Rugged ITHÁKI, Odysseus’s legendary homeland, has yielded no substantial archeological discoveries but it fits Homer’s description to perfection: “There are no tracks, nor grasslands … it is a rocky severe island, unsuited for horses, but not so wretched, despite its small size. It is good for goats.”
Despite its proximity to Kefaloniá, relatively little tourist development has arrived to spoil the place. This is doubtless accounted for in part by a dearth of beaches beyond a few pebbly coves, though the island is good walking country, and indeed the interior with its sites from The Odyssey is the real attraction. In the scheme of modern Greek affairs, the island is a real backwater and its inhabitants rather resentful that it is officially a subsection of Kefaloniá prefecture.
Polis Bay, Ormos Polis, Ithaca
Ormos Polis is a bay on the west coast of the Greek Ionian island of Ithaca. At the north end of Polis bay was once the Cave of Louizos where bronze age masks and tripods were found, including the one dedicated to Odysseus. Whilst on your yacht charter holiday you can take a line ashore and take a trip to Stavros Town where there are tavernas and cafes in the hills.
The beach of Polis bay on Ithaca island is a beautiful pebble beach, with clear, turquoise waters shimmering under the Ionian sun.
Frikes and Kioni
North of Vathi are Frikes and Kioni, two tiny villages, now living largely off yacht visitors. Both are affected by occasional wash from passing high speed ferries - which makes the pontoon in Frikes dangerous for mooring.
The coast north of these villages has some empty beaches, suitable for day anchorages.
Frikes is the most northerly of Odysseus’s legendary Ionian island of Ithaca (or Ithaki) and the relaxed lifestyle of the village revolves around the little harbour which is very popular, and for good reason. The small harbour is very picturesque and despite the amount of visitors it can often attract, it still manages to retain its typical Greek charm.
We visited Kioni in July 2016, very beautiful but you need to arrive at 13:00 to have a chance of a good stern to berth. Nice atmosphere but the quality of food in the tavernas was fairly average, we hoped for better. Nice roof-top bar at the south end of the tavernas' strip.
The water guy will supply water on both sides of the harbour but seemed quite expensive, €30 for about 600 litres.
A US University has been advising the village on becoming more sustainable, their report available in some tavernas makes interesting reading.
The dramatic horseshoe bay and village of Kioni is one of the most beautiful places to visit whilst on a yacht charter holiday in the Greek Ionian. The entrance to Kioni bay is overlooked by three old windmills, and from here one sees the old village houses dotted on the hillsides behind the little port. The water is clear and there are four beaches within the bay itself, all with views across to the pastel coloured houses and surrounding olive groves. The picturesque village with traditional architecture is a great little place famous for its jewellery shops, with some great tavernas and restaurants.
North-east beaches, Ithaca
Beach at 38.43281, 20.70562
We were told in 2016 that the anchoring is not good in Vathi as the bottom is so eroded by anchors, so we didn't visit.
Vathi on the Greek island of Ithaca (or Ithaki) is one of the larger Ionian island towns and more cosmopolitan than some, a picture of classical Greece with tavernas and cafes spilling out onto the town square lining the harbour's edge. A beautiful white washed little church at the entrance to the harbour welcomes you this fantastic Ionian town.
Vathi (or Vathy) is one of the South Ionian’s major ports where you can obtain all the yacht charter supplies you may need with shops, a few banks and a whole host of tavernas and cafés, Niko's taverna behind the main square and Poseidon cafe are a couple of favourites. A great place to sit and drink coffee in a genuine Greek community with some nice jewellery and craft shops and gorgeous bakeries. Vathi is also one of the best places to leave your sailing yacht and hire a car or bike to explore the magical island of Ithaka from ashore.
Ithaca town itself (Vathi) lives a couple of decades in the past, but has a fine traditional restaurant (Nicos) partly blocking the main crossroads in the centre of town (no, there's not a lot of traffic) and several quite lively bars. A convenient port of entry.
Ithaka Beaches East
Beach at 38.36481, 20.73712 inc. Filiatro Beach
Ithaka Beaches South
An isolated sheltered bay with enough width and good anchoring. We anchored in 5 metres at the North East corner, beautiful swimming. Located at 38.30694, 20.72356