Ithaca

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The Island of Odysseus

Find Your Ithaca through the Legendary Myths of Odysseys and the Timeless Travel Symbols of Cavafy
Calm and wild, simple and genuine, romantic and poetic, mysterious and legendary, Ithaca awaits you to find your own ‘Ithaca’. Immersed in immorality through the legendary wanderings of Odysseus from Homer and highlighted as the timeless symbol of adventure and travel from Cavafy, Ithaca is a one-of-a-kind island. The emerald breezes of summer combined with the golden colours of autumn create a mesmerizing feeling of nostalgia in the beautiful island of Ithaca. Astonishing sceneries with verdant vegetation, mountainous villages with traditional character and beautiful beaches with deep blue colours are blessed with the atmosphere of serenity and peacefulness. This is Ithaca. Verdant hills and rocky mountains surrounded from the sea in all the shades of blue, white, gray and orange rocks slate the seawaters like swords, colourful villages with elegant graciousness and aristocratic nobility, will definitely stimulate your imagination. Behind the legendary stories of Odysseus and the epics of Homer, Ithaca is the eternal symbol of love and nostalgia, synonymous to the value of ‘motherland’, worldwide known as the place of the return journey in the history of mankind. You will not travel to Ithaca accidentally, as you will dig deep in your soul to find your own Ithaca first. Soon enough, you will appreciate the reason Odysseus finally found his way back to Ithaca after ten years. Once you travel to this island, your soul will be tied forever with the eternal value of this island touched from the magic of the legendary myths.
 

Discover Ithaca

Best of Ithaca

The Capital of Ithaca

The Town of Vathy is the capital of Ithaca located on the southern part of the island. Recognized as a traditional settlement from the State of Greece, Vathy distinguishes for its traditional character with the red tiled roof houses and the charming alleys. The harbour of Vathy is considered to be one of the safest natural harbors of Greece attracting thousands of sailing enthusiasts. Worth visiting sights include the Cathedral of Ithaca for its wood carved iconostasis, the church of Agios Nikolaos Xenon for the icon of Jesus Elkomenos made from El Greco, the Archaeological Museum of Ithaca and the Folklore and Maritime Museum of Ithaca.

The Acropolis of Alalcomenae

The Acropolis of Alalcomenae dominates the mountain slopes above the village of Piso Aetos. The ancient town was founded in the stragic location on the narrow isthmus of the two parts of the island during the 6th century. Plutach the historian refered to Alalcomenae as the city of the Ithacians while arcaheologist Eric Sliman stated that this was the palace of Odysseus. Arcaheological excavations brought to light traces of the acropolis of Alalcomenae along with objects of historical value including the bronze coins with the face of Odyseeus and imprints with the name Ithaca. Findings are displayed in the Arhcaoelogical Museum of Vathy.

The Beach of Platia Ammos

The Beach of Platia Ammos is a white sandy beach with turquoise waters located on the northern side of the island. Characterized as the most beautiful beach of Ithaca, Platia Ammos distinguishes for its exotic sceneries and its turquoise waters. Access to the beach is possible only by sea.

The Cave of the Nymphs

The Cave of the Nymphs, else known as Marmarospilia, has been identified as the Homeric Cave of the Nymphs. The cave distinguishes for its rich stalactite formations. Extensive archaeological research shows that the cave served as a place of worship of the nymphs in ancient times. The cave also suits the description of Homeric Odyssey, as it is mentioned that the cave was located at an altitude of 190 above the bay of Dexa where the Phaecians left Odysseus sleeping.

The Monastery of Kathara

The Monastery of Kathara is the most important pilgrimage center of Ithaca located in the village of Anogi. Panagia Kathariotissa is the protector saint of Ithaca. The sunset from the monastery is an outstanding spectacle. On September 8, the traditional celebration in honor of the saint takes place in the monastery while a litany of the miraculous image is held on the eve of the celebration.

The Village of Kioni

The Village of Kioni is a seaside village located on the northeast side of the island. Characterized as one of the most beautiful villages of the Ionian Sea, the lovely settlement has a traditional character with well preserved old houses and charming alleys spreading along the bay. The surrounding area of the settlement is dotted with beautiful beaches including the beaches of Filiatro, Plakoutses and Sarakinari. Kioni is renowned for its delicious fresh fish taverns. It is highly recommended to visit the traditional windmills of Kioni in order to enjoy the astonishing views to the endless blue of the Ionian Sea.

Archaeological Sites

The Acropolis of Alalcomenae dominates the mountain slopes above the village of Piso Aetos. The ancient town was founded in the stragic location on the narrow isthmus of the two parts of the island during the 6th century. Plutach the historian refered to Alalcomenae as the city of the Ithacians while arcaheologist Eric Sliman stated that this was the palace of Odysseus. Arcaheological excavations brought to light traces of the acropolis of Alalcomenae along with objects of historical value including the bronze coins with the face of Odyseeus and imprints with the name Ithaca. Findings are displayed in the Arhcaoelogical Museum of Vathy.

