Kefalonia




Linda, Chris, December 2013

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Kefalonia - where to start?  It`s a small island, but don`t let that put you off going.  It is a beautiful island and the people ofKefalonia are warm, welcoming and friendly.

The island has many faces, from small rocky coves to pine woods, from green valleys to rocky mountain sides, it is glorious in the variety landscapes there is something here of everyone.

These are a few of the places that you shouldn`t miss, but there are hundreds more that you`ll find for yourselves.  Always take suncream, plenty to drink, some snacks, a pair of trainers, a towel and swimwear with you, you never know what you will find on your travels over the island or how long you will want to stay there. Just remember, there may not many straight or flat roads, but there is always something amazing around the next corner.

Beaches

In the south of the island visit the bay of Lourdata, when you get to the beach turn right and go to the end of the promenade.  Walk over the slope and past the small harbour, just round the corner you`ll find more beaches between rocky outcrops, which give some shelter if wanted and make it perfect for a picnic.  The beaches may be a bit pebbly but when you walk out a little way the seabed is soft sand under your toes.

Just a little further up the coast is many little bays, some sandy coves and some rocky shelves of lava.  Look out for the large oyster and clam shells burried into the rocks at some of the coves.

If you are in Sami, when you leave take the coast road towards Agia Efimia, don`t go too fast as you may miss one of the many hidden sandy coves perfect for a stop and a quick cooling dip in the warm, clear water.  If you have time follow the road and signs to Anti Samos.  This is a large bay, fairly tucked in and hidden.  Why not sit on the wooden jetty and watch the fish swimming underneath.

Another stunning coast road runs between Argostoli and Fiskardo, passing though lots of little villages, you are also given amazing views of Myrtos Beach, probably one of the most photographed beaches in the world, there is a stopping space on the side of the road, which could be where the photos were taken from.  Follow the signs and take the winding road down to the beach and cool your feet in the warm, gentle clear blue waters.   Don`t be put off from visiting the bay if there has been a storm in the previous couple of days (not likely to happen in the summer), you may not be able to swim but the sea will show you her power and it is quite stunning to behold.

Just around the corner is Assos, which you will see long before you reach it, a charming little village on a narrow causeway, if you`re feeling energetic you try walking up to the castle, don`t forget to take a drink with you, it`s quick a long walk.

After Assos the road travels inland but will still show you some lovely views and villages.  When you get to the end of the road, you will have reached Fiskardo.  A charming little village with a sheltered harbour of yachts and fishing boats.  Walk around the harbour taking in the views, the shops and restaurants.  Maybe sit at one of the outside cafe areas and enjoy watching the world go by.

There is only the one main road to reach the top of the island but while you are travelling back down try a few of the smaller roads, these usually lead to some of the best places.  The beaches and coves at Agrilas and Chalkeri are worth a visit even if the weather isn`t perfect.

If you want a slightly different view of the island on your journey back, you can take a slightly different road.  When you reachDivarata take the road to Loukata and Dilinata, this will take you through some stunning scenery and provides a few places for you to stop for photos. The road will lead you back to Argostoli, while you`re there park up along the front and pop in to a bakers, snack shop or grocers for something to eat (you must try a cheese pie and Greek coffee) and stroll along the harbour.  If you are in Argostoli in the harbour while the fishermen are sorting their catch watch behind and between the boats and you should be rewarded with the sight of turtles making the most of a free meal.

Walk up one of the roads from the front and discover the pedestrianised (well almost) shopping area.  Lots of small boutique shops for clothes, jewellery and shoes, gifts and restaurants or cafes for something to eat and drink.  At the end of the precinct just over the road, there is a museum full of interesting objects.

Inland

It is just a beautiful inland as it is along the coast.  The road from Argostoli to Sami takes you through open expanses of farmland and then up in to hills, which will give you a view of the Sami coast.

Detour through the village of Troianta or Valsamata and visit the Monastery of St Gerassimos, a beautiful red rooved, cream coloured building.  Take a while to walk around and take in the peace.

For a complete change of scenery and spectacular views head for the Ainos National Park in the south of the island.  Some of the road is now tarmac and a lovely drive through a forest of pine trees. When the road runs out near to the antena park up and walk along away from them, it is possible to drive to the picnic tables if your careful. There are some benches and picnic tables.  If its clear you can see the bay at Lourdata.  If you sit quietly and the swallows are around you can hear the wind in their wings as they chase flies.  Look out for birds of prey circling on the thermals. A little further along and visible from the benches is the highest point in the island, Mount Ainos.

Unless you are a hiker or have a four wheeled drive vehicle, it is advisable that you return to the main road the same way you came up. If you do decide to carry on along the `road` beware! Check you fuel level before starting out - its a long way to the petrol station and its easy to take the wrong turning. The surface is loose in places and you will need to keep a look out for rock falls in the way. The expanse of the island visible towards Sami is stunning and on a very hot day the coolness under the trees is very welcome. Remember though apart from you and probably some goats there won`t be many people around.

While you are out and about and if you don`t want a meal or don`t have time(?) pull up at a bakers and try a local meat or cheese pie and some biscuits.  The local bread is delicious but should be eaten the day of purchase or the morning after for breakfast.  Try it with local honey and yoghurt.

There are seven islands in the group, some of the larger ones, ZakynthosLefkas and Ithaki can be easily reached by ferry or hired boat, so why not visit one or all of them for a day or so. There are also caves and lakes that you should see and other places too numerous to mention that will create for you a wonderful holiday and make you want to return again and again.

Kefalonia
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