Tourist’s guide to Ithaca, a small Greek island in the Ionian Sea

Ithaca cannot be called the most visited resort in Greece, perhaps because there is no airport and you can get to the homeland of Odyssey only by ferry. At first glance, Ithaca does not stand out from the other islands of the Ionian Sea. But it is worth going into a small, cozy bay and involuntarily you begin to feel the special charm of Ithaca.

Photo: Ithaca Island, Greece

General information

The island belongs to the administrative district of Kefalonia. Its area is only 90 km. sq. – This is the smallest of all the islands of the Ionian Sea. A little less than three thousand people live here. The capital of the island is the city of Vati.

Small town in the bay

The landscape advantage is mountainous, but it does not at all spoil the modest charm of Ithaca. Archaeologists have found evidence that people lived here from the III millennium BC. e. It is likely that the legendary Odysseus reigned in this place.

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Street of Vati

Since ancient times, Ithaca has been an important trading center, and this fact has ensured the rapid economic and cultural growth of the settlement. Even before and at the beginning of our era, Ithaca was leading an active life. Pottery developed on the island, 2 acropolis were built.

Subsequently, the island of Ithaca at different times was ruled by the Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, and French. For a short time, Ithaca was even part of the Russian Empire. After that, in 1807, the French troops again seized the land, and in 1809 the island came under British control.

Only in 1821, all the inhabitants of Ithaca took an active part in the liberation war for independence. The struggle was fought for a long time and only in 1864 did the Ionian Islands in full force join Greece. Traces of the presence on the island of many cultures and a rich historical past are present on every centimeter of the earth.

Rest on Ithaca

Ithaca in Greece attracts travelers with a large number of interesting places – historical sights, temples and churches, museums, beaches, beautiful nature – all this is on the island. If you prefer a secluded, relaxing holiday, visit the small villages, securely sheltered in the mountains, sunlit and twined with greenery.

Numerous tourists come to rest in comfort on Ithaca, and in the bays you can admire luxurious, snow-white yachts, or even rent one of them.

Hotel Pilikas Luxury Villas

There are no problems with housing on Ithaca. On this island of Greece there is a fairly large selection of places where you can stay, although you will have to look for budget options. For 45-80 euros per day, you can rent a decent room or apartment. For a hotel room on the beach, overlooking the sea and a delicious breakfast, you will have to pay from 110 to 200 euros.

When is it better to come to Ithaca? Perhaps in August, it will be most interesting and definitely not boring. At this time, a noisy and cheerful wine festival takes place here. And to the prices indicated above, you can safely add 15-25%.

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How to get there

Kefalanian Lines Ferry

There is no air traffic on Ithac, therefore the only way to get to the resort by plane is to fly to Kefalonia and from there by ferry, which runs twice a day:

  • at 12-30, the journey takes 3.5 hours, the point of arrival is Pisaetos;
  • at 20-30, the journey takes 4 hours, the arrival point is Vati.

On Saturday, water transport leaves once every 12-30.

Ferries depart from Lefkada to Ithaca, but only twice a week:

  • Thursday from 8-45 to 10-15;
  • Sunday – from 11-30 to 13-00.

Schedules are subject to change. Check the relevance of information and prices on the website www.ferries-greece.com.

According to Ithaca, it is most convenient to travel by rented transport. There is public transport – buses, but infrequently. Flights depart from Kioni and Vathi twice a day. The route passes through Stavros and Frikes.

On the coast regularly runs water excursion transport, you can rent a yacht or boat.

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Attractions and entertainment

Embankment of Vati

Undoubtedly, it is better to start exploring the Greek resort from the capital, since Vathi is a unique historical and cultural value. The town is small, most of the buildings are made in the Venetian style. The settlement is located on the coast of the harbor of natural origin, the largest on the whole planet. The streets of the city are simple and at the same time especially refined: the roads are paved with paving stones, the roofs of the houses are covered with red tiles.

To plunge into ancient history, it is enough to leave Vati. Near the city, between Cape Pisaetos and Dex Beach, are the ruins of the settlement of Alalcomena. According to one of the legends, Odysseus lived here, in the Archaeological Museum exhibits are presented that demonstrate being the king. However, not all archaeologists share this point of view, some suggest that the museum exhibits finds that date back to a later date of manufacture.

Another path north of Wati leads towards the amazing cave of the Marmarospili nymphs. The place is no less legendary and mysterious. According to legend, Odysseus hid the gifts sent by the king of the feacs Alkinoi, returning from Troy. There is also a version that a true gift cave is located closer to the beach. If legends and myths are not of much interest to you, just take a walk near the cave – this is a pretty place. At the top of Aetos hill is an ancient acropolis.

Monastery of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Ithaca

The most popular temple among travelers on Ithaca is the convent of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is another place with a good viewing platform. In clear weather, you can see another island of Greece – Zakynthos and the coast of the Pellopones Peninsula.

Anogi Village. The settlement is located on the highest point of the island of Ithaca. If you like observation decks and panoramic views, come here. It will also be interesting to wander through the narrow streets, on the sides of which there are colorful houses, painted white. The main attraction of the village is the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin, built in the XII century. It is also the oldest Orthodox church in the Balkans.

