A Green – Blue Harmony
This lush green island with breathtaking beaches and crystal clear waters of greenish-blue colours will leave you speechless. Kefalonia glows in the Ionian Sea and carries a rich history in cultural tradition. It’s the biggest Ionian Island and the green of its mountains blend with the blue of the water making it truly unique and a beloved destination. Pine, cypress and olive trees cover Mt. Ainos’ peak, while at its foot you’ll encounter vineyards where the popular Kefalonian Robola wine variety is produced.
If you happen to love snorkeling or diving then the island’s amazing seabed will definitely satisfy you. You might even get the chance to encounter the rare, caretta caretta, sea turtles that take refuge here, as well as the monk seals monachus monachus. Kefalonia’s culinary tradition, history, picturesque villages, upbeat nightlife and pristine beaches will make you fall in love with the island.
The biggest town of the island and the live capital of the island is Argostoli, a town built amphitheatrically, with intense city life and active, full of various types of entertainment: shops for every taste, coffee to relax, bars and beaches nearby. Argostoli stands on the far end of the natural bay surrounded by mountains and verdant forests. Beautiful Venetian buildings used to adorn the town before they were destroyed along with the entire Argostoli and other villages of the island from the major earthquake of 1953.
The town has been rebuilt since then, with the help of the Greek government yet no efforts have been made to maintain the traditional architecture and the local colour. A stone bridge of 650 metres long called the Drapano Bridge stands at the entrance of the capital. At the center is a small pyramid dedicated from Charles de Bosset, who built the bridge, to the British Empire.
The modern and cosmopolitan town of Argostoli is quite busy during the summer season offering a plethora of interesting features and activities. The beautifully paved coastal road promenade is boarded by palm trees and colorful pebbles from the sea. The road ends at the small ferry quay where boats connect to the town of Lixouri every half an hour and fishing boats moor.
The central square of the town called Plateia Valianou (Vallianos Square) is a large and pleasant square lined by many restaurants, cafes and bars. During the evenings, the square gets really crowded with locals who are really warm and friendly. In Argostoli, one can notice the traditional way of life.
The pedestrian Lithostroto Street (Cobbled Street) is the main street of the capital filled with all kinds of shops. There one can admire the beautiful church of Saint Spyridon and the interesting clock tower of Campana Square, where if you have the opportunity you may encounter the local philharmonic orchestra playing traditional ionian songs. Around its outskirts are a range of restaurants that cover all tastes and budgets. Right above the square is one of the town’s nicest sights, the lush Botanical Garden.
In Argostoli, one shall visit the Archaeological Museum of Kefalonia which houses interesting archaeological findings from the Mycenaean, Hellenistic and the Roman period. The rich collection contains coins, swords, sculptures and ceramics.
Another worth-visiting museum is the Korgialenios History and the Folklore Museum which is housed in the ground floor of the Korgialenian Library, a 19th century restored Kefalonian house. The museum exposes an interesting collection of photographs from the history of Kefalonia.
The library of Argostoli hosts 50,000 books and old manuscripts, among which are very rare. Nearby the library is the beautiful theatre of Kefalos, one of the best theaters of Greece. The Lighthouse of Saint Theodore is located a couple of km from Argostoli and was built by the British Governor Napier. A small round building with white Doric columns locally known as Fanari. This beautiful lighthouse it is one of the trademarks of Kefalonia.
Due to its lovely sandy beaches and proximity to both airport and town, Lassi is understandably popular. It lies just two kilometres to the south of Argostoli, the island capital, but has plenty of restaurants, cafes, groceries and shops of its own. As Lassi is very well organized for the tourism, here is also very easy to rent motorbikes, cars, jeeps or bicycles to visit independently kefalonia island. Although a developing resort area, Lassi remains mainly low-key and particularly popular with families. Lassi has enough superb beaches which get busy in season, but this does ensure that they have good facilities, including sunbeds and umbrellas as well as showers, beach bars and water sports.
The westernmost of the two peninsulas of Kefalonia is the one of Paliki; the peninsula of Paliki is situated there that despite the great shock since the earthquake of 1953 it was rebuilt, taking into account traditional architecture. It is the second greatest town of the island, however it is a peaceful town that is offered for relaxation.You can enjoy your coffee, your pastry sweets and the local cuisine at the port, at the square with the famous ficus plant and whatever site draws your attention. Pass by the manor of the Typaldon-Iakovaton brothers built in 1866, which use to house the Iakovateio Library, but due to the 2014 eathquake the building suffered damage and is for the moment closed. It use to be home to 25,000 books and a small museum at the 1st floor where three Christian parchments of the 10th, 14th and 15th century, old furniture, sacred vessels and vestments were on display. Visit the Kipouria Monastery where you can enjoy one of the most breathtaking sunsets on the island.
