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Where to Stay in Ithaca in 2024 – 5 BEST AREAS

Explore Ithaca without breaking the bank, with affordable yet comfortable lodgings that prioritize value.
Where to Stay in Ithaca in 2024 - 5 BEST AREAS

Ithaca, often referred to as Odysseus’ island, is a gem among the Ionian Islands and administratively falls under Kefalonia. Nestled to the south of Lefkada and northeast of Kefalonia, this island is an absolute beauty. From its stunning beaches with turquoise waters to its lush greenery, quaint villages, and historical landmarks, Ithaca is captivating.

Both Greeks and international visitors are drawn to Ithaca, primarily for a tranquil getaway. To me, it’s the ultimate relaxation destination. To reach it, you can hop on a ferry from Kefalonia, Patra, Lefkada, or Astakos.

Despite its fame and the influx of tourists, Ithaca has magically preserved its authentic charm. It’s one of those places I genuinely believe everyone should visit at least once. But before you book your stay, let’s explore the best spots on the island.

1. Vathy, the best plave to stay in Ithaca

Vathy, Ithaca
Vathy, Ithaca / photo: wikipedia

Vathy, Ithaca’s capital, is situated in the south, cradling the depths of a bay, forming a natural harbor. Within this bay lies the tiny island of Lazareto. The first settlements in Vathy trace back to the 17th century, a time when the area was frequently threatened by pirates.

Things to Do in Vathy

While in Vathy, I’d recommend visiting the Archaeological Museum, which houses over 1,000 artifacts, some dating back to the Mycenaean period. The Maritime-Folklore Museum, established in 1997, is also a must-see, with its vast collection of over 1,500 items.

The beaches of Loutsa and Dexia are a short stroll from Vathy, roughly 25-30 minutes on foot. Alternatively, a 10-minute drive will take you to the pebbled shores of Sarakiniko and Filiatro, surrounded by pristine blue waters and lush greenery.

Vathy also offers a variety of accommodation options, dining experiences, bars, supermarkets, and everything you’d need for a comfortable stay. Whenever I think of a picturesque Greek island town, Vathy is what comes to mind.

Where to Stay in Vathy

2. Stavros, where to stay with kids in Ithaca

Stavros, Ithaca’s main village, sits 17 kilometers north of the capital. It’s the beating heart of commerce in the region, with picturesque houses dotting the landscape. The village’s location is a dream – where the mountains kiss the sea.

Just a stone’s throw away (1.5 kilometers to be exact) is Polis Bay, a delightful haven with a spacious organized beach. Here, traditional fishing boats anchor near a quaint jetty.

Things to Do in Stavros

The village square is home to the Byzantine Church of the Savior and a lovely park featuring a bust of Odysseus. Do yourself a favor and savor the local pastries at the square’s cafes. Not far off is Tzani’s Palace, a relic from the British rule era.

Venturing further north, you’ll stumble upon the Hill of Pilikata, housing the Archaeological Collection of Stavros with its intriguing exhibits. Even further up north lies the Palace of Odysseus, a Mycenaean-era archaeological site dating back to 1300 BC, unearthed in 2010. This place gives me chills every time!

Where to Stay in Stavros

3. Frikes, a fishing village in Ithaca

Frikes, Ithaca
Frikes, Ithaca

Frikes, a charming fishing village, is nestled on Ithaca’s northeastern tip. It’s a mere 19 kilometers from Vathy and 3 kilometers from Stavros. Today, it’s a hotbed for tourists, offering a plethora of amenities.

From Frikes’ port, daily ferries connect Ithaca to Lefkada. Here, yachts and recreational boats find safe anchorage, and from this point, boat tours set sail to explore the island’s northern shores.

Things to Do in Frikes

If you’re a windsurfing enthusiast like me, Frikes is paradise. The bay offers optimal conditions for the sport.

As for the beaches, the Kourvoulia region boasts three consecutive pebble beaches with crystal-clear waters. They’re always buzzing with visitors, especially during sunset, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere. I can’t help but lose track of time whenever I’m there!

Where to Stay in Frikes

4. Kioni

Kioni, Ithaca
Kioni, Ithaca

One of Ithaca’s most captivating seaside gems, nestled in the northeastern pocket of the island. It’s just a 7-kilometer jaunt from Stavros and 23 kilometers from the bustling Vathy. History has it that mountain dwellers from the 16th century settled here, drawn by the allure of the sea.

Kioni, a preserved settlement, is cradled in a bay and amphitheatrically built on a verdant slope overlooking the harbor. During summer, the bay becomes a playground for recreational boats.

Things to Do in Kioni

Once, the Monastery of Ai-Nikola stood tall here, but today, only a petite church remains as a testament. Head over to Argaleio and the Lontza area to catch a glimpse of Karaiskaki’s house ruins.

Perched atop Rachi (entrance of the village) is the Evangelistria church. As you make your way down to the harbor, you’ll come across the Church of Saint John with its intricately carved wooden temple.

The coastline boasts cafes and tavernas where I’ve had some of the best meals! For beach lovers, Kioni is surrounded by Katsikouli, Sarakinari, Plakoutses, and Filiatro beaches. Pure bliss!

Where to Stay in Kioni

5. Perachori, a mountain village in Ithaca

Perachori, Ithaca
Perachori, Ithaca

Perachori, set against the backdrop of Mount Neion, is a quaint mountainous village in southern Ithaca. It’s a short 2-kilometer drive from Vathy, and the village is adorned with lovely houses boasting white-washed courtyards and blooming gardens. The Agnadio viewpoint, the highest point in the village, offers a panoramic vista stretching from Lefkada to Zakynthos.

Things to Do in Perachori

The surrounding area is steeped in history and legend. You’ll find the Perachori forest, known as “Afentikos Loggos,” numerous chapels, the Monastery of the Taxiarchs, and the ruins of medieval villages Paleochora and Kounouvato (birthplace of Saint Raphael).

For the history buffs, sites from Homer’s tales, such as Arethousa Spring, Korakos Rock, Eumaeus’ Cave, and Ai-Gianni’s cape, are nearby.

Beaches? Perachori’s got them. Piso Aetos to the west and Kamini Beach to the southeast are my go-to spots.

If you’re in the mood for tranquillity, historical intrigue, and proximity to the capital, Perachori should be on your list. Trust me; it’s worth every moment!

Where to Stay in Perachori

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