I come from a tropical country and have visited many paradisiacal islands across the world. So, trust me when I say there are few islands like Ithaca Greece out there. Imagine beaches with crystal clear waters that range from Thailand-emerald to Maldives-blue tones. Add to that charming villages, big doses of authenticity, and mouth-watering Greek food. And you will have an idea of what you’ll find in Ithaca: a true Mediterranean paradise.
If you’re considering a trip to this island, you’ve come to the right place. In this post you will find the most curated travel guide to Ithaca Greece including tips on best things to do, hotels, restaurants and more. Use the index below to guide you through our exclusive recommendations and let’s dream with a Greek holiday!
An introduction to Ithaca Greece
Ithaca, or Ithaki in Greek, might just be Greece’s best-kept secret. While it’s every bit as beautiful as the famous Cyclades islands, it hasn’t been splashed all over social media – at least not yet. That makes of it an ideal destination for those seeking a more authentic and less-crowded Greek Island experience. And why not to say a more affordable experience too?! Which will give you the opportunity to indulge on a more luxurious trip for the same buck!
Ithaca’s low profile on the internet means that visitors are mostly drawn by 2 main streams. Some are lured by the enchanting tales ofHomer’s Odyssey, an ancient Greek poem the depicts Ithaca as long-awaited paradise. Others, like us, stumble upon Ithaca in the process of planning an island-hopping itinerary across the Ionian Archipelago.
We were researching about Kefalonia when noticed Ithaca was just a stone’s throw away, separated by a mere 4km-wide channel. Venturing to this neighboring island seemed the obvious choice, so we planned for 3 days there. Little did we know that Ithaca would totally mesmerize us, echoing the allure we felt in Kefalonia and Lefkada, much bigger and renowned islands. In retrospect, we could totally have spent more days in Ithaca as this island is truly amazing and has a lot to offer!
Planning to island-hop across the Ionian Islands? Check our super complete guide with itinerary suggestions!
Best time to travel to Ithaca Greece
The weather in Ithaca Greece is relatively warm all year round, but Spring and Summer are typically the best time to travel to the island. The end of spring (May to June) and late summer (September to early October) are particularly great to visit Ithaca, as the crowds are fewer and the rates lower compared to the ones practiced during peak summer. In May and early October, rainfall tends to be a bit higher, but definitely not a problem.
Traveling between June and August will allow you to experience the best of Ithaca. Long, balmy days, a lively ambiance and a tourist infrastructure operating at its peak are to be expected. However, keep in mind that during those months, travel costs will be higher and beaches will probably be more crowded. August, in particular, sees a surge due to it being the quintessential summer vacation month for many Europeans.
I’d suggest picking the latter part of May, all of June, the beginning of July, or the entirety of September to visit Ithaca. I’d steer clear of late July and August—these are the peak months with heightened prices and (potentially) dense crowds. We visited the island during the first week of July and were pleasantly surprised by the lack of crowds. The weather was great and the overall vibe was sublime!
How long to stay in Ithaca
You will need at least 3 full days to get to know the island, and from 5 to 7 days to feel you have “explored it” decently. Despite being small, the island of Ithaca has a lot of attractions, charming villages, and wonderful beaches to offer, so make sure to plan accordingly.
While some travelers opt to treat Ithaca as a day trip from Kefalonia, I’d advise against this, given the rich array of attractions the island boasts. However, if your days in Greece are few and you are debating if it is even worth going to Ithaca just for a day, I’d say it is. It is better to “scratch the surface” than not to visit the island at all.
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Best things to do in Ithaca Greece
For a small island, Ithaca boasts a surprisingly large amount of things to see and do. From immaculate beaches to quaint villages, there’s a delightful array of sights and activities awaiting for you. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the top things to do in Ithaca, Greece. Below, you’ll find a specially curated interactive map highlighting the island’s gems. Please note that blue pins refer to beaches, purple pins to attractions, and orange pins to the best restaurants in Ithaca.
