Zakynthos is an island of certain extremes: beauty and crass, mass tourism of the worst sort. The islands – like all the Ionian islands is lush and verdant and boasts the now famous ‘shipwreck beach’ (Navagio) that many seek to travel to and swim at. Yes, it’s worth it and numerous excursion boats make the run from ports on the west side of the island. Environmentalists and capitalists clash daggers at Laganas where the mass tourism trade is carried out to the detriment of the Caretta Caretta, or loggerhead turtle that loves the beach as much as British tourists on a binge. Read this page for the background. There is an alternative scene to Laganas at Vasilikos over to the east, but it is much more low-key and less busy.
Nine weeks in Greece is a dream itinerary it certainly gives you lots of flexibility. As you seem to have Athens and the Peloponnese sorted, you just need to sort out your five weeks on the islands. What you need to realize, however, is that the islands are not all mutually interconnected, but rather they are ‘grouped’ – both administratively and from the point of view of transport routes. Here are the main groups.
Flight Dallas - Las Vegas (DFW - LAS) $55+ Flight Los Angeles - Las Vegas (LAX - LAS) $55+ Flight Oakland - Las Vegas (OAK - LAS) $55+ Flight Seattle - Las Vegas (SEA - LAS) $55+ Flight Houston - Las Vegas (IAH - LAS) $72+ Flight Denver - Las Vegas (DEN - LAS) $77+ Flight San José - Las Vegas (SJC - LAS) $77+ Flight Houston - Las Vegas (HOU - LAS) $82+ Flight San Francisco - Las Vegas (SFO - LAS) $97+ Flight Chicago - Las Vegas (ORD - LAS) $125+ Flight Minneapolis - Las Vegas (MSP - LAS) $130+ Flight Orlando - Las Vegas (MCO - LAS) $131+ Flight Philadelphia - Las Vegas (PHL - LAS) $137+ Flight Washington - Las Vegas (BWI - LAS) $155+ Flight Atlanta - Las Vegas (ATL - LAS) $162+ Flight Newark - Las Vegas (EWR - LAS) $167+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - Las Vegas (FLL - LAS) $168+ Flight Boston - Las Vegas (BOS - LAS) $173+ Flight Washington - Las Vegas (DCA - LAS) $176+ Flight Detroit - Las Vegas (DTW - LAS) $177+ Flight New York - Las Vegas (LGA - LAS) $186+ Flight New York - Las Vegas (JFK - LAS) $219+ Flight Chicago - Las Vegas (MDW - LAS) $233+ Flight Honolulu - Las Vegas (HNL - LAS) $336+
Fiji is poised for a comeback after 2016’s Tropical Cyclone Winston, the most severe on record. The quintessential Fijian Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort on Savusavu Bay reopened in September with 25 newly thatched houses known as bures. For total seclusion, guests are ferried via seaplane to the remote Kokomo Island, a new collection of 21 bures and five villas on uninhabited Yaukuve Island.
The Ionian Islands are a quite different entity to the more familiar Aegean islands. There are in effect only seven of them plus a sprinkling of satellite islands that make for a very enjoyable package. They are different from the point of view of flora – they are greener and less barren than their Aegean cousins and they share a different history to the rest of Greece and the other islands, having absorbed much Venetian and Italian influences over the years. This is particularly apparent in the Old Town of Corfu where you could be forgiven for thinking you might be somewhere in Italy.
Lefkada is the island that’s not an island. You can drive to it across the causeway from the mainland, but it feels every bit an island. Aristotle Onassis bought the satellite island of Skorpios here as his own bit of getaway paradise. Beaches, windsurfing, boat hire, good food and wine are all here and there are few built-up package resorts. The main tourist area is centred on Nydri.
Remote and unspoiled Crooked Island has little in the way of tourist facilities, but it does boast gorgeous beaches, bat caves and flamingos, and also serves as a turtle nesting spot. One of the four islands that form an atoll hugging the striking shallow waters of the Bight of Acklins, it hasn’t much changed since Columbus sailed down the leeward side through the narrow Crooked Island Passage. There are miles of untouched, white powdery sands, coral gardens, limestone caves and cliffs, remnants of slave and cotton plantations, ancient churches, fortifications and mangrove-lined waterways.