Ionian Islands - Getting there & away, getting around
Ionian Islands - Getting there & away
There are airports on Corfu, Kefallonia, Zakynthos and Kythira, but traffic is limited to charter rather than international flights. Olympic Airways flights from Athens to the four islands are frequent in summer, and Corfu receives stacks of charter flights from the UK and northern European cities. You can catch a bus from Athens to Corfu, Kefallonia, Zakynthos, Lefkada and Paxi. Thessaloniki also has a bus service to Corfu, and as Lefkada is joined to the mainland by a causeway there are services to Patras.
The Peloponnese has several ports of departure for the Ionian Islands: Patras for ferries to Kefallonia, Ithaki, Paxi and Corfu; Kyllini for ferries to Kefallonia and Zakynthos; and Piraeus, Neapoli and Gythio for Kythira. You can also sail from Crete to Kythira, from Igoumenitsa (in Epiros) to Corfu and Paxi, and from Astakos (Sterea Ellada) to Ithaki and Kefallonia. Ferries sail from Corfu to the Italian ports of Bari, Brindisi, Ancona, Trieste and Venice; once a week there's a ferry connection between Kefallonia and Brindisi.
Getting around Ionian Islands
Getting around the island group means catching a ferry - surprise! - as there are no direct inter-island air services. Even peak-time ferry schedules can be limited to only one or two inter-island services per day, so it pays to plan a little. Important connections include: Corfu-Paxi (3.5 hours; one hour by hydrofoil), Lefkada-Kefallonia (one hour), Lefkada-Ithaki (two hours), Lefkada-Meganisi (45 minutes) and Kefallonia-Zakynthos (1.5 hours). All the ferries take cars - a great way to get around and off the beaten track.
Getting around each island is a matter of bus, boat, feet or wheels. Ithaki and Kythira are the only islands which lack a reasonable bus service. Corfu's bus system concentrates on the island's coastal destinations. The Corfu-Paxi ferry stops in at Lakka on Paxi's northern tip before heading south to the island's major port, Gaïos, and five buses make the Lakka-Gaïos run daily. Frequent buses travel from Lefkada Town to Karya and Vlyho via Nydri; five per day run to Vasiliki and two to Poros. Kefallonia's Sami and Fiskardo are linked by an early-morning boat service, and frequent ferries link Lixouri and Argostoli in the east of the island. Buses on Kefallonia run from Argostoli to Sami, Poros, Skala and Fiskardo. Ithaki's solitary bus runs between Vathy and Kioni via Stavros and Frikes. The bus service from Zakynthos Town to Alikes, Tsilivi, Argasi and Laganas is frequent, but other villages are pretty much ignored. Kythira's bus linking Kapsali and Agia Pelagia operates only during school term, so taxis or car rental are the way to go.