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Lying on the western coast of Greece, Kefalonia also known as Cephalonia, is the largest of the Ionian Islands. This island provides its visitors with a traditional picture of a Greek Island. This is the island for you if you want to see a glimpse of Greece unspoilt by time.
The Ionian Islands are the greenest islands of the Greek Waters. Kefalonia is covered in hundreds of species of wild flowers, including a huge variety of orchids; it is also the home to a unique species of fir trees. Its scenery is rustic and dramatic, with towering mountains and drastic cliff sides. There are also caves all over the island, different types, sizes, all of which provide a different experience.
As with most of the Greek Islands, Kefalonia is covered in History and is an open air display of all the periods/cultures/wars/battles/civilizations that have visited/stayed/affected or have been imprinted on the island.
Cephalonia's coastline is breathtaking and there are a number of incredible beaches that lie along its shores. Some of the beaches have been voted to be some of the best of the Greek Islands.
There are all types of Accommodation on the island anything from rooms to rent, small boutique hotels, big hotels and Villas and houses for rent.
This stunning island was added to the "must visit" list when it went under the Hollywood spotlight during the filming of Louis de Bernieres' "Captain Corelli's Mandolin".island
This island is definitely a must visit, not because it's the backdrop to a Hollywood film but because it is one of the most scenic islands in the Mediterranean and because it is so rich in culture and Tradition. If you do take the opportunity to rent a car or bike and explore all it has to offer.
Cephalonia is an extremely interesting from an archaeological point of view. Archaeologists have found items dating as far back as 40,000 BP.
The most important Era was the Mycenae Era 1500-1100 BC. Some of the most important findings of this Era were found on Kefalonia, including the very recently discovered Tholos Tomb which dates back to 1300 BC.
As most of the Greek Islands over the years/centuries a number of different people took over the island. The Venetians took over in 1185 after the Byzantine period and they were defeated in 1479 by the Ottoman Empire. The island was then taken over by the Spanish-Venetian army only a few decades after the Turks began their rule. After changing hands a number of times between the Italians, the French and the Spanish Cephalonia became a Greek State in 1864.
After finally returning to the Greeks, Cephalonia again was occupied by mainly Italians and Germans during World War II.
In Argostoli (the Main Town) you will find the Archaeological Museum which houses the most important collection of artefacts from the Mycenae Era, in the whole of Greece.
Other Museums on the island are:
Korgialeneios Museum in Argostoli (this is under the Korgialeneios Library)
Kosmetatos Foundation in Argostoli
Iakovatios-Library in Lixouri
Museum in Fiscardo
Things to do
Caves: Cephalonia is covered in caves. However you must go and see The Caves of Drogarati. They have kept cool for thousands of years (and is a great relief in the hot sun). The ceilings and floors of them are covered in stalagmites and stalactites of all sorts of colours and shapes.
The Lake of Melissani, is also a must see of the island and is located very close to the Caves of Drogarati. The lake is accessible by walking down a ramp, as it was an underground lake, discovered after the "roof" fell in. Once you are down the ramp you will clamber into a small boat and will be taken around this rare splendour.
The Village of Kourkoumelata, this is a picturesque village located on the south side of the island. This island was rebuilt by the Vergotis brothers after the 1953 earthquake. It is worth a visit and a little wander around.
Castles: You should go a take a look at the Assos Castle and St. George Castle.
The Village of Fiskardo, which is on the Northern most tip of the Island, is a stunning little seaside village that combines Venetian, Greek and Victorian architecture. It has a number of smart restaurants and boutique shops.
Visit the Village of Sami, where Captain Correlli's Mandolin was filmed.
Lixouri: this is the other side of the island. The islanders are an interesting bunch and those that live on this side consider Lixouri another island. The two sides of the island are quite different but one should take the time to see both.
Take a day boat tour of the island itself or of the neighbouring islands and swim off Skorpios Island which is privately owned by the Onassis Family.
Cephalonia is an island that has numerous beautiful beaches of all sorts, sizes. There are also a number of beaches that have been awarded blue flags.
One you must visit is Myrtos Bay. It is absolutely stunning, a true gem and an amazing experience. The sand and pebbles are pristine white and the water is crystal clear. When swimming in the water here and you look out towards the sea, there is a purple haze that lingers above the waterline, truly breathtaking.
Skala on the south side, a beautiful blue flagged beach that, provides sun beds and water sports.
Lassi, on the north side, has also been awarded a blue flag. This beach is long, wide and sandy.
Emblissi bay is also in the north, it is a secluded pebbly beach.
Lixouri, offers a dramatic coastline with beautiful long clean beaches.
Fiskardo's beaches are mainly accessible by rough tracks and others by boat.
Shopping in Cephalonia is like most of the islands. However, due to its size and substantial population there is a wide range of products and shops available. The main area to shop is Argostoli but most of the little villages have number of shops.
You can buy anything from local produce (wine, olive oil, olives are very good) to little trinkets to take home, clothes, beauty products, pottery, patisseries shops, etc.
Kefalonia, is not known for its nightlife, but that doesn't meant that there isn't one. Argostoli is the main area where the bars and clubs are found. With a lot of choice on offer one will not be disappointed. There are of course bars around other villages and areas of the islands, particularly around the Resorts of the Island i.e. Sami, Skala, Fiscardo and Poros.
There are also parties that are arranged on the beaches so keep your ears open.
Where to wine and dine
Kefalonia is very traditional and when it comes to eating out the islanders are very social. It is about spending time with family, friends and at the same time eating well. There is a wide range of Greek Tavernas, Mezedopoleia, Ouzeris, but also a number of other cuisines on offer, Chinese, Italian of course, Indian, etc.
You should try the pies. Pies are famous in Kefalonia, especially for their Meat Pie, which is made with three different types of meat. Of course there are also leek pies, cheese pies, spinach pies etc. A few other specialties of Kefalonia are Rabbit stew, a mixed bean soup, a potato and garlic dip and Strapatsado- eggs and tomato.
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