Here is all the Ithaca, Greece travel advice that you need. We’ve got a list of things to do on Ithaca Island, top Ithaca sites, and tips for where to stay on Ithaca Island, Greece.
Ithaca is a member of the Ionian island group and is best known as Ulysses’ home island in Homer’s Odyssey. It has tremendous natural beauty in addition to its mythological nature. Ithaca offers spectacular beaches with emerald waters and is covered in a lush green environment, just like its neighboring islands.
In our Ithaca travel guide, you can learn everything for your upcoming trip to Ithaca Island. Find out about the best hotels, famous sites, and excellent beaches.
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How To Get To Ithaca
Let us find out how you can get to the island of Ithaca and how to explore this exciting island. But remember to read about your options for local transportation, so you can plan your trip to your hotel and conveniently see everything Ithaca has to offer!
Ferries To Ithaca
Despite the lack of direct boats from the port in Athens to Ithaca, Ithaca may be easily reached from Astakos, which is positioned on the western side of the Greek mainland in Aetoloacarnania, Kefalonia, and Lefkada. With a stopover in Poros port in Kefalonia, you can also go to Ithaca from the Peloponnese port of Killini.
- There are routes from Killini, Kefalonia, and Astakos to Pisaetos port in Ithaca
- Routes from Kefalonia and Lefkada are used to reach Frikies port in Ithaca
- Routes from Kefalonia and Lefkada are used to reach Vathy port in Ithaca
Flying To Ithaca
There are no airports on Ithaca island. The nearest one is in Kefalonia. Kefalonia International Airport has domestic flights from Athens, Zakynthos, and Corfu all year. The flight from Athens to Kefalonia takes about one hour. During summer, there are flights from different parts of Europe. Upon your arrival to Kefalonia, you can then reach Ithaca by ferry.
When Should You Go To Ithaca
To get the best of your time and to be able to visit the stunning beaches on this island, you should go between June and the end of September. The peak summer months of July and August are scorching hot, and there are crowds to deal with, but if you visit in May/June and September, you’ll be able to take advantage of warm temperatures without too many people.
You can visit during the winter months if you choose to, but you won’t find as much open, and the island is extremely quiet during this time.
Best Beaches Of Ithaca Island
The beaches of Ithaca are known for their emerald-green surroundings and clear waves. The magnificent terrain and lush green vegetation surround Ithaca beaches. There are both secluded swimming areas and beaches with all the necessary facilities, including hotels by the sea, cafes, and restaurants. A list of the top beaches on Ithaca Island can be seen below.
Skinos Beach is a long, narrow, and incredibly peaceful beach that lies about two kilometers from Vathy, Ithaca’s capital. Shiny stones of all sizes are scattered across the beach itself. Skinos can only be reached by car. At Skinos Beach, the sea is extremely clear and has a hint of emerald green color. The rocky shoreline and water are ideal for snorkeling sports. Beautiful cypress trees line the beach in Skinos, which has a stunning landscape. With no visitor amenities, the beach is least famous for its commercial culture. But this absence of facilities preserves the natural beauty of the beach. When visiting this location, it is advised to bring some basic beverages and food supplies.
Gidaki Beach is a lovely, remote beach that can only be reached by boat from the harbor of Vathy. Though there is a challenging hiking track that only locals use, so the majority of tourists choose the boat service to get the. Gidaki beach is made up of white, sparkling stones, yet there are no tourist facilities to disrupt this natural setting that offers the best summertime views. Its calm, pristine waters and beautiful surroundings make it a heaven. An excursion on the beach would be ideal. The promising beach offers the perfect setting for resting in the sun and having a special swimming experience.
Ferries connect Frikes with Fiscardo, a stunning town on the island of Kefalonia. During the peak travel season, Frikes is crowded with tourists drawn by the stunning crystalline waters and beautiful mountain scenery. The beachfront is beautiful, and the towering structure on the left provides a calming shadow while shielding the beach from the wind from the west. Although there are no tourist amenities on the beach, the trees provide enough shade, so you don’t need to bring much with you. There are many rooms accessible for travelers in the charming town of Frikes. Summertime is a busy time for taverns and pubs.
