Kefalonia

Kefalonia
KefaloniaKefalonia is the biggest island of Eptanisa covering 730 km2 and is situated opposite Patraikos bay. Kefalonia island was named after Kefalanes, a clan of West Greece. The strong oppositions and different beauties compose a scenery with big and small beaches, picturesque and calm, steep and imposing. Cosmopolitan but also picturesque villages coexist with modern towns like Argostoli (the island’s capital) and Lixouri. The rugged terrain with Aenos mountains imposing with its rare black spruce, indigenous to this area, and the historic and religious monuments with prime place of reference the imposing St. Gerasimos’ monastery complete the island scenery. Its beaches, and especially Mirtos, are among the best in Eptanisa but also in Greece, along with Porto Katsiki in Lefkas and Shipwreck in Zakynthos. At the east side of the island there is Poros, the port of call for ships from Kilini (Helia prefecture, Peloponnese), Sami (Kefalonia) and Patra (Peloponnese).

Avithos
A beach with red sand separated by an impressive boulder in Kaligata oh Livatho. Dias island, half a mile across, completes the scenery.

St. Chelis
A beach protected by big boulders at Livatho, with shallow water. It is ideal for families and offers a potential for sport activities.

Ames
One of the most loved small beaches, clean, with thin sand. It is situated next to the airport, at Svoronata, 8 km from Argostoli.

Kaminia
A delightful, golden sandy beach with crystal clear, swallow and warm water, ideal for families. It is also an egg-laying area for the rare caretta caretta sea turtle. It is alongside the road from Katelios to Scala, at the south side of Kefalonia.

Katelios
A big beach with sand and taverns with fresh fish. Katelios is at the southeast side of the island.

Lagadakia
A small, protected beach with pretty pebbles and water of all blue shades. It is at Paliki peninsula, at its south side. To get there, follow the route to Gero Gompo, turning at the main road between Chavriata and Chavdata.

Lepada
Lepada beach is the closest to Lixouri. It is a beautiful, natural beach with red sand. It is at the west coast of Kefalonia, at the east side of Paliki peninsula.

Lourdas
A beach with white sand and small pebbles with length of 1 km. You may also practice water sports here. From the beach there is a wonderful view to Aenos mountain. It is at Livathou, in south Kefalonia.

Makris and Platis Gialos
Makris Gialos is the most frequented beach of the island near Argostoli. It is a beautiful sandy, organized beach with crystal clear water. Next to it you will find Platis Gialos beach with is thin, golden sand. The beaches are in Lasi area.

Megas Lakos
Megas Lakos beach is next to Xi beach. It is equally organized but more peaceful. It is very long and famous for the red colour of its sand (like Xi beach). Its water is very shallow for a great distance (ideal for young children) and its bed is covered with thin sand. It has a tavern, a canteen, a café and umbrellas. It has an easy access and comfortable parking.

Minies
Minies beach is only 4 km from the island’s capital Argostoli. It is a beach with sand and blue water, organized with deck chairs and umbrellas visited by a lot of tourists every year.

Xi
One of the most famous in the island, a natural spa (mud bath) with red aluminate sand and deep blue water. It is separated with a tall boulder from Megas Lakos beach. It is at the south side of Paliki peninsula at 8 km from Lixouri, at the south part of Kefalonia. The beach is named Xi, because the bay in which it rests looks like the Greek letter xi («Ξ»). The rare red sand of the beach and the aluminate boulders surrounding it are an attraction for visitors. Opposite is Vardiani island, a paradise for fishermen.

Scala
An infinite sandy beach with crystal water and multicolour pebbles with a pine forest in the backdrop. Usually it is teaming with people. Ideal for water sports and activities since you’ll find here water sport facilities.

Spartia
Spartia beach is near Spartia town. It is a sandy beach with a port, surrounded by steep boulders. It isn’t highly developed, but you may find some taverns.

