21 Best Things to Do in Ithaca (Greece)

village of kioni

Ithaca is one of the Ionian Islands and is located off the western coast of Greece.

Even if relatively small, it is a very popular tourist destination.

It is often called the “Little Crete” because of its exceptional cultural and natural heritage.

The island of Odysseus is well-known for its calm waters and mirrored sea surface.

Actually, Ithaca is locked between Kefalonia and the shores of mainland Greece, which is why the water is always smooth, including during the winter months.

1. Spend a day in the village of Frikes

village of frikes
Village of Frikes by Spiros Vathis/Flickr

Small, quiet and peaceful, the village of Frikes is one of the places every traveler should visit while in Ithaca.

Combining tasty local food and clean environment, the village is a little paradise.

On the hill slopes over the village you will find the old windmills, which are nowadays one of the biggest local landmarks.

2. Swimming at Pisaetos Beach

pisaetos beach
Pisaetos beach by Spiros Vathis/Flickr

Pisaetos is considered to be the most beautiful beach on the west coast of Ithaca.

Because of its more isolated location, you can always find some place just for yourself here.

This beautiful quiet beach is covered with small white pebbles, and the water is always calm and clear.

The color of the sea varies in a wide range of shades, including sapphire, azure and emerald green.

3. Visit the castle of Odysseus

odysseus castle
Odysseus Castle by TripAdvisor

One of the island’s most iconic sites to visit is the excavations of the supposed Odysseus castle.

According to scientists, the place dates back to the 8th century BC.

Thanks to the 3D model available there, you can get a better idea of ​​what this place looked like millennia ago.

In fact, the castle is one of the main proofs that the popular hero of the Greek mythology was a real person.

4. Snorkeling at Paralia Afales

paralia afales
Paralia Afales by TripAdvisor

If you love to snorkel, Paralia Afales or Afales Beach is a must-visit place for you.

It offers the most irresistible crystal clear and azure water you can imagine.

One of the advantages of this place is the fact that the sea surface here is almost always completely smooth.

The beach and most of the bottom are covered with small white pebbles.

This is the main reason why the water is incredibly clear and the underwater visibility reaches up to about 40 meters!

5. Spend a day in the village of Kioni

village of kioni
Village of Kioni by Spiros Vathis/Flickr

Kioni is a small and charming settlement which is very popular with tourists.

It is one of the main attractions of the island and is well-known for its old bright-colored buildings with red tiled roofs.

Narrow winding streets lead to the shore itself.

Dotted with a number of traditional local taverns, the coast is the best place to enjoy a glass of refreshing cold drink and recharge your batteries with a delicious traditional meal by the sea.

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6. Visit the reconstructed village of Vathy

view to village of vathy
View to village of Vathy by claire rowland/Flickr

At first glance, Vathy looks like a pretty old town.

Behind the historical appearance of the settlement, however, most of the buildings are relatively new.

In fact, the biggest part of them were built in the 20th century.

After being almost completely destroyed by a devastating earthquake, Vathy was renovated in 1953.

Despite the natural disaster, today the village is an important tourist center and one of the most enjoyable places to spend your summer vacation on the island.

7. Visit the Cave of the Nymphs

the cave of the nymphs
The Cave of the Nymphs by Pinterest

The Cave of the Nymphs is considered to be Ithaca’s greatest natural sight.

It is isolated in a quiet and remote area in the interior of the island.

The walk to the cave itself is an exceptional experience because the road passes through a uniquely beautiful area.

Reaching the cave, you will be fascinated with its beauty and shape.

The main camera of the natural masterpiece impresses with a height of 3 meters and depth of 7 meters.

8. Swimming at Paralia Frikes

frikes beach
Frikes beach by TripAdvisor

The small and sheltered bay of Paralia Frikes is considered one of the best spots on the island to swim.

If you like the relaxing activity, you should definitely visit it as it offers both a mirror-calm water surface and privacy.

The place is located south of the village of the same name.

The water is crystal clear and emerald green, and offers an exceptional transparency and underwater visibility of 30 – 40 meters.

9. Enjoy the magic of Kathara Monastery

kathara monastery
Kathara Monastery by Cosal/CC-BY-SA-4.0

Kathara Monastery is located in the northwest of Ithaca.

It is situated on the top of a not very high mountain.

Due to its unique location, the monastery offers an exceptional view, especially from the bell tower.

The building itself is an old stone structure dating from the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

The monastery is famous for the icon of the Virgin Mary, which was probably painted by Luke the Evangelist.

10. Scuba diving in the waters around the island

scuba diving
Scuba diving by Outdoor Ithaca

Ithaca Island is an exceptionally good dive site that guarantees unique underwater experiences.

You will find full of life and colors reefs here.

In addition, it is very likely to meet sea turtles, different species of crustaceans, colorful fish, dolphins and many others.

The sea around the island is the place to find a number of sunken vessels and remains of World War II, including warplanes and ships.

This is complemented by the underwater visibility reaching 40 meters in clear and sunny weather.

If you don’t have the equipment, or if you just don’t know where to go, or need an instructor, Odyssey Diving Club can be of great help to you.

