Walking Tracks of Ithaca Greece
Instructions for hikers who love to walk the islands. In recent years, Ithaki's walking tracks are mostly maintained by devoted nature lovers and walking guides. These are by no means an extensive list, there are many more tracks to walk. There are walking guides on the island that will take you to more remote areas with more difficulty, but these are some of the tracks that are quite easy to do.
The important things to remember when trekking on Ithaca is that it is, for the most part, still wild and uninhabited through the mountains, therefore it is advisable to always take some water and food and wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Colored stones are placed to help you keep on track, and some tracks are sign posted, but if you do get a little lost, don't despair, a goat track or the sound of water will always lead you to a place from where you can get back to a village.
The Council of Ithaca has funded a project to clear a number of the most popular mountain tracks and the following instructions were written to assist hikers wanting to walk them. The starting points used in these instructions are recorded on the generic maps of Ithaca sold in all the tourist and souvenir shops. It is the Walkers' responsibility to proceed with safety and care. hOME ithaca greece web site or the Ithacan Council, take no responsibility for Walkers undertaking these tracks.
We start from the north of the island and gradually move to the south.
Track No.1 - Kalamos – Exoghi
Difficulties: Not recommended for people with difficulty walking.
Face the Kalamos fountain. A very well defined track starts on the right-hand side of the fountain. Follow the red marks until you come to the first dirt road. Follow this dirt road to the left all the way to the outskirts of the village of Kolieri, then turn to the right along another track and follow the red marks to the next dirt road. Follow this road to the right until you come upon the Kalamos - Exoghi track again to your left. Follow the red marks all the way to Exoghi. The section of the Kalamos - Exoghi track between the two dirt roads has been abandoned for the time being, because it is in a very bad state. This track connects at the outskirts of Exoghi with Track No. 3 (Platrithias Bridge – Exoghi).
Track No.2 - Kalamos - Perivoli Beach
Time: 60 minutes (approx.) return
Difficulties: Slippery when wet. Not suitable for people with difficulty walking.
Turn your back to the Kalamos fountain. You are now facing the old Kalamos hotel, where people, the likes of Sophia Loren, have stayed in the heyday of the island. To the right of the hotel, a few meters up the road, a path, slightly hidden behind a fallen down gate, descends towards the sea. The path is clear and easy to follow, just look for the red marks until you come to a narrow dirt road, then turn left, walk to the end of the road and follow another path until you come to the secluded and peaceful beach of Perivoli.
Track No.3 - Platrithias Bridge - Exoghi
Difficulties: Not recommended for people with difficulty walking.
Turn your back to the bridge and start ascending the track. Where you come to a fork, follow the left track marked with red paint to the dirt road, cross it, and continue along the track until you reach Exoghi
Track No.4 - Exoghi - Rousano - Polis or Stavros
Time: 2 – 3 hours at leisurely pace (one way)
Difficulties: Loose stones. Slippery when wet. Requires good walking shoes.
One of the most scenic and visually rewarding tracks of Northern Ithaca. Start at the wooden sign labeled with the letter "C", on the asphalt road to Exoghi. This is a well-defined track that had enabled the residents of Exoghi to reach their properties at Rousano. Follow the yellow marks as you pass above Aphales Bay, Platrithias, Stavros, Kalivia and lush green valleys. When you come close to the small plateau of Rousano, almost directly above Polis Bay, you come to a fork in the track. The right takes you directly to the western side of the Plateau, where you can enjoy the views of Kephalonia and the open sea and to the left, you are taken to the eastern side of the plateau, the hill where a castle once stood, where you can sit and contemplate, sketch or read. Take a picnic lunch. It's the perfect stop. You descend to Kalivia form the eastern edge of the plateau, always following the yellow signs. At the outskirts of Kalivia, follow the yellow signs turning towards Polis Bay. Follow them until you come to a dirt road. Sometimes brush fences put up by a local may obscure the entry onto the road. Just climb over them. At this point you have two alternatives:
You turn to your right to go to Polis Bay. Near Polis the dirt road becomes a track again; or
You turn to your left. After a short walk next to a fairly large vineyard, you find the old track to Stavros.
