Overview of Ithaca
Ithaki, the famous mythic homeland of Odysseus, is one of the gem Greek islands. Small, hilly and rugged, it combines mountains, capes and lush greenery with the fabulous shades of blue found in the Ionian Sea. Beaches -predominantly pebbly and not organized- surrounded by trees, spots that offer magnificent views, as well as many paths and routes to wander about, form part of Ithaki’s landscape.
The island is peaceful, low-key and romantic. It has a special atmosphere, owed perhaps to its strong symbolism of the Homeric journey and the return. Meanwhile, a number of sights associated with Homer’s myth and the island’s history are scattered around the island. “Nothing in excess” seems to be the motto in Ithaki, regarding touristic development, and this contributes in preserving its authenticity. The picturesque port and capital of Vathi is located in a bay with the islet of Lazaretto. Amphitheatrically built -actually rebuilt, after the 1953 earthquake- Vathi reflects the Ionian architecture and the island’s maritime tradition, being the sole settlement to provide a multitude of amenities. The island’s second harbor is Pisaetos, with its rocky beach, while the second largest settlement is Stavros, a commercial centre of purely Ionian character.
Also worth visiting, Frikes and Kioni are two of Ithaki’s most popular touristic resorts, with beautiful beaches, as well as accommodation and dining options. Frikes welcomes day-trippers from nearby islands, while the traditional preserved settlement of Kioni with its picturesque tiny harbor is very romantic, especially in nighttime. As in the myth, cherish the journey and soon you will find your own Ithaca – it feels like going home, wherever that is.
Photo gallery of Ithaca
Gidaki: Among the best beaches of all the Greek islands, it is accessible only by boat or a rough path. Isolated, with white pebbles and transparent blue waters, Gidaki offers indeed a glimpse of paradise. A beach bar with snacks is the only amenity available here.
Afales: The bay of Afales is the perfect place to enjoy swimming in peace. The main beach is pebbly and secluded, surrounded by vertical cliffs that provide shade for most of the day. In the bay there are also smaller coves to swim in, some of which are accessible only by boat.
Filiatro: Popular and organized, it is located near Vathi. The beach is pebbly with crystalline waters, trees, a snack bar, water sports and camping facilities.
Polis: Another beautiful pebbly beach with lovely waters and only the basic facilities, located at the bay of same name. At the seabed of this beach lay the remains of an ancient city, while on its north side you can visit the Loizos cave, where important archaeological findings came to light.
Sarakiniko: A small pebbly beach with clear waters and olive trees. It is quiet, not organized and ideal for snorkeling.
Libretto: Vathi, Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.
Yefuri Restaurant and Bar: Platreithias, Mediterranean cuisine.
Rementzo: Frikes, Greek cuisine.
Liberty Restaurant: Vathi, Greek and Mediterranean cuisine.
Mills: Kioni, Greek cuisine.
Follow Odysseus’ steps: Visit the Cave of the Nymphs (gr. Marmarospilia), situated at the north of Vathi. The ruins of an ancient acropolis at the settlement of Aetos are considered as the Homeric city of Alalkomenae (the area is also known as “Odysseus’ Palace”). The city of Odysseus is believed to be in Pilikata area, where the Archaeological Museum of Stavros with relevant findings is also located. Moreover, at the small village of Agios Ioannis, you can see a huge, very old tree with approximately 18m perimeter which locals call “Odysseus’ olive tree”.
Day-trip to the nearby Kefalonia and Lefkada: A day-trip to the nearby Ionian islands of Kefalonia and Lefkada is a must.
Monastery Katharon: Touching the top of Ithaki’s Mt Niritos, this 17th c monastery offers spectacular views to neighboring Kefalonia and the Ionian Sea. It is an important pilgrimage site for the islanders.
Anogi village: The highest built settlement in Ithaki is known for the beautiful church of Agia Panagia with its well-preserved Byzantine frescoes and Venetian bell tower. Outside the village, you can see many bizarre rock formations resembling menhirs, the tallest of which (8m) is named “Araklis” (aka Hercules). You can also enjoy a walk in the forest of Anogi, located on Mt Niritos.
Try the delicious specialties of Ithaki: Savoro (fried fish with raisins and rosemary), tserepa (chicken with tomato grilled in a clay pot) and rovani (a desert with rice and honey). Also, taste the local wine.
Inland villages of Lefki and Perachori: Northern Lefki is small and quiet, offering a stunning sunset and views towards Kefalonia. Perachori, at the south, is famous for its wine and also for the medieval ruins and byzantine churches of the nearby ancient Paleochora.
Map of Ithaca
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