One of the smallest of the seven Ionian Islands
, only 3000 inhabitants live on Ithaka, where two mountains are joined by a narrow ridge. The island is rugged in the west but features a more gentle and fertile eastern shore with indented bays and sheltered harbours
. Kioni has one of the most picturesque settings
in the Ionian, and these newly built apartments have been designed to make the most of the view, not only of the village itself, but also out and across the inner Ionian Sea dotted with wooded islands and the mainland mountains beyond.
A short stroll down a quiet lane shaded by olive trees and bougainvillea leads to the waterfront with its tavernas, cafes and well-stocked mini-markets
. Further narrow lanes, originally built for mules wind their way through the cluster of traditional houses, some leading to tiny beaches hidden from above
. For the more energetic Kioni is the perfect start and finish point for a network of ancient paths built in Venetian times
that connected this historic village port with the settlements in Ithaka's mountainous interior. Many are well marked, but getting lost amongst the cool olive groves and oak woodland can be a real pleasure especially as every gap in the trees will reveal the harbour and bays below.
The nearby town of Stavros is the largest of a number of settlements scattered across the north end of the island. The large central plateau beside the church is pleasantly tree-lined and contains the only statue of Odysseus on the island. Just outside the village is the small archaeological museum that contains a fascinating collection of artefacts
found in the nearby excavations at the School of Homer and Platreithias.
A must-do while on holiday in Kioni is to hire a motorboat and spend a lovely day exploring the hidden coves and secluded beaches
that dot the coast around the island.