The villages of Ithaca are nine in total, together with the capital, Vathi, which in fact is also a large village with less than 2,000 permanent residents. To the south is Perachori, the village with the biggest population of the island.
The other 7 villages are at the northern part of Ithaca. Some by the seaside, some on the mountain, all of them retain their traditional character and are beautifully built within the lush nature of the island. All of them have infrastructure for tourists, and each of them hides its own secrets, worth discovering!
It is also called Ithaca or Chora. It is a small, picturesque town with a population of about 1,800 permanent residents. It was inhabited during the Venetian era, while the harbor is one of the safest natural harbors in Greece and its beauty attracts thousands of visitors. All kinds of recreational yachts, small and large, luxurious or not, speedboats, sailing boats visit the port every summer. Since 1978, Vathi of Ithaca has been a traditional settlement.
The houses are built amphitheatrically around the port, while most of them are colorful, two-storey, with tiled roofs and narrow balconies, according to the Ionian tradition. Do not forget to visit the Metropolis of Ithaca with a wooden iconostasis of extraordinary value, in addition to the stroll from one end of the port to the other (Mylos – Paragka as the locals call it), Agios Nikolaos of Xenon where a rare ecclesiastical picture (Elkomenos Jesus), which is considered to be one of El Greco’s original works, the archaeological and folk museum, and the two-pillar statue of Odysseus in the port of the harbor: the king of Ithaca looks the sea on the one hand and paddle on the other.
Around the coastal road in Vathi, there are many taverns and restaurants, traditional cafes, as well as nightlife, especially for youth. The small island of Lazareto, which is located in the middle of the harbor, was a purgatory during the Venetian occupation and was later turned into a prison – today it is full of pine trees and only the 16th century chapel of Sotiras has been preserved.
The largest village in Ithaca and the only one to the south of the island. It is built amphitheatrically on the hillside, below the forest and overlooks the east. During the Venetian era, it was located more to the east and was called Paleochora. The Venetian village is now accessible from a well-traveled path that starts from the edge of the village – it is worth walking there as you will see medieval churches and ruins of very old houses.
The view from the upper part of Perachori is immense. It sees Vathi, with its bay, the Ionian Sea with the countless small islands from Lefkada to Patra, even the bridge of Rio – Antirio, when the atmosphere is clean. At the grill tavernas of the village you will eat well and you will enjoy the view.
On the west side of Nirithos, the mountain of Ithaca, the few houses of the inhabitants of Lefki are built among centuries old olive trees and tall cypress trees. In the square of the village two huge pines offer their shadow to the visitor. The fantastic view of the canal with Kefalonia and the small island of Asteria, which is in between, will take your breath away.
As for the sunset of Lefki, it is unique: the sun hides behind Erisos, the western peninsula of Kefalonia and dyes the shores with unique colors from the whole spectrum. The stone paved paths in Lefki lead you in the lush nature while you will encounter wells before you descend the slope to reach some of the remote beaches with the crystal clear waters: Ammoudaki, the sand of Kolomori, Kaminia, Vromoneri , Koutoupi, Megaloni, Fokotrypa and Myrtera are the beaches of Lefkes, with deep blue waters and white pebbles.
From Lefki towards the small settlement of Agios Giannis, located southeast of Lefki, is one of the most famous beaches of Ithaca, the beautiful Aspros Gialos.
Stavros is the central village of the northern part of the island. In the center of the village there is a park with maps of Homer’s Ithaca and a model of the Odyssey Palace. Nearby there are the taverns and restaurants of the village, while the very first proto-Hellenic acropolis in the Ionian area, located on the hill of Pelikaton, was discovered.
In the port of Stavros, the beautiful “Polis” beach, there is the cave of Loizos, where the most important archaeological finds of the Mycenaean period were found and are now exhibited in the archaeological collection at the village museum. Stavros celebrates on August 6th – on the weekend of 5th and 6th August, locals and visitors have fun in the square, at the traditional feast.
