One of the smallest of the Ionian Islands, Ithaca lies just off the north-east coast of Kefalonia and west of the Greek mainland. It is synonymous with Homer’s Ithaca as the home of Odysseus, a mythological hero who is famed for his 10-year “homecoming” after the Trojan War.
Things to do in Ithaca
You can follow in the footsteps of Odysseus at Homer’s School & Odysseus Palace, a unique archaeological site that preserves the remains of a Mycenaean settlement. In Ithaca’s capital, Vathy, you’ll find the Folklore and Nautical Museum, where hand-carved furnishings, antique cooking utensils and local handicrafts are on display. You can also see images from the earthquake that devastated the island in 1953.
Sweeping views across the north-west coast of Ithaca can be enjoyed from the Monastery of Panagia Eleousa, a charming blue-and-white building dedicated to the Virgin Mary. At the southeastern tip of the island is the Church of Saint John at Mounda, which is decorated with religious paintings and carved iconostasis that have been attributed to Kefalonian craftsmen.
Ithaca is renowned for its beautiful beaches, such as pebbly Paralia Gidaki, which can be accessed via a rugged hiking trail. Just around the headland are stunning Paralia Skinos and pretty Paralia Minimata. If you want to snorkel, head to Paralia Filiatro to spot a variety of marine life. One of the best ways to experience Ithaca’s hidden beaches and unspoiled coves is onboard a private boat or yacht.
Getting around Ithaca
Regular ferries travel to Ithaca from the neighbouring island of Kefalonia, with services continuing from here to Patras on the Greek mainland. Buses connect Ithaca’s towns and villages, although renting a car, motorbike or bicycle is a more convenient way of exploring the island’s attractions.