Best Ways To Travel From Athens To Ithaca

A complete guide on how to get from Athens to Ithaca, includes all sensible travel options combining flights, ferries, buses and driving.

All the ways you can travel from Athens to Ithaca island in Greece

Getting from Athens To Ithaca

  • The Greek island of Ithaca does not have an airport. Therefore, the best travel option is probably to fly from Athens to Kefalonia first, and then take a ferry from Kefalonia to Ithaca.

  • Driving from Athens to Ithaca is an option for people with their own vehicles. Car rental companies generally don’t allow their cars to be taken on ferries, and part of the journey driving between Athens and Ithaca will involve taking a ferry.

  • Taking the bus from Athens to Ithaca is a long journey taking upwards of 8 hours, and I believe it will leave you in Kefalonia anyway from where you’ll need to get a ferry to Ithaca. 

  • There is no direct Athens to Ithaca ferry.

  • Dave’s Advice: All things considered, it is best to take a flight from Athens to Kefalonia, and then take a ferry to Ithaca from there. This lack of direct connection is one of the reasons Ithaca is a quiet Greek island, and also why people often combine visiting Kefalonia and Ithaca together.

Before we get started on this guide, I want to come right out and say the best way to get from Athens to Ithaca is to fly from Athens to Kefalonia and then take a ferry from Kefalonia to Ithaca. You can look for Athens to Kefalonia flights on Skyscanner.

While other routes are possible, and I’ve detailed them below, they are basically inconvenient for the most part and a waste of valuable vacation time. The one exception is driving, but only if you are traveling in your own vehicle and not a rental car. As a rule, rental car companies do not allow their vehicles to be taken on ferries.

sky express plane in greece

Athens to Ithaca Flights

Although Ithaca does not have an airport, the best option to consider when trying to get from Athens to Ithaca, is flying from Athens International Airport to Kefalonia first. From Kefalonia, you would then take a ferry on to Ithaca. This idea would be particularly useful for anyone planning to visit Ithaca directly after they land in Athens.

Ferries running from Kefalonia to Ithaca depart from the main ferry port in Sami in Kefalonia, and arrive in Pisaetos Port, which is on the south-west coast of Ithaca. The airport in Kefalonia is in Argostoli, so you’d need to get a bus or taxi on to Sami.

Pisaetos in Ithaca is a nice picturesque village, but kind of isolated. On arriving, you’d probably want to get a bus or taxi into the much larger town of Vathy and stay there to begin with.

Levante Ferries and Ionio Pelagos are the primary ferry operators between Kefalonia and Ithaca. While they offer year around crossings, they are both hopeless at publishing their ferry schedules much more than 2 months in advance. You can check Ferryhopper to see if there’s anything scheduled, but don’t be surprised if it comes up blank!

This doesn’t mean there are no ferries running though, just they haven’t been bothered to let anyone know about them! You can check out their individual websites already listed and get information by sending them an email or phoning. Be patient though!

Related: Best things to do in Ithaca

Athens to Ithaca Driving

When I last drove from Athens to Ithaca, I stayed for a couple of nights in Patras to break up the journey, however, you can make the Athens to Ithaca drive in one day. By the way, this does involve a ferry trip, so you may not be able to do this with a rental car!

Using a toll road when driving in Greece

The driving route takes you from Athens to Patras, and then from there a ferry to Ithaca normally with Levante. Another option is to drive from Athens to Kyllini Port in the Peloponnese and take a ferry from there instead. Which one you choose will depend on ferry schedules and the time you have. You can check ferry schedules at: Ferryhopper.

Again, don’t be surprised if nothing appears on the Ferryhopper booking website. The ferry companies that operate in the Ionian Islands of Greece have a virtual monopoly on their routes helped by government subsidies. As a result, they don’t seem to care about making travel information easily accessible. Try contacting them through the websites I mentioned earlier.

