Wine tourism in the Ionian Islands
The Eptanisa (meaning “seven”) islands are located in the Ionian Sea in western Greece and are in fact 12 inhabited large and small islands. However, any significant potential for wine tourism in the Ionian Islands is limited to the four larger islands.
The most easily accessible island is the southernmost island of Zakynthos, which has a long viticultural and wine-making history. The traditional wine of Zakynthos is the PGI Zakynthos Verdea white. The National Marine Park of Zakynthos, in the southern part of the island in the Laganas area, is the largest reserve for the Caretta caretta sea turtle. Zakynthos is a very popular tourism destination and is ideal for wine tourism in the Ionian Islands, particularly in summer, as it features numerous beaches such as the impressive Navagio (shipwreck) beach. Among many other things, visitors can see the Byzantine Museum of Zakynthos, the Museum of Dionysios Solomos and Eminent Zakynthians, the Zakynthos Fortress, the Monastery of Theotokos Anafonitria, Ambeloravdis Tower and the Natural History Museum of Helmi.
However, the largest of the islands and the most important for wine tourism in the Ionian Islands is Cephalonia. The Cephalonia vineyard produces PDO Cephalonia Robola, PDO Cephalonia Mavrodaphne, PDO Cephalonia Muscat, PGI Slopes of Mt Enos and PGI Mantzavinata. Cephalonia has many beautiful spots, among which Assos, Myrtos and Fiscardo stand out. The Archaeological Museum of Argostoli, the Korgialeneio Historical and Folklore Museum, the Focas-Cosmetatos Foundation Museum, the Monastery of Agios Gerasimos, the Fortress of Agios Georgios, the Melissani Cave and the traditional oil press at Kaminarata in Paliki are just some of the island’s points of interest.
It is very easy to reach Lefkada, as a bridge connects it to Continental Greece. The Lefkada vineyard produces the PGI Lefkada wines, which in their red form are the only PDO or PGI wines in the Ionian Islands which contain non-native grape varieties. The Castle of Agia Mavra, the Archaeological Museum of Lefkada and the Library of Lefkada that also houses the Museum of Byzantine Icons are just some of the sights that make this island ideal for wine tourism in the Ionian Islands.
Wine tourism in the Ionian Islands concludes at the northernmost large island – Corfu. The Corfu vineyard produces PGI Corfu white wines. Corfu is an exceptionally popular tourist destination and features numerous sights. Visitors must not miss the old town of Corfu, the fortresses of the town of Corfu, the archaeological site of Palaiopolis and the sanctuaries of Mon Repos, the Archaeologial Museum of Palaiopolis, the Museum of Asian Art, the Achilleion, Pontikonisi island, Palaiokastritsa and the Historic and Folklore Museum of Messi (Sinarades).