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Explore Kefalonia

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A place to find your best self
 

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Attractions of Kefalonia

Kefalonia is the largest island in the Ionian Sea. It has an area of 781.5 square kilometers and the population at last census was around 40,000 residents.

According to tradition the name derives from the first inhabitants on the island, the mythical hero Cephalus. It is believed that Kefalonia was created during a major earthquake, something that probably occurred as it is located right on a major seismic fault in the Ionian Sea.

Kefalonia is widely referred into the ancient transcripts saved and recovered nowadays, while Homer’s Ithaca is well known throughout the world through the famous Homer’s epics, which widely have been studied.

Historically, alongside with the Greek civilization and the spirit that prevailed in the following century, Kefalonia managed to create and retain its unique and specific local character. The strategic location of Kefalonia within the Mediterranean Sea helped the trading expansion. Because of all those unique characteristics, Kefalonia managed to have prosperity, progress and healthiness, as well as cultural blossoming.

Kefalonia is called the “island of bizarre” because of the number of unusual phenomena recorded on the island, and the “peculiar” (in a good way) behavior of its inhabitants. The coastline and its length of 254 km, reveals a rich horizontal division. Strips of land protruding into the sea, forming the peninsulas of Palikiin the west and Erisou in the north. The sea also forms many broad coves and bays. The main ports are the port Sami, which is opposite Ithaka, the port of Poroslocated at southeast of Sami and the port of Argostolito the west of the island, which was a natural strategic naval base in the ancient times. The bays of Myrtosand Athera in the north and the bays of Lourda and Katelios in the south boast charming beaches attract many visitors each year. The geological phenomena of Kefalonia are the so called Katavothres (water sinks), theDrogarati cave and the cavelake of Melisani.

The island boasts many attractions, ranging from the natural landscape and beaches and ending at the great creations of those who passed through Kefalonia during the centuries. The most important are the Castle of St. George, the cave-lake of Melisani, the Drogarati cave with its

stalagmites and stalactites, the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli, the monastery of St. Gerasimos, the beaches of Myrtos, Antisamos, Xi, Lourdas and many more that can be seen on Attractions and Beaches section of this guide.

Nutrition in Kefalonia is similar to other Ionian islands, with some variations that include local recipes and delicious local dishes. The traditional cuisine of Kefalonia includes all elements of the Ionian and Mediterranean nutrition: meat, fish, fruits, vegetables. Some of the most popular dishes of the island is the meat pie, the Bourbourelia, which is a kind of pea soup with salt, pepper and olive oil, Aliada, which is also known as skordalia and is a purely local dish and consists of mashed potatoes with sharp garlic sauce and vegetables, Strapatsada, eggs and tomatoes fried in a pan with local olive oil, salt and pepper, Bakaliaropita, which is a pie stuffed with a mixture of cod fish and rice baked in the oven and Chicken “tserepa”.

In addition you will find a wide variety of high quality local products such as Kefalonian feta cheese, olives and olive oil, the famous Robola wine and sweets like Mantoles (nougat), Amygdalopita (almond pie with syrup), pastokidono (quince paste), etc.

Argostoli

Argostoli is the island's largest city and is the commercial and administrative center of Kefalonia. Here is the largest harbor of the island and the most crowded place. A single ride is not enough to get to know Argostoli, as the city has many places that deserve your attention and an important commercial centre that will whet your appetite for shopping. The heart of the city beats around the main square and between the paved and Sitemporon street in which they operate many shops, cafes and bars. It is also worth a walk along the coastal road Antonis Tritsis, which is covered with pebbles that create wonderful designs. It is a walk to enjoy at any time of day. It is also ideal for evening walks, especially on moonlit nights. The bay of Argostoli, surrounding it, is one of the safest natural harbors in the world. The city has a rich library, the Korgialeneio. You will also find the Government House, the Archaeological Museum, the Court, the Municipal Theatre and many neoclassical buildings. On the coastal road, you come across the city market with greengrocers and fishermen. In the harbor we see many boats tied up by Greek and foreign visitors as well as the pier, where securely tie cruise ships that give tourism life to neighboring areas. In the central square, we find bakeries, restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels. In the paved street are shops for every need. This is the pedestrian shopping street of the island where you will find several café / bars and snack shops. The cosmopolitan Argostoli is suitable for staying. Here you will find hotels of all categories and rooms to let. The nightlife is intense and satisfying all tastes. A holiday in the wonderful Argostoli will be unforgettable.
 

