Could we imagine to come to a more beautiful place than before? No, but yes! When sailing from Filliatro Beach to Vathi the scenery is so beautiful. The rugged coastline keeps you looking at it.
The approach to Vathy by sea is truly an experience. The narrow neck of the harbour conceals the view of the gulf that suddenly reveals its true beauty. The entrance to this beautiful natural harbour is guarded by the remains of a small fort with two cannons. This stands just above the beach of Loutsa and was built in 1807, during the French occupation of the Ionian Islands.
Next, you see a beautiful small white chapel. It is called the chapel of Saint Andrews. The picturesque chapel that welcomes the visitors at the entrance of the of Ithaca, is dedicated to Saint Andrew’s and stands right next to the sea. It is a small, simple and warm chapel with a blue door and some tiny windows, that is always whitewashed and clean, constituting the trademark of the port. You can reach this chapel by boat. There is a small pier right in front of the chapel. Every year on the day of celebration, which is on November 30, Christians come here by boat from the port and the chapel is filled with people.
When entering the bay the tiny isle of Lazaretto adorns the entrance to the harbour and is a point of reference for every Ithacan and visitor. It is covered with pine trees, and hidden in the middle is the small chapel of the Transfiguration of the Savior. It is located near the western part of the and you can swim all the way from the coast. During the Venetian rule, Lazareto served as a quarantine station. Historical sources mention that at least since 1560, ships that reached Ithaca remained in quarantine for 40 days before being allowed to approach the coast. This was due to health reasons, as infectious diseases were one of the leading causes of death at that time. The prison of Lazareto was severely damaged by the earthquakes of August 1953 and was subsequently demolished. The church of the Savior still stands today and it is estimated that it was founded in 1668. Today, on the eve and day of celebration, on August 5th and 6th, the believers come here by boats for the service. Lately, it also has become one of the popular destinations of the Ionian Sea for couples from all over Greece, who choose romantic Lazareto for their wedding ceremony.
Vathy, the capital of the island Ithaca, fans out like an amphitheater. It is built in the inmost part of the gulf of the same name and dates back to 1500 AD. Vathy is an attractive settlement with Venetian influences, pretty houses with tiled roofs, imposing mansions and picturesque stone-paved alleys. It has, since 1978, been classified by law as a ‘traditional’ settlement. Vathy has been inhabited continuously since the time of the Venetians. It nestles safely in the beautiful natural harbor that has been identified as the Homeric harbor of Phorcys. This is where the sea-god Phorcys had his temple and where the Phaeacians left the sleeping Odysseus. Vathy is the most developed tourist area of the island. The nightlife moves at a tranquil pace and for this reason, people of all ages coexist and enjoy themselves. It offers good food and entertainment, a pleasant ‘soulatso’ or walks, and friendly people. Many interesting cultural events take place in Vathy. These include the various celebrations, theatrical productions, concerts of Greek music, performances by local bands and groups etc. Towards the end of summer every year, seminars on Homeric Literature are organized. Vathi has two museums that one can visit, one
The harbour at Vathi, Ithaca is considered one of the safest natural harbours in Greece. It is located in the center of a very closed bay, which is “closed” by the highest mountain in Ithaca, the Mount Nirito. The pier of the harbor at Vathi is very close to the main square and the surrounding narrow streets that make up the market center of Ithaca.
The next day we sailed up to the town of Kioni. Also a beautiful small attractive place. But really overcrowded. We could not even find a decent place to anchor. Boats and people all over. Then the fun for us is over very quickly. We turned around and went back to cozy and spacy Vathi Bay! One more day to spend here! Yeah!
The picturesque traditional settlement of Kioni lies in the southeast of Ithaca, 24 km from Vathy, in a verdant setting with unique attractions. It is built amphitheatrically on the slopes of a mountain, with little tiled roofed houses overlooking the picturesque port where small fishing boats are quietly mooring. The village was built by the inhabitants who used to live in the mountainous village of Anogi, at the end of the 16th century. Very few houses survived the earthquakes of 1953 but the few ones remaining are very interesting, with renaissance architectural characteristics. Today, this little paradise has grown rapidly into a busy and modern tourist resort, with many cafes and taverns lining the lovely port, private yachts mooring at the port, a lot of rooms for rent, boar rentals and some food stores.