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5 Things You Need to Know About Ithaca, Greece

March 10, 2016

Ithaca, Greece, home of Odysseus, is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

This tiny island attracts sailors and holidaymakers from around the world — largely because it is beauty, and is surrounded by some of the clearest waters in Greece. Because it is tiny and difficult to reach, it does not attract the mass tourism that other islands do, making it popular for celebrities or people looking to get away from the masses.

For centuries, it’s been known as a truly magical place and many people return year after year.

5 Things You Need to Know About Ithaca, Greece

1. It has a rich history — both myth and otherwise. 

Ithaca stands for the homecoming, as Odysseus sailed for a decade to reach his home. Thus, many sailors believe that Ithaca is the ultimate goal. It’s also believed that Homer was from Ithaca as well.

According to mythology, Ithacos was the son of a Cephalonian king who settled here, and who together with his brother built a fountain that provided the whole island with water.

The island has been inhabited since the second millennium BC, and there is evidence that it was the capital of Cephalonia uring the Mycenaean period (around 1500BC). This coincides with the Trojan war, and if Odysseus really existed, now is when he would have been king.

The Romans occupied the island in the 2nd century BC and it was later part of the Byzantine empire where it was constantly attacked by pirates. The Normands and the Franks later ruled the land, before falling into Venetian Hands. In the 18th century, the island was occupied by the French and in 1809 it was conquered by the British.

It was liberated in 1864 but much of it was later destroyed in an earthquake in 1953. Thus, most of the buildings are no older than 50 years, and it has great Italian influence.

2. It’s a small island with a small population. 

Ithaca belongs to the Ionian islands and has a surface area of about 118km² and a population of approximately 3,100 inhabitants, making it easy to navigate and relaxing for people going on retreat or vacation.

3. The number one activity is relaxing.

Ithaca is the perfect place to snorkel, practice SUP, take walks, enjoy the beaches, and soak up the sun. It’s the perfect place for anyone just wanting to escape and soak up her surroundings.

4. It’s home to delicious Mediterranean food.

In Ithaca, travelers enjoy all kinds of Mediterranean and Greek food, some of the specialties are fish, but there are also all kinds of fresh fruits, vegetables, and sweets.

5. There’s plenty to see.

Ithaca’s  little capital Vathy has the world’s largest natural harbor, where you can visit the cave of the nymphs, as well as the small archeological museum. Local artists have their own shops, and the many small cafes.The monastery of the Virgin Mary (Panagia)

The monastery of the Virgin Mary (Panagia) Kathara is open for visitors. It was probably built in the 16th or 17th century, and has very beautiful icons, as well as very nice surroundings. There are also some ancient ruins just outside Stavros.

Join us in Ithaca with Jessica Bellofatto from May 21–28, 2016. Find out more!

Photo: THINK Global School

Living every single day for the mat, Sara is a yoga teacher, a published yoga writer and storyteller, an innovative yoga marketer, a YOGANONYMOUS editor, and a dedicated yoga student.

Sara strives to live from the connection of her head and her heart and encourages her students and clients to do the same by motivating them to step into their full powerful purpose through the transformational magic of yoga.

When not on the mat, you can find this earth sign hiking up a mountain in the beautiful Boulder, Colo., where she’s based or shredding down a ski hill.

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