The village is very much based around its waterfront with many private yachts and small fishing boats. This lovely spot offers nice views to the neighbour island of Ithaca. This picturesque fishing village is recognized as a traditional preservable settlement as it is one of the few villages that remained untouched from the major earthquake of 1953. Most of the buildings preserve their traditional local colour that travels you back in time: Grand mansions with elegant balconies, old two-storey houses, the dark red of roof tiles, the greenish of mountainsides, the blue of the sea and the overall scenery is enchanting. Today it is known for its cosmopolitan and warm atmosphere. The main coastal road hosts plenty of shops, taverns and bars and it throbs with activity during the summer. Nearby the village one can find many beautiful pebbled beaches and stunning coves with calm and crystalline waters as well as ruins of a Palaeolithic settlement and plenty of Byzantine churches, and many other picturesque and interesting sites. The Natural and Environmental Museum lies above the waterfront and it is worth a visit. The Greek poet that wrote poetry about the sea, Nikos Kavvadias, comes from this picturesque residential area.
The south coast of Kefalonia boasts a string of sandy bays and beaches but only limited development to date. The beach stretches for about a kilometre and sunbeds are available for rent. Slightly inland, the original village is an attractive little place and boasts a very traditional square shaded by a pine trees, three good tavernas and a mini-market. Lourdas essentially offers a quiet relaxed holiday with an excellent beach, fine views, scenic surrounds and limited (mainly taverna-based) nightlife.
A Greek village which has turned resort. Skala was built after the major earthquake of 1953 that destroyed the ancient village of Skala. The ruins of Old Skala still survive today. Its main attraction is its long expanse of fine shingle and sand, gently shelving into the sea, with isolated coves in the surrounding area. There is a small high street 100 yards from the beach with shops and tavernas and streets branching off. Along the coast, Potamaki Beach is a haven for the rare loggerhead turtles, and this has now been declared a conservation area. Night-time ‘turtle watches’ are organised for those who wish to observe the creatures without threatening their survival. The village reveals interesting ruins of a Roman Villa dating back from the 2nd century BC with magnificent mosaic floors. Nearby is an old village with notable architecture and watermills. The settlement offers an excellent view to the Ionian sea.
The cave lake of Melissani
The cave lake of Melissani is one of the most impressive sights of Kefalonia, a unique moment of nature, a fascinating heavenly scenery. It is situated in Karavomylos, an area close to Sami town. Melissani was discovered in 1951 and after certain constructions in order to be accessible has become one of the most famous tourist destinations. The uniqueness of the landscape is owed to a great part of the roof that has collapsed; during the day when the sun is high and the sunshine drops on the lake it makes the light blue waters shine giving a calming feeling.
Dominated by the ruins of a 16th century Venetian castle, the village of Assos is built on a small peninsula reflecting a beautiful and warm atmosphere. The traditional architecture, the peaceful landscape and the pebbled beaches compose the natural beauty of Assos. Apart from the wonderful waters of Assos peninsula, nearby lies Myrtos beach (awarded with the blue flag) and many small bays that wait for you to discover them. A stroll around the narrow alleys reveals colorful houses with pink and white blooms, lovely paths and old churches. Little taverns perched on the quayside overlooking the bay attract most of the visitors. The visit to the castle requires a long walk amidst the olive tree forests until you reach an archway. This journey is quite interesting and refreshing.
It lies around the natural bay and it is home to a small and lovely port where fishing and excursion boats moor. Over the years it has become one of the island’s major attractions and every summer the streets of the village throb with activity. Marvelous taverns and restaurants line the waterfront overlooking the wonderful bay. The beautiful beaches, the paved streets and the beautiful architecture compose the unique setting of the village. Close to Agia Efimia, at a high altitude are found remains of old fortresses and venetian buildings. One shall visit the lovely churches and the nearby traditional villages. Those who own a boat should definitely explore its pristine isolated beaches and stunning coves.
