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ITHAKI

The smallest island (after Paxi) of the lonian Islands (96 sq. km) is composed of two mountains joined by an isthmus. The steep west coast contrasts with the eastern shoreline which is less stark and more welcoming.

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Ithaca is famous as the island of Odysseus and corresponds closely to the descriptions in Homer's Odyssey.

A few kilometres away from Vathi you can visit the Nymphs' Cave. At the southern part of the island, at a distance of 5 km from Vathi, you may reach Perahori, a mainland community.

Schliemann began his archaeological career on Ithaca in 1860 by digging on what he judged to be the sites described in the Odyssey. Excavations carried out in 1930 by the British School at Athens have confirmed the Homeric story and identified the places where Odysseus, his father Laertes, his wife Penelope and their son Telemachos lived. The interest, though, of the archeologists is focused in the period when the king of the island was Odysseus at around the 12th century B.C. It was then when the Greek were off to conquer Troia.

When Byron visited the island in August 1823 (commemorative plaque in Vathi), he found it so beautiful that he considered buying it and living there permanently. Ithaki was inhabited by the end of the 3rd millennium B.C.

Perahori is the only village on the south of the island of Ithaki. It is built on a mountainous slope, 350m above sea level. The view to Lefkada and the mainland is superb. A dense and wild forest called "Afentikos Logos" spreads above the village. Wandering along the forest paths, and listening to the birds warble is a relieving experience for the visitor who is tired of the noisy city life. The inhabitants have formed and operate an Agrotouristic Association.

To the northern part of the island there are two roads. The first one goes through Anogi, a mountainous village on Mount Nirito whereas the second, a parallel to the coast, goes through Lefki, a picturesque village 13 km from Vathi. Anogi is the most mountainous settlement of the island at 570 m above sea level, on the slopes of Niriton Mountain. The most beautiful building of the village is undoubtedly its church, dedicated to the Assumption of Virgin Mary. Around Anogi, there are scattered, huge rocks called Menir, which are very imposing and impressive. In Anogi, you should ask the locals about a pastry they make with rice and honey and it is called "rovani".

Both roads end to Stavros and from there you can continue to Exogi, Platrithias, Frikes and Kioni. Stavros is a large village on the north of the island. In the village's square you will see the only bust of Ulysses which exists on the island. The Archaeological Museum as well as Aghia Varvara and Zoodohos Pighi churches are worth visiting. There you will have the chance to admire magnificent wooden carved icon-screens.

All over the island there are many beaches where you can enjoy swimming and relax gazing at the peaceful landscape.



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