Trapezaki
A sandy beach with clean water, relatively organized. It is considered one of the best small beaches of the island with the highest temperature of all the rest. It is situated at the south side of the island, near Mousata village.

St. Efimia
St. Efimia has many small, rocky and very calm beaches. There is a diving school in one of these.

Atheras
Atheras beach is situated north of Lixouri, at the small and quiet village with the same name. It is a quiet, clean beach with sand and magnificent view. Here you will find the small Porto Atheras marina, with traditional fish taverns, and St. Spiridon’s church.

Antisamos
A beach with white pebble, crystal blue and green water which deepen abruptly and cypresses lining the hillsides. It provides snack bars, deck chairs and umbrellas. It is at the east coast of Kefalonia, near Sami, 22 km from Argostoli. In this beach some scenes of “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” (2001) were shot.

Petani
A beach protected by mountain sides, with white sand and blue and green water, ideal for swimming and diving. It is north of Lixouri, at the west coast of Kefalonia. Many consider it to be the “Paliki’s answer to Mirtos”!

Platia Amos
One of the most impressive sandy beaches of Kefalonia where you may go after descending almost 400 steps. It is at Paliki peninsula, at the west coast of the island.

Sami
Sami beach is at the modern town with the same name, so it is near everything you may need, like shops, restaurants and taverns. It is a rocky beach offering a wonderful view to Ithaca and it gives you the possibility for water sports. Some scenes of “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” (2001) were shot here.

Dafnoudi
It is a small, hidden beach at the northmost end of Kefalonia. A lovely beach, ideal for carefree and relaxed moments. You may get there from Antipata of Erisos (there are signs). But you have to pay attention because the road doesn’t reach up to the sea. You should take the trail (600 m) through the forest leading to an enchanting little port. The beach has big pebbles, calm green and blue water and the tree shadow reaches up to the sea.

Myrtos
It is the most photographed beach in the island, even in the whole Greece. One of the most impressive beaches in Mediterranean. Mirtos beach is among the ten prettier beaches in the world. A beach with white sand and small pebbles in some spots and a wonderful blue sea which deepens abruptly. There is a lifeguard but when there are strong winds swimming is forbidden. It is at the northwest of the island.

Fiskardo
beach with small pebbles and blue and green water. It is at the northmost end of the island, at the village with the same name. It is the only place which preserves the characteristics of the old Kefalonia, previous of the catastrophic earthquakes of 1953. Near the village you may find Emplisi and Foki beaches, some of the most known in the area, with small pebble and blue and green water. Near the beaches you will find traditional taverns serving a unique meat-pie with a kefalonian recipe.

Caretta-Carreta turtle spawning areas: The Caretta-Carreta turtle, between June and August, chooses the area extended from the Mounta cape until the beach of the Holy Church of Sission, for its spawning. The sea turtles are, without a doubt, one of the most interesting reptiles on the island, because of their rarity, as well as their impressive size. The seal Monachus monachus also chooses the seas and caves of Kefalonia and Ithaca for spawning and resting.

Coastal zone from Argostoli to Vlahata: It covers the coastal area from the entrance to Argostoli bay and, by following the coast line, extends up to Lourdata. It is protected by the Natura 2000 Convention. The importance of the area lies in the large fields of Posidonia oceanica, the presence of the seal Monachus monachus and the dolphin Tursiops truncates.

Kalon Oros: Kalon Oros (which means “Good Mountain”) is located in the northwest of Kefalonia and it is protected by the Natura 2000 Convention. It is considered to be an important habitat of the avifauna, because of the presence of the bird Gyps fulvus.

Koutavos lagoon: It is located in Argostoli. It is an ecosystem, with wonderful landscape with swans and ducks, and a shelter for some of the rarest species of the Kefalonian flora and fauna. The Environmental Awareness Centre, built recently in the area, will be another step to the upgrading of the area.

