Walking program 2019

1: Exogi - Pernarakia - Roussano - Exogi

One of Ithaki's most beautiful tracks. The quiet mountain village of Exogi lies at an altitude of 340 m. From here we climb to Pernarakia, the site of a former monastery. Exogi soon lies below us and a wonderful panorama starts to unfold.

Kefalonia, the Ionian Sea, and the northern part of Ithaca lie at your feet. After a pause on the highest point in the shade of pinetrees, we descend a steep, rocky goat track through low bushes that takes us down to a forest and a plateau: Roussano, a delightful place. We continue along terraces and woods, and return to Exogi.

Walking hours: 4
Total distance: 6 km
Difficulty: moderate
Starting point: Exogi village square

2: Marathias - Panagia Spiliotissa - Marathias

We meet on the square in Vathi. From there we get transport (car or taxi) to the Marathias plateau, about 5 kilometers South of Vathi. At a heigth of 250 meters a gentle climbing track starts. At one point we can see Vathi, then we move on across a valley over goat tracks and through uninhabited areas. It seems unchanged since the days of Odysseus. In fact this plateau is where Evmaios, Odysseus' swine herd, is supposed to have kept his animals.

Further on we see the south coast and Andri Bay, opposite Kefalonia. The steep goat track leads us downhill and suddenly we stand before a tiny, 300 year old, cave chapel.

Walking hours: 4
Total distance: 5 km
Difficulty: moderate, rocky, some steep parts, scree.
Starting point: Vathi town square

3: Kathara - Anogi - Kathara

First we visit Kathara monastery, the last monastery on Ithaca. It's situated at an altitude of 560 meters, and from the church steeple the view towards Vathi is spectacular. The track starts near the monastery and is very rocky with low growth.

It climbs to 650 meters and then starts to descend to the mountain village of Anogi. In the local kafenio we can have a light lunch (15 euros p/p). Next to the kafenio is a 15th century church with impressive frescoes. We return to Kathara by road.

Walking hours: 4
Total distance: 6 km
Difficulty: medium, some steep parts
Starting point: Kathara monastery

4: Vathi - Paleochora - Perachori - Vathi

Along a high track on the vegetated slope of Merovigla this walk offers panoramic views of the whole of Vathi and its surroundings, plus other islands and the mainland.

From the bayside we start climbing up the stepped streets until we leave Vathi below us. We're at the foot of Merovigla mountain and continue uphill through thickly wooded areas. We reach an old threshing-floor on a heigth of about 200 m. Then we turn South past the ruins of Paleochora, the old Medieval capital of the island.

Past Agios Yiannis (with Byzantine frescoes) and a Panagia chapel we enter the industrious village of Perachori, where we have a rest. From there it is only 2 km back to Vathi.

Walking hours: 4
Total distance: 6 km
Difficulty: medium, some steep parts.
Starting point: Vathi town square

5: Vathi tour ♖

A walk around the bay of Vathi, with stops at points of interest.

We visit the church of St. Nicolas, which houses a painting attributed to El Greco. We also stop at the dual bronze statue of Odysseus, the mythical king of Ithaca. Nearby is a bust of the legendary poet Homer, who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey in the 8th century BC.

Leaving the waterfront we visit the Metropoli cathedral with its exquisite icon screen.

Through the backstreets we walk along a shady tree-lined lane to the Venetian cannons on Loutsa hill. On the way back we pass the 2 museums of Vathi. In front of the Nautical museum stands a statue of Poseidon, the god of the sea.

Walking hours: 2
Total distance: 4 km
Difficulty: easy
Starting point: Vathi town square

6: Homer's Walk ♖
Stavros - Archeological Museum - Homer's School - Stavros

The poet Homer lived 28 centuries ago. He described Ithaca, and the wanderings of its king Odysseus, in his epic poems. The story of Odysseus' return to Ithaca, after the Trojan war, still inspires the imagination. The Iliad and the Odyssey are the oldest and most important works of literature in Greek and Western history.

During this walk we visit the scale model of Odysseus' palace in Stavros and we also explore the ancient site where excavations have taken place in search of proof that this island really is Homer's (and Odysseus') Ithaca. This walk is a must for lovers of Homer and for people who want to know the story behind Odysseus and Ithaca.

Walking hours: 3
Total distance: 5 km
Difficulty: easy, partially rocky
Free for children under the age of 12.
Starting point: Stavros village square

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