Ithaca is one of the smaller Ionian Islands, very close to Kefalonia, and great if you want to get away from it all and relax. It's well-known for being the legendary island of King Odysseus, whose adventures are told in Homer's Odyssey. Although there are no hard facts to support this, there's plenty of circumstantial evidence and some archaeological finds on Ithaca which back up the theory.
Although it is quite small, Ithaca is a dramatic island with a few mountainous peaks, and impressive to see from a boat or a plane. It's great for walking, especially to explore the Odysseus sights. One or two of these, and a museum, can be found near the island's second town, Stavros, an unspoilt hill town in the north of the island.
Ithaca doesn't have great beaches but there are enough decent ones to keep the sunbathers happy. It isn't over-run by tourism, which is part of its charm – and it's got enough to appeal to celebrities like Madonna and Steven Spielberg, who have taken vacations on Ithaca.
Best Things to Do on Ithaca
There is no airport on Ithaca, and the easiest way to get there by plane is to fly to Kefalonia and take the ferry (see below), or take a flight to Lefkas and catch the ferry from there. There are numerous cheap charter flights to Kefalonia and Lefkas in the summer holiday season. Kefalonia also has flights from Athens and other Greek destinations.
For a small island, Ithaca is quite well served by ferry connections. In the summer holiday season daily ferries go from Ithaca to the islands of both Kefalonia and Lefkas, to Astakos on the west coast of northern Greece, and also to Patras in the Peloponnese on the Greek mainland. Ferries from Kefalonia take about 60-90 minutes, depending which two ports you are travelling between. Ferries to Lefkas take about 90 minutes.
Note that ferries go from different ports on Ithaca:
The city of Xanthi in Thrace in eastern Greece is a lively university town with several museums, old mansions, one of the best markets in Thrace, and a population of indigenous Pomaks.
The island of Lesbos or Lesvos is in the North East Aegean Islands in Greece, and on this page from the Greece Travel Secrets website you can also see information including flights and ferries.
The island of Thassos is in the North East Aegean in Greece, and on this page from the Greece Travel Secrets website you can also see information about flights and ferries to Thassos.
If you're going to Corfu take a look at our travel guide for the Kindle: Corfu and Beyond. This is what one US 5-star review said: 'Just back from our trip to Corfu and this was by far the most helpful of the travel guides we read.'
Click on the cover to go to the Amazon UK page for the book. Click here if you want the Amazon USA site.
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