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Explore Kefalonia

The island to reveal your best self!

Places to visit

Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian islands with an area of 786,6 square kilometers and a population of around 40,000 residents.

According to the legends, the island’s name derives from the first inhabitant of the island, the mythical hero Cephalus and it is believed that Kefalonia was created during a major earthquake.

Kefalonia is widely referred into ancient transcripts saved but also recovered recently, while Homer’s Ithaca is well known throughout the world through the famous Homer’s epics.

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 and progress, as well as cultural blossoming. The coastline of 254 km, reveals a rich horizontal division. Strips of land protrude into the sea, forming the peninsulas of Paliki to the west and Erisos in the north. The sea also forms many broad coves and bays. The main ports are Sami, which is opposite to Ithaka, Poros which is located southeast of Sami and Argostoli to the west of the island, which was a natural strategic naval base in the ancient times.

The island boasts many attractions, ranging from the natural landscape and beaches to the great creations of those who passed through Kefalonia during the centuries. The most important attractions that should not be missed are:

  1. The Castle of St. George
  2.  The cave-lake of Melisani
  3. The Drogarati cave with its stalagmites and stalactites
  4. The Archaeological Museum of Argostoli
  5. The monastery of St. Gerasimos
  6. The beaches of Myrtos, Antisamos, Xi, Lourdas and many more

The traditional cuisine of Kefalonia includes all elements of the Ionian and Mediterranean nutrition: meat, fish, pulses, fruits & vegetables. Some of the most popular dishes of the island are:

  1. the meat pie
  2. Bourbourelia which is a local a pea soup
  3. Aliada (also known as “skordalia”) which consists of mashed potatoes with sharp garlic sauce and vegetables
  4. Strapatsada which is eggs and tomatoes fried in a pan with local olive oil, salt and pepper
  5. Bakaliaropita which is a cod fish and rice pie baked in the oven
  6. Tserepa chicken

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) and more.

Argostoli

Argostoli is the island’s largest city, the commercial and administrative center of Kefalonia. 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 center that will whet your appetite for shopping.
The heart of the city beats around the main square and between the pedestrian street and Sitemporon street where you will find many shops, cafés and bars. It is worth taking 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 but it is even more beautiful in the evenings. Argostoli bay is one of the safest natural harbors in the world. In Argostoli you will also find the Town Hall, the Archaeological Museum, the Municipal Theatre, the city’s rich public library and many neoclassical buildings. On the coastal road, you come across the city market with greengrocers and fishermen. In the central square, you can find bakeries, restaurants, cafés, bars and hotels. In the pedestrian street you will find shops for every need. Finally, the nightlife is intense and satisfying all tastes. A holiday in wonderful Argostoli will be unforgettable.

History

The region started to be populated back in 1600. The new town was developed at a later stage when in 1757 they decided to transfer the capital from St. George’s Castle nearby Koutavos, where there was a settlement of mostly by fishermen and the seaport of the Castle called Tener della Scala di Cefalonia. From that time onwards, Argostoli began gradually to grow. When the Ionian Islands passed to the British around 1810, Kefalonia and other Ionian Islands had their own English governor. One of them was De Bosset, who developed many projects in Argostoli and he was the creator of Argostoli Bridge. This bridge is one kilometer long, linking Argostoli to the opposite side of Argostoli bay. The picturesque old town of Argostoli has many large buildings with Italian architectural influences. The seismic city was characterized by several impressive mansions and palaces, with Italian influences in the architecture of the houses with Renaissance and Baroque elements. Argostoli was the second city in Greece that acquired electricity supply. One of the mysteries of Argostoli is the water sinks called 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. Here will find restaurants and taverns where you can try the unique flavors of Kefalonian cuisine as well as recipes from around the world. In Lassi you can visit the Lighthouse of Saint Theodore, but you will also find two of the most popular and well-organized beaches, Makris Gialos & Platis Gialos.

Skala

Skala is the southernmost village of Kefalonia, located 30 kilometers from Argostoli and it is one of the most well-organized tourist resorts. The area is of naturalistic and archaeological interest. Near the picturesque village, you may see the excavated ruins of a Roman villa with impressive mosaics. Also, just two kilometers from the village you will see the ruins of the Apollo temple. In the area of Skala you can find the famous cave Sakkos, in which you can see objects dating back to prehistoric times. At the port area you will find the stunning long beach that attracts a large number of bathers and is one of the busiest on the island where you have also the opportunity to do water sports.
If you prefer to avoid the crowded beaches, the small secluded beaches of the region are ideal for you.