1) Visit Ithaca’s best beaches
Ithaca is a haven of mesmerizing beaches. In fact, visiting secluded coves and immersing in the invigorating waters of the Ionian Sea is on the very top of the best things to do Ithaca. It’s likely how you’ll spend most of your time on the island. Especially during the sun-soaked summer months, when temperatures rise significantly. Curious so see the beaches in Ithaca? Click here to explore our meticulously curated guide on the 10 most beautiful beaches in Ithaca. You’ll discover the island’s purest coastal gems and feel even more inspired to book your trip!
2) Rent a boat and explore Ithaca
What if I told you that it’s possible to rent a self skippered boat and explore the shores of Ithaca independently? Even if you don’t have a special license or previous boat steering experience. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, this is not only achievable but also one of the best ways to fully soak in the island’s beauty. With many of Ithaca’s most breathtaking beaches accessible solely by boat, renting one isn’t just an option — it is my top recommendation!
I absolutely loved embarking on a nautical adventure and discovering the hidden jewels of Ithaca’s coastline. I’ve talked in details about how to rent a boat in Ithaca in this in-depth post here. Make sure to check it out, but in the meanwhile, I’ll leave you with some images of the beaches we visited while navigating in the island.
Tucked away in Ithaca’s northeast coast lies Kioni, the most most charming and romantic village on the island. It’s a place that sole my heart with its pastel houses tumbling down hills, a harbor full of traditional fishing boats and lush surrounding vegetation. If you have 4 or more days in Ithaca, I recommend staying for a couple of nights there. That can be a perfect home-base to explore the north side of Ithaca. But if you’re short on time, plan for a full day exploring the village on foot, bathing in it’s nearby coves and dinning in one of the restaurants by the sea!
You’ll certainly fall in love with its narrow streets filled with cute cafes and shops. Kioni has a timeless beauty that’s hard to describe. It’s a must-visit place while in Ithaca, trust me!
All of the best points of interest in Ithaca are tagged on our personalized map. Get yours and have all pins listed on our guides + some secret ones seamlessly integrated to your Google Maps.
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4) Visit Frikes
Frikes is another charming northern village in Ithaca, not so far from Kionis. It boasts a quaint bay adorned with traditional fishing boats and a super calm atmosphere. At the water front you’ll find restaurant serving authentic Greek food. We had a wonderful meal at Ageris restaurant, which has delectable yet reasonably priced menu and tables right by the water.
We really enjoyed our time there and recommend you to pay a visit to Frikes. Even if it’s just for a few minutes. You can take a walk at the beachfront and maybe check Dodoni Frikes, the most famous dessert place on the whole island. It will surely entice your sweet tooth and give you authentic Greek moments!
Close to Frikes we found one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. It’s the third bay in Kourvoulia and we talked about it in details in this post.
5) Moni Katharon Monastery
Perched atop a hill where locals once claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary, stands the Moni Katharon Monastery, or Panagia Kathariotissa. Constructed during times marked by violence and foreign invasions, the monastery is a testament to faith and history of the island. It was built by inhabitants of Ithaca as a tribute to the protector saint of Ithaca, seeking her blessings and good fortune for their beloved island.
Over the centuries, the Moni Katharon Monastery has undergone numerous renovations and reconstructions. Now, it proudly stands at a lofty altitude of 600 meters, offering a sublime panorama of Vathy and the entirety of Ithaca below. While the monastery’s interior and church are worth exploring, it’s the breathtaking views of the capital and the island’s southern parts that will truly take your breath away. Make sure to walk around and take some good pictures from up there. It is incredibly beautiful!
6) Panagia Eleousa Monastery – Pernakia Peak
We didn’t get a chance to visit the Panagia Eleousa Monastery, but from the photos we’ve seen, it looks absolutely stunning. Especially at dusk, when it’s possible watch the sun dip into the sea, painting the sky in rich shades of orange from there. Unlike us, you should plan a visit to this beautiful site. Note that you can get there by car but the last bit of the road is a bit rough, so it is better to park a few meters before and walk up to the monastery. While the monastery itself isn’t open to the public, the surrounding vistas more than make up for it!