The Ancient Settlement of Agios Athanasios is located close to the village of Exogi. According to the descriptions of Homer, Agios Athanasios was the legendary city of Odysseus, as it is situated between three mountains overlooking three seas. Extensive excavations suggest that the traces of the ancient settlement of Agios Athanasios belong to the Mycenaean period, when indigenous Odysseys was the king of Ithaca. However, the description also fits to the ancient settlement of Pilikata. Agios Athanasios is also known as the School of Homer, long before it was identified as the palace of Odysseys. Findings are displayed in the Archaeological Collection of Stavros.

The Ancient Settlement of Paleohora is the medieval capital of Ithaca located on the southern part of the island. Paleohora served as the capital from the Middle Ages up until the Venetian period while it distinguishes for its defensive architecture. Today, one can admire well preserved traces of old houses and byzantine churches with wall paintings. The ancient settlement of Paleohora is accessible through an old stone path that starts from the village of Perahori.

The Ancient Settlement of Pilikata is located close to the village of Stavros. According to the descriptions of Homer, Pilikata was the legendary city of Odysseus, as it is situated between three mountains overlooking three seas. However, the description also fits to the to the ancient settlement of Agios Athanasios. Numerous archaeological excavations brought to light an important part of the ancient settlement indicating that Pilikata was the sole early Hellenistic acropolis in the Ionian. Findings are displayed in the Archaeological Collection of Stavros.

Churches and Monasteries

The Chapel of Agios Andreas stands at the entrance of the harbour of Ithaca. It is a tiny whitewashed chapel with a blue door that constitutes the trademark of Vathy. On November 30, the traditional celebration in honor of the saint takes place in the church.

The Chapel of Agios Fanourios is located in the district of Kavos in Vathy. It is a tiny whitewashed chapel with red tiled roofs and blue doors that offers beautiful views to the isle of Lazaretto. On August 26, crowds of worshipers pay their respects to the traditional celebration of Agios Fanourios with their homemade fanouropites, the pies baked to honor of the saint. According to tradition, Agios Fanourios is the saint who can help you find something you have lost.

The Church of Panagia Spiliotissa is located on the southern part of the island. The church is a carved into the rock above Antri, the southernmost bay of Ithaca. On July 2, the traditional celebration with the holy icon of Virgin Mary is held in the church of Panagia in Perahori, an then the icon is carried to the chapel of Spiliotissa. The chapel offers panoramic views to the endless blue of the Ionian Sea. Panagia Spiliotissa is accessible through a path that starts from the plateau of Marathias.

The Church of the Dormition of Virgin Mary is located at the highest spot of the village of Perahori. The church distinguishes for its tall belfry, which is visible from far away at night. On August 15, the traditional celebration in honor of Virgin Mary is held in the church. Right above the church, one can follow the path that leads to the medieval settlement of Paleohora.

The Monastery of Kathara is the most important pilgrimage center of Ithaca located in the village of Anogi. Panagia Kathariotissa is the protector saint of Ithaca. The sunset from the monastery is an outstanding spectacle. On September 8, the traditional celebration in honor of the saint takes place in the monastery while a litany of the miraculous image is held on the eve of the celebration.

Monuments and Museums

The Archaeological Collection of Ithaca is located in the village of Stavros. The collection houses archaeological findings from the early Hellenistic period to the Roman period. The most import exhibit is the fragment of the inscription of Odysseys found in the cave of Loizos. The inscription certifies that the Homeric hero was indeed the king of Ithaca.

The Archaeological Museum of Vathy is located in the village of Vathy. The museum houses archaeological findings from the Geometric period up until the Roman times. . The most import exhibits are the ring shaped vase with the angled walls from the Late Geometric period and the inscription with the names of Athena and Hera found in the cave of the Nymphs.

The Folklore and Nautical Museum of Ithaca is located in the village of Vathy. The museum exhibits objects of the folklore and maritime tradition of the island including old photographs, painting of Ithacian ships, nautical instruments, old tools of various professions, jewelry, furniture and household utensils.

The House of Georgios Karaiskakis is located in the village of Kioni. The stone house served as the residence of Karaiskakis during the Greek Revolution of 1821. Today, only the exterior walls are still preserved. Georgios Karaiskakis was one of the most important figures of the Greek Revolution of 1821, who came to Ithaca during the revolution. Although he was suffering from tuberculosis, Karaiskakis retuned to Roumeli where he later became a commander.

Natural Beauties

The Cave of Loizos is located in the bay of Poli. The cave served as a center of worship of the Mycenaean civilization. Although the cave was destroyed from the severe earthquake of 1953, the importance of the cave is quite remarkable as Dimitris Loizos discovered an ancient Greek burial site in 1868 while Heinrich Schliemann recognized the value of the cave. Findings from the cave are displayed in the Archaeological Collection of Ithaca. Today, the cave is not accessible for visitors.

