If you’re planning a trip to Greece, make sure to include Ithaca in your itinerary. Located in the Ionian Sea, Ithaca is a small but charming island that offers a range of activities and attractions for visitors. From stunning beaches to historic sites, there’s something for everyone on this idyllic island.
Interesting facts about Ithaca:
- Ithaca is a small island located in the Ionian Sea, off the coast of western Greece. It is part of the Ionian Islands group.
- According to Greek mythology, Ithaca was the home of the legendary hero Odysseus, who is the protagonist of Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey.
- Ithaca has been inhabited since ancient times and has a rich cultural heritage. The island was ruled by the Venetians, the French, and the British before becoming part of Greece in the 19th century.
- Ithaca is famous for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush green landscapes. It is a popular destination for tourists who are looking for a peaceful and laid-back vacation.
- The island is also known for its delicious local cuisine, which features fresh seafood, olives, and locally produced cheese and wine. Visitors can try traditional dishes like souvlaki, moussaka, and tzatziki, as well as local specialties like fish soup and rabbit stew.
- Ithaca has several historic sites that are worth visiting, including the archaeological site of Odysseus’ palace, the Venetian fortress, and the Monastery of Kathara. These sites offer a glimpse into the island’s rich cultural heritage and history.
- The island has several charming villages, including Vathy, Kioni, and Stavros, that are known for their traditional architecture, colorful houses, and local shops and cafes. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through these villages and soak up the laid-back atmosphere.
- Ithaca is also a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with several hiking trails, cycling routes, and water sports activities available. Visitors can explore the island’s natural beauty and connect with its rich landscape.
- The island has a small population of around 3,000 people and is known for its close-knit and friendly community. Visitors can experience the island’s warm and welcoming hospitality and feel like a part of the community.
- Ithaca is a hidden gem in Greece that offers a unique and authentic travel experience. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or culture, there’s something for everyone on this idyllic island.
Here are the 20 best things to do in Ithaca.
Explore the Archaeological Site of Odysseus’ Palace
The archaeological site of Odysseus’ palace is a must-visit for anyone interested in Greek mythology and history. The site is believed to be the location of the palace of Odysseus, the legendary hero of Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey. Visitors can explore the ruins of the palace, which date back to the Mycenaean era, and imagine what life was like for the ancient Greeks. The site includes the remains of walls, courtyards, and underground cisterns, as well as an impressive view of the surrounding landscape. It’s a great opportunity to immerse oneself in Greek history and culture.
Visit the Monastery of Kathara
The Monastery of Kathara is a beautiful and serene place to visit on Ithaca. Located on a hill near the village of Perachori, the monastery offers stunning views of the island and the sea. Visitors can admire the monastery’s architecture, which dates back to the 17th century, and see its impressive frescoes. The monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is a significant religious site on the island. It’s a peaceful and tranquil place to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life and connect with the island’s spiritual heritage.
Discover the Cave of the Nymphs
The Cave of the Nymphs is a natural cave located near the village of Vathy on Ithaca. According to Greek mythology, this is the cave where Odysseus hid the gifts he received from the Phaeacians. The cave has a small lake inside and is surrounded by lush greenery. Visitors can explore the cave’s interior and take in the tranquil atmosphere. It’s a great opportunity to connect with the island’s mythical past and appreciate its natural beauty.
Relax at Gidaki Beach
Gidaki Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on Ithaca, with crystal-clear turquoise waters and white sand. Located on the northwestern coast of the island, the beach is surrounded by green hills and olive groves. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. It’s a great place to relax and soak up the sun, and escape the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Take a Boat Tour of the Island
One of the best ways to explore Ithaca is by taking a boat tour of the island. Visitors can see the island’s stunning coastline, hidden coves, and beaches that are only accessible by boat. They can also visit nearby islands, such as Kefalonia and Lefkada, and enjoy the scenic views along the way. It’s a great opportunity to see the island from a different perspective and appreciate its natural beauty.
Hike to the Top of Mount Neriton
Mount Neriton is the highest peak on Ithaca and offers breathtaking views of the island and the surrounding islands. Hiking to the top of the mountain can be challenging, but the reward is well worth it. Visitors can enjoy the stunning views and connect with nature. It’s a great opportunity to get some exercise and appreciate the island’s natural beauty.
Visit the Church of Panagia
The Church of Panagia is located in the village of Stavros and is one of the most significant religious sites on the island. The church was built in the 16th century and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Visitors can admire the church’s architecture and see its impressive bell tower. It’s a great opportunity to connect with the island’s spiritual heritage and appreciate its cultural significance.
Swim at Filiatro Beach
Filiatro Beach is another popular beach on Ithaca, located near the village of Stavros. The beach has crystal-clear waters and a long stretch of golden sand. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the island’s coastline.
See the Old Windmills in Perachori
The village of Perachori is home to several old windmills that have been restored and preserved. The windmills were once used to grind grain and produce flour, and now serve as a cultural landmark. Visitors can see the windmills up close and learn about their history and significance. It’s a great opportunity to appreciate the island’s traditional architecture and cultural heritage.
