Updated: May 26
Ευχαριστώ or Efharisto was the one word that stuck in my head. In Greek, it means thank you. However, I should be the one thanking the locals at Kefalonia for the genuine levels of hospitality the greeks showed us upon our arrival. The people of Kefalonia were charismatically gracious to us from the moment we landed on this beautiful island to our departure. There was literally no bad view in Kefalonia; the Island is absolutely breathtaking.
In the 7 days we spent in Cephalonia (Kefalonia) we saw lots of beaches with very little overcrowding. The water was so clear and blue that you could see the sand beneath its gentle waves. The funny thing is we stumbled on this well-preserved natural beauty by chance and oh how lucky we were. We initially wanted to visit Crete or Athens to celebrate our middle child's birthday but when Kefalonia came up on our radar and being the adventurous family that we are, we couldn't miss out on the opportunity.
So here's my guidebook to one of the world's best Islands. We believe with this you can make the most of your time in the hidden wonder of the world that is Kefalonia!
Using Ryan Air, you should be able to book a flight to anywhere in Europe for as cheap as 19 euros, one way. Upon arriving at Kefalonia International Airport you should get yourself familiar with the area. Renting a car is probably one of the best ways to see Kefalonia. In about 2 hours from one end of the island to the other. A great place to start would be Lassi. There are numerous shops and beautiful beaches which are family-friendly, where you can really feel the culture of the island.
Ammes Beach was our first stop. It has a natural green backdrop, with rocky outcrops amongst the sand. The soft sand and shallow crystal clear water make it ideal for families. There are sunbeds, umbrellas, a snack bar, and showers. Ammes is very close to the airport, you can watch flights land and take off whilst sunbathing!
The town of Sami is the second major part of the island, it offers both direct ferry routes to the mainlands of Patras, Ithaka, and Italy. Sami town, and its surrounding areas, provided many backdrops and scenery for the movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Sami is a modern village with everything you need from a pharmacy and a medical center, to ATMs, a post office, police, coastguard, and a fire department. The harbor hosts car ferries, flotillas, yachts, superyachts, fishing boats, and leisure vessels. There are plenty of shops to buy souvenirs and jewelry, supermarkets and grocery stores, and a wide variety of tavernas, snack bars, restaurants, and bars.
Patras is the largest economic, commercial and cultural center of the Peloponnese and western Greece. During the Roman period, where the city flourished, Patras was a cosmopolitan center of the Mediterranean. According to the Christian tradition, it is the place of the martyrdom of Saint Andrew, who is also the patron saint of the city. Also in Patras is the imposing Sanctuary of St. Andrew, which is the largest church in Greece and one of the largest in the Balkans. There are also preserved remains of the saint and small parts of the cross that martyred. Along with the oldest bay and homonymous smaller temple, they constitute an important place for the Orthodox Christians from Greece and the rest of the world. It is called Gateway of Greece to the West, as it is an international shopping center, a big port, and a focal point for trade and communication with Italy and the European West at large.
Lassi is right outside of Argostoli, on the way to the airport, in the area of Lassi, you can visit two of the most beautiful sandy beaches of Kefalonia, Makris and Platis Gialos.
If you are not visiting the island during the high season, I would suggest you spend a day there as these beaches are everything you can dream of! On the other hand, if you are coming in high season (July-August), this dream can be spoilt by the number of people visiting them. In this case, come only if you enjoy the beauty and the services offered together with a lot of “friends”. The beaches offer beach bars, restaurants, water sports, and a lifeguard. The sand is finely grained with blue and crystal clear waters, ideal for children. The natural extension of Makris (long) Gialos is Platis (wide) Gialos, from which it is separated by only a few rocks. As a result, going from one beach to the other by either walking or swimming is possible. From the beach, you can admire the vast blue of the Ionian Sea and the Turkopodaro beach, as well as the Paliki peninsula and the Vardianoi island in a distance.
In October 2018 the beautiful De Bosset (Drapano) stone bridge which spans the Koutavos Lagoon in Argostoli was officially certified the world’s longest (680m) stone bridge on a seawater body by Official World Record. The bridge was constructed in 1813 by Colonel Charles Philip de Bosset (a Swiss engineer in the employ of the British army) when General Sir Charles James Napier was the Governor of Kefalonia.
The first construction was a wooden bridge in the center of the Koutavos lagoon connecting the capital with the surrounding villages. Four years later stone arches were added and, after some 26 years, the entire bridge was rebuilt in stone.
During the earthquake of 1953 parts of the bridge lowered and despite backfilling and straightening the pavement this damage remains visible from the side today. In 1970, the bridge was listed as a historical monument. The De Bosset (Drapano) Bridge for pedestrians has been recently renovated and offers a majestic sight for locals and visitors alike; take a stroll over it to admire its architecture, views of the surrounding area, and the stone column (obelisk) which was built by the British to commemorate their stay.
Day 7 Phenomenal!
Melissani Cave- The roof of the ground fell 5000 years ago. 45 feet deep and the waters come from Argostoli. Melissani Lake opened to the public in 1963 and is located northwest of Sami village near Karavomylos. The cavern caved in several thousand years ago creating an amazing sight. Although the cave is about 500m from the sea its water level is a meter higher than the sea level, and the brackish water rises from a 30m deep cave system on one side of the cave and flows to the other end, through narrow crevices, into the sea. Scientists have discovered by dye tracing experiments in 1959 that the water travels from Katavothres, on the other side of the island, and comes out here. The best time to visit the lake is when the sun is right overhead around noon (depending on the season) when the sunlight rays strike the water, creating a magical blue light atmosphere. Mythology says that the cave was named after one of the nymphs, called Melissanthi who committed suicide because the God Pan was not responding to her love. The excavations carried out in 1951 and in 1962 brought to light artifacts (an ancient lamp, plates, and figures of the nymphs and the God Pan) dated to the 3rd and 4th century BC that were used during the post-classical periods.
You tour the lake by manned rowboat (have a look at the following video). You first enter the open-air chamber and then you pass through a narrow channel to the second chamber that is a big cavern with numerous stalactites and stalagmites.
The opening period is normally from Easter to October, but if you are traveling close to these dates, ask before you go. For the summer season 2019, the cave will be open to the public every day from 10 am to 5 pm and the cost will be 7euros/adult, 6euros/person in a group of over 10 persons, and 4euros/child.
I hope you enjoyed this. The next time you plan a trip, try the beautiful Island of Kefalonia.
“There was literally no bad view in Kefalonia; the Island is absolutely breath taking”
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