A picturesque, undiscovered and heavenly island. Right in the middle of the Ionian and merely 30 minutes from Kefalonia (by ferry) is this small in size but big in history place (it is after all, Odysseus’s home). Being a tourist myself, what I found particularly interesting is that there were not a lot of us around, or at least we were so spread out it seemed it was us and the locals. Ithaca’s fantastic scenery, the mountain villages and the deserted beaches are only a part of its treasures.

Stay

Perantzada: small and tranquil boutique hotel, right in the centre of Vathi, part of Tsimaras group. Don’t hesitate to ask Ms Fotini behind the reception desk for help or advice. It might be the most pricey hotel but also the best. Vathi, tel 2674033496
Hotel Familia: each of the hotel’s 7 rooms is uniquely decorated with special care, modern facilities and contemporary aesthetics, with exceptional home made breakfast. From 85€. Vathi, tel 2674033366
Odyssey Apartments: Odyssey is built in three levels, and therefore all studios and apartments enjoy a magnificent sea view. The owners’ idea is to create a small, hospitality unit to offer a true relaxation and calmness in a beautiful surrounding. From 55€. Vathi, tel 2674033400

Eat

Polifimos: Scenic restaurant in Ithaca mountains in the middle of a courtyard. The hanging garlic cloves and the antique pots give it an authentic look. One must try the slow-cooked lamb wrapped in paper and the mousakka. Stavros village, tel 2674031794.
Liberty: a quite chic and elegant restaurant in Vathi with excellent Greek cuisine. Feel free to chat with very friendly owners that walk around making sure their guests are happy. Vathi, tel 2674032561
Kalioras: a more traditional taverna with a fantastic view of the village and grilled meat to die for. Pera Hori, tel 2674033654
Yefiri: owned by an Australian couple up in the hills is this fantastic and alternative small restaurant. The cuisine is creative Greek. Must try is the traditional burger (even though the menu changes regularly) and the home made lemon tart. Platrithias
Kalypso: offers fresh fish and quite good cooked food, even though I thought its quality varies according to the number of guests. Kioni, tel: 2674031066

Beaches

Gidaki: fantastic waters, probably the best in the island, although the easiest way to reach it is by a boat. You can rent one from Vathi and stop to all the deserted beaches in between
Frikes: a very small bay with fantastic clear waters that attracts a lot of visitors.
Agios Ioannis: one of the most popular and busy beaches, fantastic waters but quite crowded compared to the rest
Filiatro: very near Vathi and good if you want a more organized beach
Minimata: a very quiet beach quite close to Vathi with a place for small boats or yachts to moor
Pisaetos: great scenery as it is surrounded by a forest, but quite busy as it is the port for the boats from Kefalonia
Note: the best beaches are the ones that can be discovered while driving around or by boat. I was there for 3 days and do not recall seeing a sunbed or an organised beach! A characteristic of Ithaca beaches are the amazingly clear waters and the lovely green scenery all around

Highlights

– Renting a boat and going around the beaches that cannot be reached by car. Go towards Frikes or Gidaki and stop in between to all the tiny and deserted coasts
– Perantzada is truly fantastic and totally worth it
– Drive around the mountains and stop in the small villages for coffee or drinks, the view is breath taking
– The clear waters and tiny beaches
– The island all together!

Tips

– Call the hotels and negotiate for lower prices
– The island is small so it can be combined with Kefalonia and/or Lefkada if one goes for more than 2-3 nights. I went Friday-Sunday and combined Kefalonia (4 nights), Ithaca (3 nights), Lefkada (2 nights). You can book boat tickets at the relevant ports and take return flights to Kefalonia
– Renting a car is a must (as in almost all the Greek islands)

Getting there

You can fly to Kefalonia from Athens (or any other country if flights are available), and get the ferry from there (30 minutes). Tickets for the ferry can be booked at the port.

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