Lighthouses of Greece: Ionian Islands

The Ionian Islands lie in the Ionian Sea off the western coast of mainland Greece. There are six major islands: Kérkyra (Corfu), Paxi (Paxos), Lefkada (Lefkos), Ithaki (Ithaca), Kefalonia (Cephalonia), and Zakynthos (Zante). These islands comprise one of the 13 administrative regions of Greece.

The history of the islands is distinct from that of the Greek mainland. For many centuries, they were controlled by Venice as outposts of its commercial empire. During the Napoleonic Wars they came under French rule but were later conquered by Britain. The British remained in control after the wars, administering the islands as a protectorate and using them as naval bases. They were finally transferred to Greece in 1864. Because of the long rule by Venice, there is a strong Italian influence in the islands and they are often known by their Italian names.

Note: The island of Kythira, located off the southeastern corner of the Greek mainland, is also considered to be one of the Ionian Islands, but it is remote from the others and is attached to the region of Attica. Lighthouses of Kythira are listed on the Southern Greece page.

The Greek word for a lighthouse, pharos or faros (φάρος) is the root for the words for lighthouse in many Western European languages. In Greek, nisis is an island, akra is a cape or headland, kólpos is a bay or gulf.

Lighthouses in Greece are maintained by the Hellenic Navy Hydrographic Service.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume N of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113.

General Sources
Lighthouses of Greece
A comprehensive site posted by amateur radio operator Pavlidis Savas (SV2AEL); it includes data and photos for 120 traditional Greek lighthouses.
Online List of Lights - Greece
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Lighthouses in Greece
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Majáky - Recko
Photos by Anna Jenšíková.
Greece Lighthouses
Photos by Larry Myhre.
TrekEarth - Lighthouses of Greece
Photos by various contributors.
Leuchttürme an der griechischen Küste
Photos by various photographers posted by Bernd Claußen.
Lighthouses in Greece
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Greece
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Latarnie Morskie - Morze Śródziemne
Photos posted by Gola Burkhard, a Polish lighthouse fan.
Greece Lighthouses
Photos by Larry Myhre.

Fiskárdo Light, Kefaloniá, September 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by G Travels
Lighthouses of Zákynthos (Zante)
Note: Third largest of the Ionian Islands, Zákynthos is located due south of Kefalloniá and west of the northwestern Peloponnese. The island is accessible by air or by ferry from Killini on the mainland and from Argostóli, Kefalloniá.
Strofades (Strivali Islands, Stamfani)
1829 (British). Active; focal plane 39 m (128 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 11 m (36 ft) square stone tower with lantern and gallery. The tower is unpainted stone; lantern painted green. Vasilis Zaxaropoulos has a closeup photo, another photo is available, and Google has a distant satellite view. The Strofades are a small group of islands about 40 km (25 mi) south southeast of Cape Keri, the southern tip of Zákynthos. The largest island, Stamfani, is the site of a 14th century Byzantine monastery, now occupied by a single monk as a caretaker. Located at the western tip of Stamfani. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GRE-122; Admiralty N4004; NGA 14900.
* Ákra Kryonéri (Cape Krionero)
Date unknown (station established 1869). Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); two white flashes every 16 s. 8 m (26 ft) square concrete tower, painted white. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a street view and an aerial view. This light marks the narrowest point of the passage between Zákynthos and the mainland. Located on a promontory on the southeastern side of the island. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GRE-171; Admiralty N3986; NGA 14728.
* Kerí (Kerion)
1925. Active; focal plane 194 m (636 ft); white flash every 10 s. 7 m (23 ft) round cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the seaward side of a 1-story masonry keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white, except the lantern roof is painted green. Trabas has a good photo, Wikimedia has a 2012 photo, a more distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view of the lighthouse and a street view of the station entrance. The area is famous for its spectacular cliffs overlooking the Ionian Sea. Accessible by road (local guidance may be needed). Located on Cape Keri, the southern tip of Zákynthos, near the town of Kerí. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GRE-081; Admiralty N3990; NGA 14740.
** Skinári
1897. Active; focal plane 66 m (217 ft); white flash every 5 s. 9 m (30 ft) round rubblestone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the seaward side of a 1-story rubblestone keeper's house. The house is occupied by resident keepers. The lighthouse is unpainted stone; lantern painted white with a black roof. Robert Wallace's photo is at right, Trabas has an excellent photo, a 2009 photo is available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view of the station. The lantern is clearly not the original. Comparison with Savas's photos suggests that the lighthouse has been restored and the lantern replaced since 2002. The area around the light station is well known for the "blue caves" cut into the limestone cliffs by the sea and for several historic stone windmills. Located on Cape Skinari, the northern tip of Zákynthos, about 1.5 km (1 mi) north of Korithi. Site open; the keepers may be willing to conduct tours of the tower. ARLHS GRE-119; Admiralty N3984; NGA 14724.
Skinari Light
Skinári Light, Zákynthos, September 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Robert Wallace