Stavros city center

The city of Stavros is the second largest on the island of Ithaca in Greece. Some scholars believe that Odysseus lived here. The road leads to the settlement, winding in the mountains, it offers an amazing view. The road leads north from Vati, crosses Stavros and then stretches south-east towards Anogi.

Festivals and events

In May-June, the island hosts the annual Theater Festival. A few months later – in August – a wine festival takes place in the village of Perakhori. And in the first month of autumn, you can attend a seminar on the works of Homer. In October, the Marida Festival is held in Polis Bay.

Photo: Theater Festival

However, Panigirya festivals are recognized as the most noisy and fascinating. This is not just a holiday – it is one of the most important religious events of the island. Greeks know how to have fun, festivals are organized on a grand scale, festivities, fairs and, of course, solemn liturgies.

Photo: Panigir festival in Stavros

If you are planning a trip to Greece, pay attention to the dates of the celebrations.

As a rule, the festival begins with a morning liturgy, which is held in the main temple of each village on the island. The main festivities take place in the central square, fairs are organized here.

Here are the dates and venue of the festivals:

  • June 30 – Frikes;
  • July 17 – Yoksogi;
  • July 20 – Kioni;
  • August 5-6 – Stavros;
  • August 14 – Anogi;
  • August 15 – Platrifia.

Holidays follow each other, which is why many vacationers come to Ithaca in the village of Friques and follow the festival around the island of Ithaca, taking part in all concerts and events.

Ithaca beaches

On the map of Greece, the island of Ithaca looks like a suitable place to relax. And there is. The beaches here are usually covered with small pebbles, the water is clean, and the number of vacationers does not cause inconvenience.

Filiatro
Filiatro Beach

This is beach number 1 on the island of Ithaca. Located near the town of Vati in a bay among low mountains. Filiatro is small in size – 150 meters long. Covered with small white pebbles, the sea is calm, without waves. Here you can rent a sun lounger and an umbrella (for 4 euros for 1, 10 euros – for 2 sun loungers and an umbrella). Take food and drinks with you, as there are no shops or cafes nearby. The road to the beach by car takes 7 minutes, and on foot – at least 40-50 minutes (from the center of Vati – 3 km).

Agios Ioannis
Agios Ioannis

Located 9 km from the capital of the island. You can get on a rented car or taxi. The beach offers views of another island in Greece – Kefalonia, for which they come here. Agios Ioannis lacks any amenities, so take everything you need with you – stock up on water and food for the whole day.

Piso Aetos
Piso Aetos Beach

This beach is popular with fishermen and yacht owners. Yachts and boats that can be rented for boat trips are abundant here. The shore is covered with white pebbles, well organized. Keep in mind that Aetos is a wild beach, so the beach is suitable for wildlife lovers, as, indeed, many other places on Ithaca.

Dex
Dexa Beach

The beach is near the capital of Ithaki, a 30-minute walk. It combines clean water with small pebbles. The beach snake is narrow, but you can conveniently sit under the trees in an olive grove. A snorkelling beach is suitable, but these attributes, like sun loungers, can be rented on site only during peak season. The rest of the year it is completely deserted and there is no entertainment. Lovers of privacy will love it here.

Gidaki
Gidaki Bay

Located 3.5 km north of Wati. Due to the fact that getting to Gidaki is not easy, the beach is almost deserted. If you get here at the beginning and end of the season, it is likely that you will be alone on the beach. A pedestrian path runs through hilly terrain, at the end you will find a narrow path among coniferous trees. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes. But those who have been here unanimously argue that the effort is worth it. Also, you can get to Hydaki by water taxi, which departs from Vati.

The beach is covered with white pebbles, turquoise water is clean. Take with you everything you need, as the infrastructure is not developed here. There is one small cafe on the beach, which is open only in high season.

Mnimata
Mnimata - pebble beach of the island

It is a few kilometers from Waki. It is a beautiful, comfortable beach surrounded by an olive grove. Yachts and boats often stop at the bay. Sandy beach is a favorite tourist destination. It is best to come here in the morning and evening, when there are few people on the shore.

Poli beach
View of Poli Beach

The beach is located near the village of Stavros, just behind a steep hill. Walking to the beach is a 10-minute walk away. This is one of the few beaches on the island of Ithaca, where there are cafes and bars, albeit in small quantities. There are also locker rooms and toilets available, you can rent two sun loungers and an umbrella for 6 euros.

Weather and climate

Monthly Island Air Temperature

This Greek island has a traditional Mediterranean climate. Summer is hot and dry, there is almost no rainfall. The hottest is in the middle of summer – July. The air temperature at this time rises to +33 degrees. The water temperature in the sea reaches +25 degrees.

In winter, the minimum temperature on the island is +10, and the maximum is +15 degrees. Frosts occur, but extremely rarely.

Sea water temperature

Autumn Ithaca resembles a crying island, since rains here are a common occurrence. The amount of precipitation is three times more than in any other part of Greece.

In spring, the air temperature is +20 degrees, at this time plants are actively blooming here. The whole island is literally immersed in the scent of flowers.

Ithaca Island is different, everyone who comes here on vacation, discovers something special, close to the heart.

Sights, beaches and other objects indicated in the text are marked on the map in Russian. To see the name of all places, click on the icon in the upper left corner.



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