The distance from Athens to the Ionian Islands is about 217 miles (350km). The Ionian Islands are a group of islands in the Ionian Sea and include Corfu, Kefalonia and Lefkas (also known as Lefkada).
As these islands are on the other side of the Greek mainland from Athens, getting to them can require a combination of modes of transportation. The easiest and most direct way to get to there is to fly. Several of these islands, such as Corfu, Zakynthos and Kefalonia have airports, which receive flights year-round from Athens.
Alternatively, you can travel from Athens to Patras, the main port of the Peloponnese, which offers ferries to all of the Ionian Islands. Patras is easily accessible from Athens and you can get there by renting a car, taking a bus or hiring a private transfer. From there, you can catch a ferry to the Ionian Islands.
If you're looking to explore the incredible turquoise blue waters of the Ionian islands by boat, consider this week-long sailing itinerary, which will take you from Corfu to Paxos and Lefkas, among other places.
Duration: 55 minutes
The fastest way to get from Athens to the Ionian Islands is to fly. While not all of these islands have airports, several of them do, such as Corfu, Kefalonia, and Lefkas.
Olympic Air and Sky Express are two of the airlines that operate direct flights to the Ionian Islands year-round. This can be a great option if you are traveling in the low season of mid-September through mid-June, when the ferry schedules are more limited. For such short flights, only economy tickets are available.
If you find that the island you want to reach does not have an airport, you can always take a flight to one that does and then jump on a ferry from there to reach your final destination.
By Car / Bus + Ferry
Duration: 2.5 hours from Athens to Patras plus 1.5 hours or more depending on your final destination
If you're interested in taking a ferry to the Ionian islands, you can travel from Athens to Patras and from there, take a ferry to the island of your choice.
Patras, the third largest city in Greece, is easily accessible from Athens. Buses run many times a day, year-round, from Athens to Patras and offer an easy and comfortable journey via the National Road. The express bus takes 2.5 hours while the local bus takes 3 to 3.5. Since they're the same price, it's recommended to just grab a ticket on the express bus.
If you prefer to drive yourself, you can rent a car and drive to Patras. You can bring your car to the Ionian islands as all ferries have the capacity to hold vehicles. You can also arrange for a private transfer if you would rather sit back and relax as someone else takes the wheel.
Note that if your final destination is the island of Lefkas, it is possible to drive all the way there, as Lefkas is connected to the Greek mainland in part by the impressive, fully suspended Rio-Antirrio Bridge.
Once in Patras, you can take a ferry to any of the Ionian islands. Fast and slow ferries are available, all of which offer economy and business class seats. Ferry schedules are more limited during the low season, so be sure to check that ferries are available if you're traveling in the fall or winter.