A Guide to Kefalonia
Lying off the west coast of Greece, the Ionian Islands are a small group of seven islands. Kefalonia is the largest of the group and has some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece.
With dramatic mountains, dense forest, beautiful blue sea and a history weaved from Venetian, French, British as well as Greek threads, Kefalonia is a popular holiday destination for the world over.
A Famous Island
Though there is a smaller island named after the home of Homer’s Odysseus, it has been suggested that Kefalonia is actually where Ithaca was set. The location of the romantic and epic story of Odysseus is the centre of debate since time gone by, with many places wanting to claim heroes from ancient Greek stories for their own. The island is also famous for its appearance in the 1994 novel and subsequent film, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières. The film was shot on location, with scenes filmed on Myrtos Beach.
A Colourful History
At the turn of the 15th century, Kephalonia was won from the Ottoman Empire in a Venetian victory. Venetian rule lasted until 1797 when it was taken by France. During this time, the island was one of the largest exporters of currants in the world, meaning that villages were built high up to avoid pirate raids. A Venetian fortress near the village of Assos has amazing views over the island and Ionian sea. In 1815, French rule recognised it as a republic under British protectorate, and in 1864 the islands were handed back to Greece as a gesture of goodwill. Because of this rich history, the island’s buildings have different architecture, including frescoes and the neo-classical style.
What to See
A whole array of different beaches with some offering good snorkelling and others excellent for sunbathing, Kefalonia has something for every beach lover. Just head to the nearest one and see what you can find! The most famous is Myrtos beach, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
If snorkelling is your thing, marine biologist Jamie Stirling offers a bit of education with your swimming. He is located in Fiskardo and will fill your head with all sorts of interesting information. For the culture lover, the island also has two monasteries, an acropolis which is an elevated citadel or village, cyclopean walls, and many museums. The History and Folklore Museum in Argostoli is a recommended visit, as well as a roman villa in Skala that has beautiful mosaic floors.
Where to Stay
If you’re going to go to a Greek island, you may as well do it in style. There are many Pretty Greek Villas in Kefalonia, which are well worth the luxury you’ll be staying in. The north of the island has highly sought after, beautiful villas that have all that you could ask for, several in a secluded spot with a pool and incredible views. Fiskardo, Assos and Agia Efimia are all popular destinations for holiday-goers.