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Ithaca – the stunning emerald island of mythical hero Odysseus

Ithaca is famous worldwide for being the island of Odysseus – the mythical hero lost at sea for decades before he finally returns to his beautiful island. Seeing the island with your own eyes you start to understand the longing of Odysseus. 

Besides its mythical status and stunning beauty, you will find Ithaca one of the most divine Greek islands with its laid-back atmosphere, emerald waters and green hills. Especially if you love to relax and explore incredible natural land- and seascape. 

Where is Ithaca in Greece? 

Travel to Ithaca, Ionian Sea, Greece
Ithaca, Ionian Sea

Ithaca island lies in the Ionian Sea, in Greece, off the northeast coast of Kefalonia and to the west and within sight of continental Greece. The municipality of Ithaca includes some islets as well. The capital, Vathy (or Ithaki), has one of the world’s largest natural harbours.  

Map of Ithaca in the Ionian Sea 

Map of the Ionian Islands Greece
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Modern Ithaca is generally identified with Homer’s Ithaca, the home of Odysseus, whose delayed return to the island is one of the elements of the Odyssey’s plot. The island has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC. It may have been the capital of Kefalonia during the Mycenaean period, and the capital-state of the kingdom ruled by Odysseus. 

Ithaca – how to get there? 

The island of Ithaca has no airport. The nearest one is in Kefalonia, where Kefalonia International Airport “Anna Pollatou” receives domestic flights from Corfu, Athens and Zakynthos all year. It also receives flights from various airports around Europe during the summer months. Flight duration from Athens to Kefalonia is one hour. The airport in Kefalonia is about 8 km away from Argostoli city center. Upon arrival you can get on one of the Ithaca ferries, departing from the port of Poros, as well as the port of Fiscardo and the port of Sami. In order to reach the different ports from the airport you can use public means of transport or hire a taxi.  

Travel to Ithaca, Ionian Sea, Greece
Ithaca, Ionian Sea

You can also reach Ithaca from the Greek mainland in the beautiful port of Astakos, and go island hopping between Lefkada, Kefalonia and Ithaca. Finally, you can reach Ithaca from the port of Killini in Peloponnese, with a stop on Poros island before reaching the port of Pisaetos on Ithaca. From Kefalonia and Lefkada you will reach the ports of both Frikies and Vathy. 

Ithaca Beach Guide 

Travel to Ithaca, Greece - drone view of beach

In Ithaca you will find several stunning beaches. Drive around the island and visit SarakinikoFiliatro and Agios Ioannis, some of Ithacas most well-organized beaches. If you prefer a quiet beach all to yourselves, you can hike along the trekking paths or make a tour by boat, where you’ll discover some of the many secluded coves behind cliffs and forests. 

Ithaca is quite famous for its beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters in shades of blue and emerald. It has an interesting, rich and variated underwater world and as such, it is perfect for scuba diving and snorkelling. Dive into the deep blue crystal-clear waters and relax in the warm sun on the beach. Find a list of the best beaches in Ithaca here.

Ithaca Beach Guide

Organized beaches

  • Filiatro beach – Pebbled, family friendly, located 3 km east of Vathy

Partly organized

  • Sarakiniko Bay Beach – Pebbled, family friendly, located 3 km east of Vathy

Non-organized beaches

  • Skinos Bay Beach – Pebbled, secluded, located 2 km north of Vathy
  • Gidaki Beach – Pebbled, secluded, located 5 km northeast of Vathy
  • Marmaka Beach – Pebbled, secluded, located 25 km north of Vathy
  • Agios Ioannis Beach – Pebbled, family friendly, located 9 km northwest of Vathy
  • Polis Beach – Pebbled, family friendly, located 17 km northwest of Vathy
  • Dexa Beach – Pebbled, located 2 km west of Vathy
  • Frikes Beach – Pebbled, harbour, 18 km north of Vathy
  • Aetos Beach – Pebbled, 3 km west of Vathy
  • Pisaetos Beach – Pebbled, harbour, 7 km southwest of Vathy
  • Rachi Beach – Pebbled, secluded, located 22 km north of Vathy

Ithaca – what to do? 

Travel to Ithaca, Ionian Sea, Greece
Sailing around Ithaca, Ionian Sea

Ithaca is small island. A quiet island. In Ithaca there are no organized things to do. The island of Ithaca is perfect for winding down, relaxing at the beach or in the countryside. You can, of course, always go swimming or diving into the crystal-clear waters from the beaches of Ithaca. Swimming from the secluded beaches is an experience quite divine, Gidaki beach is a great spot. Spend the morning hours under the hot sun and enjoy your lunch in the shade in the cosy seaside taverns. In the evenings you can relax under the stars with a drink in a café or bar. 

Hiking in Ithaca 

Hiking in Greece

Ithaca is perfect for one activity, and that is hiking. The many old footpaths crossing the island will lead you to secluded beaches, tiny chapels, small settlements and hilltops with panorama view to the Ionian Sea. There are about 20 trails of different length covering most parts of the island. During summer try to avoid hiking during the midday hours in the blasting heat. Go in the early morning hours or in the afternoon where the light is much better for getting some great photos in the box. If you visit Ithaca during the autumn months or in spring the weather is more suitable for longer hikes.   

Ithaca – what to see? 

Kioni, Ithaca

Go immerse yourself in this magic island exploring the most picturesque village, which are VathyKioni and Frikes. Each one of them have kept their traditional identity despite the thousands of visitors every year. Vathy, being the habour and the centre of the island is where you will find most activities and hotels. Consider it a must to visit the medieval village of Anogi, as well as Loizos Cave and Katharon Monastery during your holiday on the island of Ithaca. 

Weather and climate on Ithaca Greece? 

Travel to Ithaca, Greece - beautiful beach in the morning
AprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctober
Air15182327221818
Sea14172123232120
Average air and sea temperature in Ithaca in °C
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Geography of Ithaca 

Vathy, Ithaca
Vathy port, Ithaca

The strait situated to the west of the island is called the Strait of Ithaca. There are several capes on Ithaca including Exogi, the westernmost, Melissa to the north, Mavronos and Agios Ilias to the east, as well as SchinousSarakiniko and Agios Ioannis, and Agiou Andreou in the south. Bays include the northwestern Afales Bay, Frikes and Kioni Bays to the northeast and Ormos Gulf and Sarakiniko Bay to the southeast. The tallest mountain is Nirito with its 806 m, the second tallest is Merovigli with 669 m. 

Lazaretto Islet – the Island of The Saviour 

Lazaretto Islet also called the “Island of The Saviour” guards the harbour.

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Museums on Ithaca 

There are three interesting museums on Ithaca, the most important of which are the Archaeological Museums, one in Vathy and the other in Stavros. There is also the Folklore and Cultural Museum of Vathy. 

Odysseus at the court of Alcinous by Francesco Hayez (1813-1815)
Odysseus at the court of Alcinous by Francesco Hayez (1813-1815)
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Why visit Ithaca? 

Ithaca is world-famous as the home island of Odysseus, the mythical hero of Homer – visiting the island you can dive in the crystal-clear sea at the beaches, or hike along the footpaths. In between you can enjoy the laid-back atmosphere at the traditional taverns while eating fresh fish and seafood. In Vathy you will enjoy the evenings with strolls along the seafront promenade, chatting with friendly locals. 

Travel to Chios, Greece - secluded beach
Secluded beach in Ithaca

With exotic beaches, picturesque villages and green hills Ithaca has its own unique charm. It is going to steel your heart