Ithaca Travel Guide: Notes for Traveling to the Island of Ithaca
The island of Ithaca, also known as Ithaki or Ithaka, is historically recognized as the legendary land of Odysseus. It is a small island of unparalleled natural beauty, with beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a rich history and culture. In this travel guide, we'll provide you with all the information you need to plan your visit to Ithaca, from how to get there to how to get around the island, where to stay, what to eat, and what to see. Let's get started on the adventure!
Get to Know Ithaca: Explore the Island of the Odyssey
If you're a fan of Greek mythology, you've probably heard of Ithaca, the island where part of the story of the Odyssey, one of the great literary classics, takes place.
In Homer's literary work, the island is the birthplace of the Greek hero Odysseus (also known as Odysseus), who fights to defend his throne and regain his home after several years of absence during the Trojan War.
Therefore, the importance of Ithaca in Greek literature and culture is unquestionable, since it has been considered a mythical place of great importance since the time of Ancient Greece. The island has been the subject of numerous studies and archaeological explorations that have revealed its rich history and cultural heritage.
Location of Ithaca
Ithaca is not just a legend, but a real island located in the Ionian Sea, west of Greece. Although there is no concrete evidence that the island described in the Odyssey is the same as the actual one, traveling to Ithaca will allow you to discover the beauty of a unique island in the world. Below, we show you where Ithaca is located:
Map of Ithaca on Google Maps
What to See and Do in Ithaca
Ithaca has a lot to offer travelers. If you're a lover of Greek mythology, you can't miss the Cave of the Nymphs, which according to legend was the home of the nymphs who helped raise Odysseus.
You can also visit the tomb of Odysseus, located at the southern tip of the island, and the Castle of Ithaca, which offers stunning views of the Ionian Sea.
For nature lovers, Ithaca boasts stunning beaches and coves. The most popular beaches are Filiatro Beach and Gidaki Beach, both with crystal-clear waters and white sands.
Also, if you enjoy hiking, the island has several hiking trails that will take you through the island's olive groves and forests, as well as to the mountain tops.
Guided Tours in Ithaca: Tour Vathy
The capital of Ithaca is Vathy, a picturesque village located on the east coast of the island. Vathy is an ideal place to start your visit, as it has a wealth of stores, restaurants and accommodations to suit all tastes.
In addition, its natural harbor is one of the largest and safest in the Ionian Sea, making it a perfect starting point for exploring the island by boat.
Best Views of Ithaca
Ithaca is known for its wild and spectacular nature, with a wealth of hiking trails and breathtaking panoramic views. One of the most popular hikes is the one that leads to Mount Niritos, the highest point on the island with a height of 806 meters. From there, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Ionian Sea and the neighboring islands.
Another option is to explore the impressive cave of Loizos, located near the beach of Pera Pigadi. The cave is a natural wonder that boasts stalactites and stalagmites that form an amazing landscape.
Legends of Ithaca: Historical Tour
If you are a history lover, you can't miss the archaeological site of Ithaca, located on the hill of Aetos, near the village of Stavros. There you can find the remains of the ancient city of Ithaca, including the temple of Apollo and a 15th-century Venetian fortress.
Beaches of Ithaca
Ithaca has numerous beaches, each with its own particular charm. Filiatro beach, located near Vathy, is one of the most popular due to its easy access and crystal clear waters. It is also possible to access Gidaki beach on foot or by boat, a white sandy beach surrounded by cliffs and crystal-clear waters.
Photo by Irena Kefala on Unsplash
Visit the Archaeological Sites of Ithaca
To continue talking about the possibilities that Ithaca offers for visitors, it is important to note that the island has a long history and a very interesting culture. Travelers can explore several archaeological sites dating back to ancient Greece, including the temple of Odysseus.
In addition, visitors can learn about the island's history through local museums, such as the Ithaca Archaeological Museum and the Ithaca Folk Museum.
Hiking in Ithaca
Another popular activity on the island is hiking the trails that run through the island. The trails are well marked and take visitors through breathtaking scenery, including olive groves, wildflower fields, green hills and rocky cliffs. In addition, there are several viewpoints on the island from where spectacular views of the Ionian Sea and nearby islands can be admired.