Just 3 kilometers west of Vathy is the huge bay of Aetos. It is one of Ithaca’s most beautiful beaches and has untouched features. The bay is an incredible location for any turist and is surrounded by a sizable area of pine trees and rich greenery. There are no facilities on the beach, which is covered with white, glossy pebbles. Despite being so close to the Vathy town, the beach is typically peaceful and is visible from the main road.
The beach closest to Vathy. Warm, shallow, blue waters are best for kids. Only a few tourist facilities can be found on the white, smooth pebbles of the beach. If you’re staying in Vathy, Filiatro is an excellent option. Trees that descend to the seashore provide natural shade and a warm atmosphere. The beach is a great place to unwind by swimming and sunbathing. Although free camping is generally prohibited in Greece, there is a cove next to Filiatro beach where individuals occasionally pitch tents.
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Things To Do In Ithaca, Greece
The small island of Ithaca attracts tourists from all over the world. Because of its tiny size, it is less touristic than the neighboring islands, but there are still lots of things to do on the island.
Ithaca Panagia Kathariotissa Monastery
Ithaca’s patron saint is Panagia Kathariotissa, whose monastery is found in the island’s center at the height of 600 meters. Its location offers a breathtaking view of the island and Vathi, the capital city. The katholikon dates from 1530, and the monastery was rebuilt in 1696. However, the precise year of construction is unknown. The locals think Saint Luke painted this monastery’s miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary. Modest clothing is necessary when visiting the monastery, accessible to visitors from sunrise until late at night.
Ithaca Ancient Town Of Alalcomenae
To the south of Ithaca Island, on a hilltop above the little contemporary community of Piso Aetos, is the ancient town of Alalcomenae. The Acropolis of Alalcomenae stands on the site where it was founded in the sixth century. Numerous artifacts of immense historical significance have also been discovered, including several imprints with the names of Ithaca and Ulysses.
Odysseus Palace Ruins
You’ll hear the ruins of Odysseus Palace, also referred to as Homer’s School, but they’re one and the same thing. It’s a good idea to read up on the legend of Odysseus before you go, and you’ll appreciate what you’re seeing so much more.
These ruins date back around 3000 years, and the views over Afales Bay are fantastic. The ruins are situated near Exogi and just off an old, dirty road. You can visit the ruins for free, or you may be able to find a walking tour with a helpful guide to give you more information.
Kayaking In Afales Bay
Afales Bay is the ideal place to explore by kayak, and the crystal clear waters are refreshingly cool in the heat of the summer sun. The waters here are also very calm, which is ideal for this kind of activity.
As you explore, you’ll come across deserted bays and huge cliff faces, while you can also stop at some beaches and enjoy snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing.
The capital city of Ithaca is Vathy, and it’s a great place to enjoy some modern-day fun, such as shopping, nightlife, gastronomy, and sightseeing. You’ll see traditional Greek architecture and winding alleyways where you can explore and probably stumble upon an old taverna to try. While you won’t find crazy nightlife here, it is an excellent place to sit and enjoy a nice meal and a glass of wine, with a stunning sunset in progress.
The Forest Of Perachori
Perachori Forest is an extremely old oak forest that has some of the freshest air around. This huge forest is somewhere you can escape to when you want some peace and quiet, and there are plenty of nature walks where you can look for different types of trees, many of which tower high above you.
Ithaca Wine Festival
Every year, on the last weekend in July, Ithaca’s Wine Festival arrives and brings a festive atmosphere to Perachori, where the island’s wine making industry is based. You’ll be able to try different types of wine, learn about how it’s produced, eat local food, dance, and enjoy traditional shows.
The Pyramids Of Exogi
While not pyramids of the Egyptian kind, Exogi’s millstone “pyramids” are definitely worth seeing, which were erected in 1930. At night time, the pyramids are illuminated, which makes for a great photograph, and the village of Exogi is also worth exploring, with some wonderful small restaurants to try something new.
The Archaeological Museum Of Ithaca
This museum is a great way to escape the sun for an hour or two and learn more about the history of the island. You’ll see some artifacts found on Ithaca that date back to around 1000 BC, and the museum is free, so that’s definitely a plus. You’ll find old vases, pottery, and statues, as well as jewelry.