7) Archeological sites in Ithaca
On top of beautiful landscapes and jaw-dropping beaches, Ithaca boasts a rich tapestry of historical and archaeological treasures, many nestled right in the heart of Vathi, the capital. You can read more about these sites here, but in sum, the most popular are:
- Ithaca Ancient town of Alalcomenae
- Ithaca Stavros Archaeological Collection
- Cave of Nymphs
- The statue of Odysseus in Vathi
- Cathedral of Vathy
- Early Helladic Settlement
- Homers School
- Exogi village and the Exogi pyramids
- Anogi village
- King Odyssey’s Palace
Best hotels in Ithaca Greece
I knew Greece was considered one of the best cost-beneficial countries to travel to in Europe. And still, I got positively surprised by the incredibly charming and affordable accommodation options I found in Ithaca. The island is one of those places you can splurge on a great hotel without it costing an arm and a leg. Also, a perfect place to rent a lovely villa for reasonable fares if you are traveling as a family!
There is no shortage of amazing accommodation options in Ithaca. I have selected the best ones in 3 different budget categories to help your travel planning. If you book through our links, we may earn a small commission. You don’t pay extra for this, so it’s a win-win!
We stayed at the super charming Odyssey Apartments and loved the experience. The accommodation complex features an outdoor pool with a view of the Vathi Bay, comfortable rooms equipped with practical kitchens which are perfect to cook breakfasts, and a great location close to the center of Vathi. We paid for our stay, so you can be sure this is a genuine tip!
You can also find many charming and cozy apartments and villas on Airbnb, so it is worth taking a look at it as well!
Best areas to stay in Ithaca
If you are planning on staying in Ithaca for 2 to 3 days, I advise you to book your accommodation in Vathi, the capital of the island. Vathi is located in the “core” of Ithaca and from there you can easily explore both south and north directions, making it the most practical location to stay in Ithaca.
If you are planning on staying 4 days or more in Ithaca, I recommend you book accommodations in two locations on the island: Vathi and Kioni.The latter is one of the most charming village in Ithaca and a perfect base to explore the northern beaches on the island. This way you can split your stay between two different villages in Ithaca and make the most of your stay!
Where to eat in Ithaca
The allure of Greece isn’t just its azure waters or golden sunsets. It’s also the mouthwatering aroma of its kitchens and the contented sigh after a satisfying meal. The local cuisine, with its fresh, vibrant ingredients, is a delightful aspect of any trip to Greece. And a perfect pairing for summer days under the Mediterranean sun. Throughout our journey across the Ionian Islands, we indulged in the delicious and fresh meals served by local restaurants, paired with fantastic (and cheap!). It’s no exaggeration to say that the traditional gastronomy of Greece had us utterly enchanted. And it’s one of reasons why we keep coming back. 3 times and counting!
For an authentic Greek dining experience, I suggest heading to a local taverna. Embrace the Greek ethos of sharing by ordering an array of small dishes at each meal, allowing you to sample a diverse range of flavors. Elevate the experience by pairing your meal. Pair it with the house’s local wine, which is usually is as affordable as it is delicious – often no more than 7€ for 500 ml. The affordability of traditional Greek cuisine means you can indulge in generous, varied, and soul-satisfying meals without breaking the bank. Allow yourself to dive into a Grecian gastronomic journey!
If I were you, I would not leave Greece without trying Moussaka, different Souvlakis, Saganakis, Gyros, and Yemistas. Not to mention the salads, in special the Greek Salad, and the delicious cheeses and charcuterie produced locally! And in Ithaca, you should focus on Mediterranean dishes containing olives, tomatoes, cucumber, and lots of fresh seafood and locally produced meats. Delicious!
We visited great restaurants in Ithaca and had a blast eating ourselves to oblivion in the local tavernas every day. If you want the same experience, these are our main restaurant recommendations for the island.
