Places Of Interest In Kefalonia

Kefalonia's rich historical, cultural and agricultural heritage have bewitched visitors to her shores for centuries. With a diverse and verdant landscape, many traditional villages and miles of wonderful beaches, and a perfect Mediterranean climate it is easy to see why.

There is plenty to see and do on this beautiful island. To simply explore the little villages and countryside along the coast and inland is a delight in itself. There are endless beaches to try out and for the more active or for children there are more modern attractions such as bowling centres. If you have a real sense of adventure there are also other islands near by, the Greek mainland and Ithaka.

Zante Zante, also known as Zakynthos, is the most southerly of the Ionian Islands and can be visited in a day from Kefalonia. Triangular in shape Zante island has three distinct areas: the north west is mountainous with quaint traditional mountain villages, the central region is a fertile plain rich with olive groves and vineyards and the south east is characterised by beautiful beaches.

There is something for everyone with numerous sandy beaches, mountain villages, beautiful natural scenery, watersports and good quality bars and restaurants. The locals welcome tourists with open arms and offer them the hospitality which Greece is famous for.

Navagio, meaning Shipwreck, is Zante's most famous sight and one that frequently appears in travel brochures all over the world- with its magnificent white cliffs and clear turquoise waters creating a truly spectacular place. Located in the north west of the island, this splendid beach is a must see for any traveller to Zante. Accessible by boat trips from Cape Skinari and St Nikolas harbour, visiting this beach makes for a memorable experience and a chance to take some special photos.

Ithaca Probably the most legendary of all Greek islands, Ithaca is still one of the least known. Beautiful and still unspoiled by tourism, the island of Odysseus is only a short distance from Kefalonia. These islands are undoubtedly jewels in the Ionian Sea.

Ithaca is the second smallest and the most under-developed island in the Ionian. In the trees and mountains, the impossibly blue sea and in every little village with their brightly coloured blue doors and rough walls lost under countless layers of whitewash. Nestling under stunning sunsets life is unhurried and pleasure is found in the most simple of pastimes.

Melissani and Drogarati Caves Located in the area of Karavomilos near Sami, lies the Melissani cave which is undoubtedly among Kefalonia's most breathtaking attractions. Discovered in 1951 by speleologist Yiannis Petrohilos, Melissani cave also includes a beautiful lake with crystal blue waters which is 22 metres below ground level and its maximum depth is about 30 metres.

The complete tour is done by boat, first making a round trip around the first hall with the hole in the roof. Then the boat passes the island on the opposite wall, where a small channel exists. This channel is too narrow to row, but there is a rope at the wall and the gondolier pulls the boat through. The second hall is a huge cavern with an arched roof, which was also formed by a collapse, but this cave is more to the centre of the island and because of the slope of the hill, the overlying rock is still thick enough. The second chamber has numerous big stalactites and stalagmites.

Drogarati's Cave, which is also close to Sami is 60m deep and was discovered 300 years ago, when a part of it was destroyed because of a strong earthquake, and so the entrance was created. Initially the cave was developed and used by the community of Haliotata, under the supervision of the speleologist Mrs. Petrocheilos and since 1963 it has been open to the public.

Kefalonia Robola Wine The Robola wine cooperative winery is located at Kefalonia Island, Ionian Islands, and western Greece. More specific at the plateau of the Community of Omala, in an altitude of 700 metres, in the slopes of the gorgeous and green full Ainos Mountain

In Kefalonia the unique wine, Robola, is grown and produced. A harmonious white wine of high quality, it is one of the most well known wines in Greece (Hellas). Its wonderful balanced taste, strong note and unique white colour are just a few of the qualities which have established its reputation world-wide.The cultivation of this particular grape is known to be really hard work on the slopes of Mountain Ainos, where the soil is poor and stony, and vineyards can be found as high as 800 m.

The winery is open from 9am to 8.30 pm and is well worth a visit.

Mount Ainos National Park In 1962 Mount Ainos was declared a National Park by the Greek state. The forested area of the range now covers an area of 2826 hectares. The larger part of Mount Ainos is given over exclusively to the unique Kefalonia pine (Abies cephalonica), with its straight trunk, its rich pyramid-shaped foliage and its characteristic pine needles. The species retains its purity on Kefalonia since it is protected by the isolation of the island.

