Each of the seven islands have something distinctive to offer.
The coastline of the mainland in the Ionian is no less captivating. With sea caves, hidden coves, coastal towns and villages dotted all the way down the western coast of Greece. Some of the most breathtaking resorts on Greece’s mainland look west out across the Ionian.
Corfu is the northernmost island and renowned for its Venetian architecture, picturesque villages, and verdant landscapes. Its Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a maze of narrow streets. Every turn is filled with charming shops, tavernas, and historical landmarks.
Paxi is a small but alluring island known for its stunning beaches, sea caves, and clear blue waters. It offers a peaceful and idyllic retreat away from the more bustling tourist spots.
Lefkada is famous for its beaches, such as Porto Katsiki and Egremni, with turquoise waters and steep cliffs. It is connected to the mainland by a bridge, making it easily accessible.
Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands boasting dramatic landscapes. Mount Ainos, stunning beaches like Myrtos Beach, and charming fishing villages like Fiskardo and Asos.
Zakynthos (also known as Zante) is renowned for its breathtaking Navagio Beach, known for the shipwreck that rests on its shore. The island also offers vibrant nightlife and opportunities to spot endangered loggerhead turtles.
Ithaca is known as the legendary home of Odysseus. It is a tranquil island with charming villages, scenic bays, and an authentic Greek atmosphere.
Kythira is an off-the-beaten-path island with a unique blend of Greek, Venetian, and British influences. Not well known bny the average traveler and offering unspoiled beaches and picturesque villages.
The Ionian Islands and coastline offer a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and leisure. Hence, they are an inviting destination for travellers seeking an unforgettable Greek experience. Whether it’s exploring ancient ruins, immersing yourself in the warm hospitality of the locals, or simply lounging by the hotel pool. The Ionian Islands and coastline will not let you down.
Getting to the Ionian Islands
You can get to the Ionian islands by varous means. Ferries set off from Piraeus, Athens and various smaller ports on the Western coast of Greece such as Igoumenitsa and Patras. You can rent a car or even travel by bus if that suits. Lefkada is an exception and can be reached by road as it is connected to the mainland by bridge. Some, but not all, of the islands have airports allowing you to fly direct or from Athens. Be sure to read my post on getting to the Ionian islands from Athens for a more in depth guide.
The islands and towns with the best resorts in the Ionian
Along the south east coast of the island of Corfu, are some of the highest rated resorts in all of Greece, not just the Ionian. The villages of Benitses and Moraitika beckon visitors with their rich history, idyllic beaches, and warm Greek hospitality. These two picturesque towns offer an authentic glimpse into the traditional Greek way of life.
Angsana Corfu is the first, and currently the only, of Banyan Tree’s ventures into Europe. Nestled in a bay in Benitses, perched on a luscious green hill. Expect warm Greek hospitality combined with asian influence in a luxury spa and beach resort.
Moraitika, a vibrant coastal village that radiates a warm and welcoming ambiance is an excellent place to explore during the day and experience the village’s lively atmosphere at night. Boasting a beautiful stretch of sandy beach. A stone’s throw away is the super luxurious Domes Miramare, A Luxury Collection Hotel from the Marriott.
In between these two towns is the Marbella resort Corfu, one of the highest rated in Greece. Five star relaxation and service is a given, as it has been for years, with their all inclusive offering and facilities hard to beat.
Fiskardo is a picturesque village located on the northern coast of Kefalonia. Known for its colourful buildings and cosmopolitan atmosphere. It is undeniably stylish and flash, signalled by the plush yachts lining the harbour. With historical significance as well, it was one of the few places on Kefalonia to escape major destruction in the 1953 earthquake, allowing it to retain its traditional charm. A real highlight of a trip to Kefalonia and one of the best areas to stay in Kefalonia.
Channelling the essence of Fiskardo, and a short distance north is Emelisse resort, located on Emblisi bay. The most exclusive report on the island offers its guests the ultimate in relaxation and rejuvenation in a purposefully natural and serene environment.
Parga and the West coast
With its colourful houses tumbling down the hillside, great beaches, and a charming Venetian influence, Parga is one of the gems of the western coast of mainland Greece.The town’s narrow streets, quaint alleys, and vibrant bougainvillaea-draped houses add a unique and charismatic dimension to this seaside town.
