A fascinating program with challenging crossings and adventurous coastal swims. You will be exploring the stunning, blue waters that surrounds the rocky island of Ithaca.
You will be swimming around the beautiful coastline of Ithaca (3 days) finding the best spots sheltered by the winds. Coastal swims will have a length of approximately 6 km per day. Itineraries will be decided by the Swimtrekking instructors that will be guiding the group during the swims. The crossing days (2 days) will feature the crossing between Kefalonia and Ithaca (approximately 6 km from Fiskardo to Polis beach) and the big crossing between Ithaca and the desert island of Atokos (approximately 10 km from Kioni to Atokos).
Swimtrekking involves the use of specifically designed equipment. One swimmer out of two will tow a light weight, water tight barkino during coastal swims. This is attached to the swimmer by a harness worn around the waist. Barkinos allow swimmers to carry drinking water, aqua shoes, lunch, spare equipment and anything else you will find useful for the days adventure as well as being a visible piece of safety equipment. They will be used only during the coastal swims (3 days) and on the 2 crossing days the swimmers will be escorted by rescue boats. In addition to this – as an option – Swimtrekking will provide all guests with a mask and snorkel, wetsuit and fins. These items allow you to freely explore your underwater environment whilst giving you the personal protection required. Guests are free to bring along their own equipment, wetsuit.
Ithaca (popularly called Thiaki) is a rocky island separated from Kefalloniá by a channel 4 km/2.5 miles wide and almost cut in two by the long Gulf of Mólos on its east side; the isthmus joining the two halves, at Mt Aetós (380 m/1,247ft), is only 600m/660yd wide.
In the north of the island rises the Ani range of hills (Mt Neritos, 808 m/2,651ft), in the south Mt Stefani (671 m/2,202 ft). Much of the island has been marked by karstic action, but agriculture is possible in a few fertile valleys. This island belongs to the Ionian group of Islands and it has captured the imagination of the historians it is referred to as the homeland of Ulysses, the legendary hero of Homer. Ithaca island is small but beautiful, covered with lush green vegetation that extends up to its white pebbled pristine beaches. The place where Swimtrekking is settled in Ithaca is the residence “Captain’s Apartments” in the small village of Kioni. This is a very picturesque village that has remained unspoiled from major tourist development. The village has been characterised as a ‘traditional settlement’ and therefore very strict planning rules apply. Kioni Bay is a popular destination for sailing boats. Beaches on Ithaca island are small but they all have relaxing atmosphere. Surrounded by lush greenery and with crystal blue water, the good thing is that some of the beaches in Ithaca can be accessed on foot and almost all are in good distance one from the other. Frikes, Dexa and Agios Ioannis are among the most beautiful and popular beaches on Ithaca island, however, there are many other small and calm coves waiting to be discovered on this lovely island of the Ionian Sea.
Dates of trip
August 7th – 13th 2019 (6 nights)
minimum number of participants required: 11
Please note: for group bookings Swimtrekking can tailor the trip to the groups specific needs/requirements/dates.
About the trip
Start point: Kioni, Ithaca, Captain’s Apartments
Start time: on the arrival day meet your Swimtrekking Instructors at the residence Captain’s Apartments at 14:00. Check in, briefing and first swim in the evening.
Finish point: Kioni, Ithaca, Captain’s Apartments
Finish time: on the departing day last breakfast @ 7.30 and transfer to Pisaeto for the first ferry to Kefalonia.
Typical day Swimtrekking
Breakfast and briefing;
Pack up your essentials for the day before heading out for the morning swim;
Short walk or take our vehicle to our start point for the day;
On crossing days you will walk to the port of Kioni or drive to the port of Frikes to take our boat for the day;
Once on the shoreline we kit up before beginning our morning expedition;
We’ll stop off in a cove for lunch, after which you have time to spend exploring the inland wilderness of Ithaca or just relax on the beach;
Once lunch has settled and everyone is ready to cool off in the water again, we continue our sea adventure off in search of groupers, sting rays, tuna fish, shells, multi-coloured star fish, sea bass, morays, pinna nobilis (the largest shell in the Mediterranean sea)and much more;
We work up a final appetite by the time we get back to the residence having dinner on thesea front in one of the characteristic restaurant of Kioni.
