Ithaca (sometimes spelled Ithaka ; Greek: Ιθάκη, Itháki) is one of the Ionian Islands in Greece.
- Vathi - island's main town and tourist area; harbour and marina well protected from winds
- Kioni - picturesque small village in the north part of the island that's a popular tourist area with marina for yachts
- Stavros - second biggest village located in the centre of the island
- Frikes - small village by the sea with marina facilities.
- Platirthias - small village in the north part of the island
- Exogi - small village in the north part of the island located on a mountain having 350 m elevation and a great view to the Ionian sea
- Perahori - small village near to Vathi at 250 m altitude and a great view of Vathi bay
- Pisaetos - Ithaca's main port, albeit not a city
Ithaca is the legendary home of the Greek poet Homer's heroic Odysseus. There are various sites, road names and other cultural items that are associated with this legendary figure.
It is also known for the crystal clear, blue and green water beaches, many of which are isolated and only accessible by sea.
Ithaca is an island mostly preferred for quite and relax oriented vacations.
Ferry links to Pisaetos port are available from the following ports:
From Kefalonia, Greece:
There are ferries run by Blue Sea Travel which will take you from the port in Kefalonia into Ithaca port, Vathi. The ship is called 'Sami Star I'. It costs (at 09 June 2013) €25 return for an adult. The ship departs for Ithaca at 08:45 and returns to Sami at 17:00. The route runs every Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday. The trip takes 30 to 40 minutes. There's plenty of free parking for cars around Sami.
Vathi, Kioni and Frikes have marinas that yachts and small ships can dock.
- Kathara Monastery, Anogi, Ithaca (From Vathi take the road to Stavros. About 8km outside Vathi follow the road sign towards Kathara Monastery). Historic monastery and church. Build around 1700A.D. on 600m height. Great view of Vathi bay.
- Lazaretto (Λαζαρέτο), Vathi bay. Ιslet in the bay of Vathi, used as a quarantine station for maritime travellers. until 1836 as a prison until 1912. All buildings were destroyed on 1953 earthquake. Currently there is a small church on the islet. To visit you can rent a boat or take a sea taxi from Vathi (38.3692,20.712)
- Pernarakia abandoned monastery (Περναράκια), Exogi, Ithaca (Drive the road that passes through Exogi village towards the nearby mountain top 'Pernarakia'). Spectacular view of many near by Ionian Islands such as Lefkada, Meganisi, Kalamos, Kastos and Atokos. (38.45518,20.63243)
Rent a boat
More than half of Ithaca's beaches are accessible only by sea. If you do not own a yacht or a speedboat, you can rent a small boat to visit them. No special permit is required by law for boats with an engine of less than 30hp. To save time and money it is suggested that you rent a boat from Vathi in order to visit beaches in the south part of the island (eg: Gidaki beach) and from Kioni in order to visit beaches in the northern part of the island (eg: Afales beach).
- Captain Yiannis Hotel, Vathi, ☎ +30 26740 33311 ([email protected]), . This is actually a hotel that also provides small boats to rent. About €50 plus fuel expenses for a full day of 8 hr.
- Kioni Boat Hire, Kioni, ☎ +30 26740 31702 ([email protected]), . About €50 plus fuel expenses for a full day of 8 hr.
- Polis Boat Hire, Polis beach, Ithaca (Polis beach is located right under Stavros village), ☎ +30 697 9581205, . Rent a boat from here if you want to visit beaches on the west side of Ithaca or nip across to Fiskardo in Kefalonia. €45 to €65 per day plus fuel expenses.
One of the three private beaches in Afales bay
- Afales (Αφάλες), (Accessible only by sea). Arguably one (actually three, located side by side, yet isolated - the biggest one of them is called "Platia Ammos") of the most spectacular beaches in Ithaca, located at the north-east part of the island. White sand and green waters all over. Do keep in mind that rockfall of small rocks from the cliffs may occur randomly. (38.4862,20.6534)
- Filiatro (Φιλιατρό), (3 km driving from Vathi. Take the 'Evgeniou Karavia' road and follow the signs.). Beautiful beach featuring a beach bar. Lots of olive trees only a few meters from the shore cast shadow for free, so you don't need to rent an umbrella. This is the beach for visitors who prefer quick and easy access to the beach (e.g. families with kids). (38.3726,20.7418)
- Gidaki (Γιδάκι), (Accessible only by sea). The largest isolated beach of Ithaca. You can rent a boat or take the "Gidaki Express" small cruise ship from Vathi port to get there. Can be crowded during August. (38.3872,20.7302)
- Kaminia (Καμίνια), (4.5 km driving from Vathi. Drive for about 2.5 km towards Marathia and take the exit on the dust road that leads to Kaminia. The road is bumpy so you will need about 10 minutes from there to drive down to the beach.). Typical beautiful "Ithaca"-sque deserted beach with crystal clear green waters. Driving on a bumpy dust road is required to get there but it is worth the effort, nonetheless. (38.3437,20.7387)
- Island Walk, ☎ +30 6944 990 458 ([email protected]), . Guided walks on Ithaca's hills & mountains. Walking is by far the most recommended way to appreciate Ithaca's nature, history, animals and people. €15-€18 per person.
