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Useful hints and travel information for a Kefalonia holiday
The Greek island of Kefalonia is situated in the Ionian Sea just off the Greek mainland. Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands and has developed a good tourist infrastructure. There are still areas with unspoiled nature as well, and in many of them beautifully flowering orchids can be found.
Popular beaches for a holiday on Kefalonia are the award-winning pebble beach of Myrtos in the northwest of the island, and the sandy beaches in the southwest near the town of Lixouri and in the south between Argostoli and Skala.
The numerous tourist attractions in Kefalonia include above all the stalactite caves of Drogarati and Melissani. The fascinating world of these caves conveys unforgettable impressions. In the cave of Melissani, for instance, the waters of a subterranean lake are flooded with light at midday, which produces the most amazing colourful light effects.
No introduction to Kefalonia would be complete without mentioning its culinary specialties. Kefalonian cuisine is famous for dried cod and Sofrito, both testifying a strong Venetian influence. For those who have a sweet tooth there is Komfeto, a soft nougat sweet made from almonds that is very popular on the island. The white Robola wine is also produced on Kefalonia. According to legend, Kephalos, the son of Hermes, brought winemaking to the Ionian island that was called after him. Experts, however, insist on the less imaginative version that the Robola vine was imported from Italy about 400 years ago.
Pictures from Kefalonia
Villages of Kefalonia
With a population of 13,800, the capital of Kefalonia is situated in the south-west of the island on a side arm of the Gulf of Argostoli. Argostoli is clean and well-kept and may even give a slightly clinical impression to visitors. The town has a well-organized plan that appears functional and practical in comparison to other island capitals, and the town has the reputation of being wealthy. This isn’t surprising, as a lot of wealthy Greeks have settled in the south-west. During the summer months, many large and impressive yachts anchor in the harbour. This is also where daily activities take place and where the fruit market, numerous cafes, restaurants and fast food places can be found. It is after dark, though, that the town really comes to life. The main centres of activity are at the ‘Platia Valianou’, the centre of the town, and Lithostrotou Street with its shops and cafes. Those interested in museums will find what they are looking for in Valianou Street south of the Platia where they can visit the Archaeological Museum and the Town Hall. Argostoli also has a philharmonic orchestra, the theatre ‘O Kefalos’ and the Korgialenios Library. Loggerhead Sea Turtles are a special attraction at the harbour where fishermen feed them leftovers. The harbour area is not a good place to look for accommodation, as it is far too noisy, but there are numerous hotels, guesthouses and apartments throughout the town.
In a quiet bay in the south west of Kefalonia lies the enchanting fishing village of Assos, connected to the peninsula of the same name only by a narrow land bridge. Assos is the perfect destination for those who want a quiet and relaxing Greek holiday. The village has one of the most beautiful harbours of Kefalonia and from the small jetty, visitors can watch the colourful fishing boats and enjoy a spectacular view. The main attraction is Assos Castle, perched on the highest point of the peninsula. Built in 1558 as a refuge for the Kefalonians, it was later turned into a fortress by the Venetians although the extension works were never completed. Assos also has two pebble beaches and has become very popular with tourists.
In the north of Kefalonia lies the charming harbour town of Fiskardo. It is definitely worth a visit because it was the only place that was hardly affected by the big earthquake in 1953. The historic houses in Fiskardo are still there for visitors to see, with their colourful shutters and old facades. The idyllic harbour attracts countless visitors and is a perfect subject for photography. And above all the 200-year-old houses resides the church with its blue and white bell tower. The little town is a magnet for sailing yachts, and all the way along the harbour there are numerous shops, cafes and restaurants. The larger hotels are situated outside Fiskardo, but there are also rooms for hire in historic buildings, many of which have been modernized and turned into comfortable apartments. Sights not to be missed are the ruins of a basilica on the northern cape of the peninsula and the remnants of a Venetian lighthouse.
Lourdata is not only the name of the village, but also the name of the long beach in the south of Kefalonia, not far from the island’s capital of Argostoli. The small resort is particularly popular with British tourists and has not lost its charming and sedate character. Lourdati is located at the foot of the black Enos Mountain and is surrounded by lush, green countryside. Even during the hot summer months, this region never suffers from drought. Water supply is exemplary because the dense fir trees act as a perfect water storage. The fields are well cultivated too. The town centre is very small and Lourdata only has about 150 inhabitants. There are sufficient supermarkets, cafes and taverns, and accommodation is easy to find too. The sandy beach of Lourdata is very long and perfect for beach walks, and there are motor boats for hire near the harbour where you can find excellent fish taverns as well.
Sami, the most important harbour town in Kefalonia, is located on the east coast of the island. Despite serving ferry connections to the mainland (Patras) and Ithaca, Sami has not lost its serene quality. It is a convenient starting point for excursions to various sights in Kefalonia, e.g. Lake Melissani is only two kilometres away, the Drogarati Caves four – and Ithaca is half-an-hour’s crossing at most. Sami also has a lot to offer, there are numerous cafes and restaurants and different types of accommodation to choose from. The surrounding countryside is particularly scenic, and the ancient acropolis of Sami is definitely worth a visit, as is the monastery of Agios Amendes, both only about 4 kilometres away. The region is perfect for those who like walking, but for a relaxing day by the sea, the beach of Antisamos is right there as well. Even horse riding is on the cards, from the “Bavarian Stables” where you can go for a hack through olive groves, to nearby sights or to Mount Aenos.
About 39 kilometres from Argostoli, the village of Skala is a tourist magnet due to its beautiful beaches. Skala has adapted its infra-structure to the fact that it has become mainly a British holiday resort, which is reflected in the products offered in the supermarkets and the menus in the restaurants. It is a very busy place and accommodation has to be pre-booked during the peak season. The pebble beach is lovely and long though, the water is crystal clear and there are various types of water sports available.
Recommended Kefalonia hotels
Aura Boutique Hotel
Aura Boutique Hotel is located in Lixouri Village, offering rooms and suites that boast Ionian Sea views. Free WiFi access is available in all areas.... (more)
Avra Private Suites
Right above the sandy Makris Gialos Beach, set in a fruit-tree grove, Avra Private Suites offers luxurious accommodation with free Wi-Fi. The self-catered suites feature a balcony overlooking the Ionian Sea.... (more)