Lighthouses of Kefalloniá (Cephalonia)
Note: Kefalloniá, the largest of the Ionian Islands, is located off the entrance to the Gulf of Corinth. The island has a population of about 45,000 and is accessible by ferries from several locations on the mainland coast.
* [Dhik Halia (Dihalia, Dekhalia) (3?)]
Date unknown (station established 1910). Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); two red flashes every 8 s. 5.5 m (18 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a round cylidnrical metal base, painted white with one red horizontal band. The active light stands just in front of the ruins of the original 1-story stone keeper's house. Myhre has a view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. Old light lists indicate the light here has always been displayed from a skeletal or metal tower; the original tower was atop the keeper's house. The present light tower is at least the third, possibly the fourth. Located on a promontory marking the entrance to the bay of Sami, on the east side of the island, about 5 km (3 mi) northeast of the town of Sami. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GRE-163; Admiralty N3870; NGA 14684.
* Argostóli (Ágios Theodoros, Ayious Theodorus) (2)
1954 (station established by the British in 1828). Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); white flash every 3 s. 9 m (30 ft) round cylindrical masonry tower surrounded by a Doric colonnade. No lantern; the light is mounted atop a domed structure. Entire lighthouse is white. Robert Wallace's photo is at right, Trabas has a great closeup, another good closeup photo is available, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Klaus Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The present structure is a replica of the original lighthouse, which was heavily damaged by an earthquake in 1953. Located on the east side of the Gulf of Argostóliou at the northwestern tip of a cape protecting the harbor of Argostóli. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GRE-048; Admiralty N3890; NGA 14708.
Vardiani (Vardianoí) (1)
1824 (British). Inactive for many years. Approx. 7 m (23 ft) square cylindrical stone tower attached to a small 1-story stone keeper's cottage. The abandoned buildings are crumbling into ruin. Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse was built to mark the entrance to the Gulf of Argostóliou, a protected bay on the southwest side of Kefalloniá that leads to the island's principal town, Argostóli. Heavily damaged by a 1953 earthquake, the lighthouse was replaced rather than repaired. Savas's statement that the lighthouse is accessible "by a difficult street" from Lixouri does not make any sense. Located on the southeast point of the island of Vardianoi, about 3 km (1.8 mi) southwest of the entrance to the Gulf of Argostóliou. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed.
Vardiani (Vardhiánoi) (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); flash every 7.5 s, white or red depending on direction. 8 m (26 ft) round cylindrical tower rising from a 1-story base. Trabas also has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the southeast point of the island of Vardhiánoi, about 3 km (1.8 mi) southwest of the entrance to the Gulf of Argostóliou. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS GRE-186; Admiralty N3882; NGA 14704.
Argostolí Light
Ágios Theodoros Light, Argostóli, November 2004
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Robert Wallace
* Gerogompos (Ákra Yerogómbos) (2)
1947 (station established 1907). Active; focal plane 58 m (190 ft); white light, 3 s on, 2 s off, 3 s on, 7 s off. 13 m (43 ft) round cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the seaward side of a 1-story keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white, except the lantern dome is gray metallic. Trabas has a closeup photo, a 2011 photo and another fine closeup are available, Jenšíková also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse was destroyed by retreating German troops late in World War II; it was replaced using the same plans as the original. Located on a promontory at the southwestern tip of Kefalloniá, about 12 km (7.5 mi) west of Lixouri. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GRE-132; Admiralty N3880; NGA 14720.
*** Fiskárdo (1)
16th century (?) (Venetian). Inactive since 1892, at least. Approx. 6 m (20 ft) round masonry tower. Adjacent to the lighthouse is a 1-story keeper's house. Tom Longfield's photo is at right, Ian Burns also has a fine photo, Daniel Earl's photo shows that it is possible to climb the tower, and Google has a satellite view. We need information on the history of this lighthouse. The keeper's house appears to date from the 19th century, so it may be that the British refurbished the lighthouse during their administration of the Ionian Islands (1809-1864). Located on a promontory on the east side of Kefalloniá's northern tip, marking the entrance to the channel between Kefalloniá and the neighboring, smaller island of Itháki (Ithaka). Site open, tower open to all comers (caution advised!).
* Fiskárdo (2)
1892. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); white flash every 3 s. 14 m (46 ft) square stone tower with lantern and gallery. The lighthouse is unpainted light gray stone; the lantern dome is gray metallic. A photo is at the top of this page, Burkhard has another page for the lighthouse, Trabas has a photo, Dave Ellis has a closeup photo, Kirsty Sarah Tuxford also has a closeup photo, Myhre has a view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. Located a short distance uphill from the Venetian lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GRE-065; Admiralty N3876; NGA 14672.
Venetian Lighthouse
Venetian lighthouse at Fiskárdo, Kefalloniá, May 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo posted by Tom Longfield