Parga Beach Resort is a premium resort, located on Valtos Beach, the longest sandy beach in the area. Its rooms, suites and swimming pools are scattered among the greens and gardens hitting a cool natural and escapist vibe
Up the coast from Parga, overlooking Karavostasi beach, is the excellent Marbella Elix. Perched on a hill, surrounded by pine forest. Views from just about anywhere in the hotel are the best in the Ionian. Turquoise blue waters, lush tree-covered hills and Corfu and Paxi in the distance. Elix is the newest of Marbella’s collection of hotels, starring in Conde Nast’s list of newest and best hotels in 2022.
Situated on the northwestern coast of Zakynthos, Tsilivi (also known as Planos) is home to the best resort hotels the island has to offer. Slightly north of the main port town, the area and town and surrounding areas blend luxury, tranquillity, and a dose of Greek charm. You’ll find a range of properties here, suited to romantic getaways, family vacations, or serene retreats.
With stylish rooms, lush gardens, and stunning sea views, Lesante Cape Resort & Villas is one of the best resorts in the Ionian. Only a short drive from the port, it’s also an ideal base for exploring the island. That is if you can pry yourself away from the pools, restaurants and spa.
The Tragaki area is a sleepy, sandy, olive tree lined town/area of the island. Ideal for taking time out from the busy schedule and unwinding in one of it’s many resorts.
Porto Zante Villas and Spa is the most luxurious and exclusive retreat in Greece. Private villas, private beaches and bespoke experiences are the order of the day. Look no further if it’s the ultimate experience you’re searching for.
Costa Navarino and the Peloponnese
Costa Navarino, on the West coast of Greece’s Peloponnese region is a luxurious resort destination. Situated along the pristine shores of the Ionian Sea, Costa Navarino is a haven of natural beauty, ancient history, hospitality and elegance.
Stepping into Costa Navarino, you’ll find yourself embraced by a world of opulence and elegance. The resort’s luxurious hotels, including The Westin Resort Costa Navarino and The Romanos, A Luxury Collection Resort, offer refined rooms and villas with sweeping views of the Ionian Sea and surrounding areas.
More than just a luxurious retreat; it is a playground for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The resort sits amidst a pristine coastal landscape and features two world-class golf courses, including The Dunes Course, designed by former golf champion Bernhard Langer.
The newcomers to Costa Navarino Bay
On the shores of Navarino bay, two brand new hotels have emerged on the landscape, joining this visionary project. Blending and preserving the region’s cultural heritage with sustainable tourism, W Costa Navarino and Mandarin Oriental are the newest 5-star additions to Greece and the Peoloponesse’s Costa Navarino area.
The W Costa Navarino is the first of its hotel brand in Greece, with typically distinctive design and stylish accommodation. The resort has a beach club and a choice of 5 restaurants. The Mandarin Oriental is, again, the first of its Group’s offerings in Greece. Expect them to bring the same sophistication and service that they’re renowned for at Greece’s newest beachfront resort.
Aside from Vasiliki’s reputation as a windsurfers and water sports lovers paradise, the town has a serene and laid-back charm, with its narrow streets lined with tavernas, cafes, and shops. The harbour invites you to leisurely walks along the waterfront, where colourful fishing boats bob gently in the turquoise waters.
For those seeking a relaxing escape, Vasiliki’s tranquil beaches, such as Agiofili and Pondi, offer pristine sands and crystal-clear waters, ideal for unwinding and soaking up the Mediterranean sun. Sappho Boutique is the stand out accommodation, set amidst a hill where the views are sublime, especially from the infinity pool.
Nydri is a vibrant coastal town and a popular hub for sailing enthusiasts. With its proximity to the small islands of Skorpios and Madouri, Nydri serves as a gateway for sailing adventures through the Ionian Sea. The town’s vibrant nightlife attracts visitors looking for evenings filled with good food and drink, music, dancing, and the warm company of locals.
During the day, Nydri offers a delightful array of cafes and tavernas, where visitors can savour traditional Greek delicacies while overlooking the glistening sea. The fully equipped Villa Veneziano, built in the unique Venetian architectural style, is possibly the most relaxing and revitalising stay in all of Lefkada.