When Spero and Mal built the estate in 1997, their dream was to share the natural beauty and bounty with others. They run the place with easy-going grace, despite the gritty labour involved in maintaining the organic orchards and olive groves. Even the toiletries are home-blended and homeopathic. Water comes straight from Kalamos spring; allegedly, those who drink from it will always be happy, healthy and return to Ithaca. Perhaps that’s why over half the guests are regulars.
- Overwhelming sense of escapism the moment you enter the gated estate
- Moonlit midnight swims in a glittering infinity pool above a cliff-backed bay
- Seasonal organic goodies plucked straight from the orchards
- Alfresco aromatherapy massage in a shady glade to a soundtrack of lapping waves and whirring cicadas
- Personal, relaxed service and insider tips courtesy of Greek Australian owners Marilyn (Mal), Spero and their kids who make you, your friends and family feel instantly at home
- Interiors are rustic not luxurious
- Unruly toddlers in neighbouring cottages might disturb the peace – be sure to ask who else is staying when you book
- It's not cheap, but rates do include breakfast, airport transfers and car hire
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Cottages
- 4 cottages for 2-4
- Breakfast; self-catering
- All ages welcome
- Closed: 4 Mar 2024 - 30 Apr 2024
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car essential
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Concierge Service
- Bicycles Available
- Laundry Service
Comfortable and cosy, but far from plush, all 4 cottages have the same layout and design: an open-plan living/kitchen area with flagstone floors, primrose walls, and simple wooden furniture; a modern, tiled bathroom with 'Levendis Naturals' home-made homeopathic toiletries; a rather sparse twin bedroom with stone-built beds; and a slightly grander master bedroom draped in old-fashioned lace curtains and a muslin mosquito net. Storage space is basic: wire shelves and some hangers, screened by a curtain. Black and white prints of bygone Ithaca, wildflower bouquets, collections of sea shells, tea lights resting among pebbles, and battered sun hats add a personal touch to otherwise functional décor. There’s no AC, sound system or TV – just a radio, a fan, and bug-proof screens so you can sleep deeply with the windows open.
This simplicity allows the breathtaking views from the verandah and garden to do the talking. Sun loungers shaded by a mulberry tree look down on the gin palaces moored in Aphales bay; wooden tables beneath brilliant bougainvillea are perfectly placed for sundowners.
There are a few eco-friendly touches: a swinging branch for drying laundry, energy-saving light bulbs, and compost bins.
- Cots Available
- Mosquito net
Kitchens – each cottage has its own – are well-equipped, including a kettle, toaster, Villery and Boch crockery and Bodum coffee pot. There's an electric oven with 4 hobs, a fridge/freezer and plenty of crockery, pans, cutlery, glassware etc. On arrival, your kitchen is stocked with organic treats including home-made muesli, sheep’s milk yoghurt, Ithacan thyme honey, fresh bread and preserves, (plum and sage, lemon and ginger), local wine, and extra virgin olive oil.
Every morning, guests may help themselves to seasonal treats – cherry tomatoes, plump figs – hung in baskets outside the Coffee Shop, a wooden shack which serves as the breakfast cafe. The owner's daughter Kate whips up delicious, nutritious and organic breakfasts, included in the rates: think excellent coffee, fruit smoothies, and vanilla waffles with cinnamon butter. She will also supply organic snacks to keep active kids happy between meals. You can have picnic hampers made up for the beach or a boat trip, or marinaded meat for you to barbecue, accompanied with mezedes like persimmon chilli chutney and red pepper and feta dip. Don’t worry about the washing up: the housekeeper will take care of it.
There’s no restaurant, but you can order ‘room service’ (24 hours notice) for everything, delivered straight from their Chef's ovens to your table – expect traditional Greek fare, organic and locally-sourced.
Bustling Stavros village has several grocery stores and tavernas. Try Margarita’s crumbly kolokythopita (courgette and feta pie) and the Delicious Taverna for the the best souvlakia in town. For fresh fish by the sea your best bet is Ulysses at Frikes, whilst the island’s gourmet restaurant Donna Lefki is 2km beyond Stavros.
