Kefalonia, the largest island in the Ionian Sea, is famously known as the location of the movie “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”. The pull, however, is deeper and more visceral than Hollywood’s immortalization of the island. There’s far more to it than meets the eye, and visitors are bound to be seduced by this island on many levels, from its crystal-clear waters, stunning stretches of sand, picturesque villages and rich biodiversity all the way to its medieval castles and monasteries.
“Loosen up and try the island’s renowned Robola wine, made using a local grape variety ”
1. You’ll be spoilt for choice
Fiscardo, the only village left standing following the devastating earthquake that struck in 1953. The gorgeous Melissani cave in Sami as well as Assos village, located at the picturesque peninsula of the same name. The more tourism-oriented spots of Poros, Sami, Skala and Aghia Effimia. Loosen up and try the island’s renowned Robola wine, made using a local grape variety. Visit the Mycenaean gravesite in Tzanata, believed, by some, to be that of the Homeric hero Odysseus.
2. Numerous legends, traditions and miracles
It is said that on August 15, when the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is celebrated, snakes appear at the village Markopoulo to bless the local church, while a particular flower blossoms only on this day. The disappearance of sea water below the surface at Katavothres, which reappears at the other side of the island, is another impressive phenomenon.
3. You’ll find unique biodiversity
A unique fir-type tree species, with whitish branches and sharp needles, not seen anywhere else in the world grows on Kefalonia. Hares and goats with gold-colored teeth, attributed to the soil constituents, inhabit the island, and seals swim in its waters. Caretta-caretta sea turtles deposit their eggs at island beaches.
“A unique fir-type tree species, with whitish branches and sharp needles, not seen anywhere else in the world”
4. The beaches are exquisite
Makris Gialos and Platis Gialos are both very lovely and easily accessible beaches. Visitors wishing to go to Myrtos beach, a renowned spot, must drive there. Also visit gorgeous Antisamos beach, which gained worldwide fame through the Hollywood movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, parts of which were shot on location. Other worthwhile beaches include Ai Helis, a cosmopolitan place, lovely Petani, impressive Xi, where the beach is colored red, Avithos and Lourdas. No matter where you go swimming in Kefalonia, the island will not disappoint.
5. The laid-back nightlife
The majority of the island’s bars and restaurants are clustered in Argostoli, the main town. Younger people tend to be drawn to the faster-paced rhythm in Sami, Lixouri, Skala and Poros. Generally speaking, Kefalonia is not the place to go to for an intense and wayward nightlife. However, a wide variety of selections caters to all preferences.