The Cave of the Nymphs, else known as Marmarospilia, has been identified as the Homeric Cave of the Nymphs. The cave distinguishes for its rich stalactite formations. Extensive archaeological research shows that the cave served as a place of worship of the nymphs in ancient times. The cave also suits the description of Homeric Odyssey, as it is mentioned that the cave was located at an altitude of 190 above the bay of Dexa where the Phaecians left Odysseus sleeping.

The Monolithic Rocks of Menir are located in the village of Anogi. A handful of monolithic rocks and huge boulders are scattered everywhere. Although each menir has a different name, Araklis is the most outstanding one distinguished for its size and shape. The monolithic rocks of Anogi are accessible from the road to the helipad of the village.

Promenades and Villages

Anogi is a mountainous village located on the northern side of the island. Nestling on the mountain slopes of Niritos, the lovely settlement is the second most significant medieval settlement of Ithaca with its beautiful restored byzantine church. Anogi distinguishes for its traditional customs and its local dialect that has been influenced from the Venetians. On August 14, one of the most important traditional celebrations of Ithaca is held at the central square of the village. Worth visiting sights include the church of Virgin Mary for its beauty wall painting and the monolithic rocks of Menir for their outstanding shapes and sizes.

Exogi is a mountainous village located on the northernmost side of the island. Holding the reigns of one of the oldest villages of Ithaca, the lovely settlement nestles on the mountain slopes of Neion. Exogi distinguishes for its traditional character and its verdant vegetation. The church of Agia Marina is the main church of Exogi that becomes festive on July 17, on the day of the saint, where one of the most remarkable traditional celebrations of Ithaca is held at the square of the village. It is worth noting that the view from Exogi is quite outstanding!

Frikes is a seaside village located on the northeast side of the island. The charming harbour nestles into the deep natural bay offering shelter to the boats of the fishermen. In the summer, excursion boats operate from the harbour of Frikes to the islands of Kefalonia and Lefkada. The surrounding area of the settlement is dotted with beautiful beaches including the beaches of Alikes, Kourvoulia and Marmakas.

Kioni is a seaside village located on the northeast side of the island. Characterized as one of the most beautiful villages of the Ionian Sea, the lovely settlement has a traditional character with well preserved old houses and charming alleys spreading along the bay. The surrounding area of the settlement is dotted with beautiful beaches including the beaches of Filiatro, Plakoutses and Sarakinari. Kioni is renowned for its delicious fresh fish taverns. It is highly recommended to visit the traditional windmills of Kioni in order to enjoy the astonishing views to the endless blue of the Ionian Sea.

Lefki is a mountainous village located on the west side of the island. Nestling on the mountain slopes of Niritos, the settlement distinguishes for its verdurous vegetation full of cypress and olive trees. The main square of Lefki offers panoramic views towards the strait of Kefalonia. It is also worth mentioning that watching the sunset from Lefki is a spectacular spectacle. Lefki is dotted with beautiful beaches including the beaches of Aspros Gialos, Ammoudaki, Kaminia, Koutoupi, and Mirtera. Lovers of hiking and trekking can follow the numerous cobblestone paths of Lefki to explore the surrounding areas.

Perahori is a mountainous village located on the southern side of the island. Nestling in one of the most verdurous and fertile regions of Ithaca, Perahori is one of the oldest villages of Ithaca offering panoramic views to the village of Vathy, the island of Lefkada and the Ionian Sea. Perahori is also known for its authentic Greek cuisine. On July, the wine festival is organized in the village of Perahori with lots of dancing and wine.

Platrithias is a mountainous village located on the northern side of the island. From the church of Taxiarhes, one can admire panoramic views to the surrounding vegetation of the area. Worth visiting sights include the ancient settlement of Agios Athanasios that has been identified as the School of Homer and the spring of Kalamos. Platrithias is dotted with numerous beautiful beaches including Aphales and Platia Ammos. On August 15, the traditional celebration in honor of the Dormition of Virgin Mary is held at the center of the village.

Stavros is a mountainous village located on the northern side of the island. The lovely settlement nestles on the mountain slopes of Niritos above the bay of Polis. Worth visiting sights include the church of Sotiris for its beautiful wall paintings, the sculpture of Odysseus and the bay of Polis. On August 5 and 6, the largest traditional celebration of Ithaca is held in the village of Stavros.

Vathy is the capital and harbour of Ithaca located on the southern part of the island. Recognized as a traditional settlement from the State of Greece, Vathy distinguishes for its traditional character with the red tiled roof houses and the charming alleys. The harbour of Vathy is considered to be one of the safest natural harbors of Greece attracting thousands of sailing enthusiasts. Worth visiting sights include the Cathedral of Ithaca for its wood carved iconostasis, the church of Agios Nikolaos Xenon for the icon of Jesus Elkomenos made from El Greco, the Archaeological Museum of Ithaca and the Folklore and Maritime Museum of Ithaca.