- All meals included
- Full kitchen
- In house cook
- Kids' meals
- Lunch by arrangement
- Organic produce
- Start your day with a massage in the forest pavilion or a yoga class
- Rent a motor-boat (from Kioni) to explore secluded bays, take a day cruise around Ithaca, try sea kayaking or scuba diving
- Dip into the pristine coves of Agios Yannis, Kourvoulia, Aphales and Filiatro
- Trek Ithaca’s overgrown network of cobbled footpaths. The hotel provides maps and an internet link to describe the network and its features; or hire an e-bike to cycle the hills
- Follow in the legendary footsteps of Odysseus at the archaeological sites of Pilikata, Homer’s School, and the quaint museum in Stavros
- Explore the crumbling villages of Exogi and Anogi, perched on Ithaca’s twin peaks, with spectacular views across the Ionian archipelago
- Buy beautiful embroidered linens and lace bedcovers from Yorgos Simiris’ shop in the postcard-pretty capital, Vathy, one of the world’s deepest natural harbours
- Take a chauffeured day trip to Kefalonia, with its wineries, underground caves, and fancy restaurants in Fiscardo (45min ferry ride from Frikes)
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Plantlife / flora
- Scuba diving
- Well being
This is a perfect place for a family holiday, and a safe haven for kids of all ages. Send kids off to help Spero feed the sheep or Mal harvest vegetables, or take advantage of the flexible babysitting service. Wherever possible, bookings are arranged so children of similar ages coincide. Mal and Spero also have 4 (older) children of their own.
Children under 2 years old are free. Ask about car seats for the rental car that comes with the cottage when you book.
Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
The family friendly cottages sleep 4 in 2 twin beds and a double bed; all cottages have a folding sofabed in the living room which can accommodate an extra child (extra cost).
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Babysitting available by arrangement
- Baby cot
- High chair
- Car seat
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There's a full kitchen with fridge, barbecue and oven; don't worry about the washing up - the housekeeper does it! You can help yourself to seasonal fruits and picnic hampers can be made up at the cafe. Have a night off and book the services of a local chef ('room service') with 24 hours notice if you like. Children missing the taste of bangers and mash will find it at Yefyri nearby; there are plenty of nearby eateries and grocery stores.
Kids Activities on site:
- Infinity pool
- Beach toys
- Toys and games
- Gardens, orchards and olive groves to run wild in
- Feed farm animals
Kids Activities nearby:
- Take the motorboat out for a spin
- Take a 15 minute walk to the beach
- Learn to snorkel with a marine biologist
- Bike around the hillsides - e-bikes can be hired nearby
- Get down and dusty at the archaeological sites
Families Should Know:
There are some stone steps in the garden. It's not an easy place to get to - you will be met by the Levendis chauffeur after your charter flight, who will transfer you to the Estate by car, boat and car (an additional 90 minutes). On-call doctor who can be on-site in 10 minutes, plus staff are qualified first-aiders.
- Port: 30 minutes
- Ferry: 3-4 hours by ferry from the mainland
- Pharmacy: 2 km
Levendis is in Aphales bay on the island of Ithaca, which is part of the Ionian Islands to the west of mainland Greece, in the Adriatic Sea. It's a 30-min drive from Piso Aetos or Vathy, Ithaca’s two ports.
By Air via Kefalonia or Preveza
The nearest airport is Argostoli on the neighbouring island of Kefalonia (Cephallonia), which is serviced by international charter flights in summer or year-round flights from Athens (1hr; connections available from some international flights). Levendis' chauffeur will transfer you to Sami (45min), where a private caique whisks you across to Ithaca (45min). Or you can catch a regular ferry from Kefalonia to Ithaca if you prefer and timings are suitable: either from Aghia Efimia to Pisaetos, from Sami to Vathi, or from Fiskardo to Frikes (the hotel will advise on times).
It is also possible to fly into Preveza on the mainland, drive (using the tunnel) onto Lefkada (Lefkas) island, and then take the ferry (2 hrs) from there to Ithaca. This option would allow you to combine the 2 islands, Ithaca and Lefkada, in one holiday.
By Ferry from the mainland
From the Greek mainland, ferries come direct to Ithaca from either Patras in the Peloponnese (3-4 hours) or Astakos (1.5-2 hours), which are respectively 3 and 4.5 hours' drive from Athens.
A car is indispensable - from June-September a hire car is included in the price of the cottage, for the rest of the year, see our car rental recommendations. From Athens, it takes the best part of a day, either via Patras (3hrs drive + 3-4hrs ferry) or via Astakos (4.5 hours drive + 1.5-2 hours ferry).
Detailed directions will be provided when you book through i-escape.
More on getting to Greece and getting around
- Kefalonia 50.0 km EFL
- Beach 0.8 km
- Shops 2.0 km
- Restaurant 1.0 km