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TRIP OVERVIEW

7 days
Classic
5km/day
Moderate

Trip Dates

2025
31 May - 06 Jun
Available
07 Jun - 13 Jun
Available
14 Jun - 20 Jun
Available
21 Jun - 27 Jun
Available
28 Jun - 04 Jul
1 Space
30 Aug - 05 Sep
Available
06 Sep - 12 Sep
Available
13 Sep - 19 Sep
Private
2026

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Tour Highlights

  • Join us on a modern day Odyssey to the mythical Greek refuge of Ithaca - the fifth largest of the gorgeous Ionian islands.

  • Take on exciting coastal swims beside sheer cliffs and discover many secret islands and bays, scattered between Kefalonia and the mainland.

  • Search with us among islands dotted with cedar trees as we seek out the local population of rare Mediterranean monk seals.

Ithaca is an island shrouded in mysticism and rich in history and myth. It was the hilly homeland that seafaring Odysseus famously struggled to return to for 10 years – a captivating Greek jewel in the calm Ionian Sea. Just off Kefalonia’s north-eastern coast, the island is known for its hospitality and the charming harbour town of Vathy, with colourful seafront buildings and a friendly bustle. Explore the narrow streets, drift into local shops and cafés, and immerse yourself in the relaxed island lifestyle.

Throughout the course of our Greek island trip to Ithaca you’ll experience swims that stay with you for many years. Seek out ancient ruins, wander harbour villages and swim the warm surrounding waters, finding many scattered secrets flung between Kefalonia and the mainland. We’ll explore the mountainous northern coast, where sheer, chalky cliffs plunge to the sea floor. There are plenty of opportunities to discover secluded bays, comb headlands and thread together through the azure blue waters as well.

Who is this trip for?

This swimming trip is ideal for those who are looking to combine interesting and varied swims, perhaps with a bustling city break.

Swimmers should also have a basic understanding of open water swimming and be capable of completing the average swim distance of around 2.5km prior to the start of the trip. The average daily swim distance is around 5km (split over a minimum of two swims).

We have given this trip a ‘Moderate’ grading. Most swimmers comfortable in the open water will be able to take part and enjoy one of these trips.


What's included?

  • Fully guided swimming holiday (swimmers only)
  • Professional swim guides and full safety escort on all swims (swimmers only)
  • Six nights' accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • One lunch (swimmers only)
  • Full ABTOT Financial Protection

What's not included?

  • Travel to and from the start of the trip
  • Remaining lunches
  • Evening meals
  • Drinks and additional activities
  • Overnight tourist tax, payable at the accommodation

Sample Trip Itinerary

Please note that the below daily itineraries are an example of the swims that may take place during your trip, however, actual swim locations and distances will vary according to local weather and swim conditions. Your SwimTrek guides and local boat pilots will determine the most suitable swim locations each day and will communicate the plan with all guests as soon as possible.

Trip Schedule

Start Point: Hotel in Vathy

Start Time: 17:00 on Day 1

Finish Point: Hotel in Vathy

Finish Time: 11:00 on Day 7

Day 1

We meet at the hotel where we will complete a short briefing before heading to the water for an acclimatisation swim. We will then return to the hotel for a welcome drink and further discussion about our plans for the week ahead.

Day 2

Our first full day of swimming sees us head off to Ithaca’s mountainous northern coast. Sheer cliffs plunge down to the sea floor and serve as an ideal wind break should the weather turn at all. We start our first swim close to Klima Bay and head north. The coastline here is craggy. There is a chance to rest and refresh at Chalkia Bay before we carry on. The final part of the swim takes us through a no fishing nature zone, where the clarity is some of the best in the Ionian group of islands.

Following the swim, we head by boat to the picturesque fishing hamlet of Kioni, where we take lunch in a local taverna. Following our break, we carry on with our northerly traverse. We swim out from Kioni Bay and head south, rounding Cape Koutsoubos. Our destination is the stunning church of Agios Ilias, which sits proudly on a headland overlooking the Ionian Sea.

Day 3

After yesterday’s coastal swims along the north coast, today we head to the island’s southern section, where the land is less steep, but the coastline is craggier. Our first swim is a coastal section from Gidaki Bay past the imposing headland of Pouda Gidakiou before finishing at Filiatro Bay. It’s a morning of lovely long stretches of water, interspersed with tranquil bays of azure blue. We stop for lunch in a local beach café.