Sunset Spots

Spot: Beach of Aspros Gialos, West Ithaca

Spot: Monastery of Panagia Kathariotissa, Central Ithaca

Spot: Village of Lefki, West Ithaca

Spot: Village of Frikes, Northeast Ithaca

Excursions

Boat Trip: The Island of Kefalonia is a divine paradise. Rarely one has the opportunity to discover a harmonic collage of pristine beaches with imposing mountains, beautiful villages with traditional character and medieval trails with archaeological sites of historical significance blessed with rich cultural and spiritual heritage. Blessed with the true spirit of philoxenia, the genuine Kefalonians, all of them, share their excessive love for their island. Kefalonia has an undeniable personality with dramatic contrasts of indescribable beauty. Adventurous, just like its local people, with an exclusive ability to be distinguished on every single edge of the world. Kefalonia is the beginning of your journey, a place where the dream is just in front of you. So, don’t close your eyes, and start dreaming with your eyes wide open for the first time! Immersed in the whirlwinds of colours and scents with mountainous and seaside sceneries, reminiscent of the palette of Botticelli, Kefalonia will show you all the shades of blue and green that will intoxicate you. The emerald, sapphire and turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea surrounded from olive groves and vineyards emit scents that arouse even the most dormant human senses. A divine inspiration! Your journey might have ended in the mysterious world of Kefalonia; however, you will never say aurevoire to this island, as you will keep Kefalonia always deep in your heart!

Boat Trip: The Island of Lefkada will acquire your admiration instantly. Although you might cherish the Aegean, you will not resist to the allure of the Ionian. Gentle and temper with a feminine temperament, Lefkada has it all.Endowed with cerulean, sapphire and turquoise waters and verdurous sceneries, Lefkada betrays the whitewashed origin of her name. From spectacular beaches in all the shades of blue to verdant sceneries with flowing streams and peaceful villages, Lefkada enjoys magnificent alternations of landscapes, reserved for the ones eager to discover them. Lefkada conceals millions of faces that will inspire you to explore them each and every single of them. One thing is certain; Lefkada will give you unforgettable memories. Maybe Sappho was glorified from the unimaginable views of the Ionian Sea and leaped from the barren cliffs of Cape Lefkada for the sake of love, to seal her last memories of this divine paradise. Breathtaking views to the deep blue below the whitish cliffs with pine trees hanging over the beaches will make you promise to Lefkada that you will always return to her magical beauty. Nonetheless, the emerald island of the Ionian hides another mysterious world, absolutely authentic and genuine. Although Lefkada distinguishes for some of the finest beaches in the Mediterranean, the mountainous hinterland competes with the heavenly magnificence of its coastline. Traditional Lefkadian houses perched on the verdant mountain slopes, monuments of distinctive natural beauty with towering gorges and imposing waterfalls and colorful valley trails will definitely catch your attention. On top of that, the singing voice of Branelli, the local Lefkadians, will make you fall in love again and again with Lefkada.   Distinguished for their courtesy and generosity, the local people will show you their true spirit of philoxenia! When you travel to Lefkada, you will appreciate that reality is better that fantasy. Where the richness of the blue waters meets the evergreen forests, Lefkada is a paradise on earth dominated from imposing mountainous, divine waterfalls and authentic villages. Will you promise to Lefkada that your vow to return will be eternal?

Activities

Diving: The varied coastline of Ithaca offers numerous exciting explorations for diving enthusiasts. The shipwreck of Poseidon, the cave of Oksopetra, the cape of Gidaki, the bay of Filiatro, the wall of Skotaria, the reef of Marmakas and the rocks of Aphales are some of the most interesting diving spots. One will find diving centers at the village of Vathy.

Hiking: Ithaca hosts numerous paths ideal for lovers of hiking. (1) One of the most beautiful routes starts from the village of Exogi and leads of the fountain of Kalamos. It is a well sign posted track offering beautiful views to the mountains and the sea. (2) Another interesting trail starts from the village of Exogi, moving towards the settlement of Russano and Kalivia and ends at the village of Stavros and the bay of Polis. The sign posted track passes offers breathtaking views of the bay of Aphales and astonishing sceneries of the Ithacian countryside. (3) It is also worth following the route that starts from the village of Paleohori towards the medieval settlement of Paleohora. It is well maintained path offering amazing views to the Ionian Sea. One can also continue towards the cave of the Nymphs. (4) The trail from the Monastery of Panagia Kathariotissa to the village of Anogi is also quite interesting. As soon as you get to the monastery by car, you will find the beginning of the hiking trail that offering spectacular sceneries of the countryside.

