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What to do on Cephalonia

The largest of the Ionian islands, Kefalonia was occupied by the Italian and German armies during the 2nd World War and became the storyline for Louis De Bernieres novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

In 1953 an earthquake devastated the island, flattening all but the very north of the island. The British were the first to send aid to the island followed quickly by assistance from the USA, Sweden, Norway and France. A street in Argostoli is actually named after the HMS Daring, the 1st British boat to assist and the main square in Assos is called Paris Square after the French who helped them.

The scenery on Kefalonia is spectacular and diverse. Mount Ainos, one of the highest peaks in Greece at just under 1600 metres, has southern foothills of olive groves and pine forest above a south coastline of sandy beaches. In the north there is a beautiful and undulating landscape similar to that of Tuscany.

There are many beautiful beaches, 10 of which have been awarded the coveted Blue Flag Award. Beaches in the south tend to be sandy and gently shelving and in the north the beaches become shingly and pebbly.

FACILITIES

Our Kefalonia Manager is Karron Remountos – For any help or advice both before and during your stay on Kefalonia please contact Karron via email at ionianvillas.karron@gmail.com or by phone or text on (0030) 6944304890.

Emergency Services
Police 100
Fire Brigade 199
Ambulance 166
Argostoli Hospital (0030) 26710 22434

Doctors
Appointments are not generally necessary and opening hours are normally Monday – Friday 9am-1pm and 6 – 8pm. Doctors not based in Health Centres will be private and will also be open on Saturdays.
Argostoli – Dr Andreas Michaelides (0030) 26710 23338
Sami Health Centre (0030) 26740 22222 (24 hour)
Skala Health Centre (0030) 26710 83222
Fiskardo Health Centre (Vassilikades) (0030) 26740 51203
I Assist Medical (0030) 6980 513911 (24 Hour) Surgeries in Skala & Argostoli

Dentists
Mrs Tatiana Polatou Tel: 26710 22060
Devosetou & Pana Street, Argostoli
Mrs Sofia Skoutela Tel: 26710 23220
115, A. Tritsi Street, Argostoli
Mr Gerasimos Christoforatos Tel: 26740 22868
Agglias 12, Sami

Currency and Exchange
Argostoli and Lixouri have a number of banks in the main town, all with 24 hour ATM machines. Bank opening hours are 8am – 2pm Monday to Friday.
Skala, Lassi, Sami, Agia Efimia and Fiskardo all have 24 ATM machines in the main tourist areas.

National Holidays
There are a number of national holidays during the summer months during which all the shops and banks will be closed in the main towns on the island. In tourist resorts the shops will remain open throughout.
21st May Celebration of the reunion of the Ionian Islands to the mainland in 1864
15th August Virgin Mary Day
16th August St Gerasimos Day
20th October St Gerasimos Day

WiFi
Most resorts throughout the island have café bars offering free wireless service, it is also available in some communal areas.

Tipping
Taxis: It is normal practice to tip taxi drivers, especially if they have been helpful, eg carrying your shopping and luggage etc. There are surcharges for overweight luggage, airport pickups and fares after midnight until 5am.
Restaurants: Normally a 10% tip would be expected but adjustable according to good or bad.

SHOPPING

All tourist areas will have a selection of small shops including minimarkets where you will be able to find most things you need. For a larger shop there are bigger supermarkets on the outskirts of Argostoli, with opening hours normally 8am – 8.30pm, although during high season they stay open longer and often open on Sundays.
Veropoulos (Spar) Just past the Stadium on the waterfront in Argostoli.
Stamoulis (Salmon Pink Building) Next to Argostoli Bus Station on the sea front - sells many organic products.
Lidl On the dual carriageway (eastbound side), just past the 2nd roundabout.
Marinopoulos (Carrefore) At the end of Argostoli's dual carriageway just above the 3rd roundabout.
AB At the end of the dual carriageway just past the 3rd Roundabout on the left.

Fresh Fish
Many supermarkets will sell fresh fish and you can also find a Fishmonger in Argostoli. But by far the nicest and best way to buy the fish is direct from the fisherman in the mornings. In Fiskardo, Argostoli, Sami, Agia Efimia and Katelios just head down to the harbour. In many of the little villages across the island the Fish Man will drive around shouting “PSARI” and you can just flag him down and buy.

Bread
A lot of the villages will have a bakery as well as a village shop. In tourist resorts even if there is not a bakery you will be able to find fresh bread in the minimarkets who will have it delivered daily.