Kefalonia is the nearest international airport to Ithaca. Easy Jet, Olympic Air, Air France, Alitalia, Air Berlin, Air Dolomiti, Aegean Airlines, Ryan Air, fly to Kefalonia from different European destinations. From Kefalonia it will be possible to reach Ithaca with local ferry Ionion Pelagos services within 30 minutes.
We stay 6 nights at Captain’s Apartments residence in Kioni, which is a nice and comfortable residence 2 minutes walking distance from the sea front of the town village of Kioni. There are 2 types of accommodation: apartments for 2-4 persons and studios for 2 persons, all with en-suite facilities.
Self catering breakfast each morning at 8:00 (food will be bought by the instructors);
Lunches will be a selection of sandwiches, fruit and snacks;
Traditional Greek dinners will be served each evening at Mythos restaurant on the sea front of Kioni village.
We can cater for vegetarian and gluten free diets but please ensure you inform us of your dietary requirements on booking.
Temperatures and conditions
August: air temperature 29°C; sea temperature 26°C.
Sea conditions will vary according to the weather and currents. This all adds to the experience of being in open water.
What to bring
On top of your normal clothes you should bring with you: a waterproof jacket, warm sweatshirt, walking shoes/sandals, sun hat and sun glasses.
There are cash points on the island in the town of Vathi and in the villages of Stavros and Kioni.
Places of interest
The chief place on the island of Ithaca is the sheltered port of Vathy or Itháki, probably founded by the Romans. It is charmingly situated in a bay – generally accepted as being the cove of Phorkys, in which the Phaeacians put the returning Odysseus ashore (“Odyssey”, 13, 96 ff.) – defended by two Venetian forts.
Itháki Archeological Museum
The Itháki Archeological Museum contains artifacts from the excavations at the Heraion sanctuary. The collection of small votive offerings is one of the richest in Greece. The largest free-standing sculpture to have survived from ancient Greece is the museum’s star exhibit.
Cave of the Nymphs
Two km/1.25mi west of Vathy, on the slopes of Mt Áyios Nikólaos, is the Mármaro Spília, a stalactitic cave and ancient cult site which is identified as the Cave of the Nymphs (“Odyssey”, 13, 107-108). Mt Aetós – Castle of Odysseus
Five km/3 mi west of Vathy, on Mt Aetós, is the acropolis of an ancient city (seventh century B.C.), perhaps Strabo’s Alalkomenai, which was excavated by Schliemann and is popularly known as the Castle of Odysseus.
Fountain of Arethusa
Six km/4mi south of Vathy on a difficult path is the Fountain of Arethusa, beneath the Ravens’ Crag (“Odyssey”, 13, 408-409). Farther south is the plateau of Marathiá, with extensive plantations of olive-trees, from which there are good views. Eumaios’s farmyard (“Odyssey”, 14, 6) is supposed to have been in this area.
Three km/2mi south of Vathy is the site of Palaiokhorá, the capital of Ithaca until the 16th century. Stavros, Greece
The numerous ancient finds made in the vicinity of the village of Stavrós, in the northwest of the island of Ithaca, have suggested this as the most likely site for Odysseus’s town and palace.
Panayía Kathará Monastery & Museum
Six km/4mi south of Stavrós is the monastery of the Panayía Kathará, from which there is a magnificent view; festival celebrated annually on September eighth.
The monastery also houses a small museum.
Excavations at Pelikáta revealed signs of a Brzone age settelement. Pólis Bay
Below Stavrós, to the southwest, is the beautiful Pólis Bay, the only harbor of any size on the west coast of Ithaca. A cave on the west side of the bay was a shrine of Athena and Hera in Mycenaean times. Offshore, near the coast of Kefalloniá, lies the tiny islet of Daskalio, identified as the island of Asteris where the suitors planned to ambush Telemachos (“Odyssey”, 14, 6).
1km/.75mi north, on Mt Pelikata above Pólis Bay, are remains of a settlement dated between 2200 and 1500 B.C.
1km/.75mi farther north is the chapel of Áyios Athanásios. West of Stavrós are the picturesque inlets of Fríkes and Kióni. Átokos
Átokos, 10km/6mi northeast of Ithaca, is the rocky and uninhabited island of Átokos.