Stroll through the Village of Kioni
The village of Kioni is one of the most picturesque villages on the island, with traditional architecture and charming streets. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the village and admire the colorful houses, quaint cafes, and local shops. It’s a great opportunity to soak up the village’s laid-back atmosphere and appreciate its beauty.
Take a Dip in Sarakiniko Beach
Sarakiniko Beach is a hidden gem located on the eastern coast of the island. The beach has clear waters and unique rock formations that create a stunning landscape. Visitors can swim, snorkel, or just relax on the beach and soak up the peaceful atmosphere. It’s a great place to escape the crowds and appreciate the island’s natural beauty.
Visit the Ruins of the Venetian Fortress
The Venetian Fortress is a historic site located near the village of Perachori. The fortress dates back to the 16th century and was built by the Venetians to protect the island from invaders. Visitors can explore the ruins of the fortress and learn about its history and significance. It’s a great opportunity to appreciate the island’s rich cultural heritage and connect with its past.
Learn about Local History at the Folklore Museum
The Folklore Museum is located in the village of Stavros and showcases the island’s rich cultural heritage. The museum has a collection of artifacts and exhibits that depict the traditional way of life on the island, including clothing, tools, and household items. Visitors can learn about the island’s history and culture and appreciate its unique traditions and customs.
Take a Walk in the Olive Groves
Ithaca is famous for its olive groves, which cover a large part of the island’s landscape. Visitors can take a leisurely walk through the olive groves and enjoy the serene surroundings. They can also learn about olive cultivation and production and taste some of the island’s delicious olive oil. It’s a great opportunity to appreciate the island’s natural beauty and culinary traditions.
Explore the Caves of Ithaca
Ithaca has several caves that are worth exploring, including the Cave of Loizos and the Cave of the Cyclops. The caves have unique geological formations and are steeped in myth and legend. Visitors can take a guided tour of the caves and learn about their history and significance. It’s a great opportunity to connect with the island’s mythical past and appreciate its natural beauty.
Visit the Village of Vathy
Vathy is the capital of Ithaca and a bustling hub of activity. The village has a picturesque harbor, lively cafes, and restaurants that serve delicious local cuisine. Visitors can stroll through the village and soak up the lively atmosphere. It’s a great opportunity to experience the island’s culture and cuisine.
Enjoy the View from the Lighthouse of Ithaca
The Lighthouse of Ithaca is located on the northern tip of the island and offers stunning views of the sea and the surrounding islands. The lighthouse was built in the early 19th century and is still in operation today. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse and take in the panoramic views. The climb can be steep and challenging, but the views are well worth it. It’s a great opportunity to appreciate the island’s natural beauty and take in the stunning views of the sea.
Take a Day Trip to Nearby Islands
Ithaca is located near several other islands that are worth visiting, including Kefalonia, Lefkada, and Meganisi. Visitors can take a day trip and explore the stunning beaches, charming villages, and historic sites on these neighboring islands. Kefalonia is known for its stunning beaches, including Myrtos Beach, and its lively capital, Argostoli. Lefkada is famous for its white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, and Meganisi is a small and charming island with a laid-back atmosphere. It’s a great opportunity to explore the region and appreciate the beauty of the Ionian Sea.
Try Local Cuisine
Ithaca is known for its delicious local cuisine, which features fresh seafood, olives, and locally produced cheese and wine. Visitors can try traditional dishes like souvlaki, moussaka, and tzatziki, as well as local specialties like fish soup and rabbit stew. The island is also famous for its delicious olive oil and wine, which are produced locally. Visitors can taste the island’s culinary delights at local taverns and restaurants and appreciate its unique flavors and ingredients.
Shop for Souvenirs
Finally, no trip to Ithaca is complete without shopping for souvenirs to bring back home. Visitors can find a variety of local handicrafts, including handmade pottery, jewelry, and textiles. They can also buy olive oil, wine, and other local products to enjoy after their trip. The island’s charming villages and local markets offer plenty of opportunities to find unique and authentic souvenirs. It’s a great opportunity to bring a piece of the island’s culture and heritage back home with you.
In conclusion, Ithaca is a small but charming island that offers a range of activities and attractions for visitors. From exploring historic sites and hiking to the top of mountains to swimming at stunning beaches and trying local cuisine, Ithaca has it all. Visitors can appreciate the island’s natural beauty and cultural heritage and immerse themselves in its laid-back atmosphere. Plan your trip to Ithaca today and experience the beauty and charm of this hidden gem in Greece.
What is the best time to visit Ithaca?
The best time to visit Ithaca is from May to October, when the weather is warm and sunny.
How do I get to Ithaca?
You can reach Ithaca by ferry from several ports in Greece, including Patras, Kyllini, and Astakos.
Are there any hiking trails on the island?
Yes, there are several hiking trails on the island, including the path to the top of Mount Neriton.
Can I rent a boat on Ithaca?
Yes, there are several boat rental companies on the island that offer a variety of boats and tours.
What is the local currency in Ithaca?
The local currency in Ithaca is the Euro.