Butchers
There are butchers shops in Argostoli, Lixouri, Sami, Agia Efimia and Skala.

Chemists
There are a number of Pharmacies in Argostoli and Lixouri. There are also Pharmacies in Lakithra, Peratata, Vlahata, Skala, Poros, Sami, Agia Efimia and Vassilikades. Pharmacists are highly trained in Greece and are often used instead of a doctor. They can administer injections and some antibiotics are available over the counter.

Sami beach
Sami beach
Kaminia beach
Kaminia beach
Myrtos beach
Myrtos beach
Avithos beach
Avithos beach
Katelios
Katelios

BEACHES

SOUTH KEFALONIA BEACHES

The majority of the beaches in the south of Kefalonia are sandy and shelve gently into the sea.

Makris and Platis Yialos (Broad and Long Beach)
Both of these beaches are situated in the resort of Lassi and are amongst the most popular on the island. They are both sandy beaches, extremely safe for children. They have a number of beach bars selling drinks, ice creams and snacks. There are plenty of sun beds and umbrellas for hire. Makris Yialos also has a selection of water sports available and a volleyball pitch.

Lourdas and Trapezaki
These are both long sandy beaches with excellent views inland to Mount Ainos and across the sea to the nearby island of Zakynthos. You can walk from one end of Trapezaki beach to the other end of Lourdas beach (getting your feet wet in places!), so it’s nice for a long walk on the seashore. Both beaches have sun beds and umbrellas for rent and tavernas for food and drinks.

Kaminia
Kaminia beach is a protected nesting site for loggerhead turtles so it is not over-developed. This long stretch of sand rarely gets busy, and there are some sun beds and umbrellas for rent and two cantinas. It is extremely safe for children as the beach shelves very gently into the sea.

Skala
The town is a bustling tourist resort with a lively beach to match. The beach boasts beach bars, sun beds and umbrellas and water sports.


EAST KEFALONIA BEACHES

As you make your way northwards the beaches are generally shingle or pebble beaches.

Antisamos
This picturesque pebble beach set just outside Sami was the setting for some of the film scenes in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. There are sun beds and umbrellas for rent and a taverna. Snorkeling is excellent on this beach and there is a watersports centre.

Agia Paraskevi (St Friday)
You will find this pretty beach on the road from Sami to Agia Efimia. There is a taverna and a grassy area under the trees with sunbeds for hire.
There are many other beaches between Sami and Agia Efimia.


NORTH KEFALONIA BEACHES

In the North of the Island there are no sandy beaches and in general there are no sun beds or umbrellas for rent. You will not find any beach bars or tavernas on the beaches due to Greek law. A lot of the beaches have crystal clear waters, which are a haven for sea urchins. It is therefore advisable to wear something on your feet when exploring these beaches.

Foki Bay
A pretty little pebble beach, backed by an olive grove, sheltered within a deep cove. A taverna is on the other side of the road. The crystal clear waters are ideal for snorkeling and at the far end of the bay is a cave, which you can swim into and then explore on foot.

Zavalata Bay
Fiscardo's village beach - close to the recently excavated archaeological digs which uncovered the remains of some roman baths. This is a pretty little beach in the heart of Fiscardo.

Emblissi
On the outskirts of Fiscardo en route to Antipata. A sheltered cove, fringed by olive groves.

Myrtos Beach
This stunning and much-photographed beach was recently voted in the top 10 best beaches in the World. It was the film setting for many of the scenes in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Unlike the more northern beaches Myrtos has a cantina and sun beds and umbrellas for hire. Please be wary of the steeply shelving shoreline and the occasional strong current. Ensure that you check the flag system before venturing into the sea.

WEST KEFALONIA BEACHES

Agios Kyriaki
Nestling in a cove, this long sandy beach (becoming pebbly in the sea) is quiet and sheltered, with a fish taverna at one end. There are no sun beds and umbrellas and the beach is never crowded.

Petani
This stunning beach is 2nd only to Myrtos for its beauty. On the north coast of the Lixouri peninsula it is reached via a winding and steep road. The sand is coarse, with a few pebble patches, but quiet comfortable to walk on. There are a couple of tavernas on the beach and in peak season you can hire sun beds and umbrellas. Occasional strong currents.

Xi Beach
On the south coat of the Lixouri peninsula this red sandy beach has beach bars, sun beds, umbrellas and water sports at one end and a natural escape at the other end. The beach shelves very gently into the sea making it ideal for children. The cliffs are made up of clay with skin purifying qualities - soften the clay in water, cover yourself, allow to dry and then wash off in the sea!