Interested in renting a car in Greece? Look no further than Discover Cars. They have partnerships with local Greek car rental companies and major international brands, offering competitive prices! You’ll find a rental car useful when exploring Ithaca.

Athens to Ithaca Bus

If you’ve got 8 to 10 hours to spare (on a good day!), you can consider the bus journey from Athens to Ithaca.

Buses leave Kifissos Bus Terminal in central Athens at least six times a week (perhaps more in the summer but no guarantees). The bus from Athens would take you either directly to Sami in Kefalonia, and from there you would take the ferry yourself on to Ithaca, or to Argostoli.

The Athens Kifissos Bus Terminal, also known as the Athens Central Bus Station – Kifisos, is the busiest intercity bus station in Athens and the second-largest in Greece. It is located in the west part of Athens near Peristeri and Egaleo areas.

You’d need to double check which one is most suitable for you. Remember, the ferries from Kefalonia to Ithaca leave from Sami port.

Note that the bus ticket price does not include the ferry crossing from the Greek mainland to Kefalonia. The buses are scheduled so that you will have time to buy the ferry ticket at the Kyllini port.

You can find the latest Athens to Kefalonia bus timetables at KTEL Kefalonias. This company also runs some buses on Ithaca.

Athens to Ithaca Ferry

No ferries sail directly from Athens to Ithaca. Instead, ferries to Ithaca leave from the ports of Patras and Kyllini in the Peloponnese, so you’d need to get to these places first.

To get your ferry tickets for Greece, I highly suggest using Ferryhopper. Keep in mind that ferry schedules may not be available until 2-3 months before your intended travel date, so plan accordingly if you're booking for a vacation a year in advance!

Athens Ithaca Travel Questions

Readers who want to travel between Athens and Ithaca often ask questions similar to:

Is there a ferry from Athens to Ithaca?

There is no direct ferry from Athens to Ithaca in Greece. The recommended route to get to Ithaca involves traveling to Patras or Kefalonia first. From Patras, located on the Greece mainland, you can catch a ferry directly to Ithaca. Alternatively, if you're island hopping from Kefalonia, you can take a short boat ride to Ithaca.

Is it worth going to Ithaca, Greece?

Visiting Ithaca, Greece, is indeed worth it, especially if you're looking for a destination that offers a blend of mythology, natural beauty, and tranquility. Ithaca is less developed for tourism compared to its neighboring islands, which contributes to its charm. It attracts visitors looking for a laid-back vacation, with opportunities for hiking, beach time, and exploring small villages.

How do I get from Ithaca to Athens?

To travel from Ithaca to Athens, you'll typically use a combination of ferry and flight, bus or car. Direct flights are not an option due to Ithaca's lack of an airport. 

  • Ferry from Ithaca to Kefalonia or the mainland: Your journey will start with a ferry ride from Ithaca to either Kefalonia or directly to the Greek mainland, such as Patras. Ferries to Kefalonia depart from Ithaca's main ports, and from Kefalonia, you can catch another ferry to Patras or even a direct flight to Athens Airport. The availability of direct ferries from Ithaca to Patras can vary, so it's essential to check the latest schedules.
  • Travel from Patras to Athens: Once you arrive in Patras, the next step is to travel to Athens. If you're driving, it's a straightforward route via the Greek National Road (E55 and E65) and takes about 2.5 to 3 hours. For those without a car, bus services from Patras to Athens are frequent, comfortable, and relatively inexpensive. The bus journey takes around 2.5 to 3 hours as well and will bring you to the Kifisos Bus Terminal in Athens.

Also read: How to get from Athens to Lefkada

About Dave Briggs and Dave’s Travel Pages in Greece


Dave Briggs: Writer at Dave’s Travel Pages creating Greece travel guides, Greece travel planning tipsDave Briggs

Dave is a travel writer who's been living in Greece since 2015. In addition to this complete guide on getting from Athens to Ithaca, he’s written hundreds of other insightful travel guides to help you plan a trip around Greece.

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