11. Kayaking around the east or south coast

kayaking ithaca
Kayaking in Ithaca by claire rowland/Flickr

If you enjoy kayaking, the waters around the island of Ithaca are one of the very best places in the world to practice your favourite sport.

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Because of its geographic features, the surrounding sea is always quiet and smooth.

This is why Ithaca is a great choice both for advanced kayakers and for beginners.

In addition, the conditions are excellent throughout the year.

Along the shores of east and south Ithaca you will find numerous quiet and peaceful coves to stop and relax.

12. Boat trip to Lefkada or Kefalonia

boat trip to lefkada
Boat trip to Lefkada by griechenland-mythos/Flickr

If you choose Ithaca as a place to spend your next summer vacation, you should take advantage of the opportunity to join a day boat trip to the neighboring islands.

Kefalonia and Lefkada are not just beautiful and full of history but they are also located very close to the island of Odysseus.

There are available different opportunities, including to join a pirate ship party, glass-bottom boat trips, catamaran adventures and many others.

You will be able to enjoy a number of relaxing activities, including swimming, diving and snorkeling at some idyllic crystal clear cove.

13. Wine tasting

wine tasting
Wine tasting by Sean Freese/Flickr

Ithaca is well known for its high quality wines.

In order to engage the travelers more and to offer better experiences, local tour agents combine wine tasting tours with various other activities, such as visiting cultural or natural sites.

This is a great way to enjoy a glass of excellent wine while visiting the most fantastic places on the island.

14. Relax with fishing

relax with fishing
Relax with fishing by Paolo Gamba/Flickr

Fishing is considered to be one of the most relaxing activities and could be described by many as a form of meditation.

As part of the Ionian Islands, Ithaca is a really good choice if you love the stress-beating sport.

The surrounding sea is very rich in both widespread species such as mackerel and tuna and other rare species of fish.

You can join a specialized fishing boat trip, but you can also enjoy the pleasure of fishing alone on the shore.

15. Take a culinary tour of Vathy

culinary tour of vathy
Culinary tour of Vathy by Angelbattle bros/Flickr

Ithaca is known as a place to try top quality food products and delicious traditional meals.

Moreover, local food is among the healthiest in the world! For this reason, it is deeply recommended to take a culinary tour of the island.

Vathy, a picturesque coastal village in the southern half of the island, is the best place to start your culinary tour from.

Here you will find the largest variety of Greek tavernas offering traditional local foods.

Don’t miss to try crabs, shrimp, squid, octopus and mussels, fish and many others.

16. Spend time in an oak forest

perachori oak forest
Perachori – oak forest by Pinterest

Perachori is an old oak forest located in the southern half of Ithaca, and covers vast territories in the interior of the island.

Shady and fresh, visiting the forest is a nice way to escape the unbearable summer heat of July and August, when the average temperatures during the day are constantly above 30 degrees.

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In most parts, the terrain is steep and requires additional caution while walking.

However, the experience is really worth it!

17. Visit the Pyramids of Exogi

pyramids of exogi
Pyramids of Exogi by Pinterest

The Pyramids of Exogi are one of the most extraordinary and unique places to see on the island of Odyssey.

They are located in the north of Ithaca, not far from the village of the same name.

One of the advantages to take a walk to these ancient navigational structures is the opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view.

18. Take a walk to the Acropolis of Alalkomenes

acropolis of alalkomenes
Acropolis of Alalkomenes by TripAdvisor

If you like walking and climbing, the Acropolis of Alalkomenes is strongly recommended to you.

This is an ancient city which is situated on the top of a steep forested hill, in the narrow central part of Ithaca.

Although getting to the top requires some effort, it is an amazing experience, not to mention the stunning view from the top.

19. Enjoy the idyllic Gedaki Beach

gedaki beach
Gedaki beach by TripAdvisor

Gedaki is a scenic and secluded beach.

This is a great place to enjoy some sunbathing and swimming without being disturbed.

The beach is covered with small and oval white pebbles, and the smooth sea surface is perfect for swimming.

Such irresistible emerald waters could attract a lot of visitors.

However, this place is a bit difficult to reach by land, and for this reason, it is really idyllic and quiet.

The best way to get here is by boat.

The beach is one of the most ecologically clean on the island, and is surrounded by green forested hills.

20. Spend at least a day in the village of Kioni

kioni village
Kioni village by Spiros Vathis/Flickr

Most travelers describe the village of Kioni as the most charming coastal town on the island.

It is situated in a beautiful bay, and is surrounded by lush green vegetation.

Old cobbled stairways lead to the crystal blue waters of the bay.

The sea surface is so calm and smooth that it reflects the sky like a mirror.

The sapphire blue water is a great way to cool down and refresh yourself in the unbearable summer heat.

In addition, here you can easily find a pleasant and affordable traditional restaurant to spend a romantic evening with your partner.

21. Snorkeling at Filiatro Beach

filiatro beach
Filiatro beach by YouTube

Filiatro Beach is located on the southeast coast of Ithaca.

It is well known for its azure waters and rich marine life.

Since the water is very clear, this is one of the top spots to go snorkeling in the area.

As the underwater visibility reaches up to 40 meters, you will be able to enjoy both the great variety of species of sea creatures and a number of submerged artifacts from different historical periods.