In the afternoon, we swim around the stunning limestone headland of Sarakiniko, which features caves and narrow passages. It’s one of the undoubted highlights of the week. The term “Sarakiniko” is derived from the word “Saracen” which refers to the pirates who used to seek shelter in the caves and crevices which dot this section of coastline. As we swim, we will go through small tunnels. After swimming in several caves, we finish the swim at a tranquil bay. From here we head back to Vathy and our accommodation.

Day 4

Today is the day of our crossing between the islands Kefalonia and Ithaca, where we retrace the journey that Odysseus took to head out on his Odyssey in Greek Mythology. The swim starts on Ithaca near Ammoudi Bay. From here we head directly West to Kefalonia and the gorgeous fishing village of Fiskado. On arrival, we have a chance for a snack and a drink before we head back to Vathy and our hotel, where the afternoon is free for you to do with what you want.

Day 5

After an early breakfast, we head out to the remote island of Atokos, home to only two buildings and populated by goats and black pigs. The southern section of coastline is some of the most stunning anywhere on Greece’s west coast. We traverse the entire southern section of the island, passing Cliff Bay and Atokos fallen cave. Cedar trees dot the steep limestone cliffs. The island is also known for its small population of Mediterranean monk seals. Lunch is taken onboard our boat in one of the numerous bays that dot this section of coastline.

Day 6

For our last full day of swimming, we head to Ligia Bay, which was previously the headquarters of the island’s fishing industry. There is sea grass that dots this section of coastline. The geology on this swim is impressive with deformed strata all around, which sits both above and below the water. Our destination is the small, uninhabited island of Ligia, which is a very short hop from the main island. Those that fancy the additional time in the water can complete a full circumnavigation of the island.

In the afternoon, our swim carries on from Ligia Island and we make our way to the far southeast point of Ithaca and the promontory of Cape Mounda. The swim passes over several shallow reefs, where a variety of local marine life can be observed. Arriving at this isolated outpost, we will also come across the chapel at Agios Ioannis, which is worth a visit for those who can clamber out of this rocky outpost. Once everyone is onboard, we head back to Vathy for our last evening of the trip.

Day 7

In the early morning, we enjoy a final swim outside the hotel and then we share breakfast together and say our goodbyes.

Reviews

Just pure joy. Couldn't have hoped for more or better from my first SwimTrek experience

Alison H, UK - 2024

Excellent swimming holiday for those who love the open water and want to immerse themselves in nature! Perfect balance of safety and fun. SwimTrek's ethos and culture, embodied by top-notch guides, seems to be at the heart of what makes this a very special experience!

Riddhima K, UK - 2024

My first SwimTrek, and the fulfilment of a 10-year long ambition. It was an exceptional week in every way - lifelong friends made, stunning water, excellent leadership, delicious food, far too much gelato... thank you SwimTrek

Hester B, UK - 2024

Accommodation

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Captain Yiannis Hotel

We’ll stay just outside the laidback harbour town of Vathy, with a view of its colourful seafront buildings and a friendly bustle. Captain Yiannis Hotel offers a number of twin and double rooms with a private swimming pool and with close proximity to the sandy beach of Loutsa Beach.

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Hotel Mentor

We’ll stay in the laidback harbour town of Vathy, with colourful seafront buildings and a friendly bustle. Within a few metres from the sea, spoilt for seafront views of boats in the port of Vathy.

Location Summary

Vathy

Vathy is the capital of Ithaca and the largest settlement on the island, offering enchanting scenery and traditional architecture, which is frozen in time due to a 1978 law prohibiting new builds (even repairs) in others styles or colours The natural harbour is guarded by the remains of a small fort and has been identified as the Homeric harbour of Phorcys, where Odysseus was left sleeping. The harbour offers a bustling atmosphere with excellent access to the water and a variety of local restaurants to enjoy.

Atokos

The closest island to Ithaca, considered a secret island, believed to have a maximum of 2 persons registered to live here, but also home to a small chapel and one other building. Goats roam freely, tended only every fourth day by a visiting shepherd. The island displays steep cliffs as they fall into the water, creating several beautiful bays.

Fiskado

Identified as the ancient city of Panormos, it is home to several historical findings and stories as well as beautiful beaches and a small fishing fleet. Within the 21st Century, Roman-era graves and artifacts have been discovered, including gold and bronze items and even a well-preserved stone theatre. Today, the dense forest surrounding the area has been declared as an area of great natural beauty and is protected under Greek Law.

