Ithaca Sightseeing

Kioni is a traditional Ionian village located on the north east side of the island about 24 km from Vathy. In its small picturesque harbour, the entrance of which is adorned by three half ruined mills, usually fish boats and yachts find shelter. 
The settlement itself which was established around the 16th century is well preserved despite the catastrophic earthquakes that hit the Ionian Islands throughout the years. Around the settlement there are several beautiful beaches to enjoy, some restaurants and taverns and rooms to let as well.

Vathy is the capital of Ithaca and a beautiful settlement which maintained its traditional Ionian architecture and did not yield to the modern trend of the construction development. It is located in the southern part of the island into a beautiful natural bay which engulfs a small islet called “Lazareto”. The settlement has rooms to let, restaurants and taverns, stores and markets, bars and clubs. 

The Cave of the nymphs
The cave is located south from Vathy and in order to reach it, you have to follow the road leading out of the settlement to Aetos and just before reaching Dexa beach you should turn left. At the end of the road you should leave your vehicle and follow the path on foot. It is also called marble cave and has two entrances; one for the Gods and one for the mortals. It is decorated with beautiful stalactites and, according to Homer, Odysseus hid the gifts that Alkinoos, the King of Feakes, gave him into that cave. 

Palaiochora was the old capital of Ithaca which is located on the southern part of the island, at about 3 km from Perachori village to the south. From Perachori there is a path leading to the abandoned Palaiochora which was inhabited during the Middle Ages and during the Venetian years it was the most important settlement of the island. In the settlement one can observe ruins of old houses and Byzantine churches beautifully decorated with frescoes. 

The ancient citadel is placed on the top of Aetos hill. The location is of strategic importance being on the narrow isthmus joining the two parts of the island. It also offers a wonderful view to the water channel between Ithaca and Kefalonia and a view to the east and the mainland of Greece. The excavations brought to light, among other findings, coins of bronze with the face of Odysseus and a temple of God Apollo. The findings date back to the 10th Century B.C. to the 2nd Century B.C. and are exposed in the Museum of Vathy. 


Close to Stavros village, where the Archaeological Museum is located, Pilikata village is found. Pilikata was the city of Odysseus according to Homer’s descriptions. From the hill one has a magnificent view to the water channel between Ithaca and Kefalonia, the bay of Frikes and the bay of Aphales. It is also surrounded by three mountains: Mt. Niritos, Mt. Marmakas, Mt. Exogis (Niio).

The Monastery of Katharoi
The monastery is built on the south east of mount Nirito at an altitude of about 600 metres from sea level and a marvellous view towards the bay of Vathy. Its story begins in 1696 but the icon of Panagia (Virgin Mary) in it, is even older.
The word “kathara” is derived from the local dialect and means the little branches and bushes which are cut and burnt to clean a place. According to the local legend the holy icon of Panagia was found in the burning “kithara” and, thus, it was named Panagia “Katahriotissa”. 
There is another version that supports that the monastery was built by the believers of the Catholic heresy Katharoi. According to others on the place where the monastery stands was an ancient temple of Goddess Athena which was also called “Kathara” among other names. 

The Cave of Loizos
The cave of Loizos is located at the north part of the bay of Polis (which means town). The bay is just next to the village “Stavros” on the north part of the island. Loizos, according to the locals, was a person who found a treasure of ancient golden coins into that cave and got very rich by selling those to illicit dealers. 
According to the findings, the cave was a worship centre of the Early Hellenic civilization and the bay, where a sunken ancient city is found, served as harbour from the early Mycenaean till the Roman Era (1st century A.D.). Among the findings were statues of Gods, vessels, an ancient temple, amphorae, oblations to the Nymphs and to Odysseus which are today housed in the museum of Stavros. 

Church of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary 
The Byzantine church of Dormition is located in the village of Anogi which was an important medieval settlement set at an altitude of 500 metres. The church was constructed on the 12th century, is decorated with beautiful frescoes and its bell tower is of Venetian style.  It is also considered to be one of the oldest and most important churches in the Balkans. 

A quite strange and interesting fact is the existence of huge rocks scattered around the village, called “menir”. The biggest rock is named Aracles or Iracles (Hercules), it is 8 metres high and set over a stone pedestal. Its symmetrical form gives the impression that it is not a natural carved stone but it could only be constructed by the human hand. 

Naval-Folklore Museum of Ithaca
The museum is housed in the old electric power station building which was constructed in 1923 in Vathy. The museum’s naval collection includes old pictures from the beginning of the 20th century and items of Ithaca’s naval tradition such as paintings of old Ithacan ships, naval instruments and uniforms, books and various documents. The folklore collections includes items from Ithaca’s everyday life and tradition such as bronze and ceramic housewares, old tools of several professions, furniture, costumes and jewels, weaving tools, musical instruments etc.

Archaeological Collection of Stavros
In this edifice located in Stavros village, a collection with findings from the excavations at the northern part of Ithaca is housed which dates back to the Early Hellenic until the Roman period. The majority of the exhibits are from the Cave of Loizos, which was a place of worship, and Pilikata village, where remnants of a pre-historical settlement have been found.

Archaeological Museum of Ithaca
The museum is located in Vathy and hosts findings which date back the Geometrical until the Roman Era, deriving mainly from the excavations held in Aetos area. The collection includes vessels that have been made in local workshops, figurines and miniatures of objects dedicated to the temple of Apollo found in the same area.

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