In Kefalonia, everything looks like paradise, as if they came from a painting. We have gathered ten points that you should definitely see:
Argostoli – The capital of the Island
Argostoli is the capital city of Kefalonia. It is amphitheatrically built on the south side of the island, has about 10,000 inhabitants and is the largest city on the island. The patron saint of the island is Agios Gerasimos, whose body is kept intact and which visitors can worship in a church where it is kept.
Argostoli has many attractions, including the Archaeological Museum which features artefacts from prehistoric to Roman times, the Historical and Folklore Museum of Argostoli which is housed in Korgialenios Library, the Folk Art Museum, the Argostoli Municipal Theatre which is located a few meters from the main square, the Lighthouse of Saint Theodore etc.
The tourist will find in Argostoli a variety of very fine hotels and accommodation for all budgets. The most touristic area of Argostoli is Lassi which is very close to the centre of Argostoli and is also a stone’s throw from two exquisite & well organised beaches of Kefalonia, namely Platis and Makris Gialos, with golden sand and crystal clear turquoise waters.
Argostoli gives many opportunities to visitors for entertainment and nightlife, such as taverns, restaurants, bars, cinemas, cafes etc. One of the most beautiful places for nightlife and fun is the newly renovated central square of Argostoli with the many pedestrian alleys, Lithostroto, which is the main commercial pedestrian road that is very close to the central square of Argostoli. Lithostroto has a variety of shops, many interesting cafes, pizzerias, bars, etc. Additionally, Argostoli’s port not only connects Argostoli with Lixouri, the second largest city of Kefalonia but is also a favourite destination for cruise ships.
The bay of Argostoli also is one of the most beautiful places for romantic walks. The lagoon Koutavos lies at the southeastern end, an outstanding wetland with rich flora and fauna, which is a remarkable tourist attraction. Finally, the stone bridge of Devosetou connects Argostoli to the other side of the lagoon.
The scenic Fiskardo is located 50 km north of Argostoli, it has 205 residents and is located directly above the sea.
It is perhaps the only place in Kefalonia that was not destroyed by the disastrous 1953 earthquake, so it is classified as a preserved settlement. The beautiful two-storey Venetian mansions painted in bright colors, with the red roofs and the small balconies combined with the green hills and the blue sea, create a dramatic landscape of incomparable beauty.
It is considered perhaps the most cosmopolitan part of the island, that many celebrities and famous people visit it every year; this is also because of its organized small port for luxury yachts and rental boats.
Visitors can enjoy a walk in the small alleys of the village, stop for food at well-known restaurants and relax drinking coffee in cafes located by the sea.
In the area there are many tourist accommodations from luxury hotels and villas, to affordable rooms to let.
Very close to the village are the beaches of St. Jerusalem, Emplysi and Foki, while going to Assos the visitor will come across the famous beach of Myrtos.
Assos is one of the most beautiful and picturesque villages of Kefalonia and, along with Fiskardo, they are two of the main attraction points for tourists visiting Kefalonia. Assos, which is located in the northern part of Kefalonia and belongs to the municipality of Erisos, was the first capital of Kefalonia. The village, which is a traditional settlement, is built amphitheatrically and is endowed with nature with rich lush vegetation and enchanting green waters that are ideal for an unforgettable dive! In Assos, as in nearby Fiskardo, there are many old mansions of great architecture that complement the dreamy setting. Assos is just over 30 km away from the island’s capital, Argostoli.
Assos has various types of accommodation, but mostly villas and bungalows with respectable rented rooms. In this small beautiful village, the visitor will find restaurants and cafes right next to the beach, as well as bars for quality nightlife.
One of the attractions of Assos is its castle, built at the end of the 15th century to protect its inhabitants from pirate raids. Very close to Assos is the exquisite and famous beach of Myrtos, which has a blue flag and is one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.
Apart from the enchanting Myrtos, on this side of Kefalonia, there are several small and beautiful beaches worth discovering. The view that the visitor will see before going down to the village is enchanting, especially during sunset. The sunset of Assos is one of the best sunsets in Greece. Assos is definitely one of the best things that beautiful Kefalonia has to offer to its visitors …
Skala – Poros
Skala is about 35 km away from Argostoli (the capital city of Kefalonia), on the southern tip of the island and has about 760 residents.
It is one of the most touristic villages of the island and for this reason it has all kinds of touristic facilities ranging from 5-star hotels to affordable apartments, villas etc. In Skala, the demanding visitor will find various taverns and restaurants providing local specialties, supermarkets, trendy cafes, bars and clubs for your night entertainment and many tourist shops, as well as car rental agencies.
What makes Scala unique is the endless, clean beach lying under a small pine forest. The biggest part of the beach is very well organized with umbrellas, cafeteria, showers and sea sports school, while the other part is for those who choose isolation and tranquility.