Vatsa Bay
A beautiful sheltered, sandy bay set on the south west corner of the Lixouri Peninsula. One of the only rivers on the island flows into the sea alongside the beach where small fishing boats are moored. A beach taverna specialises in freshly caught fish.

Kioni, Ithaca
Kioni, Ithaca
Sami beach
Sami beach
Spartia beach
Spartia beach
Foki beach, Fiscardo
Foki beach, Fiscardo

THINGS TO DO

Fiscardo Marine Adventure
Aboard a traditional wooden caique with Marine Biologist Jamie.

3 Islands Cruise
A day's excursion to visit the islands of Lefkas, Meganissi and Skorpios.

Ithaca Day Cruise

Kefalonia Island Tour
Visit the home of the Islands patron Saint St Gerasimos and try out the wine at a local winery; the stalactites in Drogarati cave and the subterranean Melissani Lake; Myrtos Beach; Fiskardo and Assos.

For further information on all these excursions or to book please call Karron on (0030)6972356315.

Prokris Soft Play Park (Mazarakata - South Kefalonia)
Perfect for the kids with a coffee shop for the adults! Bouncy castles, go carts, trampoline, climbing frames etc. They also have special events for children such as theatre and facepainting. Open every evening from 18.00. For further information please call 26710 68129

Horse Riding
There are 2 main riding stables on the island:
Kefalos Riding Club (www.rideahorse.gr)
This school is based in Agios Dimitrios on the Lixouri peninsula. For further information and to book call (0030) 26710 92541 or email info@rideahorse.gr
Bavarian Stables (www.kephalonia.com/English/Welcome.html)
This school is in the villa of Grizata on the outskirts of Sami on the Poros Road. For further information and to book call (0030) 26740 23143/(0030) 6977533203 or email cornelia@kephalonia.com

Donkey Trekking
Based in Grizata on the outskirts of Sami, children can learn about donkey care and join a donkey trek. For further information call (0030) 6980059630 or check out their Facebook page – Donkey Trekking Kefalonia

Walking
A good guidebook is Sunflower Books – "Walking and Eating in Kefalonia" and a good website is www.walking stories.com

In Aghia Efimia the Demos (local Council) has produced walking leaflets and the majority of the walks are clearly signed. The leaflets are available from the Tourist Information Office on the seafront.

For walking with a guide try www.sea-trek.co.uk/walking. You can call them for further information before you leave the UK on 0044 (0)1789 868002 and they offer a free call back service.

Kayaking
www.seakayakingkefalonia-greece.com
For further information call Pavlos on (0030) 6932904360 or Yvonne on (0030)6934010400 or email them on info@seakayakingkefalonia-greece.com

Boat Hire
There are a number of Boat Hire companies throughout the island. All are professionally run, with full instruction where needed, safety equipment and professionally maintained boats:
Sea Breeze – Katelios www.sea-breeze.gr
Tel(0030)26710 81323/(0030) 6945335598 or email info@sea-breeze.gr

Boulevard Boats – Agia Efimia www.kefaloniatravel/kefalonia_cephalonia_boulevard_boat_hire.html
Tel: (0030) 26740 61800 / 0030 6938762303

Escape Boats – Lourdas
Tel (0030) 6936 892901/6936892902

Fiscardo Boat Hire – Fiskardo www.fiscardoboathire.com
Tel (0030) 6978700800 or email info@fiscardoboathire.com

Yacht Charter
Charter your own yacht for the day complete with a skipper. There are a number of companies that provide this service, some with offices in the UK.
Fiscardo Boat Hire www.fiscardoboathire.com
Tel (0030) 6978700800 or email info@fiscardoboathire.com

Icarus Yacht Charter .co.uk www.icarusyachtcharter.co.uk
Tel: 0844 4142112 (UK number)
Or email info@icarusyachtcharter.co.uk

Sail Kefalonia based in Svoronata www.sailkefalonia.co.uk
Tel (0030) 26710 318685 / (0030) 6942536051 or email raybenson1@yahoo.com

Scuba Diving
There are 2 Scuba Diving Schools on the island:
Aquatic – Agia Efimia www.aquatic.gr
Tel : (0030) 26740 62006 or email info@aquatic.gr

Fiskardo Divers – Fiskardo www.fiskardo-divers.com
Tel : (0030)6970206172 (Cedric) / (0030) 6949393501 (Yannik) or email on fiskardodivers@yahoo.com






Looking down to Assos
Looking down to Assos
Lourdas beach taverna
Lourdas beach taverna

EXPLORING THE ISLAND

THE SOUTH
Argostoli
Argostoli is the capital of Kefalonia and sits on the banks of the Koutavos Lagoon. The Earthquake of 1953 destroyed the pretty “Venetian style” town with its paved streets and tiled rooves. The town bustles with good shops, tavernas and bars.

