With charismatic harbour villages and tranquil walks amidst the olive and orange groves, the island of Ithaca, settled between mainland Greece and Kefalonia, is a truly beautiful place to get away from it all in an authentic Greek escape.
Argostoli is the capital town of the picturesque island of Kefalonia, one of Greece’s beautiful Ionian islands. This area is an attractive seaside resort, having been mostly rebuilt following an earthquake in 1953 that actually raised the whole island some 60 centimetres in less than half a minute! The town was reformed to be in-keeping with the neoclassical style of its former architecture. Argostoli nestles around a sheltered bay, known as ‘Koutavos Lagoon.
Lixouri town on the Greek island of Kefalonia has a reputation as being one of the friendliest places on the island, famous for the charm of the locals and the entertainment they provide.
If you want to know how to really celebrate Easter, go to Kefalonia. It is possibly one of the most significant periods in their annual calendar. Every year Easter is observed with copious amounts of tradition, passion, reverence, and eventual jubilant festivities.
This year the date for Easter Sunday falls on 1st May 2016.
The beautiful Greek island of Kefalonia certainly knows how to party. All year round many festivals and cultural and religious events take place. Towns and villages across the island host their own festivities to honour the patron saints. Even the smallest of villages will see dancing, drinking, eating and merriment, going on until the early hours of the morning.
With the severity of the summer heat subsiding into a much cooler, fresh autumnal temperature and being ready to celebrate its patron saint, it’s easy to see why Kefalonia is the perfect autumn break.
Void of crowds
Being the largest of the Ionian Islands but not considered as one of the touristiest of the Greek resorts, Kefalonia never manages to feel crowded, especially during the autumn. If you crave peace and tranquillity away from noise, people and pollution, Kefalonia in autumn would definitely be a winning destination.
The Feast of St. Gerasimos
On October 20, the Feast of St. Gerasimos takes place on Kefalonia each year. St. Gerasimos is the island’s greatly revered patron saint. The island-wide celebration includes parading St. Gerasimos’ remains through the streets in a glided tomb. Following the parade of their patron saint’s remains, the islanders party into the early hours with music, dancing, drinking, eating and general merriment.
Lay between the feet of two mountains, Myrtos Beach is without question located in an idyllic spot. Even in high season these photogenic sands are fairly sparse of crowds. In the autumn time Myrtos Beach can be virtually empty and can be explored and enjoyed in solitude.
Temperatures on Kefalonia during the months of September, October and even November are typically in their twenties. The island is also home to year-round sun, so with pleasantly warm temperatures set under a cloudless azure sky, you can enjoy the sun-drenched sands of Myrtos Beach and the quirky celebrations of the St. Gerasimos parade to the maximum.
The saying ‘Heaven on Earth’ sounds a bit of a cliché, or if not a cliché, a plagiarism of a 1987 Belinda Carlisle song. The romanticism of somewhere on our planet being reminiscent of the perfectness mankind collectively ideates heaven is commonly applied to certain beautiful spots of the world, some justifiable of the kudos others less so.
The Greek island of Kefalonia has been given such an accolade and on this occasion we have to agree. If your holiday in 2014 comes with aspirations to discover a truly paradisical part of the world, then read on as we explore why Kefelonia deserves its reputation as being ‘Heaven on Earth’.
Untouched by mass tourism
Unlike many parts of the Greek islands, Kefalonia remains untouched by the repulsions of over-development and mass tourism. A wild landscape of rolling pine forests, breathtakingly verdant valleys penetrating deep into terrain and almost tropical foliation caressing the translucent sea, awaits you round almost every corner.
If you want to witness some of the Venetian buildings that were portrayed in the movie of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, of which Nicholas Cage starred and almost single-handedly riveted Kefalonia to global notoriety, then a drive to Fiskardo will not disappoint. This busy little fishing port is built on a rock and as a consequence most of the town survived the earthquake that destroyed many of the island’s Venetian architecture. Many of the buildings managed to remain intact, making Fiskardo a delightful hotspot for Venetian architecture aficionados. This busy little port has a lot going on. It’s pretty harbour is lined with restaurants and bars, serving delicious local Kefalonian cuisine. The town has an aura of affluence and prosperity, with exquisite yachts that wouldn’t look out of place on the Cote d’Azur bobbing up and down on the serene turquoise water.
Kefalonia is laden with great beaches, particularly on the western shores to the north of the island. If you’re looking for a secluded beach which beckons tranquillity and relaxation, then head for the small cove of Fokis just south of Fiskardo. Actress Jane Horrick’s – a big fan of Kefalonia – described Fokis’s stark steepness and dramatic rocky landscape as feeling more “like a Scandinavian fjord than the Ionian coast.”
If you’re looking for a more family-friendly beach then Platys Gialos in Lassi would be more appropriate. This lovely stretch of golden sand is lapped with clear shallow water making it a popular spot for families with young children.
