A truly verdant island that is surrounded by the emerald waters of the Ionian Sea, Kefalonia is the island of mysteries and peculiarities. Here, the sea water disappears under Argostoli, the capital of the island, in the so-called Katavothres and ends up in the mystical cave of Melissani with the turquoise reflections of the lake on the walls of the cave. The legend has it that harmless snakes go to the church of Virgin Mary in Markopoulo on August 15th every year and that Agios Gerasimos, the patron saint of the island, sometimes has seaweed on his feet because he visits the neighbouring islands. It is true, though, that on the island of Kefalonia there are goats with golden teeth, loggerhead turtles greet the tourists in the lagoon of Koutavos in Argostoli and Mount Aenos is black instead of green!
The existence of these seemingly strange events is actually proof of how rich the nature in Kefalonia is. The ground is rich in minerals and that's why the goats' teeth have a golden shade. The rare loggerhead turtles choose many of the beaches here to lay their eggs, so it is quite common to see protected nests on some of them. In Koutavos lagoon, there is one turtle that is particularly friendly with people and sometimes pops its head out of the water while there are people around. The unique black fir which is indigenous to Kefalonia grows on Mount Aenos and gives the black colour to the top of the mountain. Wild horses live in the slopes of it and rare monk seals inhabit the sea caves of the island. Do you need more to become completely mermerised by Kefalonia and want to return for your vacation again and again?
The island has a long history that dates back to the prehistoric age. It flourished in the Classical period and was met with several occupiers because of its strategic location. Ruins of powerful ancient cities are found in many sites around the island; impressive Mycenaean tombs strengthen the theory that the notorious king of Ithaca, Odysseus, was buried in Kefalonia, whereas several ancient treasures are on display in the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli. Castles and monasteries with great view, such as the castle of Agios Georgios and the convent of Kipouraioi are the remains of the Byzantine and Venetian era. Korgialeneios Library in Argostoli and Iakovateios Library in Lixouri with their rare collections of books, as well as the philharmonic orchestras of the two cities are indicative of the locals' tendency towards culture, music and the arts. Religion and culture are combined in most of the festivals that are organised on the island, particularly in those celebrating the nameday of Agios Gerasimos and the Dormition of Virgin Mary.
Even though the island suffered a devastating earthquake in 1953 which destroyed it almost entirely, it has been reborn from its ashes and it has become a tourist attraction both for Greeks and for people from all over the world, without losing its authentic character. Most of the beaches are unspoiled, offering enchanting sceneries and a serene atmosphere. The trademark of Kefalonia is Myrtos beach, but there are several other beaches standing out, such as Antisamos beach in Sami, where the film "Captain Corelli’s Mandolin" was filmed, Xi beach in Lixouri, where the reddish sand works as a natural spa with clay and the busy beaches of Skala and Platis Gialos-Makris Gialos for those of you who like sun loungers and other beach facilities.
Needless to say that accommodation is not a problem in Kefalonia, as there are all sorts of hotels, villas, studios and rooms to let either in the capital of the island and the tourist resorts of Lassi and Skala or in the picturesque towns like Sami and Lixouri.
Nightlife might be very limited to non-existent in some places, but Argostoli, where dancing until the early morning hours is guaranteed, is very easy to access from most of the places on the island. However, Kefalonia is the island where you can escape the modern city life and have the most amazing holidays in nature and by the sea. Therefore, all you need for your entertainment is to have a delicious meal in one of the Greek taverns, which are usually found on the waterfront, and a drink in one of the local bars. To add some Kefalonian flavour to your experience, taste traditional local dishes such as Kefalonian meat pies, aliada and pastitsada.
Kefalonia is not just the island of peculiarities. It is a place where modern life goes hand in hand with traditions and laid-back Mediterranean customs. Whoever comes to Kefalonia wishes they could stay forever! This accounts for the reason why Kefalonia is usually voted as one of the best islands in Greece in many polls and sometimes gets the second place after Santorini, in competition with Crete, Paros, Ios, Skiathos, Mykonos, Zakynthos, Rodos, Lefkada, Naxos and other beautiful Greek islands.
Visit the Kefalonian paradise to see if it actually deserves the first place in the polls. It will certainly get it in your heart!