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Vathi

Vathy

Hotel Mentor is situated in Vathi. Vathi has been the capital of Ithaca since 1500 AD and has been identified as the homeric harbor Forkynos. It is built amphitheatrically, with a narrow entrance of 300 meters in width and 930m in length. According to the census of 2001, the inhabitants amount to 1826.

Due to the preservation of traditional Ionian architecture, the entire village is considered a sight. It has also been characterized as traditional by law, since 1978. At the entrance of the port, at the location of Loutsa, a small redoubt with two canons dominates the view. It was built in 1807, during the second French occupation of the Ionian Islands. Vathi is the heart of the island’s everyday life. Here one can find the banks, the high school, most of the professional and social activities, the archaeological and folklore museum and the educational center of Ithaca, which has a remarkable library with 10,000 volumes of various books, 195 of them old and rare. Vathi is connected with other villages by bus. During the summer, the port is a constant passing point for small and large private yachts, for, apart from its natural and architectural beauty, it also offers shelter from the summer winds.

Lazaretto
The little island of 'Lazaretto' with the church is in the port of Vathi. This island originally operated as a prison and a quarantine establishment. When it stopped its operation it gradually got abandoned. It was completely demolished in the 1953 earthquake. It was reformed as it is today, during the service of Mayor Nicholas Kolyvas. Besides being a characteristic sight, it has become one of the favorite choices of couples, not only from Greece but also from abroad, who look for a special place to get married. In the summertime, weddings and christenings take place there almost every weekend, taking advantage of the scenery and the unique atmosphere of the island.

 

 

Perachori
The settlement with the magnificent view is located about 3km north of Vathi.  Here, the traditional and excellent in quality products of Perachori are produced, such as wine, honey, grapes, olive oil, spoon sweets, jams and liqueurs. An Agricultural-Tourist Cooperative operates in the village, with strong presence in the island. Beyond the modern era settlement one can see medieval ruins and about 10 churches, in some of which there are wonderful Byzantine murals, depicting the life of that era. Still under repair is the church of the Assumption and those of St. Ioannis and St. Nicholas. The churches of the Dormition and Presentation of the Virgin Mary have been characterized as historically preserved buildings.

At a distance of about 3km southwest of Perachori, at an altitude of 500 meters, the ruined monastery of the Archangels is located, at the area of Vouni, built in 1645. The path to this tough and rugged place is a unique experience. At the plateau of Marathias, is the Arethusa Krini path, mentioned by Homer, and the ancient ruins, believed to belong to the piggeries of Eumaeus, Odysseus’ shepherd.

 

 

Kioni
Kioni

It is located 23 km from Vathi and is one of the most beautiful traditional villages in the Ionian Sea. Amphitheatrically built in the 16th century by the inhabitants of the surrounding mountain areas who needed access to the sea, Kioni is surrounded by greenery and maintains the architectural authenticity of past centuries and magnificent beauty.

There is a road starting from the location 'Rachi' leading to the beach of Mavronas and small paths leading to the beach of Plakoutses. The monastery of St. Nicholas was also in the area of Mavrona. It was destroyed by earthquakes (today only the church of the monastery exists, inside of which, in the shrine, lays the ancient capital). In the same area, in the 17th century, a fierce battle between the pirates and the inhabitants took place, which resulted in victory for the latter. During the British dominance there were prisons near the area of Mavrona. At the top of Rachi is the church of Panagia Evagelistria, with a remarkable temple. In the area of Lotza it is said that ruins of the home of the hero Karaiskakis were found, before the revolution of 1821. In the location "Psigadi”, at the entrance of the bay, there are three half-deserted mills which operated until World War I.

 

 

Frikes
Frikes

The picturesque village of Frikes is located 18 km from Vathi, with access both from Platrithias and Stavros. According to researchers, there was the Homeric bay of Rithros. The village was built in the 16th century and was created by the inhabitants of the surrounding mountain areas, who needed access to the sea for trade and fishery purposes. Frikes is also associated with the modern history of the island at the end of World War II. On September 13th 1944, local rebels seized the German warship 'Antoinette', which was moored in the small bay and captured the crew. The village is connected with Cephalonia and Lefkas, and during the summer season hosts many sailing yachts and smaller boats. The coastline of the area is full of small and beautiful beaches, the most attractive ones being between Frikes and Kioni, with easy access by car. Many other beaches are accessible only by boat one can rent from the bay.

 

 

Anogi
On the mountain of Nirito, at an altitude of 550 m and at a distance of 15 km from Vathi, the highest village of the island is located. Until 1912, Anogi was the capital of the municipality of Nirito. Here the landscape is rugged and rocky, and in the winter the village is often covered by clouds and fog, creating a unique setting. Just outside the village huge megaliths are scattered, which impresses visitors with their imposing presence. The intense elements of the Venetian period in the architecture of the buildings certify that Anogi was once a prosperous village, despite the fact that today it only has a few inhabitants. Here is the Byzantine church of Panagia, characterised as a protected monument, with wonderful paintings inside, built in the 12th century. The steeple of the church was created in 1682. Residues of the old settlement, with dense vegetation and architecturally defense arrangement, still exist near the modern settlement.

