Kefalonia sits to the west of mainland Greece in the Ionian chain of islands. It enjoys a wet, mild winter meaning that the island retains a green lushness throughout even the hottest summers.
The island’s capital Argostoli, benefits from a sheltered location, sitting as it does on the eastern shore of the Koutavos Lagoon.
It’s a small, bustling town with it’s main pedestrianised shopping street Lithostrotos (lit, “stone-paved street”) offering upmarket stores and boutiques to rival any in Paris or London.
The largest of the Ionian Islands with its craggy mountains, unique fir tree that grow on Mt. Enos (1,627m.) that grow nowhere else in the world, small villages and good beaches.
Argostol i, the islands capital is a modern, energetic town with good nightlife and shops. The town has few buildings from the past, due to the earthquake that destroyed the town in 1953. The Archaeological museum and the History and Folklore Museums have good collections from the areas past. Daytrips by boat to the island of Drogorati, with the cave of Melissani a partially covered lake, where when the sun shine overhead the rays make a multitude of colours on the water.
Sami, the main port of the island situated in a bay with a backdrop of steep hills. The beach at Antisamos is splendid set among of lush vegetation.
Assos, with whitewashed and subdued coloured dwellings is a treasure. The village suffered badly in the 1953 earthquake, but with contributions from the city of Paris , the village has lovingly restored.
Fiskardo, with cypress trees as a backcloth it is quite pleasing, with its fine Venetian Buildings. The area is popular with divers and a good anchorage for sailors.
Argostoli boasts theatres, museums and ornate churches, most of which were rebuilt following the devastating earthquake of 1953 that levelled the island.
Many of the island’s villages are picture-postcard pretty and small resorts like Assos still retain a charming, unhurried, traditional way of life about them, despite the steady influx of tourism which has boosted the Kefalonian economy as it has done on so many Greek islands.
I first visited Kefalonia in the early nineties and instantly fell in love with the landscape, the people and the relaxed way of life. The island can be comfortably explored within a week using either the local bus network or a rented car. Best time to go? – for my money, early September, a “shoulder” month towards the end of the tourist season when you will find the weather lovely without being stiflingly hot, the sea perfect for bathing, everything on the island still open for business but the mass crowds of July and August long-since departed.
Useful InfoThe island is exceptionally mountainous with the highest peak, Mount Ainos reaching in excess of 1,600 meters. Most of the major resorts are found to the south and west of the island but even these have been restricted in their development by the unyielding terrain. Although the largest island in the Ionians, Kefalonia is still relatively small and measures around 60 kilometers long by 35 kilometers wide. Few roads traverse the island due to the topography although the north-south routes are well surfaced and allow for fairly easy access to most areas.