Turtles
The main nesting site on Kefalonia for the rare and protected Loggerhead Turtles, known as “Caretta Caretta” is on Kaminia beach on the south easternly tip of the island. The turtles normally come back year after year to the place they were born to lay their eggs, however more recently we’ve seen nests along the coast as far as the Lassi beaches and on Xi beach on Lixouri, so thankfully their numbers are increasing. It’s very unlikely that you will see the turtles on the beach as the conservation agency protects and patrols the beaches. If you would like further information or possibly to get involved during your stay then please contact Nikos at Wildlife Sense on (0030) 6984 865941.
On occasion you can see turtles off the harbourfront in Argostoli hoping for a few fish from the fishing boats. Another recent visitor to the fishing boats has been a seal!

The Koryalenios Historical & Cultural Museum and Public Library
Open 8am – 2pm everyday except Sundays.
The museum houses many interesting and historically documented exhibits. These include costumes, furniture, armoury, china, glass and a fascinating display of photographs and pictures showing the splendid architecture of Argostoli before the earthquake struck in 1953 as well as the devastation it caused and how the island has subsequently been rebuilt. There is also a fine collection of lace and icons in the museum. Portraits of Britain’s most celebrated Kefalonian residents, Sir Charles Napier and Lord Byron are on display together with extracts of their books and impressions of the island during the British Protectorate, at the turn of the last century, are available. All the items on display are labelled in Greek and English.

Katavothres or “The Mill”
In 1835 an English resident was walking by the sea when he heard a noise of running water beneath his feet. He had the site excavated and discovered a stream of sea water flowing inland at such a rate he decided to build a corn mill on it. In 1965, with the use of coloured dyes, a scientist discovered that the water actually flowed from Katavothres over to the east of the island taking 14 days to appear in Melissani Lake. Nowadays you can still see the water holes, but the water wheel is no longer working. There is also a café bar where you can have a nice relaxing drink at the waters edge.

Piccolo Yiro
In the age of carriages and promenades, the British built a charming 8km drive around the tip of the peninsula from Lassi to Argostoli. It is known as the Piccolo or Mikro Yiro, meaning Short Circuit.

The Kastro of Agios Yiorgos
After extensive restoration work the castle was reopened in 2001. From June onwards the castle is open every day except Mondays.
Situated on a hill above the village of Travliata, the Kastro is the best preserved of any Venetian fortress in the Ionian. It was built on the site of a Mycenaean settlement – you can still see the remains on the summit. With uninterrupted views down to Argostoli, across to Lixouri and easterly as far as Katelios you can easily see why it was the chosen spot for the Castle.

Metaxata
Lord Byron spent 6 months in 1823 in this beautiful village and was 'quieted enough to be able to write'. His stay was commemorated by a small marble slab, set in a garden wall and inscribed 'Lord Byron's Ivy'. The ivy is still going strong but the house is no longer there.

Tombs of Mazarakata
These late Mycenaean chamber tombs are each approached by 'dromoi' paths and contain rows of rock cut graves. The remarkable pottery found in them when excavated in 1900 was found to be late or sub Mycenaean ware of the 12th Century BC. Some of these exhibits are on display at the Archaeological Museum in Argostoli; most are now housed in Athens.

Lakithra
There is historical evidence that has lead people to believe that Lakithra was the centre of many late Mycenaean settlements. In contrast to Mazarakata, the tombs here are vertical. Lord Byron used to walk regularly from his home in neighbouring Metaxata to this location. A rock with a memorial plaque marks the spot.

Kourkoumelata
After the 1953 Earthquake the village was completely rebuilt by the wealthly Giorgos Vergotis. He took his inspiration from California where he had spent a great deal of time. The village now has a sports stadium, colonial style Theatre and rows of tidy Californian styled houses surrounded by green lawns. A mausoleum has been built in the village and his remains lay there. His family still have a house in the village.