Kayaking: The opportunity to practice kayak in Ithaca is definitely an unforgettable experience. You will have the chance to admire spectacular rocky formations and the beautiful beaches of the Ionian Sea. One will find a sea kayak center at the village of Vathy.

Sailing: Ithaca is a paradise for sailing enthusiasts. The island is separated from Kefalonia with a two mile wide channel making the west coast of Ithaca is steep and barren in contrast with the gentle and verdurous shoreline of the east side. Ithaca is amongst the favorite destinations for sailing enthusiasts. The island consists from two separate landmasses that are joined from a narrow isthmus. Harbors suitable for sailboats and yachts include the gulf of Vathy on the east coast, and the harbors of Kioni and Frikes on the northeast coast. In fact, the harbour of Vathy is considered to be one of the safest natural harbors of Greece. Other anchorage points include the bays of Aetos, Agios Ioannis, Polis and Pera Pigadi.

Beaches

Aphales is a pebbled beach with turquoise waters located on the north side of the island. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of Ithaca distinguished for its verdurous sceneries and its crystalline waters. Aphales is ideal for those looking for tranquility.

Ammoudaki is a white sandy beach with emerald waters located on the west side of the island. It is a secluded beach ideal for those looking for tranquility. Ammoudaki is accessible through a cobblestone path that starts from the village of Lefki.

Aspros Gialos is a white pebbled beach with turquoise waters located on the west side of the island. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of Ithaca distinguished for its views towards the island of Kefalonia. Aspros Gialos is ideal for those looking for tranquility.

Dexa is a pebbled beach with crystalline waters located on the east side of the island. Awarded with a blue flag, the beach is well organized with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas and a beach bar. Dexa is one of the most popular beaches of Ithaca due to its close proximity of Vathy.

Filiatro is a white pebbled beach with emerald waters located on the southern side of the island. Due to its easy access, Filiatro is one of the most popular beaches of Ithaca. It is an organized beach with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas, and water sport facilities.

Frikes is a pebbled beach with emerald waters located on the northern side of the island. The beach is renowned for its verdant mountainous backdrop and its crystalline waters. In the lovely settlement of Frikes, one will find numerous amenities including taverns and bars.

Gidaki is a white pebbled beach with turquopise waters located on the eastern part of the isalnd. Characterized as one of the ,ost beautiful beaches of Ithaca, Gidaki beach is an ideal choice for lovers of nature. Keep in mind that the beach is either accessible by boat or by a tiring hiking trails.

Kaminia is a white pebbled beach with emerald waters located on the southeast part of the island. Kaminia beach distinguishes for its lovely verdant sceneries and its tranquility.

Kioni is a white pebbled beach with crystalline waters located on the northeast side of the island. The beach is ideal for those looking for tranquility and relaxation. During the summer, a café operates at the area.

Kourvoulia is a white pebbled beach with crystalline waters located on the northern side of the island. It is a secluded beach ideal for those looking for tranquility and relaxation. Krouvoulia stands out for its crystalline waters and its privacy. The beach is accessible from the village of Frikes.

Mirtera is a white pebbled beach with turquoise waters located on the northern side of the island. The beach is rather isolated ideal for those looking for total privacy. The beach is accessible from the village of Lefki.

Mnimata is a sandy and pebbled beach located on the southern side of the island. It is a lovely beach known for its sandy shore and its crystalline waters. Due to its close distance from Vathy, Mnimata beach is one of the most popular beaches of Ithaca.

Pisaetos is a pebbled beach with sapphire waters located on the western side of the island. It is a secluded beach ideal for those looking for tranquility and relaxation.

Platia Ammos is a white sandy beach with turquoise waters located on the northern side of the island. Characterized as the most beautiful beach of Ithaca, Platia Ammos distinguishes for its exotic sceneries and its turquoise waters. Access to the beach is possible only by sea.

Sarakiniko is a pebbled beach with emerald waters located on the eastern side of the island. The beach distinuishes for its verdant vegetation and its beautiful sceneries.

Skinos is a long pebbled beach with emerald waters located on the eastern side of the island. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of Ithaca renowned for its verdant vegetation and its scenic beauty. Skinos beach is ideal for those looking for relaxation and tranquility.

