Ithaca is one of the smallest Ionian Islands both in population and in size.
Ithaca is worldly known for being the birthplace of the Homeric hero, Odysseus (Ulluses). For years he was wandering, meeting exotic lands, confronting temptations and dangers but Ithaca had enslaved his heart and the dream to return home never left his mind. The enchantment of the island seems somehow to have remained untouched through time. Once you’ve been to Ithaca, it’s difficult to forget this small, mountainous island with its captivating scenery.
Ithaca is separated from Cephalonia by a channel of 2- 4 kilometres width approximately and is adorned with lush vegetation, in which olive and cypress trees, kermes oaks, Judas trees (peas), myrtles and almond-leaf pears create a wonderful combination of wild and cultivated nature. The relief on the western part of the island is mountainous and rough, while the eastern one is smoother.
The capital of Ithaca is Vathy. Built amphitheatrically, it lies parametrically around the verdant bay which is the largest in size natural harbour of the island (according to Homer it is the bay of Forkinos). Two-storey houses with red tiled roofs, painted in earth hues, imposing mansions and remains of Venetian castles, cobblestone pavements and impressive bell tower are found in the area, while the islet of Lazareto in the middle of the bay and the nearby Skaltsubonisi (the marble ship of Odysseus) compose an enchanting scenery.
Let yourself become familiar with the history of Ithaca via the important exhibits, displayed in the Archaeological Museum in Vathi and Stavros; discover the island’s rich tradition in the Folklore Museum in Vathi; visit the archaeological sites in Agios Thanasis, in Stavros, in Aetos sites and the Castro of Allalkomenon, and discover the deep-rooted history of Ithaca.
In Ithaca the religious character is quite intense, since all the villages have their own remarkable old churches adorned with wonderful bell towers, with most prominent ones, the Church of Anogi, with its famous Venetian –style bell tower and the Church of Panagia of Katharon (patron saint of the island) which lies off at the highest point of the mountain Nyritos. Furthermore, in the Church of Agios Nikolaos in Vathy, a hagiography painted by EL GRECO himself is preserved. In Ithaca, there are also plenty of delightful chapels, scattered on the mountains, nestled on islets, or at the edge of the seashore, in which marriage and christening ceremonies are held, as I the old days.
Ithaca’s beaches have mainly, smooth white pebbles and capture the visitor both with the cleanness of their shores and with their stunning beauty, since most of them are surrounded by trees that reach almost the coastline. Most of them are accessible by vehicle; yet there are others, carefully hidden that are approachable only by sea or via footpaths. In Kioni, Frikies , Vathy and in the Town (Stavros) there are boats to rend, if you wish to explore these brilliant beaches. Best beaches of south Ithaca are the beaches of Gidaki, of Filiatra and of Aspros Gialos.
In Ithaca, besides the rich in variety Heptanese cuisine, you can enjoy fresh fish, delicious dishes of local recipes cooked in Tserepa, tasty rock goat and Savoro (fish marinade in vinegar and raisins). Don’t fail to taste also the “Thiako” (Ithacan) wine and Rovani (a traditional dessert of honey and rice).
In the surrounding area, there are rich fisheries that are easily to be reached at, even from the most accessible beaches. Dusky grouper, mottled and goldblotch grouper, common dentex and white seabream, amberjack and various other species live in the reefs and the small delightful coves around Kioni.
Diving in the surrounding area of Ithaca-Kioni is a unique experience that will fill you with a sense of elation, since the alternations of the underwater life is quite astounding and diversiform, due to the plenty of coves, capes and rock complexes existing around.
At the footpaths of Ithaca, in which Odysseus (Ulysses) and her beloved Penelope have, once, walked on them, memories of the past are still alive, offering to the visitor landscapes of unrivalled beauty and reveal colours, sounds and unforgettable fragrances.
Best footpaths in Kioni
Best footpaths in Ithaca
During summer nights in Ithaca, events, concerts, exhibitions and performances of all kinds and of course.. .the local feasts (panigiria / panigyria ) are often held. Every village has its own panigiri, in which the Thiako wine flows in abundance and you can enjoy traditional dances and music until early morning.
Kioni – Ithaca
Tel.: +30 6976 132397
08 30Κ 12 2Κ000959 0 01