Caves and underground lakes
If you can manage to prize yourself away from Kefalonia’s many great beaches then keeping a day free for a visit to one of the island’s incredible caves and underground lakes is definitely recommended. The earthquakes the island has witnessed over the centuries have created a unique geographical phenomena that are crying out to be discovered and explored. For example, the Swallow Holes of Katavothres that lie just north of Argostoli towards the tip of the peninsula provide a fascinating day out for all the family.
In short Kefolonia is one of Greece’s lesser known islands. When its comparative quietness, stunning coastline, unique geographical landscape, remnants of Venetian architecture and overall beauty are combined, it’s safe to say that Kefalonia would be a fantastic place to go on holiday.
With a surface area of 781 kilometres squared, Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian islands. It is an island of wondrously diverse scenery, ranging from pretty harbours lined with fishing boats to dramatic mountain ranges overlooking a emerald rapture that contrasts vividly to the azure sky above and the equally as cobalt sea below.
You will never be bored in Kefalonia! Have a look at our activities in Kefalonia, including the amazing Melissani Cave, Cave of the Nymphs.
For adventure-lovers, Kefalonia offers a huge range of adrenaline-pumping activities. From walking along the mountain paths to exploring to Ionian shores by motor-boat, from galloping across the pristine sands on horseback to exploring the network of tiny hamlets that nestle amongst the landscape on bike, Kefalonia is an activity-hub begging to be discovered.
Contributing irrefutably to Kefalonia’s truly unique and diverse landscape is the island’s many underground caves and lakes, which provides visitors with a completely new perspective on the beauty of this place of Ionian utopia.
One particularly popular cave on Kefalonia is the Melissani Cave, Cave of Nymphs. In 1951, explorers first discovered the Melissani Cave and found an ancient lamp is this dark underground world, which is now on display at the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli.
Other important relics were also found in the cave, including plates, oil lamps and figures of several nymphs, hence the epithet the ‘Cave of Nymphs’ was born.
Much of the cave’s fascinating appeal stems from the Lake Melissani, which flows silently through the lake. The water laps from the caves’ huge chambers that were carved out of the rock thousands of years ago and surround a central island. One of the chambers leads out into the natural daylight, causing sunshine from overhead to pour into the cave.
Taking a boat trip around the Melissani Lake is a great way to explore this eerily exciting underground world of fascination and intrigue, providing a perfect opportunity to witness Kefalonia’s strange geological phenomena
The Balearic island of Mallorca has a unique charm, is tranquil, relaxing and full of striking landscapes – the ideal honeymoon destination.
Es Mirador (pictured) has style, space and scenery and is discreetly tucked away in a private location towards the end of an unmade country track just outside the sleepy village of Campanet.
This luxury cottage in Mallorca sleeps two, Es Mirador is a one bedroom, one bathroom cottage which has been furnished to a very high standard – including a hydro-massage shower in the bathroom and air conditioning in the open plan living area and bedroom.
In addition to the private pool, there’s a poolside shower, changing room with sauna, table tennis together with various spacious terraces bordering the property and the landscaped grounds.
It enjoys fantastic panoramic views across the Campanet Valley towards the pine clad foothills of the rugged Tramuntana Mountains and is within easy reach of a range of amenities.
Available between April and October, the week’s rental for the remainder of 2012 costs from £675, whilst the lead in price for 2013 is £595. Flights and car hire extra.
The company offers a ‘Pamper by the pool’ additional service at this property and for a truly indulgent holiday and some precious ‘me’ time, guests can take advantage of this mobile massage and spa beauty service for a supplement.
A professionally trained therapist provides all the necessary equipment and products to pamper guests in the comfort of the villa or outside on the tranquil pool terrace.
If you are looking for a great value September holiday destination, Vintage Travel (specialist’s in individual hand-picked properties with private pools) have a number of fantastic offers right now.
You should consider the Ionian Island of Kefalonia where the temperatures are still warm (around 28°C) with around nine hours of sun per day.
This scenic green island with its crystal clear waters, beautiful sandy beaches and coves and a backdrop of tall imposing mountains offers something for everyone.
One luxury villa in Kefalonia which may be of interest is Nickie (pictured). Situated on the outskirts of the little hamlet of Antipata – just 4km from the picturesque marina of Fiscardo on the undeveloped Erissos Peninsula (the island’s northernmost region).
Nickie is a three bedroom (all en suite and with aircon) property sleeping six which is reverse level to take advantage of the stunning 360° views encompassing the Ionian Sea, the island of Ithaca and the surrounding countryside of olive trees.
In addition to the private pool, there are covered and open terraces as well as a balcony running along the front of the house.
Dafnoudi Beach – popular for snorkelling – and Emblissi Beach are both within easy reach, whilst the peninsula is ideal for walkers with coastal pathways through oak forests, fields and vineyards.