The highest mountain on Kefalonia, Ainos, extends like a spinal cord through the southern part of island. It has a total length of 10 km and its highest peak is Mount Soros, at 1628m. Mount Roudi is an extension of this range to the north-west, the highest peak being Yioutari, which rises to 1125m.

Agios Giorgios Castle The medieval castle of Agios Georgios is situated near the village of Peratata, on a 320m hill. The castle was built in the 13th century to fortify the island's old capital which was housed here until 1757 AD. The castle owes its name to the large church of Agios Georgios, which is situated in the region.

The castle, along with the island, fell in succession into the hands of the Byzantines, the Franks, the Turks and the Venetians. On 24 December 1500, after a persistent battle with the Venetians, the Spanish and the people of Kefalonia, the castle was liberated from the Turks.

The severe damage to the buildings led to a restoration supervised by the mechanic Tsimaras, which lasted for four years. Until the earthquake in 1636, the castle thrived and housed storage rooms, a hospital, barracks, private residencies and a prison in which the more liberal people of Kefalonia were kept, whom the current conquerors considered dangerous.

The Castle's entire surface area is 16,000 square metres, and the walls are 600 m. long and 1,015 m. high. The three ramparts face Argostoli, the East and Peratata, respectively and includes loopholes, observatories and cannon positions. Inside the Castle, its possible to gaze at the tower called "Old Fortress" as well as part of the walls and underground arche. There is, in addition the throne of the Venetian Lord and a catholic church, where the nobles of Kefalonia were buried.

Agios Gerasimos Monastery Agios Gerasimos is the patron saint of the island. On its feast day, the monastery is swarming with pilgrims. According to tradition, he was born in Trikala of Korinthia and was a member of the famous Notaras family. He became a monk and spent twelve years in the Holy Land and five years in Zakynthos. He came to Kefalonia in 1560 and stayed in the cave of the same name, south of Argostoli.

Later, he founded the monastery and took residence there until his death on 15 August, 1579. Two years later, on 20 October, 1581, his relics were placed inside the monastery. He was canonized in 1622. At the courtyard, there is a big plane tree and a well, which is said to have been dug by the saint himself. Inside, there is a trap-door where he is said to have spent the greater part of his life. On the 15th of August and the 20th of October, big festivals and processions take place. Many miracles are connected to the saint's relics and icon.

Assos Castle The castle (Kastro) of Assos, the focal point of Assos's peninsula, was built by the Venetians in the late 16th century in order to protect the city from pirate raids. Today, one can still admire part of the walls and the arched entrance gate. In the Castle, one can see the ruins of the Venetian High Commissioner's house, the barracks and the church of Agios Markos.

From here, the view of the sea and the lovely bay of Myrtos is so unique it attracts many tourists.

Captain Correli's Mandolina Kefalonia was buzzing in the summer of 2000 with film crews and the actors Nicholas Cage Penelope Cruz and John Hurt who were starring in the film Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

Most of the filming took place in Sami, a village 9 km south of Agia Efimia, where a huge and beautiful set was built. The campsite of the Italians was built on the beach of Antisamos bay (see left). North of Agia Efimia village you will find the bay shown above (where part of the filming took place), and it can be reached in ten minutes by boat.

Myrtos beach, which is shown to the left and on top of this page was used in the film as well and is situated approximately 5 minutes by car west of Agia Efimia. Myrtos Bay (left) is where the bomb explosion on the beach took place in the film.

For those of you who don't know it - here is the story line -It is 1941 and Captain Antonio Corelli, a young Italian officer, is posted to the Greek island of Kefalonia as part of the occupying forces. At first he is ostracised by the locals, but as a conscientious but far from fanatical soldier, whose main aim is to have a peaceful war, he proves in time to be civilized, humorous and a consummate musician. When the local Doctor's daughter's letters to her fiancé - and members of the underground - go unanswered, the working of the eternal triangle seems inevitable.

You should bring the book with you and spot the locations

Fiskardo Fiskardo has an exceptionally pretty harbour where traditional Kefalonian fishing boats moor alongside the luxury yachts of the wealthy summer visitors. If you are up early enough you can buy the catch of the day - but hey, you’re on holiday! So just find yourself a bar or café and settle down with your rather expensive drink to watch the beautiful people at play – hours of fun, and you might well spot an A-list celebrity or two, it’s that kind of place. Allegedly Demi Moore and Jon Bon Jovi have been seen here and apparently Roman Abramovich parks his yacht in the harbour. The food in the busy, family-run tavernas that line the waterfront tends to be classic Greek fare such as lamb kleftiko and stifado, and of course there is always fresh fish on the menu.