Convent of Agios Andreas
The convent of Agios Andreas is found on the outskirts of the village of Peratata and is the home to a series of 12th Century frescoes, discovered after the 1953 earthquake during the renovation work. It also claims to house the Saint's velvet shod left foot and some fine icons.

Convent of Agios Gerasimos
St Gerasimos Notaras is Kefalonia's Patron Saint. Born in 1509 in the Peloponnese, he was a renowned exorcist and known for his water divining powers and green fingers. There is a large church dedicated to him nestled in the vast Omala Valley surrounded by Mount Ainos and Mount Roudi, half way between Sami and Argostoli. The church is currently only open on Feast Days whilst they finish the interior decor. However, behind the church is the convent of Agios Gerasimos with its small chapel, where you can see the ornate casket in which the saints body is kept. Also in this chapel are the steps leading to the cave where St Gerasimos lived as a hermit for many years.

Mount Ainos
The highest point in the Ionian Islands with the summit at 1,555 metres. The mountain forests contain the Kefalonia Fir tree, indigenous to the island. The views are spectacular: northeast to Ithaca and Lefkas; east to the mountains on either side of the Gulf of Corinth and south, 1,500 metres down to Lourdata and out to Zakynthos. If you are lucky you may also see the wild horses who live on the mountain.

Katelios
A small sleepy fishing hamlet, surrounded by sandy beaches and some good fish tavernas.

Skala
Skala is more of a typical tourist resort today with its variety of gift shops, restaurants and Tavernas.
On the outskirts of Skala you can find a mosaic floor (all that remains today) of a Roman villa dating back to the second half of the 2nd Century AD. In the main hall of the 'villa' the mosaic shows a young man being torn to pieces by a lion, tiger, puma and a leopard; and the long inscription below, signed by the artist suggests that this scene was an allegorical warning to guests not to allow themselves to be destroyed by envy of their host's prosperous villa.
Above the resort is the village of Old Skala, destroyed by the 1953 earthquake, but with stunning views.

THE EAST
Sami
The third largest town and harbour on Cephalonia. It is a fairly busy port with daily ferries to the nearby island of Ithaka and the Greek mainland, but without the hustle and bustle of a large town. There are many tavernas along the harbour front, selling a variety of typical Greek cuisine.
The coastline between Sami and Agia Efimia contains many beautiful beaches.

Drogarati Caves
100 steps lead down to the cave, which opens out into a huge cavern with a roof covered in stalactites.

Melissani Lake
The spectacular cave and lake of Melissani, is located between Sami and Agia Efimia. The lake, previously underground, was discovered hundreds years ago after an earthquake, which resulted in part of the roof collapsing. From Katovothres near Argostoli, seawater travels beneath the island's central mountain range, merges with other underground freshwater streams and re enters the sea at Karavomilos near Sami, via the lake of Melissani.
Reached by a sloping subterranean passage way, three little boats are waiting for you and will row you around the lake and into the cave of Pan, where there are many stalactites.

Sunlight pours through the hole in the roof turning the water into a brilliant turquoise colour. The Lake is open until sunset but the Lake is at its best when the sun is high.

Agia Efimia
This attractive little horse shoe bay is located north of Sami. The mountain range behind Agia Efimia has wild rabbits with golden teeth on account of bromide found in the natural springs.

THE NORTH
Assos
A pretty village set on it’s own peninsular with a small harbour and a waterfront of café bars and tavernas. The facades of several 19th Century houses are still in evidence. A Venetian fortress is perched high up on the hillside over looking the village and was built between 1593 and 1595. It was originally used as a refuge for the population of the area, but in later years was used as a prison. The fortress is in ruins however extensive plans are in place to renovate and restore it to its former glory. The track up to it is fairly steep in places but well worth the effort for the views from the top.

Fiskardo
The only village on the island that survived the 1953 earthquake relatively unscathed. Less than 200 people live here in the winter, but in the summer the harbour fills with visiting yachts. Waterfront houses, tavernas and shops brighten anyone's day with all the pastel colours of the rainbow. Chic shops and restaurants.

The Roman Remains
The name of the Original Roman settlement in Fiskardo has yet to be discovered. It is thought to have been a bustling and thriving community, as its geographical position made it a crossroads in the broad and busy net of sea routes. It was also one of the last safe ports of call before the long voyage to Italy.

The Roman Graveyard
On the coast road out of Fiskardo towards Tselendata, just beyond Panormos taverna and facing Ithaca are the remains of an ancient Roman graveyard. This was discovered accidentally during work carried out by the Greek Telephone Company in 1993.
The excavations following this discovery have revealed parts of the large graveyard dating from the 2nd to 4th centuries AD. So far a total of 27 graves have been discovered.