Located 12 km from Skala is the port of Poros, which connects the island with Kyllini (in the mainland). Very close to Skala lies the picturesque fish village of Katelios, where the visitor will enjoy the food of the famous fish restaurants of the area, that lie just a few meters from the beach.
Apart from the touristic interest, in Skala the visitor will have the opportunity to visit archaeological sites such as the Roman villa of the 3rd century AD with excellent mosaics, the ruins of the temple of Apollo from the 6th century BC and the cave of Sakkos with prehistoric findings.
The village Poros in Kefalonia, is a quiet and picturesque fishing village, located in the southeast of the island. Poros, over the years, has turned into a very touristic area of Kefalonia, ideal for travelers who are nature lovers that want to walk or hike, and prefer more quiet and affordable holidays.
Poros Port is very important, since it connects Kefalonia not only with the mainland, but also with the nearby islands. Also the port of Poros, is preferred by many private boats, whose owners seek the discretion they need for their relaxing holiday.
In the nice restaurants and tavernas of Poros, that can be found in the old and the new port, the visitors will enjoy the wonderful view of the clear blue Ionian sea, as they lunching or quietly enjoy their drinks.
Poros has all kinds of accommodation and many different sandy or pebble beaches. Some of them are organized and have sunbeds, umbrellas etc. but most of them are relatively calm and quiet.
During the daytime you can go for your shopping or for a nice walk though Poros’ shops, and at night you can enjoy a drink in the peaceful bars that can be found near the sea. If you prefer more crowded places, you must go either to the nearby and very touristic village of Skala where fun is more intense, or go to Argostoli, the capital city of Kefalonia, which is about 40 km from Poros.
Agia Efimia is one of the most beautiful villages of Kefalonia. It lies north of Kefalonia, only 9 km from Sami and 34 km.from Argostoli, which is the capital city of Kefalonia.
The village is built next to the seaport and provides all the proper amenities to its visitor. It is known for its very fine fish restaurants and coffee shops, where someone can enjoy his meal or coffee, overlooking the sea. It has also a diving center for the seabed lovers. Visitors have the opportunity to stay either in rental apartments or in fine hotels that can be found in the village.
The port is used for the mooring of private boats and it is preferred by Greek and foreign boat owners because it provides all sorts of facilities.
On the way to Sami there are many small pebble beaches where you can stop to enjoy swimming and dive from the beautiful white rocks.
Agios Gerasimos – Patron of Kefalonia
The monastery of Agios Gearsimos (Saint Gerasimos), is considered one of the most sacred pilgrimages in Kefalonia hosting a great number of visitors, every year.
The monastery is situated under the imposing Mount Ainos and near the villages of Fragata and Valsamata. Today, the monastery has been reconstructed; it is an imposing building with a newly built church. Beneath the monastery, there is a cave with two rooms which used to be the home of the Saint. The only way to access this cave, is through a very narrow passage that leads, through a nearly vertical iron ladder with length of three meters, in a basement space which is divided by a narrow hole in two rooms.
On his feast day, August 16th, there is a grand litany for the commemoration of the saint’s death, in which his sarcophagus is paraded and laid under the plane tree. The Saint also had planted a plane tree which is still preserved at the monastery and on the premises of the monastery three large trees, that the Saint planted himself, are still standing as well as the three wells that he opened with his hands according to tradition.
Agios Gerasimos was known for his miraculous abilities to cure people with mental illnesses. His miracles, which became widely known across the country, led to the removal of his relics that were found totally incorrupt. Today, his relics are saved in double glass reliquary placed above the saint’s tomb.
Lixouri is the second largest city of the island with a population of about 4,000 residents. It is located on the peninsula of Paliki and it is built on the beach opposite Argostoli which is 34 km away. Commuting to Argostoli is by ferry or by car.
Lixouri which used to be called “tiny Paris” because of its beauty, has a lot of tourist accommodations such as big hotels, rental villas and apartments. There are also many restaurants and taverns for someone to enjoy the local specialties, as well as bars and clubs for quality nightlife.
Some of the best and most beautiful beaches of Lixouri are Petani, Xi (with the red sand), Lepeda, Platia Ammos, Megas Lakos and others.
The central square, offers visitors the opportunity to have a cup of coffee, or a drink at one of the cafes, or in one of the many bars that are by the sea. A walk through the city streets is essential for those who want to admire the Iakovatios Library, built in 1866, a pre-earthquake historic building A Primary School, the Valianos Technical Vocational School which has its roots in the 19th century and the visitor may have the opportunity to hear one of the oldest philharmonic orchestras in Greece, namely the Philharmonic School of Palli.
The visitor who will arrive by car in Lixouri, will admire one of the most important wetlands of Kefalonia, which extends over an area of 150 acres and is home to many species of birds.
