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Throughout the ages Ithaca 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, Ithaca never left his mind for a moment. And even today, once you've been to Ithaca, it's difficult to forget this small, mountainous island with its captivating coves that conjure up some earthly paradise.

Ithaca is separated from Cephalonia 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 Vathy; 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 kilometres 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 Ithaca'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.

n the horizon you can make out the mountains of Akarnania, the Echinades islets, the peaks of Zakinthos, the eastern coast of Cephalonia and even the entrance to the Gulf of Patras.



VATHY

The bay of Polis to the west is the site of another cave (Loizos' cave). his one yielded up sherds on which were carved inscriptions testifying to the worship of Artemis, Hera and Athena. en more interesting, in the cave were also found recently twelve tripods similar to the other that the Phaeacians were supposed to have given to Odysseus.

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 n 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 Ithaca 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 sojourn.

Ithaca offers lovely beaches for bathing, caves for exploring and uncrowded hamlets where noisy nightlife is unheard of.

"When you set out for Ithaca", wrote the poet Constantine Kavafis. He was refering to Ithaca as one's ultimate destination. Thus, Ithaca, this verdant lonian island, may become your wn favourite place, a place that draws you back year after year, when yu plan your summer holiday.
 

Area 90 km2

Coastline 115 km.

How to get there

By Ship:
   Patra (3 h 45m, via Sami in Kefalonia)
   Astakos (2 hours)

By Bus
   Athens (via Patra)
   Terminal: 100, Kifissou st.

Local products:
   Embroideries
   Wine
   Honey, cheese & olive oil

Theatre Festival
   September

Festivals
   From July 17th until September 9th

Music Festival
   July-August

Yacht refuling station
   Ithaki (Vathy)

Ports of entry / exit
   Ithaki (Vathy)
   Ithaki (Piso Aetos)
   Ithaki (Frikes)

Museums
   Archaeological Museum (Vathy)
   Cultural & Naval Museum (Vathy)
   Archaeological Museum (Stavros)

Useful telephone numbers

Area Code 26740
   Police 32.205
   Medical Assistance 32.222

Information:
   Ithaki (Vathy) Port Authority, 26740/32909
   Bus terminal (Athens): 210/5124910-5132601

 

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