Explore the island of Ithaki-ithaka. Located on the Ionian side of the Greek mainland, Ithaki-ithaka has around 3,000 permanent residents, and was the home of Odysseus from Homer's 'The Odyssey.' Ithaca's two major cities, Vathy and Skavros, are both home to museums and cultural sites. The Kathara Monastery is of particular interest, as is the former sight of Homer's School.
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Vathy has been the main port on Ithaca since the 16th century, as it has one of the world's largest natural harbours. The town has 2,000 inhabitants. Vathy is considered a traditional settlement, and local building laws prevent any buildings that do not conform to the traditional standards of older structures. This has resulted in Vathy's ability to expand.
Visit the ruins of Homer's School on the island. This archaeological site raises the question of if Homer's Ithaca (the setting of the Odyssey) and modern-day Ithaca are in fact one in the same. The school is located near a cliff that overlooks the sea, and is a beautiful hike in both directions.
Located about five miles outside of the capital of Vathy, the Kathara Monastery is a monastery and also serves as a church. The altar inside is made of gold metalwork and painted facades. The building dates to to the 1700s, and has a fantastic view of Vathy bay. Hiking is recommended, as driving terrain is somewhat questionable.
The island of Lazaretto is a small island in the bay of Vathy. This island was used as a quarantine for travellers, and from 1836 to 1912 was a prison. A small church now stands on the island. Get to Lazaretto by boat or sea taxi.
Filiatro beach is situated very close to Vathy, Ithaca's capital. Warm waters are fantastic for children, and there are tree-filled shaded areas. Camping sites are available further off the waterfront. There are a few tourist facilities, such as small food and drink stands.
Pernarakia abandoned monastery:
The abandoned monastery at Pernarakia boasts a fantastic view of the Ionian islands. From this vantage point you can identify Kastos, Atokos, and many more. The monastery itself is deserted, and is located near the village of Exogi. Again, hiking is generally considered the best option.
Expect a stunning and hot summer and milder, wet winter in Ithaki-ithaka. Summers reach up to the mid-30s, while winters dip down to the 10-15°C range. Precipitation is generally only seen in January and February. In the summer months, the Etesian winds cause trouble for sailors, but can be advantageous for various watersports.
Cephalonia International Airport (EFL) is the closest airport to the island of Ithaca. From Cephalonia, the best option may be to rent a car or hire a taxi. Both car-carrying ferries and catamarans run between both the mainland and all public islands daily, and run more frequently during the high tourist season.