Coffee Corners, Gastronomic Delights and Cocktail Inspirations

Coffee Corners

Chani: Coffee, Agios Ioannis

Karamela: Coffee, Vathy

Margarita: Coffe and Pastries, Stavros

Piccolo Coffee and More: Coffee, Kioni

Nirito: Coffee, Vathy

Livanis: Pastries, Vathy

Gastronomic Delights

Ageri: Seafood, Frikes

Calypso: Seafood, Kioni

Chani: Greek Cuisine, Agios Ioannis

Drossia: Greek Cuisine, Location

Kantouni: Greek Cuisine, Vathy

Kohili: Greek Cuisine, Vathy

Rementzo: Greek Cuisine, Frikes

Sirines: Greek Cuisine, Vathy

O Batis: Greek Cuisine, Vathy

Trehantiri: Greek Cuisine, Vathy

Yefuri Restaurant & Bar: Mediterranean Cuisine, Platrithias

Cocktail Inspirations

Chani: Cocktails and Drinks, Vathy

Fiorentino: Cocktails and Drinks, Frikes

Muppet: Cocktails and Drinks, Vathy

Spavento: Cocktails and Drinks, Kioni

Local Products & Specialties

The local products of the island include a wide range of agricultural products due to the mild climate of Ithaca. The island is renowned for its virgin olive oil, its goat meat, its yogurt, its feta cheese and its fine wine.

The local specialties of the island include savoro, a dish made with fish fillets floured and fried in olive oil, tserepa, a dish made with chicken marinated with salt, pepper and garlic, ravani, the traditional sweet of Ithaca made with ground rise with honey, sugar, vanilla and vinegar and poulenta, a traditional crème served hot with cinnamon.

Events & Festivals

Every 30th of June, the traditional celebration in honor of Agioi Apostoli takes place in the village of Frikes.

Every July, the Wine Festival of Ithaca takes place in the village of Perahori. The festival usually takes place on the last Saturday of July.

Every 17th of July, the traditional celebration in honor of Agia Marina takes place in the village of Exogi.

Every 5th and 6th of August, the traditional celebration in honor of the Transfiguration of the Savior take place in the village of Stavros.

Every 14th of August, the traditional celebration in honor of Virgin Mary takes place in the village of Anogi.

Every 15th of August, the traditional celebration in honor of Virgin Mary takes place in the village of Platrithias.

History & Mythology

Mythology

According to mythology, Odysseus was the king of Ithaca according to the Homeric Epic of Odyssey. Following the end of the Trojan War, Odysseus had a long return journey that lasted ten years. Odysseus managed to free his men from the drugs of the Lotus Eaters, rescued them from the cannibalism of Polyphemus the Cyclops and the enchantments of Circe, he braved the terrors of the underworld, he steered the dangers of the Sirens and Scylla and Charybdis and he slaughtered the cattle of the sun god. Although his ship was destroyed from a thunderbolt, Odysseus managed to survive while he was imprisoned from the nymph Calypso for seven years. When Zeus intervened, Odysseus sailed away to the island of the Phaecians and finally found his way back to Ithaca. However, the suitors of Odysseus occupied the palace and were behaving insolently to his wife and son namely Penelope and Telemachus. With the help of his father, Laertes, and his son, Telemachus, he slaughtered the suitors who were trying to convince Penelope to marry one of them in the absence of Odysseus.

History

Archaeological excavations show that Ithaca has been inhabited since the prehistoric times. All the Ionian Islands shared the same historical path, as they were constantly invaded die to their strategic geographical position on trade. Around 1.000 BC, Ithaca met its greatest glory as its kingdom constituted from all the Ionian Islands. However, the island was occupied from the Mycenaean, whose ancient capital was the acropolis of Alalcomenae. During the Classical Years, the Ionian Islands joined one of the greatest leagues led from Athens, Corinth and Sparta who caused the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC. Although the Ionian Islands were threatened from the Macedonian Empire in the Hellenistic period, they were captured from the Romans in 187 BC. Ithaca became a part of the Byzantine Empire following the division of the Roman Empire from Emperor Constantine, until it was dominated from the Normans in 1185 and the Angevins in the 13th century. Ithaca was ceded to the families of Orsini and Tocchi in the 12th century, the time when Ithaca developed in an independent state. However, the Venetians abandoned Ithaca fearing the power of the Ottomans who wanted to invade to the Ionian Islands. Indeed, the Ottomans captured Ithaca. The following five years, there were disputes between the Venetians and the Ottomans about the control of the islands, which were finally seized to the Ottomans up until the Venetians managed to recapture Ithaca, Kefalonia and Zakynthos in 1500 AD. During the Venetian Empire, Ithaca managed to develop again and the economical situation was ameliorated. The Ionian Islands remained under the commande of the Venetians until the defeat of Venice from Napoleon Bonaparte in 1797. That time, Ithaca became the capital of Kefalonia and Lefkada. The French were succeeded from the Russians and Ottomans in 1798 and Corfu became the capital of the Islands. In 1807, the Ionian returned to the French domination followed from the British rule. Ithaca participated in the Hellenic Revolutionary Fleet in the War of Independence of 1821. Ithaca was finally liberated and became a part of the Greek State in 1864. However, the island suffered from the Italians and the Germans during the Second World War.

Travel & Transport

By Air: Kefalonia has an international airport with scheduled flights on an annual basis. From April to October, there are charter flights from numerous countries of Europe. The journey from Athens usually lasts forty five minutes to one hour. From the harbour of Sami in Kefalonia, boat routes operate to Ithaca. Book your tickets with AirTickets.com!