Melissani cave-Drogaratis cave: The subterranean lake of Melissani (Cave of the Nymphs), at Karavomylos, near Sami, is one of the most popular and famous sights on the island. The cave was discovered, in 1951, when its ceiling collapsed revealing the lake underneath. The light throws on the waters creates magical reflections. Every day, boats full of visitors are visiting the cave, in order to admire the stalactites and stalagmites. Speleologists have confirmed that the cave has an extension that is not approachable. That means that the cave is probably connected with other caves in the area.
In antiquity, the lake was used as a place of worship dedicated to god Pan. Various ancient idols, ceramics and tools were found in the area, as well as the sanctuary of Pan (its findings are exhibited in the Archaeological museum in Argostoli). The lake is associated in legend with the Nymph Melisanthe who drowned herself in its waters when the God Pan refused her love.
Drogarati’s Cave, 3km far from Sami, was discovered 300 years ago, when a part of it was destroyed because of a strong earthquake. The cave’s depth is 60m., it has stalactites and stalagmites and, since 1963, it is open for the public. In the cave, there is a big hall, called “Sala of Apotheosis”, with perfect acoustics, which is used for concerts and other shows.In the area around, there have been works for the exploitation of all other caves (Zervati, Aggalaki), which will constitute, together with Melissani cave, the only Cave park in Greece.

National park of mount Ainos: It is the smallest of the ten National parks of Greece, founded in the mid 20th century. Its peak is called Megas Soros and it is 1628m. tall. Most of the mountain is covered with Greek fir (Abies Cephallonica), which grows only here and black pine (Pinus nigra). Pine forests are found between the elevations of 700 to 1200 m. Venetians called it “Elatovouni” (“fir mountain”) or “Mavrovouni” (“black mountain”) because of the dark green color of the firs.
The park is an ideal destination for hikers, especially on its east side, which is more savage, while, in the north, there are beautiful caves. The flora is rich of indangered species like endemic varieties of orchids and the fauna includes rapaces, reptiles, little mammals, like foxes and the wild horses, the most famous of the endangered species on the island.On clear days, from here you can see the northwestern Peloponnese and Etolia along with the islands of Zante (Zakynthos), Lefkada and Ithaca.

Poros canyon/gorge: Poros canyon is one of the most beautiful geomorphological phenomena and natural scenes in Kefalonia. Its depth is up to 80m. and has sharp, nearly vertical sides. According to the legend, the gorge was formed when Hercules crossed the island cutting the earth with his angry step.

Robola zone: It is the place on the slopes of mount Ainos, where grape growers cultivate vineyards with restricted yields per hectare. It is located in the centre of Kefalonia, near Omala village. Robola is grown almost exclusively on the Ionian Islands, primarily on the island of Kefalonia. Robola of Kefalonia is a designated wine district and all of the wine labeled as Robola must, by Greek wine law, come from Kefalonia. Here, you will also find the Kefalonian Robola Wine Cooperation.

Aghios Georgios castle: The medieval castle of Aghios Georgios, mostly known as “Kastro” (which means castle) is located at the southwest of Argostoli, in Peratata village, in Livathos region. The castle owes its name to the large church of Aghios Georgios, which is situated in the region and is celebrated glamorously. It was built in the 13th century to fortify the island’s old capital, which was housed here until 1757 A.D.
The castle includes loopholes, observatories and cannon positions. Today, you can see the tower called “Old Fortress”, as well as part of the walls, underground arches, the throne of the Venetian Lord and a catholic church, where the nobles of Kefalonia were buried.

Ancient Krani: The ruins of Ancient Krani are situated in a green area on the bank of Koutavos lagoon, opposite Argostoli, the island’s capital. Krani was one of the four most prominent towns on the island during the Mycenean era, as the Greek historian Thucydides and Herodotus have indicated. It was independent and had its own currency. Its residents were mostly farmers and had some marine activities, too.
Excavations cast light upon ruins of buildings, walls and a doric temple devoted to Demetra, the Greek goddess of agriculture, dated back to the 7th and 6th century BC. The site is being prepared in order to start accepting visitors and part of the findings is exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli.