During the summer months there is a canteen at Polis Bay, where cold drinks and simple, but good, meals are served, including very tasty Calamari. You can take a breather here before ascending the windy steep road up to Stavros.
Track No.5 - Anoghi – Kioni
Time: 90 minutes one-way
Difficulties: Slippery when wet. Not recommended for people with trouble walking
This is one of the most popular walks in Ithaca. From Anoghi‘s center, you follow the road to the heliport. When you reach its fence, turn to the left. Keep a keen eye out for the signs. Several will lead you to the old road, used for many years before the main road was built. Follow the red marks all the way to Kioni. Wind on the film in your camera, there are plenty of picture opportunities. Near Kioni there is a dirt road cutting the track several times. You can follow either the road or the track. Leave early and make a stop at the windmills, a little out of the way on the Kioni track, to catch the sunrise. Ask in Kioni about taking the shepherds walk. This one has a price, but is guided by the Shepherd, Kotsis.
Track No.6 - Archaeological site, Aetos: 'Alalkomenae Castle'
There is an archaeological site to the right of the highest point up the asphalt road as you come from Aetos to Piso Aetos. Walk right of the wooden kiosk to behind the little church. Look for the red signs. They will direct you to a stone entrance with a number of steps. Go up the steps and follow more red signs. Less than half way up the hill the track branches off to the left and right. To the right, not far in the distance, again following the red signs, you'll reach a wall assembled from huge stones. It seems to go from the top of the hill down to the bottom. Return to the original track and resume your ascent, continue to follow the red signs until you reach the Castle.
Track No. 7 - Anemothouri - Arethousa Fountain
Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes return
Difficulties: Slippery when wet
Follow the asphalt road of Vathy, which goes to the Marathis Plateau. At Anemothouri, on the right, there is a large blue and white sign pointing to the Arethousa Fountain track. Follow the red signs. The scenery at the fountain is breath taking.
Track No. 8 - Kathara Monastery - Anoghi
Time: 1 1/2 hours
Make your way to Kathara Monastery by car, bike or taxi. 250 meters from entrance a painted red and white rock marks the start off the track. spectacular scenery and painted red and white rocks, see you along a rocky, mountain pass all the way to the village of Anoghi. This is an easy walk with no climbs. Arrange for transport from Anoghi, stop and have a refreshment at the local shop or continue walking onto the Kioni. If you would like this tour guided then visit www.islandwalks.com Ester van Zuylens' Walks around Ithaca. For a fee, Ester can take you on the best walks around the island
Track No. 9 - Stavros to Homers' School
Time: 40 min
Ancient Columns at Homers School
Difficulties: Rocky track, but more like a stroll than a hike.
From the town of Stavros, go towards Exoghi. Turn left on the ascending road to Exoghi and at the first bend turn right into the rocky dirt track. From here it's only a 10 min walk with the hill top village of Exoghi towering above you and the views of Aphales and over the villages of Platrithias on your right below you. The track winds through a large plateau. You'll pass a whitewashed church and only minutes after that, on your left, you will see a well marked path leading up to Homers School. This is an easy walk and you might want to spend a little time pondering and exploring the site which is from which Ithakis history is formed.
Track No. 10 - Frikes - Marmaka - Aphales - Frikes
Time: 4 hours at medium pace
Rating: Medium Difficulty
Difficulties: Rocky and climbing tracks and unmade road. Long distance.