By Boat: Vathy in Ithaca is accessible by boat from the harbor of Patra via Sami port in Kefalonia. The journey usually lasts three to four hours. Piso Aetos in Ithaca is accessible by boat from the harbour of Astakos in Etoloakarnania and the harbour of Vasiliki in Lefkada Island. Book your tickets with FerriesinGreece.com !

By Bus: KTEL Buses operate routes from the Kiffisos Station in the city of Athens to the city of Patra and the city of Astakos on a daily basis. The journey usually lasts three hours. From Astakos and Patra, there are daily boat routes to Ithaca.

By Car (216 kilometers): In order to get to Patra, you will have to follow the National Road of Athens to Patra. After crossing the Isthmus of Corinth, you keep driving on the right side in order to get to the National Road of Corinth to Patra. Following the toll station of Rio, continue straight until you reach the first exit to Patra. The journey usually lasts three to four hours.

Mysterious Greece Tips

Always Keep Ithaca in Your Mind

Highlighted as the timeless symbol of adventure and travel from Cavafy, one has to indulge into new pursuits and look with a different glance around so that he can remember what has been forgotten; to live and appreciate simple moments in a real treasure of unspoilt nature like Ithaca. Cavafy highlighted that the journey is more important than your arrival to your destination. “…and if you find her poor, Ithaca has not fooled you… wise as you have become, with so full of experience, you will have understood what these Ithacas mean…”

Diving Explorations

Incomparable natural beauty meets ocean myths and legends. The Ionian Sea is an exciting world full of mysteries! The brilliant colours of the seabed, the diversity of marine life and the underwater seascapes await diving adventurers to discover its natural wealth! The seabed of Ithaca is an ideal destination for diving expeditions due to the diverse underwater sceneries with many bays, headlands and rocky complexes. If you are lucky enough, you might even encounter the Mediterranean monk seals Monachus-Monachus! The diving center of Ithaca is located at the village of Vathy.

Easter Celebrations 0f Ithaca

In a peaceful island like Ithaca, Easter does not lure with spectacular traditions but with spiritual simplicity. On the afternoon of Good Friday, ascent to the mountainous village of Anogi to observe the local women decorating the Epitaph with the most fragrant flowers. As it gets darker, the candles and chants intensify the mysterious atmosphere of the church of Virgin Mary with its beautiful byzantine wall paintings and its Venetian bell tower. At night, head to the main square of Vathy to observe the two Epitaphs while the people hold candles in complete silence. Shortly before midnight on Good Saturday, most of the people gather in the courtyard of the Cathedral waiting for the Resurrection and the fireworks popping in the sky. On Easter Sunday, don’t forget to pay your respects to the Liturgy of Love held in the Monastery of Katharo with excellent views to the Ionian Sea!

Emerald, Sapphire and Turquoise Waters

Blessed with some of the finest beaches of Greece, Ithaca is an ideal destination to enjoy spectacular dives in crystalline waters. Mostly white pebbled, the beaches resemble crystal clear pools in all the shades of blue. Agios Ioannis, else known as Aspros Gialos, is one of the most popular beaches of Ithaca while the bay of Aphales is ideal for snorkeling adventures. Filiatro is yet another popular beach for those staying around Vathy with spectacular verdant sceneries while the beaches in Kioni are all accessible by walking. Keep in mind, however, that the best beaches are accessible only by boat. These include Aphales, Gidaki and Platis Gialos.

Enjoy your Cocktail at Chani 1800

Standing literally on the middle of the northern and southern parts of Ithaca, Chani 1800 is the best place to enjoy your cocktail with astonishing sunset views!

Explore the Unexplored: Mysterious Ithaca

The northern part of Ithaca is a beautiful mosaic of mountainous and seaside villages. The village of Lefki distinguishes for the churches with its byzantine wall paintings and the beaches of Agios Ioannis and Aspros Gialos while the village of Stavros is renowned for the sole marble bust of Odysseus and the two-day traditional celebration of Sotiros held on August 5. Characterized as one of the most beautiful villages of the Ionian, Kioni is undoubtedly a must visit for its romantic atmosphere. Kioni is also known for its delicious fish taverns. One can also visit the village of Frikes and its windmill in order to admire one of the most beautiful sunset views of Ithaca. In Anogi, the oldest village of Ithaca, you should visit the spectacular monolithic formations of Araklis. It is also worth visiting the settlement of Exogi for its outstanding views.

Lost in the Odyssey: Follow the Routes of Odysseus

Ester Van Zuylen is an art teacher from Holland who decided with her partner to come and live permanently in Ithaca. She provides guiding for the walking trails of Ithaca and helps maintain the old paths that had been left unattended for many years. Indeed, the best way to explore Ithaca is by walking! Find more information from the Ester’s Official Website.

