Ionian Sea

The Ionian Sea (Greek: Ιόνιο Πέλαγος, Iónio Pélagos [iˈonio ˈpelaɣos]; Italian: Mar Ionio [mar ˈjɔːnjo]; Albanian: Deti Jon [dɛti jɔ:n]) is an elongated bay of the Mediterranean Sea. It is connected to the Adriatic Sea to the north, and is bounded by Southern Italy, including Calabria, Sicily, and the Salento peninsula to the west, southern Albania to the north, and the west coast of Greece, including the peninsula of The Peleponnese.

All major islands in the sea, which are located in the west of the sea, belong to Greece. They are collectively named the Ionian Islands, the main ones being Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Lefkada, and Ithaca. There are ferry routes between Patras and Igoumenitsa, Greece, and Brindisi and Ancona, Italy, that cross the east and north of the Ionian Sea, and from Piraeus westward. Calypso Deep, the deepest point in the Mediterranean at 5,267 m (17,280 ft), is located in the Ionian Sea, at 36°34′N 21°8′E / 36.567°N 21.133°E.[1][2] The sea is one of the most seismically active areas in the world.

Ionian Sea
Ionian Sea map
Map of the Ionian Sea
Coordinates38°N 19°E / 38°N 19°ECoordinates: 38°N 19°E / 38°N 19°E
Primary outflowsMediterranean Sea
Basin countriesAlbania, Italy, Greece
IslandsList of islands in the Ionian Sea
SettlementsIgoumenitsa, Parga, Preveza, Astakos, Patras, Kerkyra, Lefkada, Argostoli, Zakynthos, Kyparissia, Pylos, Kalamata, Himarë, Sarandë, Syracuse, Catania, Taormina, Messina, Taranto
The Ionian Sea, view from the island Kefalonia, Greece
Mainland seen from Corfu
The Ionian Sea, as seen from Corfu Island, Greece, and with Saranda, Albania in the background


Ionian Sea borders
Boundaries of the Ionian Sea. Red lines define the I.H.O. border.

The name Ionian comes from the Greek language Ἰόνιον (πέλαγος). Its etymology is unknown.[3] Ancient Greek writers, especially Aeschylus, linked it to the myth of Io. In Ancient Greek the adjective Ionios (Ἰόνιος) was used as an epithet for the sea because Io swam across it.[4][5][6] According to the Oxford Classical Dictionary, the name may derive from Ionians who sailed to the West.[7] There were also narratives about other eponymic legendary figures;[8] according to one version, Ionius was a son of Adrias (eponymic for the Adriatic Sea); according to another, Ionius was a son of Dyrrhachus.[9] When Dyrrhachus was attacked by his own brothers, Heracles, who was passing through the area, came to his aid, but in the fight the hero killed his ally's son by mistake. The body was cast into the water, and thereafter was called the Ionian Sea.[9]



The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Ionian Sea as follows:[10]

On the North. A line running from the mouth of the Butrinto River (39°44'N) in Albania, to Cape Karagol in Corfu (39°45'N), along the North Coast of Corfu to Cape Kephali (39°45'N) and from thence to Cape Santa Maria di Leuca in Italy.
On the East. From the mouth of the Butrinto River in Albania down the coast of the mainland to Cape Matapan.
On the South. A line from Cape Matapan to Cape Passero, the Southern point of Sicily.
On the West. The East coast of Sicily and the Southeast coast of Italy to Cape Santa Maria di Leuca.


