Lured by beautiful beaches, breathtaking scenery and reasonable prices, overseas property investors have been turning towards the Ionian Islands off the west coast of Greece. These islands – which include Corfu, Paxos, Lefkas, Cephalonia, Ithaca and Zakynthos - are not nearly as populated as the islands in the Aegean and aren’t overrun with the tourist resorts or major developments of many other Mediterranean coastal areas. That’s not to say there isn’t a developed tourist industry – it is the major industry here - but it’s just not as overwhelming as in many places.
Those who are looking for overseas property have many options in the Ionian Islands. There are two distinct sets of islands, the northern and southern groups. Corfu is the most populous island and dominates the northern group, while the famed Ithaca is in the southern group next to Kefalonia.
The major industry on the islands is tourism, so those who want to buy can lease out their property to the many visitors or keep it all to them selves. Affluent second-homeowners favor the northeast coast of Corfu around the fishing village of Kassiopi, a pretty town but expensive. Those on a more modest budget should look to the northwest of the island and the villages of Arillas and Afionas. Corfu has a beautiful harbor and is a favorite stopping point for cruise ships. If you are looking for good food and nightlife, this island has some of the best in Greece. Inland, though, away from the touristy areas there are millions of olive trees and small villages, giving those who live here the best of cosmopolitan resorts and country life.
Other islands have plenty to offer, including a large population of UK homeowners, according to a recent article in the Times Online
. In the past 10 years more than 2,000 Britons have purchased homes on Cephalonia, and there are about 2,500 British homeowners on Zakynthos. Paxos, a smaller island, has drawn interest from those who like its slower pace of life and Ithaca has become a recent target of international investors. Overall, prices on the islands are rising at a considerable rate, above 15% annually, so it is a good time to buy.
There are plenty of modern homes, apartments and condominiums that are available in the Ionian Islands. From beachfront resorts to small town life, there is something for every taste here. There are many smaller, older homes as well, but the location on the islands makes them expensive to renovate – something to consider when looking for property.
Getting to the islands is relatively easy. There are regular charter flights to several of the islands, including Corfu, Zakynthos and Cephalonia, as well as connecting service through Athens. There is also regular ferry service from the mainland to all the major islands.