Sami is the second largest port of Kefalonia after Argostoli and it serves daily trips to Patra, Ithaca and Italy. The modern village is built close to ancient Sami, one of the most important archeological discoveries of Kefalonia. The delightful waterfront, the wide paved streets and the Venetian buildings offer the village a unique charm and reflect the rich heritage of the island. The main coastal road consists of modern amenities, shops, restaurants and lovely cafes overlooking the busy port. Sami is surrounded by a dream landscape of verdurous imposing hills and stunning coves. Tourists arrive here with their private yachts to enjoy a unique diving and swimming experience at the green waters of Kefalonia. The village is home to some of the most interesting monasteries and sights in Kefalonia like the monastery of Agrilia, as well as beautiful caves (like Karavomylos and Dragati), some stunning underground lakes like the one at Melissani and Antisamos beach. During summer, the municipality of Sami organises some interesting cultural events and local festivities, concerts and theatrical performances.
Poros is an attractive coastal settlement located 40 km south west of Argostoli, the capital of Kefalonia. Built around a marvelous landscape of lush green forests, Poros is also home to a picturesque port that serves itineraries to Patra and Killini, in Peloponnese. The combination of dense and verdant vegetation along with the crystal blue sea makes this village one of the most perfect summer destinations. Apart from its beautiful landscape and traditional layout, Poros has become a famous tourist resort in Kefalonia welcoming a great number of tourists and Greek travelers during the summer. Plenty of restaurants and traditional taverns line the waterfront and picturesque cafes. The village has important sightseeing that one should definitely see. Among them is the impressive Drakena Cave and the superb gorge of Vohyna. Also the monastery of Atros is worth visiting.
Svoronata is a small beautiful village on the southern side of Kefalonia. Only 9 km from Argostoli, the capital of the island, Svoronata is also the closest village to the airport of Kefalonia. A village with interesting samples of local architecture, Svoronata is found close to lovely beaches, including Ai-Helis, Avithos, Ammes, Platis Gialos and Makris Gialos. All these beaches have crystal water and soft sand. The surrounding region is lush green and well-developed in tourism, with hotels, studios and seaside taverns.
It is built on the slopes of a hillside of Mountain Ainos surrounded by a verdant landscape. At the top of the hill stands the 16th century castle of Saint George dominating the village. Those who visit Peratata will definitely enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and the traditional way of life. The village hosts many traditional taverns serving delicious food. A stroll along the settlement reveals the old architecture with pretty stone houses. Paths lead to various monuments that reflect the rich history and tradition of the area. Peratata is home to several sightseeings such as the Monastery of Agios Andreas and its Byzantine Museum, the Venetian Castle and the Mycenaean tombs.
The most passionate mention it as the most wonderful village of the Balkan area. This idyllic village was totally destroyed by the major earthquake of 1953 but it was completely rebuilt with the financial support of the shipowner Giorgos Vergotis who managed to reconstruct the entire village according to the neoclassical architectural tendencies of those times. Kourkoumelata is considered the most elegant settlement in Kefalonia with well-maintained beautiful buildings known for their rich and diverse architecture. However, apart from these magnificent structures, the colorful and well-cared gardens are the main attraction of Kourkoumelata that is really worth admiring. These wonderful compositions adorn the entire village and create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
The mountain that prevails in Kefalonia is Ainos, whose peak reaches 1628 meters, and is the only national park situated on a Greek Island. In this area grows the tree fir that is native in Kefalonia with its black leaves that gives an impressive and particular black color to the mountain. In the cliffs of the mountain you will also see small wild horses. The mountain is ideal for excursions in the verdant nature and for hiking with paths of various levels of difficulty.
Kefalonian cuisine is renowned and familiar. The island produces yellow cheeses, feta cheese, olive oil, honey and processed local meats. It also holds a large number of delicious local recipes; native “recettes”, cookbooks that were given from one generation to the next. You must try the famous meat pie, the lagoto dish that is cooked with rabbit and sofigado dish with goat. You should not miss the cod pie filled with salted cod fish and skordalia (a garlic sauce) made of boiled potatoes in cod’s broth with lemon or vinegar. You must also taste strapatsada (scrambled cooked eggs with tomatoes) and tsigaridia (greens cooked with tomato sauce), and traditional sweets, such as mandoles (almonds assorted with sugar) and pastokydono (a sweet made of quince puree). You should not fail to try Robola, the famous wine of Kefalonia, a dry wine that you can easily enjoy.