Katelios Katelios is a very laid back resort which has a loyal following and grows in numbers every year. It is a real 'get away from it all' resort, with a handful of shops and a few tavernas.

The area around Katelios in the south east of Kefalonia has some of the island's most dramatic beaches. Mounda (or Kaminia), Kefalonia's major turtle nesting beach, is about a fifteen minute walk around the headland, if you go over the rocks at the end of Katelios beach.

There are two parts to the resort, the beach side development, which comprises a strip of tavernas and a couple of shops. This strip is shaded by big trees, and makes for a pleasant place to sit and watch the world go by. Katelios is renowned as one of the friendliest resorts on Kefalonia, with taverna owners and shop keepers all wanting a chat.

Originally a fishing village and a few boats still do work from the harbour, the village is increasingly reliant on tourism. Katelios does have a resident community which remains during the winter and is one of the friendliest resorts on Kefalonia.

Lixouri Lixouri is the capital of the Paliki Peninsula, the western arm of Kefalonia and is the second largest town on Kefalonia and houses Greece's second oldest Philharmonic school.

It is essentially an agricultural town, somewhat looked down upon by the more cosmopolitan inhabitants of Argostoli across the water. The town was once split in two by a river, its dry bed can still be seen in the town today, crossed by three bridges.

There are good views across the Argostoli bay to the island's capital and the Lassi peninsula of Kefalonia. There is a small ferry that crosses the channel from Argostoli. Pull up a chair in the main square for a drink in the morning or evening, or even take a trip for an adventure.

The Tipaldon Mansion was one of the buildings that survived the earthquake and today it is Lixouri's public museum and library. Its ornate rooms house a large collection of books, manuscripts and icons. There are numerous churches in Lixouri including the Church of Panagia ton Perligadon which has a festival during August.

Lourdas The small, secluded resort of Lourdas lies on a steep hill below rugged Mount Aenos. and has one of the longest beaches on the south coast of Kefalonia . The resort of Lourdas has grown up from the original village and the centre of the resort is Lourdata, where typical cafes and tavernas line the picturesque shady square.

Lourdas is a clean and well maintained village and from the centre you take the steep winding road down to the lovely sandy beach.As it is situated at the end of the road, there is little traffic passing through.

There are a number of good tavernas and bars in Lourdas, but it is a quiet resort with no noisy nightclubs.

There are a couple of nice walks along the coast towards the Monastery of Sission and Katsonas beach but aside from that, you really will need a car if you are to do anything away from the beach at Lourdas.

Skala Skala is divided into two areas. The old part of Skala is a working village with church, school and square and numerous brightly-coloured Parapigmata, or wooden buildings built for immediate relief after the earthquake. This part of town has a lot of character and is a pleasant Kefalonian village. The old part of town is still a pleasant place to sit for a drink and Skala is saved a little by the huge number of pine trees that keep the place cool and filled with a wonderful aroma.

Skala beach is admittedly dramatic, with several kilometres of sand and pebble. The resort and village are well maintained and clean and the beach cleaned regularly during the summer. Skala beach is a busy resort with a wide range of tavernas, shops, swimming pools, fairly quiet bars and the usual range of tourist amenities.

There is a self-guided trail around Skala which will help you to get a feel for the old village. It will take you to Skala's oldest villa, from Roman times, with its spectacular mosaics. The trail will also lead you to the ancient walls of the village.

The area immediately around Skala is quite flat, so makes for an interesting day out on bikes. You can also follow the coastal path to Poros, which is quite a long way but a nice walk. Leaflets are available locally on Kefalonia (Cephalonia).

Trapezaki Trapezaki is a pleasantly uncrowded and uncommercial resort located halfway between Lassi and Skala.It is ideal for those who like walking and exploring and looking for seclusion. The villas are set sparsely on the hillside with attractive fields and olive groves to explore on either side.

There are few pavements in this resort but, since Trapezaki is at the end of the road, there is not much traffic either. There is a small selection of mini-markets and tavernas scattered around the resort and the beach is about 1mile away.