History


Since 1600 it seems to have begun to populate the region near Koutavos and especially from the side which today is the area of the bridge and Sisiotissa. The solution for a new town, which has better specifications as possible, with first the safe harbor, will occur later, when in 1757 is decided to transfer the capital from St. George's Castle nearby Koutavos, where there was a settlement of mostly by fishermen, a seaport of the Castle called Tener della Scala di Cefalonia. Previously the port was there in Koutavos, Porto de la Zephalonia or Porto de l 'Arsenal, in the recess. From 1757 and onwards Argostoli began gradually to grow. When the Ionian Islands passed to the British around 1810, Kefalonia and other Ionian Islands had its own English governor. One of them was De Bosset, who has made many projects in Argostoli and was the creator of Argostoli Bridge The bridge is one kilometer long linking Argostoli to the opposite side of Argostoli bay. The old town of Argostoli was very picturesque, since there were many large buildings with Italian influences in their architecture. The seismic city was characterized by several impressive mansions andpalaces, with Italian influences in the architecture of the houses with Renaissance and Baroque elements. Argostoli was also the second city in Greece that electricity supply arrived. One of the "mysteries" of Argostoli are the sinks "Katavothres", a rare geological phenomenon.

Lassi

The peninsula of Lassi is located 1 km southwest of Argostoli and is one of the most popular areas of the island. It boasts for its natural beauty, intense nightlife and tourist infrastructure that meet every requirement. You will find restaurants and taverns which you can try the unique flavors of Kefalonia cuisine and recipes from the international cuisine. In Lassi you can visit the Lighthouse of Saint Theodore and the sinks, while you will find two of the most popular and well-organized beaches, Makris Gialos and Platis Gialos.

Skala

Skala is the southernmost village of Kefalonia and one of the most well-organized tourist resorts. It is located 30 kilometers from Argostoli. The area is of naturalistic and archaeological interest. Near the picturesque village, are excavated ruins of a Roman villa with impressive mosaics. Also, just two kilometers from the village you will see the ruins of Apollo temple. In the area of Skala is the famous cave Sakkos, in which objects dating from prehistoric times, were found. The port area is the stunning beach. It is a long beach that attracts a large number of bathers and is one of the busiest on the island. There is also the opportunity for water sports. And if you avoid the crowded beaches, small secluded beaches of the region is ideal for you.In Skala, several hotels and apartments for rent operate, which provide to their guests a comfortable accommodation in a peaceful environment.

Sami

Sami is the first town one encounters when traveling to Kefalonia by ferry, from Patras, and it is also the main harbor. Surrounded by lush mountains in a bay, Sami in Kefalonia, is a safe harbor and an important stop for many destinations, not only from Greece (Patras, Igoumenitsa, Lobster, Corfu), but also from Italy (Bari - Brindisi). Also in its marina can be accommodated many yachts, since it has all the necessary infrastructure.
On the hill above the city is its ancient history. The excavations continue and bring to light many important discoveries. Ruins of an ancient castle (Paleokastro) and Kyatis ancient Acropolis, where is the monastery of St. Fanenton.
In the area of Sami 17 caves sites have been recorded, which is unique for Greece. The most remarkable and widely known are the, Melissani cave in Karavomylos and Drogarati cave near the village Haliotata.
Sami area became more known worldwide, from the filming of "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" (Nicholas Cage, Penelope Cruz, Irene Papas, etc.) from both the shots in town and the beautiful beaches (beach Sami, Dihalia and Antisamos).
The city has all the services of a modern city that one can have. From Sami you can visit Ithaca, either by boats that organize day-trips daily, or ferry boat. Sami has daily connections to Patras, Ithaca, Lefkada, Astakos - from May to October, as well as with ports in Italy during the summer period. You can use Sami area as your base to see everything on the island.
 

History


Sami existed since prehistoric times. The history of Sami starts by Homer, who mentions it as part of the kingdom of the leader of Kefalonia, Ulysses. It is the period during which Kefalonia participated in the Trojan war. In Sami area, traces of organized habitation from this period, have been found. The Vigla hill may have been Mycenaean citadel. The 5th century BC. Kefalonia was divided in fourcities - states : Krani, Sami, Pronnon and Pallis. These cities followed an independent policy. The frequent, hostile relations between them are proved by the powerful classic - Hellenistic Acropolis, testified by the surviving parts of the bimodal important citadel of Sami. The remains of this period show a very well organized and prosperous city. During the 2nd century B.C. Sami attracts the attention of the Romans, due to its strategic position and thus in 189 B.C. campaigned against them in order to occupy the island. From the cities of Kefalonia only Sami decides to change its stance and resist vigorously. The siege lasted for 4 months and was handed over the city in 188 BC,following the transfer of the siege artillery from Amvrakeia! After the looting that followed, the Romans decided to reorganize and use it as a stopover when travelling between Greece and Italy. Several archaeological finds indicate intense building activity. The raids in the 5th and 6th century AD and destructive earthquakes, in combination with other factors, contributed to a gradual decline and final abandonment of the city.

