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Every bit as rugged, romantic and epic as its role in Homeric legend would suggest, Ithaki is something special. The hilly, sea-girt homeland to which Odysseus struggled to return for 10 heroic years continues to charm and seduce travellers with its ancient ruins, breathtaking harbour villages and wilderness walks. Squeezed between Kefallonia and the mainland, it’s the kind of island where time seems to slow down and cares slip away.

Cut almost in two by the huge gulf that shields Vathy, its main town, Ithaki effectively consists of two separate islands linked by a narrow isthmus. Vathy is the only significant settlement, but the mighty northern massif holds delightful villages such as Stavros and Anogi.

Ithaki doesn't go in for beaches the way the other Ionian islands do. It's true that there are lots of little cove beaches, but most of these are impossible to reach without a boat.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Ithaki.