Ithaca island the birthplace of Odysseus, is set in the Ionian Sea and flies very much under the radar compared to its neighbouring islands Kefalonia and Zakynthos, however, we suggest you put Ithaca at the top of your Greek island holiday list.
Boasting stunning blue beaches, verdant green landscapes, charming villages, breathtaking views, and Venetian architecture; there is plenty to see and do when visiting the island home of Homer’s mythical hero who found peace on an island that also leaves its visitors feeling relaxed and rejuvenated after spending time here.
What to see
–Vathi, the capital of Ithaca is a beautiful spot featuring deep blue waters, natural charm, and traditional Ionian architecture. Filled with taverns, cafes, restaurants, all-day bars, museums, and boutiques, this is the main part of town where visitors have great options for wining, dining and shopping.
–Perachori, Frikes, Stavros and Anoghi are charming and authentic villages that offer wonderful views over the island; it’s also the perfect place to sit at a traditional kafenion (cafe) and catch the locals sipping slowly on their Greek coffee while chatting away.
-The caves in Ithaca are a must: check out the Cave of the Nymphs (legend has it this is where Odysseus hid the gifts of the Phaeacians), Evmaios Cave in southern Ithaca, and the Loizis Cave are also worth a visit, Loizis is named after a man who became very wealthy from selling gold coins he found in this very cave.
–Kioni a stunning fishing village is by far a stand-out! Here you’ll find gorgeous villas filled with bougainvillea, quaint taverns and cafes as well as beautiful restaurants and waterfront bars- the perfect place to catch the sunset.
– The Monastery of Panagia tis Kathariotissas, the Protector and Patron Saint of the island is situated at an altitude of 600m in the center of the island. From here you will enjoy breathtaking views of the island and Vathi.
Where to Swim
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful beaches and bays on Ithaca and some of our favourites include: Filatro (organised beach with sunbeds), Skinos (a gorgeous secluded beach), Gidaki (which can only be reached by boat), as well as Aetos, Agios Ioannis and Sarakiniko.
Where to eat
Dine at Ageri tavern at the tiny port of Frikes; we also recommend O Batis, Kantouni, Serirines and Tsiribis– here you will find a great range of freshly made Greek dishes. For a cocktail or aperitif head to Spavento Café Bar, Rhapsody, or Lea’s Beach Bar in Sarakiniko.
Where to stay
Art hotels, boutique hotels, luxury villas with private pools, check out Levendis Estate, Peratntzada Hotel, Adastra Ithaca Luxury Suites, and Familia– a 19th Century olive press converted into a boutique hotel.
How to get there
There is no airport on Ithaca island, the closest is Kefalonia airport and there are no direct ferries from Athens to Ithaca, but you can reach Ithaca from Astakos, Kefalonia and Lefkada. You can also reach Ithaca from the port of Kyllini in the Peloponnese (just over 3 hour’s drive from Athens).