Odysseus, and perhaps
Homer, this tiny island attracts sailors and holidaymakers from all
over the world. It is very beautiful, and is surrounded by some of the
clearest waters in Greece. Because it is small and a bit difficult to
reach, it does not get the mass tourism that the neighbouring islands
do. Therefore many celebrities like spending their holidays here -
either on their yachts or renting a house.
Ithaca is truly a magical place, and stands for the homecoming. Odysseus
sailed for a decade to reach his home, and many sailors believe Ithaca
is the ultimate goal. Its friendly people will do their best to make you
feel welcome, and it is no coincidence that many return here year after
History Even though Odysseus is the
best known name of Ithaca, it was not he gave the island its name.
According to mythology, Ithacos was the son of a Cephalonian king who
settled here, and who together with his brother built a fountain that
provided the whole island with water.
The island has probably been inhabited since the 2nd Millennium BC, and
there is evidence it was the capital of Cephalonia during the Mycenaean
period (around 1500BC). This coincides with the Trojan war, and if
Odysseus really existed, now is when he would have been king.
The Romans occupied the island in the 2nd century BC, and later it
became part of the Byzantine empire. It was constantly attacked by
pirates, and made an alliance with Cephalonia in AD800.
The Normands and the Franks ruled Ithaca in the 12th and 13th century,
and after a 30 year Turkish rule (1479-1499) it fell into Venetian
Towards the end of the 18th century the island was occupied by the
French, and in 1809 it was conquered by the British. In 1821 the war of
Independence broke out, and Ithaca was finally liberated in 1864.
Much of the island was destroyed in the terrible earthquake of 1953.
Therefore most of the buildings on the island are no older than 50
years, and the Italian influence is quite obvious.
What to See Ithaca's beautiful
little capital Vathy has the worlds largest natural harbour. Here you
can visit the cave of the nymphs, as well as the small archeo-logical
museum. Local artists have their own shops, and the many small cafes and
taverns will impress you.
The monastery of the Virgin Mary (Panagia) Kathara is open for visitors.
It was probably built in the 16th or 17th century, and has very
beautiful icons, as well as very nice surroundings.
There are also some ancient ruins just outside Stavros.
What to Do
:You just Relax!!! Ithaca is also excellent for snorkelling and some
people like to climb its mountains. The nature is steep and beautiful,
and has a wide range of flora and fauna, so going for long walks is a
good choice. Bring lots of water, though, and prepare for some serious
climbing. There are water sports, tennis courts and daytrips to the
In August there is a cultural festivals with artists and orchestras from
all over the world.
are both sand and pebble beaches. Vathi, Frikes and Kioni all
have beaches, but a great alternative is also to take a boattrip
and visit some of the more inaccessible places. You'll be amazed
by how clear the water actually is!
Nightlife: Ithaca is an island
for relaxing but if you want some nighlife, there are two discos in
Vathy. Otherwise, you can enjoy some very nice little bars and cafes
with a romantic atmosphere in the evenings.
Food-The local taverns serve mostly
Greek food. Most of the local specialties are based on fish, and
there are some sweets that are worth a try.
Shopping: You can find both
traditional souvenirs and clothes on the island. In Vathy there are several
shops with very distinct handmade costume jewelley, art works and antiques.
Getting Around There is a bus
connecting Vathy, Frikes and Kioni. Because the island is so
mountainous, many find the bustrip horrific, since the roads are quite
narrow and winding. There are also smaller boats that can take you
around the island. A few taxis work, and you can rent a moped.
Getting There :Ithaca
doesn't have an airport, so most people prefer to take a direct flight
to Cephalonia or
Lefkas, and a boat from there. From both islands there are ferries
as well as excursion boats.
|Facts about Ithaca*
|Population: about 3000
||International code: 0030
||Local code: 26740
|Cash machine: yes
||Health center: 26740
||Port Police: 32909
|Highest Mountain: Nirito 806 meters
|Price rate: Average
||Archaeological museum 32200
|Size: 97 sq. km
*The info displayed may be inaccurate. If changes have been made, please let us know.