A small Greek island, Kefalonia benefits from everything typical of the southern Mediterranean: great weather, great history, great food and great holidays! Kefalonia has some of the best beaches in the Ionians and some of them are often used on postcards or adverts for the whole of Greece – that’s how perfect they look!
As with most of the Greek islands, Kefalonia is steeped in history. The Ancient Greeks certainly were imaginative when it came to their architecture and mythology, much of which can still be felt when you visit the island. As it’s quite small, Kefalonia often gets overlooked by a lot of travellers who choose neighbouring Crete or Kos instead. More fool them as Kefalonia is Greece’s best kept secret! Much of what Kefalonia has to offer goes untold – until now.
Fiskardo: The earthquake survivor
This is the capital of Kefalonia. The village is tiny and very precious, located just north of Argostoli. What many don’t know is that Kefalonia was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1953. Fiskardo was the only village left largely intact, making it incredibly unique and known for its strength and durability. Slow and quiet, this village is full with incredible restaurants serving typical and high quality Greek food and it has an authentic, picturesque feel.
In 2006, when a new hotel was being built, some construction workers discovered something entirely unique: a perfectly preserved Roman grave filled with artefacts and treasures like jewellery and glass objects. Later, archaeologists found even more items; gold earrings, masks and coins. This all belonged to five burial sites. The biggest discovery was of a well-preserved theatre that even had the stone seats intact.
Argostoli: Tough beauty
Unlike Fiskardo, Argostoli was completely destroyed by the 1953 earthquake. This is unfortunate because Argostoli managed to survive a lot of the German bombs that hit the island in 1943. It might be small, but Kefalonia is incredibly tough. After the earthquake struck, Argostoli’s residents rebuilt their village and today it’s simply beautiful. Animated and lively, the village bustles with good atmosphere. It is painted in pastel colours so synonymous with the Mediterranean and the clean-cut buildings sparkle in the sun.
There’s plenty to do here and it’s perfect for a relaxing holiday. Go shopping down Lithostroto’s sunny streets and watch as the local kantadori sing traditional songs. Not for money, but because everyone in Argostoi is happy.
Sami & Melissani: Hidden caves
About 25k northeast of Argostoli lies Sami, which is the main port of Kefalonia. Super attractive – the sea glitters at the lightest touch of sun – Sami welcomes a lot of visitors every year because of its diverse range of activities. Popular with those who are after some history, there’s plenty to see: monasteries and castles as well as stunning beaches. If you’re keen on finding a good beach, Antisamos Beach is well worth the trip.
About 2.5km west of Sami is Melissani. If you’re after something a little different, take a trip to this quaint little village to see this amazing cave. It houses a subterranean sea-water lake which turns a brilliant blue when the sun shines onto it. Remarkable to see, make sure you visit when the sun is out and likely to be overhead – so between noon and 2pm. The Ancient Greeks said that this was the Cave of the Nymphs, who were beautiful creatures who lived in water. You can see why, as there is a surreal and ethereal quality to the lake.
So many secrets in Kefalonia but so little time. But ssh, don’t tell anyone.