The area around Trapezaki is great for exploring by foot. The olive groves make for an area shaded from the extreme heat of the summer. The area is filled with fauna and flora, especially in the cooler spring and autumn. These spread out sideways from the resort, so you are not always forced to climb uphill.

Trapezaki is surrounded by countryside though and makes for a good introduction to the wildlife of the island.

Spartia Spartia is a quaint and traditional Greek village which is set on the south coast of the island, between the airport (20mins away) and St Thomas. This pretty little village is slighty inland from the coast sits on a hillside above the beach.

At the top of the village the small square is dominated by a large church with a tall bell tower and attractive dome. The village enjoys several wonderful tavernas, cafe's and a mini-market which has varying opening times outside of high season. Further along the coast from Sparta a small ferry port connects Kefalonia with its neighbouring island, Zakynthos.

The narrow streets were originally laid out in a maize type fashion to deter pirate attacks. For the same reason the houses had high walls with small windows. Sadly, as in most of Kefalonia the old village was completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1953 but the narrow streets remain.

Kefalonia's more lively resort of Lassi and the capital of Argostoli are close by for those who like a little more nightlife.

Argostoli Argostoli is the main town of this Greek Ionian Island where a large proportion of Kefalonia’s inhabitants live today. Argostoli has been the capital of Kefalonia since 1757 when the political centre was moved here after the former fortified capital, the castle of St George, was damaged by an earthquake.

This harbour town is very much a modern town with most of the former grandeur of the town lost with its buildings in the great earthquake of 1953. Livostroto is the main shopping street of the town, where you can pick up gifts and clothes. The fruit and vegetable market, bakeries and other food shops are found mainly along the harbour front road.

Argostoli has many tavernas in the centre of town, by Valiano Square as well as along the waterfront road. There are several musuems to visit on your villa holiday including the Korgialenio Folklore museum which has traditional Greek clothes and embroidery, as well as many pre-earthquake photographs of Kefalonia (Cephalonia).

Svoronata Situated on the South coast of the Island, Svoronata is a sprawling village which has slowly developed into a small resort due to its proximity to 3 sandy beaches. Set on a gentle hillside the area is largely flat making it ideal to explore on foot. The countryside around is filled with olive groves and cypress trees and there are magnificent panoramic views from the dramatic green of Mount Ainos to the beautiful blue of the Ionian Ocean.

The village was one of the few left relatively untouched by the earthquake of 1953 and many beautiful old buildings survived, including the church of St Nicholas with its imposing bell tower. Although only a short drive from the airport, the area's relaxed simple charm make it popular with couples and families.

The village boasts three mini-markets, a handful of tavernas, a couple of bars and a petrol station. For those wanting more exciting nightlife the livelier resort of Lassi is only a 15 minute drive. Nearby are the beaches of Ammes, Ai Helis and Avithos. The capital of Argostoli is just a 20 minute drive away. In recent years a small marina has been built close to the village at Agia Pelagia. Originally a small cove and home to local fishing vessels it has been developed to attract the many passing summer yachts.

Lassi With its beautiful sandy beaches and large array of shops, bars and tavernas Lassi is an ideal location for those wishing for a more lively resort. One of the first resorts developed after the airport was built in 1971, Lassi is conveniently located between the airport and the capital of Argostoli.

Lassi is famed for its coast line and especially for the 2 superb soft sand beaches of Makris Gialos (Long Beach) and Platis Gialos (Wide Beach). Both beaches have sunbeds, water sports, and beach bars.

The resort centre is only a stone&rsquo,s throw from these 2 beautiful beaches, built either side of a kilometre stretch of road and boasts numerous bars, restaurants, super-markets, souvenir shops and 3 ATM&rsquo,s.

From Lassi the wonderful view of the sunsets, the uninhabited island of Vardianis and Paliki Peninsula are stunning.

Lassi is a resort which caters for all age groups but for more cosmopolitan night life, Argostoli is easily reached by foot or a short taxi ride/drive.

On the hillside there is a church built around a cave inhabited by Saint Gerasimos the Patron Saint of the island, who came to Kefalonia in 1555. He is believed to be blessed with the gift of healing people with mental diseases.

Before it was developed, the area was a favourite location for the islanders May Day picnics.

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