Best restaurants in Ithaca
- Kohili Garden Restaurant (this may have been the best greek we’ve had in the Ionian Island. Plus, the restaurant has a very affordable menu and has tables by the water!)
- Sirines (super charming restaurant, perfect for a romantic dinner comprised of modern and traditional greek dishes)
- Kantouni (very nice restaurant by the water with gluten free moussaka)
- O Batis
- Porto Restaurant
- Ageris in Frikes
All best restaurants in Ithaca are tagged on our personalized map. Get yours and have all pins listed on our guides + some secret ones seamlessly integrated to your Google Maps.
Our favorite restaurant in Ithaca
One more gastronomical tip: we adored Dona Lefki, a special restaurant in the north of Ithaca. It features not only amazing and diverse food, but also a relaxing atmosphere and the best sunset spot view on the island. A perfect combo if you ask me!
It is located less than 30 minutes drive from Vathi and you can combine it with a day trip to the northern part of Ithaca. It is a perfect restaurant for a romantic dinner, especially if you call in advance to book one of the first row tables. Despite its romantic atmosphere, rest assured it also suits families and groups well. So, make sure to visit no matter the company.
How to get to Ithaca Greece
Ithaca may not have its own airport, but its proximity to Kefalonia makes it easily accessible for travelers. Kefalonia’s Anna Pollatou Airport is the nearest gateway, receiving daily flights from Athens, Corfu, and Zakynthos. Moreover, during the bustling summer months, it welcomes flights from various European destinations, including England and Italy.
Once you touch down in Kefalonia, renting a car is a convenient option. With your vehicle, make your way to Sami Port, where a ferry awaits to whisk you away to Ithaca. This ferry journey, lasting just 30 minutes, departs twice daily, ensuring you can seamlessly continue your Ionian Island adventure.
It is also possible to access the island by ferry departing from other ports in the Ionian Islands and mainland Greece. Below you will find a description of the most common ways to get to Ithaca.
Ferry to Ithaca Greece from other Ionian Islands
Most people traveling to Ithaca also plan to visit other popular and neighboring islands, such as Kefalonia, Lefkada, and Zakynthos. Thus, it is quite common to get to/to leave from Ithaca by ferry boats coming from/going to the Ionian neighbor islands. The companies Ionionpelagos and Levante Ferries operate daily ferries between Ithaca, Kefalonia, and Lefkada. Here’s an overview:
Kefalonia, the ferry ride will take 30 minutes and cost you 20 euros for 2 people + a small car.
Lefkada, the ferry ride will take approximately 1 hour and cost you 50 euros for 2 people + a small car
Zakynthos, you will need to travel to Kefalonia by ferry or flight and from there head to Ithaca
Corfu, you can take a ferry to Igoumenitsa and from there drive to Lefkada where you can take a ferry to Ithaca.
I would advise you to purchase the ferry tickets online and in advance if you are planning to travel during the high season months. Otherwise, you can purchase the tickets on the island upon arrival.
Ttickets can be purchased directly on the company’s websites or by using the established ferry booking platform Ferry Hopper Alternatively, you can buy the tickets at one of their ticket offices on the islands.
Please note that ferry tickets for the journey Lefkada-Ithaca (and vice-versa) cannot be purchased online. However, if you want to organize your trip in advance and guarantee a place on the ferry, you can email email@example.com and make a reservation. That is how I did it and worked perfectly fine!
How to get to Ithaca from Athens or mainland Greece
While there aren’t any direct ferries from Athens to Ithaca, navigating between these two Greek spots is quite uncomplicated and swift. Should you begin your journey in Athens, consider renting a car. This will allow you to enjoy a scenic drive, lasting under three hours, to Patras Port. From here you can hop in to a ferry boat that will take you to shores of Ithaca. This ferry journey, spanning roughly 3.5 hours, culminates in your arrival at Pisaetos port, which is a mere 10 km away from Ithaca’s charming capital, Vathi.
