the ages Ithaki has been known as the home of
Odysseus. For years Homer's hero wandered before he
finally returned to his island kingdom. Though he
visited beautiful, exotic, far-flung lands, Ithaki never left his mind for a moment. And even today, once
you've been to Ithaki, it's difficult to forget this
small, mountainous island with its captivating coves
that conjure up some earthly paradise.
Ithaki is separated from Kefalonia by
a channel some 2 to 4 kilometres wide. The west coast
of the island is steep and almost barren in contrast
to the green, gentle shoreline on the east.
The capital and largest settlement is
Ithaki or Vathi; its red-roofed
delightful houses set amidst enchanting scenery at the
end of the deep closed bay of Molos. Taking the
capital as a starting point, it's easy to get to know
the island's landmarks.
Three kilometers to the northwest lies
the so-called Cave of the Nymphs (Nimfon
Cave). Here according to the myth, Odysseus hid the
gifts bestowed upon him by the Phaeacians who
deposited him upon Ithaki's shores ten long years
after the end of the Trojan War.
Also worth visiting is the medieval Monastery
of the Archangels at Perahori. North of the
capital and 600 metres above sea level, the Kathara
Monastery (Moni Katharon) has a unique view of the
island from its bell tower.
Οn the horizon you can make out
the mountains of Akarnania, the Echinades islets, the
peaks of Zakynthos, the eastern coast of Kefalonia and
even the entrance to the Gulf of Patras.
The bay of Polis to the west is the site
of another cave (Loizos' cave). Τhis one
yielded up sherds on which were carved inscriptions
testifying to the worship of Artemis, Hera and Athena.
Ενen more interesting, in the cave were also
found recently twelve tripods similar to the other
that the Phaeacians were supposed to have given to
Stavros, a village 17 kilometres
northwest of Ithaki, is a good base from which to
explore the northern section of the island.
About 1 kilometre north of Stavros is Pelikata;
excavations οn this hillside between the bays
of Polis and Frikes brought to light remains of a
small Bronze Age settlement. The finds unearthed there
reinforce the theory that the ancient city of Ithaki lies somewhere in the vicinity.
Kioni and Frikes, typically
lonian villages, on the northeast coast are unspoilt,
wonderful places for a short excursion or an extended
Ithaki offers lovely beaches for
bathing, caves for exploring and uncrowded hamlets
where noisy nightlife is unheard of.
"When you set out for Ithaki", wrote the poet Constantine Kavafis.
He was referring to Ithaki as one's ultimate
destination. Thus, Ithaki, this verdant lonian island,
may become your own favorite place, a place that draws
you back year after year, when you plan your summer