Rated among the top ten beaches of Europe, Myrtos received worldwide acclaim with the Hollywood blockbuster, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, starring Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz. Backed by steep limestone cliffs, this two-kilometer stretch of white pebbles gives onto a moody sea, which changes color from milky turquoise to indigo blue with the swirling of the waves. Postcard-perfect scenery, onsite facilities which include a snack bar, sun beds and umbrella hire, outdoor showers and restrooms.
Assos is one of the most beautiful and picturesque villages of Kefalonia. It is built amphitheatrically around a peninsula with steep slopes crossed by a narrow strip of land in which there is a Venetian castle. This is one of Assos’ principal claims to fame. The other is its architecture with traditional, colorful houses, old churches and narrow side streets with blooming bougainvilleas. There are two pebbly beaches on the bay, a larger one with loungers and a smaller one without. Both have scenic views and pristine waters, ideal for snorkelling. Assos also offers boat hire if you’re looking to explore the many small coves and beaches that are only accessible from the water.
Linking Kefalonia to Lefkas, Ithaca and Astakos, the quaint little fishing harbor of Fiscardo on the northern side of the island is often dubbed “Greece’s prettiest village”. Having remained virtually intact after the earthquake of 1953, Fiskardo retains much of its original 18th-century architecture and has been rightfully declared a historical site. With rows of Venetian houses in vibrant pastels, it’s as postcard-pretty as they get. The impression of time standing still is somewhat halted, however, as there is an array of posh restaurants and bars catering to an upscale clientele arriving here in their luxury yachts. A definite yachtsmen’s paradise nowadays, Fiscardo was a sleepy village until the 1960s when it was discovered by a handful of trailblazing hippies.
On the east coast of Kefalonia, right opposite the island of Ithaca, Agia Efimia is a scenic fishing village with an array of waterside cafes and tavernas running parallel to the sheltered marina. A popular spot for yachting flotillas, it offers boat hire options and it’s home to one of only three diving centers in Kefalonia for those who want to delve deeper into the treasures of the Ionian Sea. Surrounded by crystalline waters and fir tree-cloaked mountains, Agia Efimia is also a short drive (about 20 minutes) away from Myrtos beach.
One of the most magical, must-visit spots on the island, Melissani cave is located close to the town of Sami, about 20km from Argostoli, the capital of Kefalonia. Named after a nymph who drowned herself here as the god Pan failed to return her affections, the cave consists of two lake chambers, one of which has a collapsed roof letting the sunlight shine in. At noon when the sun is right overhead, the light hits the turquoise blue waters, filling the space with light. This is the best time to come and take a boat ride on one of the traditional row boats which take visitors through the cave. There is a balcony on top of the cave offering awe-inspiring interior views from above.
According to speleologists, Drogarati Cave near the town of Sami, is over 150 million years old. It was discovered some 300 years ago when a strong earthquake revealed its entrance and has been receiving visitors since 1963. With mind-blowing stalactite and stalagmite formations, Drogarati is also famous for its remarkable acoustics. The cave’s big hall, which measures an impressive 900 sq meters – is called “Sala of Apotheosis” and has hosted world-class performances by the Bavarian Philharmonic Orchestra and many other performances.
At 1,628 meters Ainos is the tallest mountain in the Ionian islands. The views from the summit are worth the trek up. On a clear day, one can see all of Kefalonia, Ithaca and parts of Zakynthos, Meganissi, Lefkas and also Kyllini and the mainland coast.
Covered with ⅔ with a single species of fir called Abies Cephalonica, and hosting a local herd of semi-wild ponies, Ainos is a precious reserve and the only National Park located on a Greek Island.
Argostoli is Kefalonia’s capital since 1757. In its current form, however, it is a relatively young town which was rebuilt almost completely from scratch after the earthquake of 1953. Modern-day Argostoli is relaxed and at the same time buzzing with many restaurants to choose from, thriving nightlife, great shopping and a wealth of attractions, including museums, monuments and natural geological phenomena to name a few.
Poros is a picturesque village with about 1,000 residents in the southeastern part of the island. Built against the backdrop of lush green forest, offer a beach with clean, turquoise waters and is surrounded by countless bays. Poros is one of the main ports of Kefalonia connecting the island to the mainland Kilini and Patra, and also has a marina for yachts and local fishing boats. There are plenty of restaurants and traditional tavernas and quaint cafes, lining its waterfront as well.