Their axial location near Greek, Albanian and Italian coasts partly explains their tumultuous history. Colonised by Corinthians, conquered by Venetians and then Turks, the region is also Ulysses's homeland. Dotted with cypresses, vines, olives and lemon trees, the landscape resembles parts of Italy. Corfu is verdant, Paxos tiny and rocky, Lefkada more mountainous, Kefalonia jagged, Kythera arid. Finally, Zakynthos is made up of two distinct regions, one ringed by cliffs, the other a fertile plain. A mild climate, turqoise seas and white sandy beaches make these islands simply idyllic.