Trip Grading

We have given this trip a ‘Moderate’ grading. Most swimmers comfortable in the open water will be able to take part and enjoy one of these trips.

Swimming Distances

Swim Distances Swim Distances
Northeast Klima Bay 2½km Cape Koutsoubos 2½km
Gidaki Bay – Pouda Gidakiou 3km Sarakiniko Peninsula 2km
Ithaca to Kefalonia 3km
Atokos Coastal 2½km Atokos Fallen Cave 2km
Circumnavigation Ligia 3km Tálaros to Cape Mounda 2km

*Please note that these swims are an example of what may take place during your trip and should be used as a guide only. Actual swim locations and distances will vary according to local weather and swim conditions.

Swimming Conditions

Swimming in the sea is a fantastic experience, however you should be aware that certain marine life such as sea lice, jellyfish, sea urchins and coral could be present during the swims. In all cases we will work on reducing your contact with these creatures, however if you suffer from anaphylaxis, please consult the office prior to booking.

Walking Conditions

While there aren’t any significant planned walks, any walks that we do undertake will take place on recognised paths and tracks, however there may be cases where we walk along trails or other unsealed surfaces and care should be taken in these areas.

Temperatures

Month Water Temperature* Air Temperature*
June 20-26°C / 71-78°F 20-26°C / 71-78°F
July 23-28°C / 75-80°F 21-30°C / 71-87°F
September 24-28°C / 76-80°F 20-27°C / 68-81°F

*Please note that these temperatures are indicative and should be used as a guide only.

Weather Caveat

For safety reasons, we rely on decent weather conditions when carrying out our swims. Therefore, open water swimming holidays require a certain degree of on-trip flexibility which can result in changes to the planned itinerary. These changes often add a touch of uniqueness to your trip and will be communicated to you by your SwimTrek guides as quickly as possible.

Trip Information

Group Size

This trip has a maximum group size of 15. The group will be split into a maximum of three groups, based on speed, with each group being accompanied by their own safety vessel/escort. 

Boat Support

Boat support on this trip varies each day depending on the type of swim but includes one main boat and two support vessels to be piloted by your SwimTrek guides and a local boat pilot. Please note that this boat support is subject to change without notice and cannot be guaranteed.

Equipment Checklist

For your basic, essential packing list, please visit our Packing List page on the website.

There are no additional, specific items required for this location.

Getting There

As SwimTrekkers come from all over the world, and join our swimming holidays in numerous destinations, we don’t currently offer flights as part of our SwimTrek packages. We do however want to do as much as we can to ensure that our guests get the best deals when travelling to one of our trips so check out SwimTrek's tips to help you get the best deals for your flights page on the website.

The easiest way to get to Vathy, Ithaca is to fly to Kefalonia (EFL), take a transfer to the ferry port of Sami and catch a public ferry to Pisaetos (Ithaca).

Kefalonia Airport to Sami

The easiest way to get from Kefalonia Airport to Sami is by taxi. The total travel time by taxi is approximately 50 with an estimated cost of 60€ to 65€ approximately. If you want to take public transport, you will need to take a bus to Argostoli, the city of Kefalonia. The bus stop is located at the left side of the main entrance of the departures building and schedules will be available nearer the season. From Argostoli, you will need to catch a second bus to Sami. According to the current schedule, buses run Monday to Friday at 0730am and 1300pm and on Saturday and Sunda at 0730. Schedules are subject to change and should be checked in advance.

Ferry from Sami (Kefalonia) to Pisaetos (Ithaca)

There are two ferry companies operating from Sami to Pisaetos; Ionion Pelagos and Levante. There are usually two ferries a day, but schedules will be available nearer the season and should be checked in advance. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes and costs around €5. More information can be found using either website: https://www.ferries.gr/ or https://www.levanteferries.com/.

From Pisaetos Port to Vathy and Accommodation

The easiest way it to take a taxi up the hill and along the stunning coast, a 15 minute ride. Get the front seat to enjoy the view as you come over the hill to see Vathy below you.

Hotel Mentor: Ask the taxi to take you to Vathy and Hotel Mentor just beyond the central square.

Captain Yiannis: Take the taxi directly to Captain Yiannis, Vathy further round the bay from the port, approximately 1km from the centre. You will be able to take a taxi to the hotel.