Gjipe beach, Albania
Gjipe in the south of Albania where the Adriatic Sea meets the Ionian Sea
Ionian sea islands, pic1
The Ionian Sea, view from the island Lefkada, Greece

From south to north in the west, then north to south in the east:

Gulfs and straits


See also


  1. ^ Gade, Martin (March 15, 2008). "The European Marginal and Enclosed Seas: An Overview". In Barale, Vittorio (ed.). Remote Sensing of the European Seas. Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 3–22. ISBN 978-1-4020-6771-6. LCCN 2007942178. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  2. ^ "NCMR - MAP". National Observatory of Athens. Archived from the original on August 28, 2009. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  3. ^ Babiniotis, Lexiko tis Neoellinikis Glossas.
  4. ^ Jakub Pigoń (18 December 2008). The Children of Herodotus: Greek and Roman Historiography and Related Genres. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 114. ISBN 978-1-4438-0251-2.
  5. ^ LSJ, A Greek-English Lexicon s.v. Ἰόνιος.
  6. ^ John Freely (30 April 2008). The Ionian Islands: Corfu, Cephalonia and Beyond. I.B.Tauris. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-85771-828-0.
  7. ^ John Keahey (15 July 2014). A Sweet and Glorious Land: Revisiting the Ionian Sea. St. Martin's Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-4668-7603-3.
  8. ^ Charles Anthon (1869). A Classical Dictionary Containing an Account of the Principal Proper Names Mentioned in Ancient Authors [and Intended to Elucidate All the Important Points Connected with the Geography, History, Biography, Mythology, and Fine Arts of the Greeks and Romans: Together with an Account of Coins, Weights, and Measures, with Tabular Values of the Same.]. Harper [& Brothers]. p. 679.
  9. ^ a b Gocha R. Tsetskhladze (2008). Greek Colonisation: An Account of Greek Colonies and Other Settlements Overseas. BRILL. p. 157. ISBN 90-04-15576-7.
  10. ^ Limits of Oceans and Seas (PDF) (3rd ed.). Organisation hydrographique internationale. 1953. Retrieved February 7, 2010.

External links

2018 Ionian Sea earthquake

A strong earthquake measuring magnitude Mw  6.8 occurred in the Ionian Sea near the coasts of Greece during the night between 25 and 26 October 2018 at 22:54:51 UTC (01:54:51 in Greece). Sea level changes were predicted, and a tsunami advisory was issued. Reports of sea level change of up to 20 centimeters were reported in Greece and Italy.The epicenter was located about 133 km from Patras. The earthquake occurred 14km below the surface. Power outages were reported on the island of Zakynthos, and a 15th century monastery was also damaged on the islands of Strofades. The port of Zakynthos also sustained major damage, and a state of emergency was declared in the municipality. Services around Zakynthos were affected, and schools were closed on October 26th. Tax relief was also extended into January in order to support the local tourism industry.Other structures were damaged, but despite the magnitude of the event, there were no reported serious injuries or casualties. About 120 homes were left uninhabitable, and the town laterally shifted 5 centimeters as a result of the earthquake. A strict building code was cited as a possible reason for the limited amount of damage, as Zakynthos suffered major damage from a 1953 earthquake.The event was felt in eight different countries, including in the Balkans, Italy, Malta as well as coasts of Africa and Turkey.The main shock was followed by multiple aftershocks in the following days, including undersea aftershocks of magnitude 4.4 and 5 over a week after the initial earthquake. The largest reported aftershock was of magnitude 5.6 the day of the initial earthquake.


The Acheron (; Ancient Greek: Ἀχέρων Acheron or Ἀχερούσιος Acherousios; Greek: Αχέροντας Acherontas) is a river located in the Epirus region of northwest Greece. It is 52 km (32 mi) long, and its drainage area is 705 km2 (272 sq mi). Its source is near the village Zotiko, in the southwestern part of the Ioannina regional unit and it flows into the Ionian Sea in Ammoudia, near Parga.