Ancient Panormos: According to findings dated from Neolithic and Mycenaean period, Fiskardo was the port of Ancient Panormos. Here, have also been discovered stone tools of Palaeolithic era.

Ancient Sami: Ancient Sami has been discovered at the north of current Sami, built at the foot of Aghioi Fanendi and Paleokastro hills. According Thucydides, Sami was one of the four prominent cities of Kefalonia. It was a prosperous and powerful town, founded since the Palaeolithic times. During classical and Hellenistic times Sami flourished because of the growth of trade and the exploitation of mount Ainos’s timber.
Excavations have brought to light parts of the two citadels (acropolis) built during the Hellenistic period, the Cyclopean fortification walls of the ancient city, as well as parts of an ancient aqueduct, traces of an ancient theatre, a part of a Roman edifice known as “Rakospito” and three tombs from the 3rd century B.C. Numerous findings of the excavations are on display in the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli.

Assos castle: The castle of Assos on Assos’s peninsula, in north Kefalonia, was built by the Venetians in the late 16th century. It is said that, in 1585, the locals asked Venetians to build another castle, besides Aghios Georgios castle, in order to protect the city from pirate raids. Unfortunately, the establishment of the locals at Assos peninsula was difficult and, as a result, the castle has been decayed. Until 1953, the castle housed prisons.
Here, you can still admire part of the walls and the arched entrance gate, the ruins of the Venetian High Commissioner’s house, the barracks and the church of Aghios Markos. From here, you can also see the wonderful view of the sea and the lovely bay of Myrtos beach.

Poseidon temple at Poros: In the ancient times, ships heading to Italy, Sicily and Malta were stopping at the beautiful cove of Poros cape. At the same region, a temple has been discovered, devoted to Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. You can see its mosaics at the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli.

Roman villa: It was discovered at Skala region, at the south of Kefalonia, in 1957. Built in the 3rd century B.C., it was decorated with great mosaics and thermal baths. According to the researches, the owner was a wealthy Roman. Also, at Skala region, ruins of a doric temple of god Apollon of the 5th century has been discovered.

Tomb at Tzanata: The excavations on the outskirts of Tzanata, near Poros village, in the south of Kefalonia, have cast light upon a great dome-shaped (vaulted) tomb dated from the Mycenaean period, with valuable findings, like jewellery. This royal tomb is the largest (6.80m. in diameter) and better preserved on the island, as well as in Western Greece. There have been claims that this is the burial place of Odysseus himself, as this tomb’s type was used to bury Greek royalty in ancient times.

Archaeological Museum at Argostoli: It is located at Vallianos square, opposite the Municipal theatre “Kefalos” (“Cephalus”). The museum includes findings from the excavations on the island dated back to geometric and the ancient era, the classical period, the Hellenistic, the roman period and the byzantine era, like those from the Mycenaean Tombs of Mazarakata, Lakythra and Metaxata, sculpts, pots from the prehistoric and the post-Mycenaean era, tombstones, coins, seals, small objects and copper weapons. Also, here, you will see the bronze head of the 3rd century B.C., a sign (“Tripis Damatri Ke Kora”), found in the location of ancient Krani, dated from the 6th-7th century B.C., devoted to Demetra, the Greek goddess of agriculture, and her daughter Persephone and the mosaic with the dolphins, dated from the 6th century. The findings from the recent excavations at Tzanata tomb are housed here, too (tel.: 0030 2671028300).

Environmental and Maritime Museum: The museum, founded in 1998, is housed in a neo-classical mansion on one of the hills, overlooking Fiskardo village. It includes various exhibits from the maritime history of the island, such as photos, sea fossils, ship maquettes etc. Here, you can be informed about the rare turtle Caretta-Caretta and other environmental issues. The museum is staffed by friendly volunteers who also offer scuba-diving lessons (tel.: 0030 2674041081).