Agia Efimia [Agia Efimia]

St. Efimia is one of the most beautiful seaside villages of Kefalonia, 9 km from Sami and 34 km from the capital, Argostoli. On the way from Sami to Agia Efimia you will see a small rocky hill side from one side and on the other side you will be enjoying the beautiful turquoise color of the sea with countless small bays, where you can leave your car or your bike and enjoy swimming. Pebbles, rocks and white plaques, to the edge of the sea create "smallprivate beaches" magnificent and beautiful, with clear water and blue color dominates in all its shades. St. Efimia has a relatively good layout, quiet streets and lush vegetation - almost all the yards of the houses are full of flowers and colors. The small port of Saint Euphemia is full of yachts and sailboats, every summer, from around the globe. The region is considered to be a cosmopolitan resort. In St. Efimia, you will find everything to make your stay or your passing through more enjoyable. From supermarkets, butchers with fresh local meat, pharmacy, gift shops -souvenirs, traditional bread bakeries as well as several taverns - fish taverns at reasonable prices. For drink and coffee there are cafes and bars overlooking the dozens of moored boats that at night with the lights give them a festive atmosphere in the small harbor. You will also find a bureau for diving for those who want to have a different picture of the island.

Places in Kefalonia

Places in Kefalonia

Assos

Assos is one of the most beautiful and picturesque villages of Kefalonia amphitheater built around the peninsula, surrounded by lush areas. The village retains its authentic traditional Ionian architecture and the rich vegetation of tall pines and cypress trees meets the blue waters of the Ionian and create an idyllic setting that only nature could create.
Near Assos you will find wonderful beaches. Apart from the beach with clear shallow waters, there are many small, hidden, beaches you will surely love. The best beach of Assos is Myrtos beach. It is described as one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe and is a registered trademark of Kefalonia. You, therefore, have to visit it. Old capital, in 1593 and main port area of Erisos, with the famous Venetian fortress of the 16th century and the old rural prisons that operated until 1953. Specifically, in the late 15th century the Venetians built a fortress that is maintained until today. The castle of Assos had significant military importance. Along with the castle of St. George, were the two most important strongholds of Kefalonia and made Assos the capital of the north side of the island.
The distance from the rest of the island, made it difficult to create a large urban center in Assos. In the following centuries that the administrative center was moved to Argostoli, Assos Castle and that of St George, which was the capital of the island, declined. For some decades the castle of Assos was used by the modern Greek state as a prison. Today reminds visitors the old glories. From the ruins you can admire the magnificent views of the Ionian Sea.

Lixouri

Lixouri is the main town in the Paliki peninsula and the second largest town of Kefalonia after Argostoli.
It is located in an area of outstanding beauty. It is no coincidence that the locals call it Piccolo Paris and belongs to the most popular tourist destinations in Greece. A characteristic of the area is its diverse territory. The green hills alternate with beautiful beaches and create landscapes of unique aesthetics that enchant nature lovers.
During your stay in Lixouri do not forget to visit the Koronatou monastery and Kipouraion monastery. These two Byzantine monasteries guard rare sacred monuments. In Palliki there are several beaches that meet the needs of all swimmers. You'll find cosmopolitan, crowded beaches, and small secluded beaches. Among the most famous are the Platia Ammos on the road to the village Kamiranata, Megas Lakos located south of Lixouri and its length exceeds 5 km. Nearby is Vatsa beach. Northwest of Lixouri you will find the beach of Xi. While one of the most famous in the area is Kounopetra. It took its name from the rock that was moving rhythmically in the sea. This phenomenon was stopped after the 1953 earthquake.
In the bay of Livadi is the wetland Valtos - Livadi, which is one of the most important on the island. It occupies an area of 500 acres. In its waters flow more than 100 streams. Many species of birds find shelter in the area of the wetland. Like white herons, swans, fasonetes, mallards, etc. In the tourism sector Lixouri stands out for its infrastructure. Hotels and apartments provide comfortable accommodation to all visitors. While the taverns and restaurants you will taste the delights of Kefalonian cuisine. You will not miss the opportunities for nightlife. Bars, clubs with live music, satisfy all musical preferences of visitors.
 

History, culture and education


The ancient city of Pali is already mentioned by Pafsanias. Just a few meters south of it, during the Middle Ages, Lixouri was founded was first mentioned in a letter to the senate of Venice in 1534. Around 1800 was an important administrative center with various services and secular life. The author Andreas Laskaratos described and satirized different, provocative for its time, social phenomena and behaviors in the town of Lixouri. In 1867 and 1953 Lixouri was destroyed by earthquakes.
The historic buildings since then are now a few, and are examples of a rich little town in the 18th and 19th century. Lixouri changed radically after 1800 when roads, churches and many public buildings were built. In the period the English domination - occupation of the Ionian Islands, Lixouri was the seat of the Concorde Club, which played an important role in the union of the islands with Greece. What characterizes Lixouri, is its remarkable career in arts and learning. The first philharmonic orchestra of the island was founded in Lixouri, which is one of the oldest in Greece, after that of Corfu.