In the Middle Ages, Ionian islands were subject to frequent pirate raids, which forced inhabitants to build settlements inland. Vathy was only formed in the 16th century, during the late Venetian rule, when the families living uphill in the settlement of Palaiochora (‘old town’), began moving down to Vathi.
Vathy was devastated by the 1953 Ionian earthquake which left only a few buildings standing. Gradually, the buildings were rebuilt in the original Venetian style. A law was passed in 1978 protecting the architectural heritage of the town, mandating that style and colour of all repairs and new constructions must be preserved.
Islet of Lazareto at the entrance to the Bay of Vathy hosts the chapel dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior, built in 1668. Since 1560, the islet served as a 40-day quarantine station for ships entering the harbour.
This charming harbour town exudes a relaxed and inviting atmosphere, making it a favourite destination for both locals and visitors alike. As the heart of the island, Vathy boasts a lively waterfront lined with colourful buildings, traditional tavernas, and cafes, offering a delightful ambiance for leisurely strolls and people-watching.
The harbor is a hub of maritime activity, with fishing boats and yachts gently swaying on the calm waters, providing a picturesque backdrop to the town’s bustling life. Whether you’re enjoying fresh seafood at a waterside restaurant, exploring nearby historical sites, or simply soaking in the laid-back vibes, Vathy Harbour is the perfect gateway to uncover the captivating beauty and culture of Ithaca.