Albanian Riviera

The Albanian Riviera ( Albanian pronunciation: [ɾiˈvi:ɛɾa ʃcipˈta:rɛ] — Albanian: Riviera Shqiptare), also popularly known as Bregu, is a coastline along the Northeastern Ionian Sea in the Mediterranean Sea encompassing the districts of Sarandë and Vlorë in Southwestern Albania. It forms an important section of the Albanian Ionian Sea Coast dotted with the villages of Palasë, Dhërmi, Vuno, Himara, Qeparo, Borsh, Piqeras, Lukovë and Sarandë.The riviera should not be confused with the entire coastline of the country, which includes the Ionian Sea Coast, and the mostly flat Adriatic Sea Coast in the north. The Ceraunian Mountains separates the coast from the hinterland. The area is a major nightlife, ecotourist, and elite retreat destination in Albania. It features traditional Mediterranean villages, ancient castles, churches, monasteries, secluded turquoise beaches, bays, mountain passes, seaside canyons, coves, rivers, underwater fauna, caves, and orange, lemon, and olive groves. During the classical times, 48 BC during his pursuit of Pompey, Julius Caesar set foot and rested his legion at Palasë. He continued onto Llogara Pass in a place later named Caesar's Pass.

The region gained international attention after the 2009 reconstruction of the coastal road SH8, the 2010 tour stop of DJ Tiësto in Dhermi, and the filming of a Top Gear episode featuring a breathtaking car pursuit along the winding coastal road. The Albanian Riviera was proclaimed as the 2012 Top Value Destination by Frommer's. The area has been host to several international music festivals such as Kala Festival, Soundwave Albania, and Turtle Fest, while becoming known for its long standing nightclubs such as Havana Beach Club near Dhermi and recently opened Folie Marine in Jale beach.

As part of the regional master plan, the World Bank and other institutions are financing local infrastructure projects, including the renovation of roofs and facades of traditional houses overlooking the Riviera, town squares redesign, and the construction of water supply and treatment plants.


The Albanoi (Ancient Greek: Ἀλβανοί, Albanoi; Albanian: Albanët) or Albani were an Illyrian tribe whose first historical account appears in a work of Ptolemy in addition to a town called Albanopolis (Ἀλβανόπολις) located east of the Ionian sea, in modern-day Albania.

Ambracian Gulf

The Ambracian Gulf, also known as the Gulf of Arta or the Gulf of Actium, and in some official documents as the Amvrakikos Gulf (Greek: Αμβρακικός κόλπος, romanized: Amvrakikos kolpos), is a gulf of the Ionian Sea in northwestern Greece. About 40 km (25 mi) long and 15 km (9 mi) wide, it is one of the largest enclosed gulfs in Greece, and due to its ecological importance is one of the National Parks of Greece. The towns of Preveza, Amphilochia (formerly Karvassaras), and Vonitsa lie on its shores.

Battle of Preveza

The Battle of Preveza was a naval battle that took place on 28 September 1538 near Preveza in northwestern Greece between an Ottoman fleet and that of a Christian alliance assembled by Pope Paul III in which the Ottoman fleet defeated the allies. It occurred in the same area in the Ionian Sea as the Battle of Actium, 31 BC. It was one of the three largest sea battles that took place in the sixteenth century Mediterranean.

Battle of Preveza (1911)

This engagement should not be confused with the Battle of Preveza in 1538.The Battle of Preveza, in September 1911, was the first naval engagement fought during the Italo-Turkish War. Five Italian Soldato-class destroyers encountered five Ottoman ships off the Greek port of Preveza. Over the course of two days, four of the Turkish vessels present were sunk or captured and the city was bombarded.

Ceraunian Mountains

The Ceraunian Mountains (Albanian: Vargu Detar or Malësia Akrokeraune; Greek: Κεραύνια Όρη, Keravnia ori; Latin: Cerauni Montes), also commonly Akroceraunian Mountains (Ancient Greek: Ἀκροκεραύνια), are a coastal mountain range in Southwestern Albania, within the county of Vlorë. The range rises on the northeastern bank of the Ionian Sea. It extends for approximately 100 km (62 mi) in a southeast-northwest direction near Sarandë along the Albanian Riviera nearby to Orikum. Geologically, the Karaburun Peninsula belongs to the mountain range, forming the eastern Akroceraunian Mountains. The mountains are about 24 km (15 mi) long and about 4–7 km (2.5–4.3 mi) wide.The highest peak is Maja e Çikës with an elevation of 2,044 metres (6,706 ft). The Llogara Pass (1,027 metres (3,369 ft)) divides the mountains into a western and the Akroceraunian Mountains within the Karaburun Peninsula.