Lighthouses of Lefkáda (Lefkas, Leucas)
Note: The island of Lefkáda, better known as Lefkas or Leucas in English, is located just off the mainland coast south of Preveza. It is the only one of the Ionian Islands accessible from the mainland by a bridge.
* Ákra Doukáto (Dukato)
1890. Active; focal plane 70 m (230 ft); white flash every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and double gallery, rising from a 1-story keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white. Trabas has a good photo, Neil Merton has posted a closeup photo, Myhre has a view from the sea, another view from the sea is available, and Google has a satellite view. The light station stands atop a spectacular cliff at the southern tip of Lefkáda, commanding a view of the islands of Ithiki and Kefalloniá. According to legend, the poet Sappho leaped to her death from this cliff around 570 BC. Located at the southwestern tip of Lefkáda, about 50 km (30 mi) south southwest of the town of Lefkada at the end of a long unpaved road; 4WD recommended. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GRE-060; Admiralty N3836; NGA 14572.
* Lefkáda (Lefkas, Santa Maura)
1861 (British). Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); two flashes every 12 s, white or red depending on direction. 6 m (20 ft) square cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a small 1-story keeper's cottage. The lighthouse is unpainted; lantern painted white. The lighthouse is built on one corner of the 14th century Byzantine fortress of Santa Maura, which is otherwise in ruins. Patrizia Ferri's photo is at right, Trabas has an excellent photo, Claußen has photos by Olaf Riesenberg, Wikimedia has a photo, Stathis Stathakis has a photo taken from the sea, and Google has an excellent street view and a satellite view. The northern end of the island of Lefkáda is separated from the mainland only by a narrow channel, now crossed by a causeway and floating bridge. The citadel protects the northern entrance to this channel, just north of the bridge, on the north side of the town of Lefkáda. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GRE-184; Admiralty N3832; NGA 14560.

Lighthouses of Paxi (Paxoí, Paxos)
Note: Paxi, the smallest of the seven major Ionian Islands, is located 12 km (7.5 mi) due south of the southern tip of Kérkyra; it is accessible by ferry from Parga.
** Antipaxi (Antipaxoí, Cape Oboros)
1906. Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); white or red light, depending on direction, on 1.5 s, off 4.5 s. 12 m (39 ft) square rubblestone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a small 1-story rubblestone keeper's cottage. The lighthouse is unpainted; lantern painted white with a green roof. An excellent photo and a 2009 view from the sea are available, Claußen also has a view from the sea by Olaf Riesenberg, Jenšíková has a distant view, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. Antipaxi is a small island about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) southeast of Paxi. Boat transportation to the island can be arranged in Gaios. The lighthouse is staffed and the keeper is reported to conduct tours by arrangement. Located at the southeastern tip of the island. Site open, tower open by arrangement. ARLHS GRE-100; Admiralty N3796; NGA 14496.
Faros Lefkada
Lefkáda Light, Lefkáda, August 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Patrizia Ferri
* Panayía (Panagia, Port Gayo)
1825 (British). Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); flash every 5 s, white or red depending on direction. 11 m (36 ft) square cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white, lantern roof dark green. A 2007 photo is available, Claußen has photos by Olaf Riesenberg, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. This lighthouse was built by Britain. Panagia is a small island off the north side of the entrance to the harbor of Gaios; the island is also the site of a historic monastery, the Moni Panagias. Transportation to the island is available from Gaios. Located at a high point at the northeastern end of the island. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GRE-102; Admiralty N3794; NGA 14488.
* Laka (Lakka) (2)
1919 (station established 1825). Active; focal plane 64 m (210 ft); three white flashes every 24 s. 10 m (33 ft) square rubblestone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a small 1-story rubblestone keeper's cottage. The lighthouse is unpainted; lantern painted white with a green roof. Phil James has a 2008 photo, Malcolm Haig has a good photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse is located near Lakka at the northwestern tip of the island, about 9 km (5.5 mi) northwest of Gaios, the principal town and ferry port. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GRE-088; Admiralty N3792; NGA 14484.

