Ithaca! The very name transports you to an ancient world of mythology and legend. But this is a myth you can visit! Famed for being the homeland of Ancient Greek hero Odysseus, Ithaca today is a romantic, rugged island perfect for people who want to find a relaxing but entrancing place for their holiday.
Situated just off the north-east coast of Kefalonia, Ithaca is almost two islands. The north and south ends are connected by a strip of land 600 metres wide. It is the second smallest of the seven Ionian Islands with a population of just over 3,000 people.
The stunning scenery of this mountainous island attracts many visitors who either pull on their walking boots and explore or simply sit back in a taverna or kafenion (coffee house) and enjoy the views and the tranquility.
In the south is the capital, Vathy, a small, picturesque town of just 2,000 people nestled in a sheltered bay perfect for mooring boats.
In the north are small villages and numerous secluded beaches. This is the Greece of old, unspoiled by tourism with clusters of simple stone houses and groups of locals just shooting the breeze.
The western part of the island is dominated by the towering peaks of Mount Aetos but the east is flat and, thanks to generous winter rains, is green and covered with trees. There are olive groves, vineyards and a host of orange and lemon trees. Oak trees, cypress trees and beautiful wildflowers such as poppies, anemones and cyclamens decorate the mountain slopes.
Although much of the island was rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1953, there are ancient treasures hidden away to help bring Ithaca’s history to life. Strict building regulations have ensured that new building is in harmony with the Ionian style. There are no large or high-rise developments.
Ithaca is just 18 miles from tip to tail and with a good road network that enables you to explore the island by car or, if you want to, seek out the most secluded beaches. Jump in a jeep and go off road!
Ithaca charms its visitors with a laid-back atmosphere, the perfect blue of the surrounding Ionian Sea, the lush green of the forests and incredibly welcoming locals. For peace, seclusion and beautiful scenery, Ithaca is very hard to beat.