Ithaca symbolizes the return to the haven, the discovery, and the fulfillment, and as the Greek poet, Cavafy writes: “Keep Ithaca always in your mind. Arriving there is what you are destined for”
Ithaca, Ithaki or Ithaka (Greek: Ιθάκη), is a Greek island located in the Ionian Sea, off the northeast coast of Kefalonia and to the west of continental Greece. It is the second-smallest of seven main Ionian Islands.
Ithaca is a “quiet” destination. It is for those who want to escape the crowds, who want to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
Here are some of our top 5 things to do on the island:
1. Visit Vathy town: Vathy is the capital and the main harbor of Ithaca. Stroll through the picturesque alleys of Vathi and walk to the church of “Agios Nikolaos ton Xenon”, where you will see “Jesus Elkomenos”, a painting attributed to El Greco, and then to the Maritime Folklore Museum and the Archaeological Museum. Rich in exhibits both, but not big enough to tire you out, they will give you the opportunity to get a taste of the long history of this place.
Lazaretto is the small beautiful island situated in the bay of Vathy. In the past it was used as a quarantine station and a prison. It is covered with pine trees and has only one erected building: the chapel of the Transfiguration of the Savior. The chapel, which was built in 1668, still stands today. It celebrates on the 5th and 6th of August annually. Recently Lazaretto has become a very popular destination for romantic weddings.
3. Visit a beach
As an island, Ithaca has a variety of beaches that can suit all tastes! Ithaca is known for its crystal clear waters, ranging from deep blue to light turquoise, ideal for diving and exploring due to its stunning underwater sea life. The beaches are surrounded by a breathtaking landscape with lush green vegetation. Spend a day or two at Filiatro, probably the most popular beach on the island. It is located on the south side of Ithaca and to reach it you will definitely need a means of transportation. It is a pebble beach semi-organized with umbrellas and sunbeds and a beach bar, and especially in August it organizers parties, concerts, etc.
4. Visit the villages
Leaving Vathy and heading towards the north, before you even reach the villages of Northern Ithaca, you will pass from the narrowest point of the island. This spot is worth a stop to admire the view, as you have Ithaca on your right and Kefalonia island on your left. In this narrow sea channel that separates the two islands, countless boats continue their journeys, and it will definitely grab your attention as it is the picture-perfect spot for photos. Take a break at the nearby cafe or restaurant while you post your creations on Instagram!
5. Hike and sail around the island
The mountainous island offers amazing hiking trails with breathtaking views. One of our favorite hikes is from Vathy to Gidaki beach. It is a 5 kilometers easy hike that leads you through the pine forest from Shinos beach to one of the most beautiful beaches on the island Gidaki.
If you enjoy snorkeling then head to Kritami beach with its interesting reef and the sailing wreck in the middle of the bay. Or explore the uninhabited Atokos island and watch from afar the small population of monk seals that call this coast their home.
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