Lighthouses of Kérkyra (Corfu)
Note: Kérkyra was long known (and may still be better known) by its Italian name Corfu. The northernmost of the Ionian Islands, it lies off the northwestern corner of Greece and the southwestern corner of Albania. The island is 60 km (40 mi) long. It is accessible by air and by high-speed ferries from Igoumenítsa in Epirus and from Sarandë in neighboring Albania.
Peristeres (Peristeraí, Tignoso) (2)
1872 (station established 1825). Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); red flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical stone tower with gallery, attached to a small 1-story stone keeper's cottage. The lighthouse is unpainted, and it appears in very poor condition in Savas's photo; the keeper's house is in ruins. A 2007 photo, taken from the sea, shows the mountains of southern Albania in the distance. Claußen has photos by Olaf Riesenberg, Jenšíková also has photos, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a rocky islet off the northeastern tip of Kérkyra, marking the entrance to the channel between the Greek island and the Albanian mainland. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS GRE-106; Admiralty N3750; NGA 14392.
* Sidero (Sideros, Akra Sidero, Kérkyra, Corfu)
1828 (British). Active; focal plane 78 m (256 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 8 m (26 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a small 1-story stone keeper's cottage. The lighthouse is unpainted; the lantern roof is green. Larry Myhre's 2009 photo is at right, Tom Vooght has a 2008 photo, Claußen has photos by Olaf Riesenberg, Steven dos Remedios has a nice view, Klaus Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view by Jim Gayes and an indistinct satellite view. Myhre's photo at right and a March 2006 closeup show the poor condition of this historic lighthouse: the crumbling tile roof, and a pane missing from the lantern. Benny Hünersen's September 2013 photo doesn't show much improvement. The lighthouse was built by the British to light the way to their principal naval base in the Ionian Islands. It stands at the east end of the town of Kérkyra within the Venetian citadel, which withstood repeated sieges by the Turks. Note: there is another Faros Sidero on Kriti (Crete). Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GRE-117; Admiralty N3756; NGA 14430.
[Levkimnis (Salternes)]
Date unknown (station established 1874). Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); white flash every 6 s. 5 m (17 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. Next to the active light is a small 1-story stone keeper's cottage. The light was originally displayed from a post atop the cottage. Trabas has a closeup of the light tower, and Google has satellite view. Located on Akra Levkimnis, a point of land on the southeastern side of the island, about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) northeast of Alikes. Site status unknown. Admiralty N3776; NGA 14436.
Sidero Light
Sidero Light, Kérkyra, May 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Larry Myhre
* Kastri (Othoni, Othonoí, Fano) (1)
1872. Active or reactivated (?); focal plane 103 m (338 ft); white flash every 10 s. 13 m (43 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery centered on a 1-story masonry keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white. A closeup and a more distant view are available, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. NGA now describes the light as a 10 m (33 ft) "round metal tower on house" but the available photos do not show such a tower and the lighthouse appears to be in service. Othoni (Fano in Italian), the westernmost Greek territory, is an island about 6 km (3.5 mi) long and about 25 km (15 mi) northwest of Kérkyra. The island is accessible by ferry from the town of Kérkyra. Located on the northeastern point of the island. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GRE-078; Admiralty N3738; NGA 14380.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Albania | East: Northern Greece | Southeast: Southern Greece

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Posted November 27, 2006. Checked and revised November 17, 2014. Lighthouses: 18. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.