The Ultimate Ithaca Island Travel Guide

The Destination

Famed for its tribute by the ancient poet Homer and his hero, Odysseus, Ithaca has indeed something mythical about it. Maybe it is its totally untouched scenery, its pristine natural beauty, its lush vegetation or even the heartwaming hospitality from Ithacans; whatever it is, Ithaca is with no doubt the most unspoilt destination in Greece.

All insular and mainland places in Greece have something unique about them but Ithaca is by far what we would call “a fairy tale” destination and this comes to life as soon as you approach its picturesque port. A tiny island, usually overlooked by Greeks and foreigners alike as most of the glory goes to its almost adjacent Kefalonia, that is a sheer apocalypse for those who have been lucky enough to visit it.

Proportions here take a whole new dimension; how can such a small place with tiny villages, colourful houses, fragrant gardens and dense greenery can hide such enormous beauty and an overwhelming sense of freedom?

Highlights

VATHY

An elongated bay encircled by lush verdant hills and the enchanting cottages of the homonymous graphic settlement which is the capital of the island and its main port. Meaning “Deep” in Greek, it takes its name from its deep blue waters and it is the most populated part of the island. Apart from its picturesque setting, Vathy also hosts a lively promenade with bars, restaurants and cafes as well as the island’s two museums, the Folklore & Cultural Museum and the Archaeological Museum.

KIONI

Hidden within lush slopes, Kioni is a long-standing settlement, dating back to the 16th century. Having served as one of the island’s main ports in the past, nowadays Kioni is a village that attracts most of the island’s visitors as well as visitors that come for a day-cruise from Kefalonia. Nestled within the dense vegetation of the area, the settlement’s traditional houses with their Ionian-styled verandas and beautiful gardens create a picture-perfect canvas resembling an artwork rather than a real-life place. Its charming small port with taverns and cafes is ideal for having a glass of wine and some fresh fish and seafood during sunset.

PALEOCHORA

Located near the picturesque village of Perachori, on the south-central part of Ithaca, Paleochora comprises of the remnants of the homonymous Medieval settlement. The ruins of the houses and churches of the area will help visitors picture how life was back then with houses used as forts. The entire area enjoys panoramic view to the Ionian Sea while access is through a pathway among the ruins.

HIKING & BIKING

Being a small island with pristine natural beauty, Ithaca is ideal for hiking and biking. Numerous hiking and biking trails connect its villages and settlements through dense pine, cypress, olive and oak trees. The trails traverse both its mountainous, mainland and seaside parts creating a canvas of green, blue and white.

 

 

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In Details

Laced with small coves of transparent waters and trees that almost touch the sea, charming settlements hidden within its forests, mouthwatering delicacies that taste like heaven and an aura that will eternally enchant you, Ithaca is a place that will totally captivate you and, despite of its small size, your vacation days here will never be enough.

Despite being an outsider, Ithaca has nothing to envy from its larger competitors in the Ionian Sea in terms of natural beauty, gastronomy and culture. Its numerous small villages, either mountainous or seaside, boast well-manicured and perfectly maintained small houses and cottages of the local architecture. Visit the beautiful Stavros village, stroll around its mountainous streets and then enjoy some of the best meat dishes on the island; head to Anogi to admire the tall, vertical stones of the area with the tallest one reaching 8m in height; combine Paleochora with Perachori to indulge in its scenic beauty and panoramic sea views as well as a stroll through the ancient ruins scattered among oak trees; combine a refreshing swim with an afternoon coffee at the graphic Frikes seaside settlement and get a glimpse of the locals’ daily life.

You should also consider a tour around the island with a private boat as Ithaca boasts some stunning small coves, secluded and totally unspoilt, only reachable by sea.

 

BEST BEACHES IN ITHACA

Gidaki

Reachable by sea or by a foot path, Gidaki is maybe the most beautiful coast of Ithaca with its whitish pebbles, azure waters and unspoilt scenery.

 

Afales

Found on the northern part of the island, Afales is encircled by whitish dramatic cliffs and boasts exotic, completely translucent waters.

 

Frikes

Consequent small coves right under the seaside road around the village of Frikes boasting white pebbles, crystal clear waters and lush greenery.

Sarakiniko

Very close to Vathy, Sarakiniko is a graphic cove reached by car and then a small footrail featuring a pebbly coast, emerald waters and natural shade.

Filiatro

This is maybe the largest and the only organized beach of the island with shallow, warm waters, white pebbles and trees that almost reach the coastline.

Skinos

Calm and picturesque, Skinos is laced with pine trees throughout its shore and offers the ultimate tranquil beach escape for all types of visitors.

Dexa

Only 2km from Vathy, Dexa is a long and narrow coast emerging from a lush olive grove right above offering calmness and serenity.

Aetos

Easily accessible, this is a long coast surrounded by pine, olive and cypress trees boasting a pebbly coast and tranquil, clean waters.

Pisaetos

Next to the island’s homonymous secondary port, Pisaetos is a beautiful coast offering a tranquil ambience and a scenic backdrop.

Kaminia

Surrounded by slopes carpeted with lush vegetation, Kaminia is another serene cove with white pebbles and crystalline, calm waters.

 

 

Location

HOW TO GET TO ITHACA

Ithaca’s closest airport is found at the adjacent island of Kefalonia and then you need to take the boat for about 2,4 hours. Alternatively, you can reach the island by car from Athens to Patras (2,5 hours approximately) and then take the boat for about 4 hrs. Ithaca is also reachable by boat from Astakos and the ride is about 2,5 hours.

 

Accommodation

A heaven on earth, Ithaca is a place that calls for utter relaxation and a laid-back vacation. As the island is not very developed in terms of tourism, accommodation options are not many but you will find a satisfying array of private villas. The best way to indulge in the island’s serene vibes and enchanting aura is to feel at home and The Greek Villas’ team will offer you some of the top villas in Ithaca; romantic villas for two, pool villas or traditional cosy properties, contact us to find together your best match.

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