The islands of the Ionian have a rich past and have been mentioned in the annals of history as far back as the world of Homer’s Odyssey and Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War. Join Prestige Holidays away from the tourist spots and off-the beaten track in places where it is impossible not to fall in love with these jewels of the rich blue Ionian Sea.
A unique approach to the exploration of some of the main Greek islands the Ionian Sea has to offer. A winding journey from Corfu, the Ionian mainland, Lefkada, Ithaca, Kefalonia and Zakynthos. This island hopping adventure sees us touch upon the trials of one of Greece’s most celebrated heroes, Odysseus, as well as many other cultural and historical themes.
Expertly guided by Dr Christina Hatzimichael-Whitley, we include a visit to the picturesque ghost-town of Perithia on Corfu, a journey to the gates of the underworld at Necromanteion, an appreciation of Mycenaean tombs and of course a visit to modern Ithaca, fabled to be the lost adventurer’s home. We also take in other impressive sites at the sprawling ancient ruins of Nikopolis (founded by Octavian in 28BC) as well as Venetian fortresses on Corfu and Kefalonia.
These jewels in the deep-blue Ionian Sea offer up mysterious caves, enticing beaches and spectacular views. Of course there will be plenty of excellent cuisine and local wine to make a visit to the Ionian Islands as enticing as the call of the sirens.
Day 1 (D)
Arrival. Explore Corfu old town. Full of Venetian elegance and complimented by British pomp, the old town is a warren of winding lanes, often bursting with fine aromas from restaurants and music from lively bars.
Overnight: Corfu Town
Day 2 (B,L)
Visit nearby Achilleion Palace, famous for a large number of paintings and statues depicting scenes from the Trojan War. The most impressive of these being The Triumph of Achilles. From here the group spend the afternoon in the ghost-village of Old Perithia, exploring the haunting village streets and enjoying lunch at celebrated, Taverna O’ Foros. After lunch, we return to Corfu Town for a chance to explore, relax or shop. This evening, seek out an independent dinner in Corfu town.
Overnight: Corfu Town
Day 3 (B,L)
Skirting the Ionian coastline, arrive on the shores of the fabled River Styx to visit the Necromanteion, reputedly where Odysseus descended into the Underworld. After lunch, explore the sprawling ruins of ancient city of Nikopolis, before continuing to Lefkada.
Overnight: Lefkada Town
Day 4 (B,L,D)
Spend the afternoon in exploration of the northern part of beautiful Ithaca. The village of Stavros boasts a statue of Odysseus; from here, discover the intriguing open site known as ‘The School of Homer’. Venture for a swim in a nearby cove before dinner.
Day 5 (B,D)
Visit the small but intriguing Archaeological Collection of Stavros before a coffee-break with some special access to the frescoes of a 12th century church in the village of Anogi. From here there is further exploration of the southern peninsula of Ithaca, including a visit to the island’s capital of Vathy before returning to the hotel for a free afternoon.
Day 6 (B,L)
Kefalonia is steeped in history and is eternally synonymous with the story of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Visit the ruins of ancient Sami before going subterranean with visits to the Melissani and Drogarati caves. After lunch in Poros, visit the Mycenaean tomb just outside the village.
Day 7 (B,L,D)
Visit the castle of Agios Georgios, although originally built in the 12th century by the Byzantines, it was mostly the Venetians that gave the fortifications their present imposing form. From here we venture to the charming bay of Assos for some lunch and sightseeing, a walk up to the Venetian Fortress is highly recommended. The day also features an opportunity to appreciate the world-famous Myrtos beach.
Day 8 (B,D)
Famed in the Odyssey for being the origin for a large number of Penelope’s suitors, arrive at Zakynthos. Embark on an excursion to the famous blue caves, followed by exploration and free-time in Zakynthos Town, before this evening’s farewell dinner.
Overnight: Zakynthos Town
This morning presents an optional visit to the Venetian fortress of Bohali before departure to the airport.
Prestige Holidays was founded in 1989 with the aim of providing unstinting service, the best value possible and a total dedication to ensuring that their clients’ wishes are met and exceeded. They are proud of the fact that nearly 30 years later, their passion is undiminished.
They were also determined to build a successful business on a sound financial footing. Additionally, they are fully bonded and hold an Air Travel Organisers Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority, reassuring all their clients that their money is safe with them.
Whilst they were originally known for their tailor made holidays to short haul and long haul destinations, they now offer a fabulous range of luxury escorted tours. From 'Off the Beaten Track in Sicily' - probably one of our most popular trips - which is usually Escorted by our fantastic Italian Specialist, Paul Stratton, or the Balkans with Martin Bell OBE, and who knows the area better than him? Or if it’s Ancient History and Culture that appeals to you - then their Alexander the Great & Aristotle tour may appeal.
Prestige Holidays - living up to the name!