Sami

Sami is the first town one encounters when traveling to Kefalonia by ferry from Patras and it is also the island’s main harbor which is surrounded by lush mountains.  This safe harbor is an important stop for many destinations, not only from Greece (Patras, Igoumenitsa, Astakos, Corfu), but also from Italy (Bari & Brindisi).
All the necessary infrastructure is there to accommodate also yachts.

Excavations at the hill above the city are ongoing and continue to bring to light many important discoveries. Ruins of an ancient castle (Paleokastro) and Kyatis ancient Acropolis are just a few of the findings. In the area of Sami 17 caves sites have been recorded. The most remarkable and widely known sights are the Melissani cave in Karavomylos and Drogarati cave near the village Haliotata.

Sami became more known worldwide, from the filming of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin from both the shots in town and the beautiful beaches (Sami beach, Dihalia and Antisamos).

From Sami you can visit Ithaca, either to spend some days there or just for a day trip. Sami has daily connections to Patras, Ithaca, Lefkada, Astakos - from May to October-, as well as with ports in Italy during the summer period.

History

Sami existed since the prehistoric era. The history of Sami starts by Homer, who mentions it as part of the kingdom of the leader of Kefalonia, Ulysses. This is the period during which Kefalonia participated in the Trojan War and traces of organized habitation from this period, have been found. The Vigla hill may have been a Mycenaean citadel. The 5th century BC. Kefalonia was divided in four cities - 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 second century B.C. Sami attracts the attention of the Romans, due to its strategic position and thus in 189 B.C. they 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 the city was handed over 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 findings 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

St. Efimia is one of the most beautiful seaside villages of Kefalonia and it is only 9 km away from Sami and 34 km from the capital, Argostoli. On the way from Sami to Agia Efimia you will see a small rocky hill from one side and on the other side you will be enjoying the beautiful turquoise colors of the sea with countless small bays, where you can leave your car or your bike and take a swim. Pebbles, rocks and white plaques at the edge of the sea create magnificent small private beaches, 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. Every summer the small port of Saint Euphemia is full of yachts and sailboats 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. There are several cafés and bars overlooking the dozens of moored boats that when lighted up at night give a festive atmosphere in the small harbor. Here you will also find a scuba diving center!

Places to visit

Places to visit

Assos

Assos is one of the most beautiful and picturesque villages of Kefalonia! It is built amphitheatrically 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. This beauty meets the blue waters of the Ionian and create an idyllic setting that only nature could create. Near Assos you will find wonderful small and hidden beaches you will surely love. The best and most famous beach of Assos is Myrtos beach. It is described as one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe and is a trademark of Kefalonia.

Assos used to be the old capital in 1593 and Erisos the main port area, 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, they 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, the city declined. For some decades the castle of Assos was used by the modern Greek state as a prison. Today it reminds visitors the old glories and 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.

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 Kipoureon monastery. These two Byzantine monasteries guard rare sacred monuments. In Palliki there are several beaches that meet the needs of all swimmers. You will find cosmopolitan, crowded beaches, but also small secluded ones. Among the most famous are Platia Ammos and Megas Lakos (5 km long). Nearby you can visit Vatsa beach and to the northwest of Lixouri you will find the beach of Xi. One of the most famous beach in the area is Kounopetra. It took its name from the rock that was moving rhythmically in the sea. This phenomenon stopped after the 1953 earthquake. At Livadi bay you will find the wetland Valtos - Livadi, which is one of the most important on the island. It occupies an area of 500 acres. More than 100 streams flow in its waters. Many species of birds such as white herons, swans and mallards find shelter in the area of the wetland.  Lixouri offers several accommodation options while the taverns and restaurants invite you to taste the delights of Kefalonian cuisine. Bars, clubs with live music are there to satisfy all musical preferences of visitors.

History

The ancient city of Pali was mentioned by famous Pafsanias. Just a few meters south of it, during the Middle Ages, Lixouri was founded and was first mentioned in a letter to the senate of Venice in 1534. Around 1800 Lixouri 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. Only a few historic buildings have been saved since then 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.