Alternatively, you can catch a taxi directly from Pisaetos Port to your accommodation in Vathy. Both hotels will be able to assist you with this. Please contact them directly at welcome@hotelmentor.gr for Hotel Mentor and stefanosfiampolis@gmail.com for Captain Yiannis.

Return Travel

To return to Kefalonia Airport (EFL), please reverse the order of travel. Take a transfer via taxi to Pisaetos where you will be able to catch the ferry over to Sami on Kefalonia. From Sami on Kefalonia, take a transfer back to the airport.

Alternative routes

If you want to explore other areas of Greece and island hop, there are ferries to Kefalonia and Ithaca from Athens and Lefkada

Accommodation

For this location, we have two fantastic hotels on offer, depending on which date you choose. During our June dates, we will stay at the shoreside Hotel Mentor. During our second June date, we stay in Captain Yiannis, which is 15 minutes walk out of the town's centre with access to quieter restaurants and a view overlooking Vathy's Harbour. Our allocation in both hotels is based on twin and double rooms. There are a limited number of single supplement rooms, which can be reserved during the booking process, subject to availability.

For more information about the hotels in Ithaca, please visit our Accommodation: Ithaca page on our website.

Pre/Post Trip Accommodation and Trip Extension Options

If you want to book additional nights either side of your trip, please contact the hotel directly at welcome@hotelmentor.gr for Hotel Mentor and stefanosfiampolis@gmail.com for Captain Yiannis.

Food and Drink

All breakfasts and one lunch are included in your trip price (swimmers only). The remaining four lunches and all dinners are at your own expense. This gives you a fantastic opportunity to explore the menus and experience the local restaurants of your choice over the course of your trip.

For more information, please visit our food and drink page on the website.

Travel Advice

For more information on any of the following sections please visit the Travel Advice page of our website.

Money, Extra Expenses and Tipping

You should bring extra money with you to cover such items as transfers, entertainment, dinners, souvenirs, etc. The local currency is the Euro (€).

Please note, the Greek Ministry of Tourism has introduced an Overnight Stay Tax. This is payable upon arrival at the accommodation.

In some countries tipping (gratuities) is not part of the culture - in others it has become an expected norm. We believe that tipping is entirely at your discretion. If you have been provided with excellent service, it may be something you wish to do. Your SwimTrek Guides can advise on local norms for service providers like boat crew, waiters, or taxis. Nothing is expected for your SwimTrek Guides, but many groups like to present something to the Guides at the end of the trip.

Responsible Travel

SwimTrek is conscious of the importance of protecting the world’s natural wonders. We are acutely aware of our responsibility to not only take care of the natural environments which we are lucky enough to explore, but also to educate our guests about the importance of conservation efforts and responsible tourism. It’s for this reason that we have worked so closely with our partners to ensure that our trips are conducted in the most responsible and sustainable way possible, working tirelessly to minimise the impact of our presence on local marine life and the natural habitat.

For more information, please visit our Responsible Travel page on the website.

Passports and Visas

Greece is part of the European Union. Non-residents of Greece require a full passport to enter the country, which should be valid for six months beyond the expected length of stay. Citizens of most countries, including all E.U. member states, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not require a visa to enter Greece.

Please note that visa regulations are subject to change, and we advise that you check your own visa requirements prior to travel.

Travel Insurance

We consider comprehensive travel insurance to be essential, and we strongly recommend that you purchase insurance which includes, but is not limited to, cover for illness, accident, emergency repatriation, ambulance, air ambulance, helicopter rescue services, cancellation, lost luggage and delays. Your travel insurance should also cover you for open water swimming and any other activity listed in your trip itinerary (including races and competitions, where applicable). Please read your policy details carefully and remember to take them with you on your trip for your own reference.

For further information, please visit our Travel Insurance page on the website.

Here at SwimTrek, we pride ourselves on our focus on safety and the well-being of all our guests. As we operate in some beautiful and remote locations medical facilities are not always easily accessible. SwimTrek Guides, and many staff working for our local partners, are first aid trained. However, we ask that you read our Travel Health page to ensure that you are informed about general Travel and Swim Health precautions.

Travel Plugs & Electricity

There is free Wi-Fi throughout both hotels where we stay in Greece.

For a useful source of information on the different electrical outlets, electrical plugs, and electric sockets, please visit www.worldstandards.eu.


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