Alternatively, for those less inclined to drive, Athens offers bus services to Patras. Once in Patras, you can hop on the same ferry bound for Pisaetos in Ithaca. Though opting for this method might shave a bit off your ferry ticket cost, the overall journey may feel less convenient without a vehicle. Plus, considering Ithaca’s myriad of attractions, having a car (or even a motorbike) at your disposal is invaluable. Thus, I’d recommend setting off from Athens with your own rental car for a seamless transition and optimal exploration.
From Athens, you can also drive to the port of Astakos and Kyllini in mainland Greece and from there take a ferry to Ithaca. The journeys will be longer than to Patras and there will be fewer ferry boat trip options, but it is up to you.
How to get around Ithaca
It is the second smallest island of the Ionian Islands Archipelago and has an area of just 96 km2. Some might disagree, but in my opinion, the best way to get around Ithaca is by car. It will not only allow you to explore villages and access beaches but will also provide you a safe refuge from the extreme sun and heat while commuting between points of interest. Which is something an ATV or motorcycle cannot provide.
And by clicking here you can check the rental quotes from the best car hiring companies in Greece and get your car upon arrival in Athens, Kefalonia, or Ithaca!
At first glance, renting a car might seem like an added expense. But trust me, when the sun beats down pushing temperatures past 40 degrees Celsius, you’ll be immensely grateful to slide into a car cooled by air conditioning. This momentary relief can be a game-changer as you traverse the island. However, if the heat doesn’t faze you, there are other adventurous options to consider. Exploring Ithaca on a motorcycle or ATV can be both exhilarating and cost-effective. You can opt for picking it up in Athens, Kefalonia, or Ithaca depending on your travel itinerary.
Another fantastic alternative to explore Ithaca is by boat, as many of the best beaches in the islands are only accessible by sea. You can rent one even if you don’t have navigating experience or license and it will cost you around 100 euros per day + the fuel you consume. Our boat trip was the best experience we had in Ithaca and I talked about it in detail here.
What to pack for Ithaca Greece
As you will most probably be visiting the island of Ithaca during spring or summer in Greece, you should be prepared for very sunny and warm days. Hence, my suggestion is that you pack light and fresh clothes, beachwear, and casual shoes. Aim for beach attire and bring a light jacket just in case – chances are that you are not going to need it!
For women: you should pack summer and fresh dresses in various styles, from flouncy to long ones. Skirts, linen pants, fresh tops, and shorts are also great items to bring to Ithaca. Flat and comfortable shoes should be your way to go and you absolutely won’t need high heels or heavy makeup.
For men: you can pack linen shirts and fresh fabric shirts, as well as t-shirts, shorts, and fresh pants. Shoes should be casual and comfortable, with no need for fancy items.
You will also need:
- Beach shoes for pebble beaches
- Sun screen with maximun UV protection
- Sun hats
- A beach bag
- Beach towel or blanket
- Long Sleeve UV Sun Protection Shirt
- Beach tent or a beach umbrella
Other items to pack to Ithaca are beach floats, board games, books, a beach tennis kit, and a cooler bag to bring beverages and snacks to the beaches. A good idea is to stop by at a Decathlon upon arrival in Greece if you are traveling by car (there is one close to Athens airport and one in Patras) to shop for the items you did not bring in your luggage, but if you are tight on time, you can also find these items on the Greek Islands for heftier prices.
Be aware that there are many bees and insects in Ithaca and that you should bring specific medication if you have allergies. Better safe than sorry, right?
Ithaca truly is a gem in the Ionian Sea, and I sincerely hope this guide sparked the wanderlust in you to explore its pristine shores. If you’re already considering an island-hopping adventure across the Ionian Islands, adding Ithaca to your itinerary is a no-brainer. Especially if you plan to spend some days in Kefalonia, which remains our #1 favorite island in Greece. Even after 3 trips exploring the best of Greek Islands. Should you need further insights or have any queries about this enchanting island, drop a comment below.