In the region of Paliki there are two Byzantine monasteries, the abbey of Koronatou and the Kipouraion monastery, where very rare religious monuments are kept.
Sami is a small town and one of the largest ports of Kefalonia, connecting the island to mainland Patras & Astakos , the island of Ithaca, and cities in Italy. It is situated in the eastern part of the island, 22 km from Argostoli and has about 1,000 residents.
Its geographical location offers visitors an incredible view since it is built in a bay, while around it there are green mountains. It has everything one can find in a big city such as health centre, supermarkets, a post office, a police station, port authorities, and of course numerous restaurants and cafes by the sea.
In Sami, one can find hotels, apartments and villas for rent as it is a touristic and commercial centre.
The area is ideal for walking as there are many paths through the green so that someone can enjoy the tranquility and the exceptional views of the sea.
Very close to Sami, lies one of the best-organized beaches of the island, namely Antisamos with the incredible combination of mountain and sea that will impress the visitor with its turquoise clear waters. There, someone can enjoy swimming, coffee and indulge in water sports of all kinds.
Other area attractions are the Lake-Cave Melissani, the Drogarati Cave, Karavomilos and Panagia of Agrilion with the incredible views to Ithaca.
Melissani & Drogarati Caves
The Cave of Melissani is situated just outside Sami, and it is one of the most significant places for tourists to visit in Greece. Surprisingly, there is a lake inside the cave that has trees and forests surrounding it. The cave itself is B-shaped with two chambers or halls separated with land or an island in the center. The roof of one of the halls caved in centuries ago letting sunlight filter in. The lake is about 20 to 30 meters deep. When the sun is right overhead at noon, the sunlight hitting the turquoise-blue waters create a magical illusion and the whole Cave of Melissani suddenly feels lit with blue light.
This is the best time to visit Melissani. Slanting rays in the morning and evening have a magical quality of their own. One gets an ethereal feeling of boats hovering in the light! Myth has it that the cave was named after the nymph Melissanthi, who committed suicide because her love for God Pan was not reciprocated.
The first chamber is sun-lit and the second chamber is dark and has many stalactites covered with algae and moss. Even though they are big in size, they are dwarfed by the huge dome. Surprisingly, many of the stalactites resemble dolphins, the companions and messengers of the nymphs as the legend goes. This chamber is lit with electric lights.
The water in the lake is a mixture of freshwater and seawater. It is about 500m away from the sea and the water is higher than the sea level by 1m. The brackish water enters the Cave of Melissani from one end and flows out from the other. Water is replenished by the springs gushing underneath the 30m deep water inside. The Cave of Melissani leaves a memorable and lasting impression on everyone who visits it.
The Drogarati Cave was discovered 300 years ago and opened to the public in 1963. It was discovered when a strong earthquake caused a collapse that revealed the cave’s entrance. Drogarati is an impressive cave with remarkable formations of stalactites and stalagmites. Speleologists say that this cave is about 150 million years old and constitutes a rare geological phenomenon. The cave is about 60 meters deep and has a constant temperature of 18 C. The humidity of the cave reaches 90%.
Although it has undergone much damage because of earthquakes, stalactites still hang from the roof and form amazing shapes. As water drops fall onto these shapes and solidify, they give them another shape, long but gradually along centuries.
Drogarati Cave consists of two parts. The part accessible to tourists consists of a long corridor that leads to the Royal Balcony, a natural platform of stalactites that beautifully reflect the light. From there, the visitor can see the Chamber of Exaltation, which has great acoustics. This chamber is the biggest hall of the cave; it is sometimes used to host cultural events and has a room for 500 people. To move from one part to the other, you cross-colored columns and a small lake.
Scientists have discovered that Drogarati cave has an extension that is not reachable and believe that, through this extension, it is connected to other sea caves. Drogarati Cave is, therefore, a natural art masterpiece that has taken its present form after thousands of years, while it continually changes. It is visited by lots of tourists every year and is located just 5 km to the south of the village of Sami, on the eastern coast of Kefalonia and right on the main road that connects Sami to Argostoli.
St. George’s Castle
The area of St George’s Castle is just 5 km from Argostoli and its few beautiful houses are built on a green hilltop 300 meters above the village Peratata.
The view from the castle is amazing since the visitor can admire a large part of the island, the region of Livathos and the endless blue of the Ionian Sea. Tourist accommodations are limited (i.e just a few villas for rent), the visitor though will find a restaurant and a cafeteria with spectacular views.
The area took its name from the Venetian Castle of St. George built in the 12th century AD and was until 1757 the capital city of the island.
The Church of Evaggelistria stands out in its Ionian Baroque style; the church contains important post-Byzantine icons from the churches of St. George’s Castle.