The beauty of Ithaca is within the nature that creates this one of a kind island.
It lies within its vast silver-lined olive groves, lush evergreen mountainsides, glistening turquoise reefs of its coastline, the chirping cicadas during the heavy heat of the summer months and the tranquil sound of trickling rainwater running down the endless streams during the winter.
All these natural beauties of Ithaca can simply be enjoyed by walking its extensive natural trails and footpaths of the island. Over the last decade the island has been particularly popular with hikers who either visit in tour groups or prefer travelling solo. The island, which is the second smallest of the Ionian Islands, is relatively small and can be easily explored and appreciated by foot.
These footpaths were formed hundreds of years ago by locals and their livestock; creating short-cuts through the dense vegetation by simply following the natural streams from the mountains, down through the valleys and eventually towards the seaside villages. As industrialization arrived in Ithaca during the early 1900’s (and still to this day) more roads are being built thus making most of these footpaths, embedded in the history of the islands landscape, redundant.
However, with the rising interest in hiking as a hobby and exploration of the island, the council of Ithaca has recognized this and have, over the last few years, funded a project to clear and provide easy access to previously obstructed and overgrown footpaths.
These paths have been demarcated with information posts providing directions to other villages or places of interest nearby. They also indicate the distance and how long it would take to get to your chosen destination. The blue and white markings can then be found along the direction of the path painted on rocks or tree trunks.
There are innumerable trails on the islands, some are easier in physicality and others are more demanding. During the summer months of June – Sept,should you wish to go on a morning walk, we recommend starting no later than 7am or at dusk around 6pm when it is cooler. Do not attempt to walk long distances or remote trails during the day.Temperatures can reach 40`C and you may have minimal mobile reception depending on where you are. We advise to always prepare for your walk in advance, wear suitable footwear, light breathable clothing and carry a bottle of water and map with you.
You truly get to experience the best of what Ithaca has to offer while exploring on foot. Many areas you will walk through are largely uninhabited, rural and unexploited. You may not come across another person but mostly likely will to hear the clanging bells in the distance from a roaming tribe of goats. If you happen to come across them, don’t be fearful, they will inevitably scuttle down the mountainside before you can even take your camera out your pocket to take a photo.
You will experience what it feels like to be transported back in time, become one with nature and feel the true essence of the island. You are bound to be rewarded every step of the way by the magnificent breathe-taking views, the reassuring cool breeze of the ocean air and the unforgettable memories which will remain in you heart until the next time you return to Ithaca.
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