The Roman Baths
More recently the remains of some Roman baths were discovered and were extensively excavated in the summer of 2004. These remains can be clearly seen on the beach in Zavalata Bay, just slightly further on from the Roman graveyard. These baths are thought to be one of the most important finds in the whole of Greece in recent years. However it has led to speculation that the village of Fiskardo has in fact been built on top of the original Roman settlement.

THE WEST
Lixouri Peninsula
The second largest town on Kefalonia, Lixouri lies across the bay from Argostoli. During the 2nd World War the German army used Lixouri as its base on the island.
The peninsula has a completely different feel to the rest of Kefalonia as the area is not as mountainous. The sunset over Lixouri is breathtaking and is best seen from Petani in the north or from the cliff tops close to Kipoureon Monastery.
Regular car ferries run to and from Lixouri to Argostoli.

FOOD

Greeks love eating! Their main meal tends to be dinner at the later, cooler end of the day. The evening meal with Greeks can be very much a social occasion and can happen any time from 2100 hrs to Midnight!

If you find it difficult understanding the Greek menu, don’t worry – its normal practice in Greece to go into the kitchen and have a look before you order. Here are some suggestions of dishes to try:

Horiatiki Salata – tomatoes, cucumber, onions, green peppers and feta cheese sprinkled with oregano.

Feta Cheese – Made from either cows or sheep’s milk, it is a creamy white, strong tasting cheese and is normally served sprinkled with oregano and olive oil. When ordering, if you prefer it without oil, ask for it “horis lathi”. “Feta fourno” is baked in the oven.

Taramasalata – fish roe, normally from grey mullet or cod blended blended with breadcrumbs, olive oil, lemon juice and onions made into a fine paste and eaten as a bread dip.

Tzatziki- again a starter dip, made with yoghurt with garlic, cucumber and parsley.

Scorthalia – a blend of mashed potato, garlic and olive oil. Normally eaten cold with cod in batter.

Kolokethakia tiganita – fried courgettes or marrows.

Meletzanes tiganites – sliced aubergines fried in oil.

Tiropitta – cheese pie, normally made with filo pastry filled with cream cheese or feta. Often served in small triangles as a starter.

Moussaka – made with minced beef or lamb, aubergines, potatoes and topped with a béchamel sauce and a little grated cheese.

Souvlaki – the Greek kebab: charcoal grilled pieces of pork, beef or chicken on a skewer with green peppers, tomatoes and onions. It may sometimes be served on its own with lemon juice and oregano.

Yemistes – tomatoes or green peppers stuffed with rice and vegetables. Although normally vegetarian occasionally they also add mincemeat or feta. If you do not want mincemeat ask for them “horis krayass”.

Gouvetsi – normally cooked in a round shallow earthenware casserole dish and consists of lamb cooked in a tomato sauce with macaroni or “hilopites” (noodles).

Dolmathes – vine leaves stuffed with rice and sautéed with olive oil and herbs. There are many variations on this dish and may be eaten hot or cold and sometimes served with a lemon flavoured béchamel sauce.

Pastitsio – macaroni baked with layers of cheese and minced meat.

Keftethes – meatballs with herbs, usually in a red tomato and olive oil sauce.

Rabbit – a Kefalonian delicacy, cooked in a spicy tomato sauce.

Kalamari – squid, deep-fried or grilled on charcoal, sprinkled with lemon juice.

Kefalonian Meat Pie – normally made with lamb meat, vegetables, rice and herbs with a pastry crust. Every taverna and family have a different variation on this, fine tuned throughout the ages.

Desserts
Although many locals have a sweet tooth, desserts are not normally offered after a meal. Instead a cake or a pastry is eaten in the afternoon with a Greek coffee. Pastries are very sweet and oozing with honey or syrup and usually nuts. Some of the better known are:

Baklavas – made with filo pastry, honey and almonds.

Galactobouriko – baked milk pudding topped with filo pastry, syrup and cinnamon. (Milk Pie)

Kataifi – nuts and honey in a shredded pastry.

Private Chef
With prices comparable to dining out at a taverna it’s an ideal option for evenings in and should you wish to get involved the chef can also teach you how to prepare local dishes. For further information please call Karron on (0030)6972356315.