It is a fishing village of northern Ithaca, with a picturesque harbor with two well-preserved windmills – resembling observation castles. From Frikes, a new road leads to the beach of Marmara and neighboring Alykes. The beach in Frikes is ideal for walking and dining in the restaurants by the sea. Many boats rest here every day and the small harbor fills with voices and life.
There you will see the bust of the great Ithakisian poet Lorentzos Mavilis. On the way, just off the road to Kioni, we find a series of pebble beaches with clear blue waters, ideal for swimming, the Curvulia, three in a row.
The name of the village means ‘wide stream’ in ancient Greek which refers to an ancient stream that formed the port of Frikes. It is a lowland settlement, stretched out on the hill above the impressive bay of the Afalon. On the hill that rises in the center of the village is the church of Taxiarches, from the bell tower of which visitors can admire the view of the surrounding area.
On the border of Platrithias – Exogi lies the archaeological site of Agios Athanasios or Homeric School, where the archaeologists place the palace of Ulysses, the king of Ithaca and Homeric hero. From the location of Platrithia’s Bridge, the road leads to the cool spring of Kalamos, Melanhydro Pigi of Homer, one of the few sources of drinking water in Ithaca. From the same area starts the road that leads to one of the most extraordinary landscapes of Ithaca, Afales.
It is a deep bay, with lush nature, steep cliffs and deep blue sea. This coastline offers some of the most beautiful beaches of Ithaca, Aphali and the only white sandy beach in Ithaca, Platia Ammos, which is accessible only by sea.
It is, according to many, the most beautiful village of Ithaca and there are also many who come to the island just to visit it. Built amphitheatrically, it starts high up from Rachi and goes down harmoniously to the sea, reaching the closed, picturesque harbor. Small tile-roofed houses, with beautiful colors, built on the slope of cypress trees and olives that reach the sea.
Narrow streets, paved paths, stairs that start from above and lead to the sea, passing between charming houses and whitewashed courtyards full of flower pots. It is worthwhile to walk through the narrow streets of Kioni and see its beauties. You can walk to the beaches of Kioni and enjoy swimming in the turquoise waters junt in front of the houses! At the entrance of the port, which hosts dozens of boats every summer, the three traditional windmills of the village steal the show.
Exogi is located in north Ithaca, on the mountain Neios, 340 meters above sea level. Its small houses are built on the slope, in a row one above the other. Exogi is one of the oldest settlements in Ithaca – in many of its stone, old houses you will see the date of construction engraved – usually in the 18th century. The view from the village is breathtaking: the bay of the Afaloi, the wild sea, steep cliffs and a green slope. Next is Platrithias, with houses and churches among the olives and cypresses.
Further on, the Ionian Sea: small green islands, the blue sea, Lefkada and the coasts of Sterea Hellas … It is worth visiting the church Panagia of Pernarakia in order to see the view of almost the entire island of Ithaca. At some houses in Exogi you will see a strange mask like a carnival. It is the “Mora”, the mask that was placed there to protect the house from the evil spirits.
The highest village of Ithaca, built at an altitude of 550 meters, on the highest mountain of the island, Nirito. The history of Anogi begins from Byzantium, when for some time it was the capital of the island. The church of the village, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, with paintings by Byzantine artists and the imposing Venetian bell tower – a real monument to visit, is dating back the 12th century. Some of the houses in Anogi are buildings of past centuries and retain the traditional architecture: they are stone-built, tall, with narrow windows and small balconies.
It is worth visiting the traditional café in the village square and have fun at one of the best festivals in Ithaca on the eve of the feast of Our Lady on August 14th. Going up to Anogi, the view to the south of Ithaca or to the north on the other side is amazing, but the visitor, approaching the entrance of the village, is impressed by the huge stone boulders that appear next to the road – the Menir of Anogi . Just a short distance from the village is the historical monastery of Panagia Katharon, the patron saint of Ithaca.