Your holiday in Kefalonia!
The exotic island of Kefalonia is the largest and one of the most beautiful of the Ionian Islands. You’ve probably seen Kefalonia in pictures and on postcards, but, trust us, the reality is far better than any snapshot.
Ideally located in the heart of the Ionian Sea, Kefalonia island has inspired many people with its beauty, and it was the location of filming for the movie “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”. Indeed, wherever you look, you’ll see nature at its best!
Kefalonia is famous worldwide for its scenic beaches, dramatic landscapes and delicious food, and the island enchants thousands of visitors. Turquoise bays, charming villages, long sweeping sandy beaches, exciting activities, mysterious caves, and a rich cultural heritage all create an atmosphere of an exotic paradise in the middle of the Ionian Sea.
The subterranean lake of Melissani, located near to Sami, was discovered in 1951 by the speleologist Gianni Petrochilo. The internal part of the cave collapsed along with a major part of the roof revealing a marvellous view.
A small boat guides you through the crystal clear waters of the lake whilst you wonder at the unique geophysical sculptures. The best time to visit the lake is around noon (depending on the season) when the sunlight rays strike the water, creating a magical blue light atmosphere.
Drogarati Cave, located near to Sami, was discovered 300 years ago, when a part of it was destroyed in a strong earthquake and the entrance was created. The cave’s depth is 60 metres from ground level and it has been open to the public since 1963.
There are many impressive stalactites and stalagmites created from rain. The big hall of the cave (900m2) is called “Sala of Apotheosis” because of its perfect acoustics, and organized music and other shows have taken place inside.
Mount Ainos is a majestic site surrounded by an exceptional natural preserve boasting a forest of the unique black firs of Kefalonia (abies cephalonica). This beautiful National Park hosts a wide variety of flora species and a rich fauna including reptiles and birds, such as the hawk, the woodpecker and the blackbird.
The most important mammals found here are the famous Ainos wild horses, which belongs to the Pindos breed, they are small and very strong. Become a part of nature’s magic.
SAINT GERASIMOS MONASTERY
The beautiful Monastery of St. Gerasimos, undoubtedly the religious center of Kefalonia, has an impressive golden ceiling. Close to the monastery is the old church, which is built above the tomb and cave where Saint Gerasimos lived. You can climb down and visit his hermitage. The Saints relics are held inside this church and you can pay tribute to him daily.
Two very important yearly celebrations take place here, in August and October many pilgrims visit to worship and a huge bazaar takes place.
Argostoli – the Capital City
Argostoli is situated at the southern part of the island and has been the capital of Kefalonia since 1797. It is built amphitheatrically around the deep gulf of Koutavos and it has a well organised port. The bustling town is the largest on the island and there are many shops, tavernas, offices and attractions there including many museums, wide pedestrian streets, and the waterfront. The main square was recently renovated and is surrounded by bars, cafes and restaurants that are open from morning to the early hours.
Kefalonia has many unique and beautiful beaches, where visitors can swim and sunbathe for hours. Kefalonia’s northern coastline has predominantly pebbly beaches, while the southern shores are mostly long and sandy.
Myrtos beach has been voted the most beautiful beach in Greece for several consecutive years. It’s a blue flag beach, and was the location for several scenes of the movie Captain Corelli’s mandolin.
From the road above you have the most stunning view of the beach, known for the contrast of the white pebble and the shades of blue that the currents create in the sea with the dark green of the area.
Here, you can swim and snorkel in the crystal-clear seas or simply stretch out on the sands and wonder at the amazing, dream-like views all around you. There’s also a useful small bar-taverna on the sands for refreshments when you need them.
Antisamos is a blue flag beach where many scenes of the film “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” where shot. Emerald green waters, small white pebbles and a lush, wild green mountainside combine to make a stunning panorama. Antisamos beach is an organised beach with restaurants, water sports and sun beds. The far end of the beach is more isolated.
You can also get there from various walking trails throughout the local mountains, all of them offering an endless shade creating a magical atmosphere.
Located in the scenic village of Svoronata, Ammes beach is small, sandy and close to the airport. Ammes beach has a natural green backdrop, with rocky outcrops amongst the sand. The soft sand and shallow, crystal clear, water makes it ideal for families, and the beach has good facilities including sunbeds, umbrellas, a snack bar and showers. Ammes is ideal for plane spotting as it’s close proximately to the airport means that you can watch flights land and take off whilst sunbathing!
Ai Helis offers many attractions for the visitor – towering rock faces and beautiful greenery create the scenic backdrop to this large sweeping bay. The shallow, crystal clear waters and beautiful grey-brown sand make this beach ideal for families with children. Access is easy and the beach has organised sun beds and umbrellas, a shower, a café/beach bar and it is especially popular with racket sport and volley ball players. In the summer months there are organised beach parties.
MAKRIS & PLATIS GIALOS
Visit two of the most beautiful sandy beaches of Kefalonia, Makris and Platis Gialos. The natural extension of Makris (long) Gialos is Platis (wide) Gialos, from which it is separated by only a few rocks. As a result, going from one beach to the other by either walking or swimming is possible.
From the beach you can admire the vast blue of the Ionian Sea and the Turkopodaro beach, as well as the Paliki peninsula and the Vardianoi Island in a distance.
Avithos beach is located close to the villages of Kaligata and Svoronata. The sandy beach has a beautiful mountain backdrop of steep cliffs and lush vegetation. The shallow, crystal clear waters make it very safe for children. There are facilities for snacks, and meals as well as some organised sunbeds. Parking is available.
You can continue to walk past Avithos beach to reach Megali Petra beach which has no facilities so remember to take water & umbrella!
For activities, attractions, beaches, festivals, tips & ideas on discovering the island browse around Anna’s blog www.kefaloniabyanna.com