Iakovatios Library at Lixouri: Iakovatios Library is situated in Lixouri, housed in the beautiful mansion of Typaldos-Iakovatos family. Inside the museum, you will find 20,000 volumes, a small collection of icons and other ecclesiastic heirlooms of the 10th and 15th century and the most valuable book of the collection is “The Complete Works of Hippocrates”, published in 1595. In its yard, every summer, cultural events are being held.

Korgialenio Historic and Folklore Museum: The Korgialenio Museum, founded in 1966, is situated in the centre of Argostoli. The museum exhibits local costumes, furniture and embroidery of the island, heirlooms and other ecclesiastic items, pictures, paintings, maps, manuscripts, coins, jewels, silver and metal craftworks and much more. In a special chamber, the Historical Archives of Kefalonia display historical manuscripts from the 16th to 19th century. The building also houses Korgialenios Library (tel.: 0030 2671028835).

Korgialenios library: It was founded in 1924, at Argostoli, in Korgialenios museum, with money donated from Marinos Korgialenios, and includes today 60.000 volumes, of which the biggest part dates before the disastrous earthquakes of 1953. Although it suffered from the earthquake of 1953, the library was completely restored and, today, it is open to the public. Also, many significant cultural events take place here every year (tel.: 0030 2671028221).

Maritime museum at Farsa: The Maritime museum is located at Farsa village, near Argostoli. It was founded in 1997 and completed in 2005. It includes ship models, prints, maps, tables, nautical instruments, books, parts of ships, etc.

Monument of the Acqui Brigade: It is situated on the top of a hill in Lassi. It commemorates the thousands soldiers of the Italian brigade Acqui, which were executed by the German forces, during the World War II.

Natural History Museum: It is located in the village of Davgata, 5km far from Argostoli and was founded in 1996. It includes exhibits related to the flora and fauna, the geological phenomena, the National Park of Mount Ainos and the marine environment of Kefalonia and Ithaca. The Museum was awarded in 2001 from the Academy of Athens.

Public Petritsios Library “Damodos”: It is located at Lixouri and was founded with the donation of the Lixourian doctor, Stamos Petritsis. The collection includes 1400 volumes of old books of various categories.

Radio and Telecommunications Museum: It is a private museum at Argostoli, belonging to mr. Haralambos Makris. The museum includes old radios, telephones, receiving sets, pick-up trucks, gramophones, photos, etc. All the exhibits are in a really good condition and you can operate them. If you are interested in visiting it, you should call first at 0030 2671022679).

Prefecture of Kefalonia-Ithaka Tel. 0030 26710-22120, 29130
Kefalonia (Argostoli) Tourist Police Service Tel. 0030 26710-22815
Archaeological Museum of Argostoli Tel. 0030 26710-28300
Korgialeneio Historical and Folklore Museum Argostoli Tel. 0030 26710-28835
Municipal Theater of Argostoli Tel. 0030 26710-22847
Natural History Museum Tel. 0030 26710-84400
Kefalonia-Ithaca Hotels Association Tel. 0030 26710-23415
Association of Tourist Accommodation Kefalonia-Ithaca Tel. 0030 26710-22593
Municipality of Argostoli Tel. 0030 26710-22230
Municipality of Paliki Tel. 0030 26710-91208
Municipality of Sami Tel. 0030 26740-22019
Municipality of Erissos Tel. 0030 26740-51181-2
Municipality of Livathous Tel. 0030 26710-68131
Municipality of Pylarou Tel. 0030 26740-61207
Municipality of Eliou – Pronnon Tel. 0030 26710-81701
Community of Omalos Tel. 0030 26710-86221
Hospital of Argostoli Tel. 0030 26710-22281
Hospital of Lixouri Tel. 0030 26710-93200
Medical center Sami Tel. 0030 26740-22802

Official website: www.kefalonia-online.gr

Sources: www.ionian-guide.com, www.kefalonia-online.gr