During the summer months, it's advisable to take this walk either in the early morning or around 5pm in the afternoon. Wear good walking shoes, take lots of water, your swim suits and a picnic to make the most of this long and pleasurable walk through the mountains between Frikes and Aphales. To start, face the bay of Frikes and take the left path that leads past the new Marina. This narrow and rocky path leads up through the mountain with beautiful sea views on your right, nearly all the way to the top. (During winter months, take a stick to clear spider webs from the path.) Once at the top, the road that has been cut from Marmaka takes you around the mountains until it descends into another path that leads you through olive groves and terraced slopes, right to the beach at Marmaka. Marmaka takes its' name from the marble stones found all along the beach. Take the time for a picnic and a swim. At this point you have two choices of return. Ascend the path back up from which you came or take the road that leads to Aphales which starts on the left of the beach when facing the waterfront. Taking the unsurfaced road to Aphales is the longer option, and is not advisable if you are already very tired by the time you reach Marmaka, but this option affords some spectacular views as you climb higher and higher up and through the mountains. It is worth mentioning that at a certain point during the climb, you will see the road laid out before you, ahead of you and over you with the kilometers ahead, suddenly impacting on your stamina to continue. Distract yourself, eat some of the small sweet pears found on the trees along the roadside, sing to yourself and soon that barrier is broken with the top of the mountain in reach. The windmill and the small church on your left, signal the end of the climb and the start of the descent to Aphales. If you take this walk at the end of the day, by the time you reach the apex, the sun is beginning to set and a glorious sky awaits you. At this point the road is concreted and if you feel you can't go any further there may be a shepherd in a truck that is heading down to the villages from his mountain that you could hitch a ride with. Once down this road you will come to a crossroad with a house in front of you. Take the track that leads to the left to return to Frikes. It emerges on the road to Frikes from Platrithia, just past Lahos. On reaching this road, turn left to continue on to Frikes.
Track No. 11 - Kioni to Aghia Paraskevi
Track instructions sent to hOME ithaca greece by Neil and Gill Varley
1. Take the road out of Kioni, pass the church and the small boutique. At the point where the road takes a sharp left turn go straight ahead up the lane.
2. After about 50 metres take the (steep) steps to the left.
3. Two to three minutes later the steps rejoin the lane. Continue up the lane for about 50 metres but then rejoin the stepped track at the point where the lane turns sharp right
4. This quickly leads on to the Kioni - Frikes road. Draw breath and take comfort from having avoided 2 kms of road walking! Go right and over the crest of the road through the village, past the small shop on the right.
5. Follow the road (now downhill) to Frikes for about 300 meters. Just after a right turn to the beach take the left turn which is an unmade but motorable track - there are red paint markings on the wall.
6. After about 400 metres take the mule track on the right denoted by two clear red and white blobs of paint either side of the track.
7. Follow the clear markings all the way up, through deserted settlements, noting a maintained but very remote church and enjoy marvelous views back to Kioni. NB the paint markings are clear and very frequent so retrace your steps if you've not seen one for 30-40 meters.
8. Eventually ( a couple of hours later) the track levels out and leads to a small lane - a right turn will take you the 100 meters to Aghia Paraskevi.
9. From the church go back down the lane which quickly leads to the Anogi - Stavros road where you can either go left to Anogi (about 1.5 km) or turn right down to Stavros (about 4.5 km). If taking the Anogi option this can then be linked to the main Anogi- Kioni track ( Track number 5) to form an excellent circular day walk with a lunch break at the small café in the village.
A big 'thank you' must go to Denis Sikiotis who has donated his time and energy to clear many of the paths around Ithaki for many years, to the Council, concerned locals and the walking guides who help to keep these tracks clear and usable.
Track No. 12 - Marathia to Rizes Cave
Time: 15 mins (from road, 40 - 60 minutes from Vathy depending how fast you walk)
Rating: Medium Difficulty
From the road to Marathia leading out of Vathy, a few kiolmeters ahead is the sign post to Rizes cave. Follow the narrow path up the mountain. This short walk leads to the Rizes Cave. The roof has collapsed and in the center of the cave, has sprung a large fig tree. Great views of Vathy and surrounds from this vantage point. Beautiful views and good shady spots all along the trail.
Walking Tracks on Ithaca Island. Walk with a guide or on your own around Ithaki. Guided Walk or Independing Hikes on ithaca greece.