The Ceraunian Mountains have been described by ancient writers such as Ptolemy, Strabo and Pausanias. Consequently, their classical Greek name is better known than the modern Albanian one. Julius Caesar first set foot on Llogara Pass and rested his legion at Palasë on the Albanian Riviera during his pursuit of Pompey. The name is derived from Ancient Greek Κεραύνια ὄρη, meaning "thunder-split peaks".

Geography of Greece

Greece is a country in Southern Europe, bordered to the north by Albania, North Macedonia and Bulgaria; to the east by Turkey, and is surrounded to the east by the Aegean Sea, to the south by the Cretan and the Libyan Seas, and to the west by the Ionian Sea which separates Greece from Italy.

The country consists of a mountainous, peninsular mainland jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea at the southernmost tip of the Balkans, and two smaller peninsulas projecting from it:

the Chalkidiki and the Peloponnese, which is joined to the mainland by the Isthmus of Corinth. Greece also has many islands, of various sizes, the largest being Crete, Euboea, Lesvos, Rhodes, Chios, Kefalonia, and Corfu; groups of smaller islands include the Dodecanese and the Cyclades. According to the CIA World Factbook, Greece has 13,676 kilometres (8,498 mi) of coastline, the largest in the Mediterranean Basin.Greece's latitude ranges from 35°N to 42°N and its longitude from 19°E to 28°E. As a result of this and its physical geography, the country has considerable climatic variation.

Gulf of Corinth

The Gulf of Corinth or the Corinthian Gulf (Greek: Κορινθιακός Kόλπος, Korinthiakόs Kόlpos, Greek pronunciation: [korinθʝaˈkos ˈkolpos]) is a deep inlet of the Ionian Sea, separating the Peloponnese from western mainland Greece. It is bounded in the east by the Isthmus of Corinth which includes the shipping-designed Corinth Canal and in the west by the Strait of Rion which widens into the shorter Gulf of Patras (part of the Ionian Sea) and of which the narrowest point is crossed since 2004 by the Rio–Antirrio bridge. The gulf is bordered by the large administrative divisions (regional units): Aetolia-Acarnania and Phocis in the north, Boeotia in the northeast, Attica in the east, Corinthia in the southeast and south and Achaea in the southwest. The gulf is in tectonic movement comparable to movement in parts of Iceland and Turkey, growing by 10 mm (0.39 in) per year.

In the Middle Ages, the gulf was known as the Gulf of Lepanto (the Italian form of Naupactus).

Shipping routes between the Greek commercial port Piraeus (further away from ultimate destinations but larger and better connected to the south than the north-western Greek port of Igoumenitsa) to western Mediterranean and hemisphere ports pass along this gulf. A further crossing in the form of ferry links Aigio and Agios Nikolaos, towards the western part of the gulf.

Length: 130 km (81 mi)

Width: 8.4 to 32 km (5.2 to 19.9 mi)

Max Depth 935 m (3,068 ft)

Gulf of Patras

The Gulf of Patras (Greek: Πατραϊκός Κόλπος, Patraikós Kólpos) is a branch of the Ionian Sea in Western Greece. On the east, it is closed by the Strait of Rion between capes Rio and Antirrio, near the Rio-Antirrio bridge, that is the entrance of the Gulf of Corinth. On the west, it is bounded by a line from Oxeia island to Cape Araxos. To the north it is bounded by the shore of Aetolia-Acarnania in continental Greece, and to the south by Achaea in the Peloponnese peninsula. It is 40–50 km long, 10–20 km wide, and has an area of 350–400 km2.