KEFALONIA TAVERNAS

Tavernas and Restaurants

There are excellent tavernas all across the island, here are just a few that visitors have rated highly over the years…….

Cavo Liakas – Spartia Village
Traditional greek taverna just off the village square. It’s the only taverna in the centre of the village, but people come from miles around so it can get pretty busy, in high season it’s advisable to book. Tel : 26710 69536

St Georges Castle – Kastro Café Bar
Only open during the day, freshly prepared lunches and deserts to die for with amazing views. It does get very busy though during peak times.

Kiani Akti - Argostoli
Set on a jetty in the bay of Argostoli it specializes in fish. The restaurant gets very busy particularly in high season so bookings are essential. Tel 26710 26680

Olive Lounge – Lourdas
With stunning views, fantastic service and excellent views this restaurant has remained no.1 on Trip Advisor for a number of years. To book tel 26710 31070

Maria’s – Katelios
Right on the beach! Excellent freshly prepared food including fresh fish. All food is prepared to order so a bit of patience may be required.

Symposium – Skala
On the beach road in Skala, this fairly up market restaurant has a very cosmopolitan menu and a relaxing atmosphere with a guest singer.

Nefeli-Anait – Assos
Right next to the sea in Assos. Good quality local dishes including fresh fish. Tel 26740 51251

Agia Efimia – Gialos Café Bar
Right on the harbor front and the perfect spot for breakfasts, snacks and coffees.

Sami – Il Familia
On the sea front in Sami, with excellent home cooked food.

Fiskardo – Aqua Alaties
Overlooking Alaties Beach, this fantastic restaurant has had rave reviews. Enjoy your meal or freshly prepared cocktail as the sun sets.

Lixouri – Spiaggia Vasta Bay
This amazing taverna on the beach at lovely Vasta Bay is a bit of a drive from the main town but well worth it. Fresh fish, huge steaks and many other dishes to tempt you all freshly prepared to order on the BBQ by the colourful Spiros. A “must” visit for anyone staying in Kefalonia.


WINE

Kefalonian Wine

Kefalonia has a long tradition of wine making reaching back to the days of Homer.

Kefalonia's sea breezes and the mountains provide cool sites where grapes can develop slowly. Of the many varieties grown here only one vine is unique to the island, the Robola of Kefalonia, which grows nowhere else.

There are a number of commercial wine makers on the island and their wines are clean and stable. Every village has a wine press, which makes ‘loose wine’ for the farmers and tavernas.

Robola Wine Producers Co-operative:
The winery is in the Omala Valley right next door to the large church of St Gerasimos. Local vineyard owners bring in their Robola grapes which are used to make the wine and they all receive a share of the profits. The winery also accepts Tsaoussi grapes, which are made into wine separately and marketed under the Melambus label. This winery is open Monday to Friday from 9am until 2pm. You will be free to walk around the winery and see whatever production is in operation at the time. There will be samples of some of the wines on offer which you can purchase in the shop. They also have a shop on the sea front in Argostoli. Please call (0030) 26710 86301/29400 for further information

Gentilini (Kosmetatos):
Close to the airport the Gentilini Estate is a locally run, small boutique winery of some reknown worldwide and has won a number of awards. Nikolas Kosmetatos spent much of his life in Britain and has been influenced by British winemakers. His vines are the only vines on Kefalonia which grow in a high trellis, allowing the leaves to protect the bunches of fruit from direct sunlight. He has planted the best of the local varieties and has imported three classis varieties from France: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion.
The wine has delicacy, fine aroma and good length. In Kefalonia it is comparatively expensive, but the enthusiast should endeavour to try a bottle.

Tours of the winery, including tastings are held early evenings from June on selected days of the week or by appointment at other times. Please call (0030) 26710 41618 for further information

Divino:
This small winery in the village of Pessada was opened in 1986, when Gerasimos Hartoularis renovated an old family winery back to its former glory and has been producing wine commercially ever since.
The winery is open to the public daily from 10.00-20.00 where you can have a tour and taste the product. The wine is also on sale at the winery. For further information call (0030)26710 69190

Vitoratos:
With over 100 years winemaking experience behind them the family decided to open their own winery in 1993 in Mantzavinata on the Paliki Peninsula. The winery is open to the public during the summer months daily from 10.00-14.00 and 18.00-20.00, for tours, tasting and purchases. For further information please call (0030) 26710 94244

Sklavos:
This small family run winery is in the Kehriouas area near Lixouri and uses organically cultivated grapes. The winery is open to the public during the summer months daily from 19.00-21.00, for tours, tasting and purchases. For further information please call (0030) 26710 91930

Foivos:
This winery is near Lixouri in the village of Vouni and is open to the public during the summer months for tours and complimentary wine tasting on Monday to Friday, 11.00-13.00 and 19.00 to 20.00. Or call for an appointment on (0030) 26710 29505/92757

TRANSPORT AND TRAVEL

Local Buses
This is a cheap but often infrequent way of exploring the island, but can be great fun. For the up to date timetable please phone (0030) 26710 22281/22276 or contact Karron on (0030) 6972356315.