The Aetos Acropolis Of Alalkomenes
In the southwest of the island, you’ll find The Aetos Acropolis of Alalkomenes, which is an ancient city and an archaeological site. Despite its age, the ruins of this old site are very well preserved, and it’s a great spot to wander around and learn about the whispers of the past.
The Cave Of The Nymphs
Experienced hikers and walkers will be able to visit the Cave of the Nymphs, a spot where legend states that Phaeacians left Odysseus while he was sleeping. It’s pretty high up, so you’ll need comfortable shoes, and you can only enter via one entrance. You can’t go very far inside, but you can see enough.
In a lush location with distinctive charms, the attractive traditional town of Kioni is located southeast of Ithaca, 24 kilometers from Vathy. It is situated amphitheatrically on a mountainside and has tiny residences with tiled roofs that look out over a gorgeous harbor where calm fishing boats are moored.
At the end of the 16th century, people who had previously lived in the mountain settlement of Anogi constructed the village. The 1953 earthquakes left very few houses standing, but those that did are pretty intriguing and have renaissance architectural features. Today, this tiny paradise has quickly developed into a busy and contemporary tourist destination, with several cafes and bars around the picturesque harbor, private yachts moored at the port, and a lot of other amenities.
In Ithaca, deep underwater, you’ll find Poseidon’s beautiful valleys, caves, and reefs, perfect for scuba diving. Greek islands are tourist havens in the summer, offering plenty of exciting options for scuba diving enthusiasts.
Where To Stay In Ithaca, Greece
The island’s three most popular tourist destinations are Vathy, Kioni, and Frikes, and most hotels are located there. These locations provide convenient vacation accommodations because they provide quick access to the beach, bus stops, and tourist attractions. Most units are conventional apartments and family studios, while some also come with premium amenities like a swimming pool.
Razos Windmill provides self-catering accommodation with breathtaking views of the ocean and is surrounded by vegetation. It is located 200 meters from Deksia Beach in Kalavri. Razo’s apartment is spacious and air-conditioned. It has a private bedroom, a dining space, and a TV-equipped living room. The refrigerator, coffee maker, and oven are all part of the fully functional kitchen. Razos Windmill is 1.5 km from Vathi’s town center, which has a lot of cafes and traditional restaurants. Agios Ioannis’s beach is 10 kilometers away.
On the Greek island of Ithaca, the crown jewel of Greece, Asterida Villas are situated on the outskirts of Stavros village. The villas have views of Kefalonia, a neighboring island, andpolis Bay to the west. Ellinis, Arethousa, and Kallisti are three-roomy, well-designed two-story villas, and Ariti and Chrisieida are two independent cottages. Since all of the apartments are self-catering, you have the option of eating in or dining out. Each villa and cottage offers a view of the surroundings at Asterida and Polis Bay. A sizable pool and poolside bar overlook the beach below, while to the north are the mountains, with Roussano positioned on their highest point, a lush plateau with olive trees and breathtaking scenery. To complement their classic exteriors, all villas have traditional interiors.
Nostos is a seaside Hotel situated in Frikes Village. Nostos offers a wide range of comfortable, roomy, and spotless accommodations with all the amenities guests might need, including air conditioning, heating, refrigerators, and satellite TV. Their rooms feature balconies with sea or mountain views so you can take in Ithaca’s breathtaking surroundings. A restaurant where you may have lunch or dinner, a bar, a swimming pool, a garden, and other amenities are all available at the hotel.
Each of the seven rooms in Familia has its own name, is individually decorated with care, has modern amenities, and is designed with current aesthetics. Every customer has access to a fantastic prepared breakfast in the hotel’s modest garden (hosts bake daily cakes, cookies, and bread, while all marmalade and jams are also homemade). They offer bicycles for relaxing rides around the island for those who want to mix their vacation with a bit of light exercise.
We hope that you learned something from this guide and that it will help you plan your vacation in Ithaca. For more suggestions and advice, please visit our other guides.
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Getting Around Ithaca
While there is public transport on the island, it isn’t the most reliable, and it may not take you anywhere you want to go. For that reason, think about hiring a car and exploring on your own steam. You can hire a car in Vathy in particular, and driving isn’t particularly difficult, although there are some winding roads you’ll need to take your time on.
If you don’t want to rent a car, you could think about hiring a moped instead.