The port city of Patras lies to the southeast and is the only major port on the gulf. It serves ferries to Ancona and Brindisi in Italy and to Cephalonia. On the northern shore Missolonghi also has a port. The old ports of Rio and Antirrio lie at the east end of the Gulf; there is a ferry service between them which complements the traffic over the Rio-Antirio bridge. The gulf is rich in fish as well as molluscs including sea snails and clams.

Gulf of Taranto

The Gulf of Taranto (Italian: Golfo di Taranto; Tarantino: Gurfe de Tarde; Latin: Sinus Tarentinus) is a gulf of the Ionian Sea, in Southern Italy.

The Gulf of Taranto is almost square, 140 km (87 mi) long and wide, and is delimited by the capes Santa Maria di Leuca (to the east, in Apulia) and Colonna (the ancient Lacinium, to the west, in Calabria), encompassed by the three regions of Apulia, Basilicata and Calabria. The most important rivers are the Basento, the Sinni, and the Agri.

The main cities on the gulf are Taranto and Gallipoli. Also the Greek colonies (Magna Graecia) of Kroton, Heraclea, Thurii, and Sybaris were founded on the Gulf of Taranto.

Italy claims the whole gulf as national waters, thus closed to international traffic. This position, which is similar to that of Libya on the Gulf of Sidra, is not recognized by some other countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

Ionian Islands

The Ionian Islands (Modern Greek: Ιόνια νησιά, Ionia nisia; Ancient Greek, Katharevousa: Ἰόνιοι Νῆσοι, Ionioi Nēsoi) are a group of islands in Greece. They are traditionally called the Heptanese ("Seven Islands"; Ἑπτάνησα, Heptanēsa or Ἑπτάνησος, Heptanēsos; Italian: Eptaneso), but the group includes many smaller islands as well as the seven principal ones.

As a distinct historic region they date to the centuries-long Venetian rule, which preserved them from becoming part of the Ottoman Empire, and created a distinct cultural identity with many Italian influences. The Ionian Islands became part of the modern Greek state in 1864. Administratively today they belong to the Ionian Islands Region except for Kythera, which belongs to the Attica Region.

Libyan Sea

The Libyan Sea (Greek Λιβυκό πέλαγος, Latin Libycum Mare, Arabic البحر الليبي) is the portion of the Mediterranean Sea north of the African coast of ancient Libya, i.e. Cyrenaica, and Marmarica

(the coast of what is now eastern Libya and western Egypt, between Tobruk and Alexandria). This designation was used by ancient geographers describing the southern Mediterranean, but the term is also used by modern travel writers and cartographers. The southern coastline of Crete which borders the Libyan Sea includes the Asterousia Mountains and Mesara Plain; this area is the locus of considerable ancient Bronze Age settlement including the sites of Kommos, Hagia Triada and Phaistos.Not counting Crete, other islands in Libyan sea are Gavdos, Gavdopoula, Koufonisi and Chrysi.

To the east is the Levantine Sea, to the north the Ionian Sea, and to the west the Strait of Sicily.

List of rivers of Greece

This is a list of rivers that are at least partially in Greece. The rivers flowing into the sea are sorted along the coast. Rivers flowing into other rivers are listed by the rivers they flow into. The confluence is given in parentheses.

For an alphabetical overview of rivers of Greece see Category:Rivers of Greece.

