Ionian Sea

Ionian Sea

Ionian Sea, part of the Mediterranean Sea, S Europe, between Greece and S Italy. It is connected with the Adriatic Sea by the Strait of Otranto. The Gulf of Taranto and the Gulf of Corinth are its chief arms. The Ionian Islands lie in its eastern part. Kérkira and Pátrai (Greece) and Catania and Taranto (Italy) are the chief ports.

The Ionian Sea is an arm of the Mediterranean Sea, south of the Adriatic Sea. It is bounded by southern Italy, including Calabria, Sicily and the Salento peninsula, to the west, by southwestern Albania, including Saranda and Himara, and a large number of Greek islands, including Corfu, Zante, Kephalonia, Ithaka, and Lefkas to the east. The islands are collectively referred to as the Ionian Islands, and other islands including the Strophades, Sphagia, Schiza, Sapientza and Kythira. The sea is one of the most seismic areas in the world.

There are ferry routes between Patras, Greece and Brindisi and Ancona, Italy, that cross over the east and north of the Ionian Sea, and shipping routes from Piraeus westward cross as well.

Origin and myth of the eponym of the Ionian Sea

The name Ionian comes from Greek Ἰόνιον (πέλαγος). Its ultimate etymology is unknown. Ancient Greek writers, especially Aeschylus, linked it to the myth of Io, who was believed to have swum through the sea. There were also narratives about other eponymic legendary figures; according to one version, Ionius was a son of Adrias (eponymic for the Adriatic Sea), thought to have been an Illyrian king; according to another, Ionius was a son of Dyrrhachus, eponymic for the ancient Greek city of Dyrrhachium (modern Durrës in Albania). When Dyrrhachus was attacked by his own brothers, Heracles, who was passing through the country, came to his aid, but in the fight the hero killed his ally's son by mistake. The corpse was cast into the sea, which thereafter was called the Ionian Sea.


In order from south to north in the west and then north to south in the east:

Gulfs and straits


In order from north to south

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