Panigiria (local festivals)
'Panigiri' (local festival) at Stavros
During summertime there are many "panigiria" (open space local festivals with food, drinks, music and local dances) that take places on Ithaca's villages. The biggest one is held at Stavros village on August 5th & 6th. Visitors and locals congregate there for the festival to such an extent that nightlife is practically non-existing during those two days on the rest of the island. There is live music that includes traditional songs, tango, waltz even melodies from famous arias of Italian opera. The food includes roasted lamb and pork.
List of "panigiria" per village
Traditional local food
- Tserepa chicken - oregano seasoned chicken, slowly cooked in a traditional clay pan
- Rovani - traditional local sweet made with ground rice, honey, sugar, olive oil and vanilla flavor
- Gefyri (Γεφύρι), Platirthias, Ithaca, ☎ +30 26740 31131. Very elegant and quiet mediterranean restaurant owned and operated by an english-greek-australian chef. Everything is well made but do try the lemon tart with yogurt for dessert.
- Liberty, Georgiou Drakouli Str., Vathi. Smart mediterranean & sea food restaurant with extensive wine list. Nice sunset view.
- Libretto, Pinelopis Str, Vathi, ☎ +30 26747 70522 ([email protected]), . 19:00 - 24:00. Remarkably good italian restaurant. All fresh-pasta dishes are particularly tasty. €25-€35 w/o wine.
- Mills (Μύλλοι), Kioni, Ithaca, ☎ +30 26740 31789. Gourmet mediterranean restaurant located on the picturesque port of Kioni village. Sea food and traditional greek plates with modern touch. Vegan friendly.
- To Chani 1800 (Το Χάνι 1800), (On the 7th km of the Vathi-Stavros road), ☎ +30 6942 487436. While enjoying the spectacular view, do try the "tserepa chicken", a local recipe of oregano seasoned chicken, slowly cooked in a traditional clay pan.
- Margarita Cafe (Μαργαρίτα), Stavros, Ithaca, ☎ +30 26740 31229, . Traditional cafe well known for the "rovani" (traditional local sweet) and for the handmade "pittes" (traditional greek pies), e.g. spinach-pie, cheese-pie, etc.
- To katoi tou Lala (Το Κατώι του Λάλα), Georgiou Drakouli Str, Vathi. Cozy little bar on the main road of Vathi. You can seat by the sea and enjoy your drink while people pass by on the road and small boats pass by in the harbor, near by. Descent cocktails.
- Adastra Suites (Ithaka luxury suites), Vathy, ☎ +30 26740 33522, . Adastra is an ithacian, family-run, newly built luxurious villa that has just opened its doors, welcoming its first guests on August 2011. Set in the heart of Ithaca’s capital, right above Ithaca’s main harbor, on a beautiful verdant hill overlooking the sea, gazing at the town in the morning and at the bright stars at night.
- Familia hotel (Ithaka hotel), . The traditional hotel Familia is situated in the port of Vathy on the island of Ithaka.
- Mentor Hotel (Μέντωρ), Georgiou Drakouli Str., Vathi, 28300, ☎ +30 26740 32433, . This is the oldest and most historic hotel of Ithaca. Established in 1969 and renovated in 2011. Quick access to Vathi city center. You can have breakfast in the front yard gazing at yachts docked in Vathi's bay harbor. €50 - €120.
- Peratzada 1811 Art Hotel (Περατζάδα 1811), Odyssea Androutsou Str, Vathi, ☎ +30 26740 33496, . Luxurious and island's most expensive hotel, located in 19th century neoclassical mansion build by Ernst Ziller. Impressive interiors with paintings all over, decorated in a modern+ethic fusion style. €115 - €590 per night.
- Omirikon Residence (Ομηρικόν), Georgiou Drakoulis Str. Vathi, ☎ +30 26740 33596, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Small stylish hotel of ten suites on the central road of Vathi, facing city's bay and harbor.
- Odyssey Apartments, Vathi, ☎ +30 26740 33400, . Nice spacious, kitchenette equipped, apartments. Located 1.5 km outside Vathi, on a small hill. Great view of city's bay and harbor. €55 - €140.