Ferries
There are ferries from Fiskardo to Lefkas, Sami to Ithaca, Pessada to Zakynthos and from Argostoli, Poros and Sami to the Greek Mainland. There is also a ferry which runs all day between Argostoli and Lixouri Town. Times and routes change according to season so please check with the local ticket offices or contact Karron on (0030) 6972356315 who can advise you the current times.

Taxis: There are many taxis throughout the island, with official taxi ranks in the main towns.
Argostoli – Harbour front and Main Square
Lixouri – Main Square
Sami – Harbour Front
Skala – Sea Front next to Metaxa Beach Bar and the main street next to the kiosk
Fiskardo – Behind the square
In small towns and villages there are no official taxi ranks, you can just flag one down or taverna owners will telephone one for you.

Motor Boats
Available in Fiskardo, Agia Efimia, Katelios, Skala and Lourdas; an excellent way to explore the coastline and reach places only accessible from the sea.

Water Taxi
There is a water taxi during high season connecting Katelios, Skala and Poros. Ask Karron for details.

Driving
As with most foreign countries there are always peculiarities specific to that area, Kefalonia is no exception:
Parking: In most areas across the island parking is free and is either on the side of the road or in dedicated car parks. However in some areas it’s a little more complicated, here are the main ones:
Argostoli: The busiest place on the island and more than likely the only time you will see anything remotely resembling a traffic jam. The locals tend to double park with their hazard lights on!
The Harbour front in Argostoli has a voucher parking system in place. You can purchase the scratch card vouchers from the kiosks and some shops. Look for the blue parking signs and make sure you do not park in taxi ranks.
The main square and the surrounding streets are closed to traffic after 7pm, so make sure you remove your car before that time or you will not be able to get it out and will get a ticket.
There is a public car park as you come into Argostoli just before the main bus station. This is free to park.
Lassi: Lassi operates a system where one month you park on the right and the next month on the left. There are signs but it’s easier to just see which side everyone else parks and follow suit. Take care on the 1st of the month when nobody is sure which side to park!!
Skala: The main street is pedestrianised in the evenings. So please park outside this area or you will be unable to get your car out and will receive a parking ticket.
Fiskardo: The centre of Fiskardo is pedestrianised at all times, but there is a free car park just above the harbour front and plenty of parking on the main road into the car park where the coaches park.
Roundabouts: The introduction of new roundabouts on the dual carriageway just outside Argostoli has caused a few problems. Please note: In Greece traffic entering the roundabout has right of way, the exact opposite of the UK. The exception is when the road coming onto the roundabout has a stop sign! Please treat roundabouts with extreme care.
Speed limits: As a general rule the speed limit on Kefalonia is 60km per hour. In residential areas it can go down as low as 20km per hour, but is well signed.

NON PROFIT MAKING ORGANISATIONS

F.L.I.K (Friends Living In Kefalonia)
Charity Organisation set up to raise money for good causes on the island. Every Christmas they put on a pantomime and there are many other events held throughout the year. Over the years the money raised has provided essential equipment for the hospital in Argostoli, local schools, Air Fire Brigade and special cases. For further information please contact Karron on (0030) 6972356315.

K.A.T (Kefalonia Animal Trust)
Dedicated to a neutering service for cats and dogs, both stray and owned, to reduce the numbers of unwanted animals and in breeding leading to birth defects. They have a number of charity shops, two of which are only open during the winter, one in Svoronata open all year round. For further information or to donate have a look at the website - www.kefalonia-animal-trust.org.

A.R.K. (Animal Rescue Kefalonia)
There is a shelter in Argostoli which is currently overflowing with dogs and cats. Many have been rehomed over the years, but more are arriving daily with the shelter no longer able to house them all. They rely purely on donations and fund raising events, together with the goodwill of local people and visitors to the island. They also provide an emergency rescue service for animals in serious need of assistance. For further information please contact Karron.