Maja e Çikës

The Maja e Çikës, (Albanian pronunciation: [maja ɛ tʃikəs]) at 2,044 metres (6,706 ft) above sea level, is the highest peak of the Ceraunian Mountains. The Ceraunians extends approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) along the Albanian Riviera in a northwesterly direction from Sarandë to the Karaburun Peninsula. With a prominence of 1,563 metres (5,128 ft), Maja e Çikës is the 85th most prominent mountain peak in Europe.The climate is mediterranean, having hot summers and generally warm to cool, dry winters. Furthermore, the mount falls within the Illyrian deciduous forests terrestrial ecoregion of the Palearctic Temperate broadleaf and mixed forest. The mount is also part of the Llogara National Park, which is noted for its rich biodiversity and vegetation. The western flank of the mount is vegetated by species such as the Bulgarian fir, Austrian pine, Bosnian pine and Macedonian pine.

Strait of Messina

The Strait of Messina (Italian: Stretto di Messina), is a narrow strait between the eastern tip of Sicily (Punta del Faro) and the western tip of Calabria (Punta Pezzo) in the south of Italy. It connects the Tyrrhenian Sea to the north with the Ionian Sea to the south, within the central Mediterranean. At its narrowest point, between Torre Faro and Villa San Giovanni, it is 3.1 km (1.9 mi) wide. At the town of Messina it is 5.1 km (3.2 mi) wide. The strait's maximum depth is about 250 m (820 ft).

The strait has strong tidal currents that create a unique marine ecosystem. A natural whirlpool in the northern portion of the strait has been linked to the Greek legend of Scylla and Charybdis. In some circumstances, the mirage of Fata Morgana can be observed when looking at Sicily from Calabria. With its bottleneck shape, it is also a compulsory point of transit of the migration of many bird species.

In 1957, a 220 kV overhead power line was built across the Strait of Messina. Its pylons are among the highest in the world. This power line has since been replaced by a submarine power cable, but the pylons remain and are protected as historical monuments (see Pylons of Messina).

Strait of Otranto

The Strait of Otranto (Albanian: Kanali i Otrantos; Italian: Canale d'Otranto; Croatian: Otranska Vrata) connects the Adriatic Sea with the Ionian Sea and separates Italy from Albania. Its width at Punta Palascìa, east of Salento is less than 72 kilometres (45 mi). The strait is named after the Italian city of Otranto.

Vlorë County

Vlorë County (Albanian: Qarku i Vlorës) is one of the 12 counties of the Republic of Albania, with the capital in Vlorë. The county spans 2,706 square kilometres (1,045 sq mi) and had a total population of 183,105 people as of 2016. The county borders on the counties of Fier, Gjirokastër, and the Adriatic and Ionian Sea.

Vlorë is geographically a very mountainous county. The county stretches along the Adriatic Sea and especially the Ionian Sea, forming the Albanian Riviera. The county has a coastline of 244 kilometres (152 mi). The coasts on the west can be very steep and rocky with green panoramic vistas and high mountains in the hinterland, including the Ceraunian Mountains. The highest natural point is Maja e Çikës, at 2,044 metres (6,706 ft). Although the northwest of the county is comprised mostly by the peninsula of Karaburun with a rough relief, steep cliffs, bays and rocky beaches.

With more than 180.000 inhabitants in 2016, the county is the seventh most populous Albanian county, and the third most populous county of the Southern Region. Albanians predominate in the county, including the capital city. In addition, Greeks, Aromanians, Macedonians and Montenegrins also are present in the ethnic composition of the local population of the county.

The port city Vlorë is the capital of Vlorë County. It is where the Albanian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on November 28, 1912. Sarandë is one of the most important tourist attractions of the Albanian Riviera. It is situated on an open sea gulf of the Ionian Sea in the central Mediterranean, about 14 km (8.7 mi) east of the north end of the Greek island of Corfu. The Butrint National Park, Llogara National Park and Karaburun Sazan National Marine Park are located in Vlorë County. The ancient city of Butrint is an archeological site in Vlorë County, some 14 kilometres south of Sarandë. It is located on a hill overlooking the Vivari Channel and is part of the Butrint National Park.

Arctic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
Indian Ocean
Pacific Ocean
Southern Ocean
Endorheic basins
Marginal seas of the Atlantic Ocean

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.