 

 

Exogi
Vathy

It is one of the three mountainous villages and oldest settlements of Ithaca, located 21 km from Vathi, at an altitude of 350 m, on the mountain of Niion. In the Middle Ages and the early Venetian times it was one of the main settlements of the island, for it provided good visibility to the north of the island and safety from invasions from pirates. In the early 19th century its inhabitants moved to the settlements of Vathi and Platrithia, as a result of a dramatic population decline. Until 1912, it belonged to the municipality of Polyktorios.
The village is picturesque, with beautiful old and new buildings and a magnificent view to the east, where one can see Platrithias, Frikes, the coast of mainland Greece and the islands of Lefkada, Meganisi, Kalamos, Arkoudi and Atokos. Southeast of Exogi is the Melanythros fountain, an area and location mentioned in the Homeric writings, which took its name from the black color its waters. A few meters north of Melanythros is the archaeological site of Agios Athanassios, which many researchers identify as the palace of Odysseus. Furthermore, excavations have been conducted by the University of Ioannina, with interesting results.


Approximately two km southwest from the settlement, on the mountain, stands the old monastery of the Virgin at Pernarakia, which operated until World War I. Festivities take place here on the third day after Easter day. The view from the site is unique. At the yard of the monastery is the tomb of the national martyr Iakovos Mavrokefalos, also known as Papa-Yiannis, who was executed by the German troops in Vonitsa on July 13, 1944. He was the last renovator of the Monastery. His keen and unfulfilled desire was to retire and die in Pernarakia.

 

 

Stavros
It is the largest village of the north part of Ithaca. It is located 17 km from Vathi, with remarkable commercial life, disproportional to its small size. It was created in the 16th century, during the relocation of people from the mountainous villages of Anogi and Exogi. Being the traffic node from and to Vathi, with direct access to the ports of Frikes and Polis, it has become a major commercial center. In the northern part of the village, the hill of Pilikata, where -according to some researchers- the kingdom of Odysseus was, excavations revealed traces of settlements from the Neolithic and the Corinthian period. A museum with remarkable archaeological finds is in this region. The port of Stavros is the bay of Polis, 1.5 km away from the square of the village, with its picturesque harbor with fishing boats and the ancient settlement in its waters.

 

 

Lefki, Cavos
Built on the main road of the island, at an altitude of 160m and about 13 km away from Vathi, on the west side of Nirito, this is the first village you meet on the way north. The location of the settlement shows that it was a strategic point for those who wanted to control traffic on the sea channel between Ithaca and Cephalonia. It is a small and rather quiet village, without commercial life and its habitants are being served by the neighboring village of Stavros. Being the ideal spot to enjoy the sunset Lefki, also known as the "balcony of Ithaca", offers a unique view to the sea and Cephalonia. The road from there leads to the area of Cavos. The whole area of Cavos impresses visitors with its wild natural landscape and unique view. In Cavos, there is a path leading to the little church of St. George, where festivities take place every year.

 

 

Platrithias

It is located 2 km north of Stavros, at the most fertile part of the island. Platrithias is composed of the settlements Kollieri, Agii Saranda, Platrithias, Lachos and Frikes. Here the optimum conditions for the cultivation of the land contributed to a broad development of the settlements, with rich vegetation, crops and with the privilege of having the largest source of water from the area of Kalamos. In Platrithia, there are preserved traditional buildings with neoclassical and Venetian elements, while in the area of Melanythros excavations are taking place with interesting findings up to date.

 

 

Hamlets

 
Aetos

A small settlement with few houses along the coast at the narrowest point of the island, linking the South and the North part of Ithaca, 4 km away from Vathi. Its mountain is 380 meters high and hosts the 'Cyclopean walls'.  It took its name from the shape formed by the mountain and the two beaches Aetos and Piso Aetos, which looks like an eagle with half-open wings.

Piso Aetos
A settlement with few houses, fishing boats and a big beach in front of an olive grove. This area expands southwest from Aetos, and its bay is used for the ferryboat line connection between Cephalonia, Lefkada and Astakos.

Agios Ioannis
The road begins at the center of the village Lefki, on the way to Stavros and ends at the small settlement of Agios Ioannis, where one can see few houses, built on the magnificent beach of Aspros Gialos. There are also paths, ideal for hikers, which lead to small, remote and quiet beaches. In this settlement, next to the church of Ai Giannis, there is an olive tree with root perimeter of about 18 meters.


Marmakas
The settlement Marmakas (Lakos and Roboti) is part of the community of Platrithias, with 22 inhabitants, according to the census of 1951. Characterized by its unique beauty, it attracts tourists from all over the world. In the bay of Roboti there is a small island with the church of St. Nicholas, celebrating on May 10th. The chapel was destroyed by the earthquake in 1953 and was rebuilt by the cultural organization 'Tilemachos' in 1992, which also revived the celebrating custom. Ever since, every year on 10th August, a mass takes place in St. Nicholas, in honor of mariners and emigrants. The organization has also managed to rehabilitate the yard of the chapel by building stone stairs for the pilgrims and planting pines and eucalypts.

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