Hop Into A Boat

Under any circumstances, you must not leave the island if you have not visited Aphales and Gidaki, two of the most impressive beaches of Ithaca, which are accessible only by boat. Whether you want to hop into a boat excursion or you want to rent a boat for a day, Ithaca has it for you. Boat excursions operate from the harbour of Vathy while you can rent a small boat from the harbors of Frikes, Kioni or Vathy!

In the Sounds of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Ithaca

Musicians dressed with impressive uniforms and melodies swirling in the rythms of the waltz attest the rich musical tradition of Corfu that dates back to the Venetian times. Just like Corfu, so Ithaca has a rich musical tradition. The Philharmonic School of Ithaca was founded in 1904 with the intention of providing a broader musical education to the inhabitants. The philharmonic orchestra participates in all the events of the island.

Natural Explorations at the Plateau of Marathias

The Plateau of Marathias is located just seven kilometers away from Vathy. The plateau covers a large area of the southern part of Ithaca, filled with olive groves and vineyards. Other sights of interest include the cave in Rizes, the spring of Arethousa Krini and the cavernous church of Panagia Spiliotissa. A paved road crosses the spring of Marathias.

Observing like an Olympian God

Wandering where you can admire the best views of the island of Odysseus? Head to the highest point of Ithaca to enjoy the views from the Monastery of Katharo and visit the acropolis of Alalcomenae to admire the views of the narrow isthmus between Ithaca and Kefalonia. On the south part of the island, you can enjoy endless views to the Ionian Sea, the coast of Mainland Greece and the south coast of Ithaca from the Plateau of Marathias. Just three kilometers away from Vathy, the church of Agia Sofia also offers fantastic views to the mountains and the sea while you can admire impressive views of the entire island of Ithaca from the chapel of Virgin Mary at Pernarakia above the village of Exogi.

Participate in the Traditional Festivals of Ithaca

In the summer, numerous paniyiria take place in the village of Ithaca. These are open air local festivals accompanied with traditional food, drinks, music and local dances. The most remarkable festivals of Ithaca include the traditional celebration in honor of the Transfiguration of the Savior on August 5 and 6 in the village of Stavros and the traditional celebration in honor of the Virgin Mary on August 15 in the village of Platrithias.

Sail your Winds to your Sailing Odyssey

Ithaca is a paradise for sailing enthusiasts. The island is separated from Kefalonia with a two mile wide channel making the west coast of Ithaca is steep and barren in contrast with the gentle and verdurous shoreline of the east side. Ithaca is amongst the favorite destinations for sailing enthusiasts. The island consists from two separate landmasses that are joined from a narrow isthmus. Harbors suitable for sailboats and yachts include the gulf of Vathy on the east coast, and the harbors of Kioni and Frikes on the northeast coast. In fact, the harbour of Vathy is considered to be one of the safest natural harbors of Greece. Other anchorage points include the bays of Aetos, Agios Ioannis, Polis and Pera Pigadi.

Seminars of the Homeric and Odyssean Literature

The institution of the Center of Odyssean Studies with permanent headquarters in Ithaca was established in 1981. The main purposes of the center include the development of Homeric studies, the continuation of regular international meetings in Ithaca, the contribution of systematic archaeological excavations and the publication of the conferences. The seminars of the Homeric and Odyssean Literature is one of the most remarkable activities of the Center of Odyssean Studies that are organized on an annual basis for fifty scholars from different educational regions.

Weddings on Ithaca

Off the beaten track, Ithaca is one of the most outstanding destinations for weddings. Blessed with beauty and romance, the island offers the perfect environment to exchange your vows with your other half!

Yoga on Ithaca: Reach your Own State of Enlightenment

Whether you attend Anusara classes once a week or you have made yoga your way of life, Ithaca is an ideal destination to reach your own state of enlightenment. Blessed with fresh air, beautiful scenery and pure waters, yogists will find their peace in the serenity of Ithaca. Itha108 yoga studio is located at Agios Ioannis offering ultimate spiritual renewal! The feeling of well being after a yoga retreat is definitely incomparable. So, roll up your mat and start planning your yoga getaway. Namaste.

Photo Credits

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Note: All the images are copyrighted from their owners. Please see Terms & Conditions. You can find the original images at the following links:

Aphales Bay: Daphnae IthacaCottage by Panoramio

Aspros Gialos Beach: Chatzis33 by Panoramio

Beautiful Scenery: Shutterstock

Exogi Village: Official Website of Ithaca

Frikes Village: Shutterstock

Gidaki Beach: Allele by Panoramio

Kioni Village: Shutterstock

Perahori Village: Dimitrios Makris by Panoramio

Pirates Bay: Karolos Trivizas by Panoramio

Platrithias Village: Christos Panagiotou by Panoramio

Vathy Village: Shutterstock

View from the Monastery of Kathara: Daphnae IthacaCottage by Panoramio