The 7 Islands close off the west coast of Greece are referred to by the Greek people as the '7 islands' or 'epta -nissa' and while well serviced, are not quite so easy to get around on as the Aegean islands.
Since antiquity they have been fought over by empire builders of all stripes including the Greek.
Their beauty and strategic location make them quite a valuable prize as staging areas if you are thinking conquest and expansion. They are ideal for those of you entering Greece via Italy by ferry.
Their climate is wetter than the Aegean and due to an absence of the meltemi wind, humidity can be uncomfortable in high summer. This ample winter rain, particularly in Corfu, the northernmost, imparts a lushness and fertility only dreamt of in the Aegean.
Corfu is the most famous, most fertile and most beautiful of the Ionian islands. Unfortunately large parts of it exemplify (as does Chersonisos in Crete) the pitfalls of mass tourism and ill thought out un-restrained development.
Although many areas are still lovely, certain sections retain little in the way of character or charm and are replete with all the ugliness that mass tourism entails - high-rise concrete and plastic.
For some reason the British seem to play a large role whenever you dig deep into the financial backers of many of these package tour destinations. Many thousands live on Corfu year round.
But its not fair to lay the blame only on the Brits as its the hungry Greek authorities that are really at fault.
Zakynthos is another island with the same problem and where Greece is flaunting international laws to the detriment of the endangered Loggerhead turtle which are killed in their thousands by four wheel drive vehicles along the beach.
Lefkada is also green and has some wonderful beaches of which my favorite is kathisma. Lefkada has a far more Greek feel to it. Keffalonia and Ithaki while no longer cheap make for a good experience without the Cycladic cutesyness especially if you can sail around them!