Mountains, beaches and more ...
A holiday on Kefalonia offers a truly different Greek island experience. Rugged, mountainous but blessed with some of the best beaches in the Ionian, Kefalonia has a grandeur that is unequalled by any of the other islands.
Fortunately for those looking for a more peaceful and relaxing holiday, Kefalonia has resisted the sort of tourism that has overrun some islands. Whilst the number of visitors is steadily rising (thanks in no small part to Louis de Berniere's famous novel and film, 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin'), a great virtue of its size is that it can comfortably absorb them.
With its beautiful sandy beaches and small seaside resorts, impressive mountainous landscapes and beautiful forests, a holiday in Kefalonia offers a more beguiling, peaceful ambience which makes a welcome change from some of the larger, more commercialised resorts on other Greek islands.
A small part of Kefalonia escaped the wrath of the earthquake that hit the island in 1953. The northern village Fiskardo is an exception. Most of the tremor was sent through the limestone bed it lies on, leaving it pretty much intact. Luckily as the place is storybook-pretty. Pastel-coloured Venetian buildings are wrapped around a cute little harbour which makes beautiful scenery.
Every Kefalonia wine menu will offer you a glass of crisp Robola. It’s on the top of the list of of Greek white wines, plus the grape is grown all over the island. One of the main wineries is the Robola Wine Co-operative, set in the beautiful Omala Valley, located about half an hour from Lassi. Its well worth paying a visit to find out what goes on behind the scenes and to enjoy a tasting session.
Take a lunch stop in Argostoli
There’s plenty to see in this terracotta-roofed city – it’s packed with tavernas, souvenir shops and leather boutiques. When lunchtime approaches, take a stroll down to the harbour, where little fishing boats bob up and down in front of restaurants serving up local delicacies.
Spend an evening in the town centre, stroll along the waterfront or soak up the atmosphere in the lively town square. There are plenty of bars and coffee shops to choose from, so whether you’re after a cocktail or a coffee you’ll find it here. There are lots of boutiques and shops, too, so you’ll have loads of opportunities to part with your euros.
Myrtos Beach isn’t considered one of the world’s finest for nothing. This swathe of sand, about a 40-minute drive from Lassi, had a starring role in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. The road above has been widened so passing motorists can admire the view without stopping traffic. And the twisting street down to the shore is well worth the hair-raising ride – at the bottom you’re greeted with white pebbles and neon seas.
Small Town of Sami
In the year 2000, the small town of Sami, half an hour from Lassi, was invaded by Hollywood for the filming of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. The front of the town became the Argostoli waterfront, and a replica of the old town was created in the main square. But there’s more to this place than Tinseltown shine. It’s still a working fishing village, and offers up a real insight into traditional Greek life.
Watch the Sunset
You’ll need a car to get to Petani Beach on the Lixouri peninsula – it’s reached down a steep road that zig-zags from the cliff top. It’s set in a horseshoe-shaped bay, edged by a curve of sand and white shingle. There’s a couple of beachside tavernas for lunch and drinks. Hang around until the evening – the beach faces west and is a great sunset viewpoint.
Kefalonia is the perfect base for exploring. With so many islands nearby, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to days out. Search for loggerhead turtles in Zante, set sail for Ithaca, the ancient kingdom of Odysseus, or scale the heights of mountainous Lefkas. There’s Aristotle’s old stomping ground, Skorpios, to think about, too, and the island of Meganissi.