Every bit as rugged, romantic and all-round epic as its role in Homeric legend would suggest, Ithaki is something special. The hilly, sea-girt homeland to which Odysseus struggled to return for 10 heroic years continues to charm and seduce travellers with its ancient ruins, breathtaking harbour villages and wilderness walks. Squeezed between Kefallonia and the mainland, it’s the kind of island where time seems to slow down and cares slip away. Cut almost in two by the huge gulf that shields Vathy, its main town, Ithaki effectively consists of two separate islands linked by a narrow isthmus. Vathy is the only significant settlement in the south, while the mighty northern massif holds delightful villages such as Stavros and Anogi, and is peppered with little coves holding pocket-sized resorts such as Frikes and Kioni. Ithaca, Ithaki or Ithaka (/ˈɪθəkə/; Greek: Ιθάκη, Ithakē [iˈθaci]) is a Greek island located in the Ionian Sea, off the northeast coast of Kefalonia and to the west of continental Greece. Ithaca's main island has an area of 96 square kilometres (37 sq mi) and had a population in 2011 of 3,231. It is the second-smallest of seven main Ionian Islands, after Paxi. Ithaca is a separate regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. The capital is Vathy (or Vathi). Modern Ithaca is generally identified with Homer's Ithaca, the home of Odysseus, whose delayed return to the island is the plot of the classical Greek tale the Odyssey.