Snorkeling, Diving, and Boating in Ithaca
It is also possible to enjoy water activities in Ithaca, such as snorkeling and scuba diving. The island has crystal clear waters and a wide variety of marine life, including brightly colored fish, sponges and corals. Visitors can explore the reefs and underwater caves with the help of local guides and discover the secrets of the underwater world. The island has a variety of marine life, including brightly colored fish, sponges, and corals.
How to Get to Ithaca
The easiest way to get to Ithaca is by ferry. There are several ferry companies operating from the port of Patras in the Peloponnese or from the port of Kefalonia on the neighboring island of the same name.
You can also fly into Kefalonia airport and then take a ferry to Ithaca. Another option is to charter a boat and sail on your own, if you are experienced in sailing.
What to Eat in Ithaca
For foodies, the island offers a wide variety of typical dishes, which are made with fresh, local produce. Popular dishes include tomato and cucumber salad with feta cheese, moussaka, souvlaki and tzatziki. In addition, visitors can sample the local wines, which are made from the island's grape varieties.
Where to Eat Traditional Food in Ithaca
The cuisine of Ithaca is typical of the Ionian Sea region, with dishes such as lamb stew and the island's famous dish, Kokoras chicken, which is cooked with red wine and spices.
There are many restaurants on the island serving traditional Greek food as well as international cuisine. Don't miss the opportunity to try some of the local produce, such as olive oil, feta cheese, and local wine.
Public Transportation in Ithaca
In Ithaca, public transportation is limited, but there are still options for getting around the island.
Buses: There are several bus lines connecting the main towns and beaches of Ithaca, but their frequency and schedules may vary according to the season. It is advisable to check schedules in advance.
Cabs: Taxis are available on the island, but they can be expensive. It is advisable to agree on a price before boarding the cab to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Car rental: A popular option for getting around Ithaca is to rent a car, motorcycle, or quad. There are several companies offering these services on the island, and it is a good option if you wish to explore the island at your own pace.
Boat excursions: Another popular option for getting around Ithaca is to take a boat excursion. There are several companies that offer these types of excursions, and it is a great way to explore the island's coastline and visit the more remote beaches.
In general, for those who wish to explore the island independently, it is recommended to rent a vehicle or take a boat excursion. However, if you prefer not to drive, buses and cabs are also viable, albeit limited, options. Therefore, you have the option to inquire about availability of our private transfers.
Tips for Visiting Ithaca in the High Season
Before leaving on your trip, be sure to wear comfortable clothes and footwear suitable for walking. In addition, it is important to bring sunscreen and mosquito repellent, especially in the summer months.
It is also important to keep in mind that most stores and restaurants close during the afternoon for siesta, so plan your activities accordingly.
If you have the opportunity, we recommend visiting Ithaca in the off-season, when there are fewer tourists and the island is quieter. You may also consider visiting other islands in the Ionian Sea, such as Kefalonia or Zakynthos, which are a short ferry ride from Ithaca.
All in all, a tour to Ithaca is an unforgettable experience for any traveler looking to immerse themselves in Greek mythology and enjoy the natural beauty of a small, authentic island. With its combination of stunning beaches, hiking, history and culture, Ithaca is a destination not to be missed on your next trip to Greece.
Other Featured Destinations
If you are looking for more detailed information about other destinations in Greece, be sure to visit the Travel Guides section of our blog. There you will find comprehensive guides on destinations such as Athens, Crete, Santorini, and many other Aegean islands.
Also, if you have specific questions about a destination or need help planning your trip, the Greca team will be happy to assist you. You can contact them through the website or by phone for personalized assistance.
Yes, there are many guided tours available in Ithaca that offer a wide variety of activities.
The best time to visit Ithaca's beaches is in summer, when the weather is warm and the waters are more temperate.
The best time to visit Ithaca is during the spring and fall, when the weather is milder and the crowds are fewer.
We recommend spending at least 3-4 days to explore the best of Ithaca.
Popular outdoor activities in Ithaca include hiking, snorkeling, and kayaking.
The best shopping options in Ithaca include local produce stores, jewelry stores and souvenir stores.
The best way to reach Ithaca from Athens is by ferry from the port of Patras.
Yes, Ithaca is a safe and quiet tourist destination.
One of the typical dishes of Ithaca is the "savoro", a fish dish marinated in a vinegar and onion sauce.
Yes, the Women's Distance Festival is one of the most important events of the year.