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- Canary Islands
Captivating seaside villages lapped by warm,crystal clear waters,a backdrop of tall imposing mountains and some of the most beautiful sand and pebble beaches in all of Greece; it is with these charms that Kefalonia tempts the visitor.
No less than ten of Kefalonia's beaches proudly fly a coveted Blue Flag in recognition of their exceptional standards with the much photographed Myrtos Beach regularly selected as being amongst Europe's top five.
Other Blue Flags fly alongside the beaches of Petani, Avithos, Lourdas,Skala, and Katelios. Special mention must also be made of Antisami, renowned for its natural beauty and widely featured in the film of Captain Corelli's Mandolin.
Leaving these sun-dappled beaches behind you, head inland across the fertile lowlands to Kefalonia's highest point, Mount Ainos. Snow capped in winter and at 1628m taller than our own Ben Nevis, it is a designated National Park, home to both a rare species of forest fir and the celebrated but elusive Kefalonian wild ponies. Lourdas Beach lies at the bottom of Mount Ainos, a wonderful stretch of 3kms of pale fine sand.
In the south of the island, Skala is a family friendly village with an excellent variety of amenities and activities, including a choice of watersports. Its stunning 3km long sandy beach, fringed by pine trees, will appeal to all. Nature lovers will enjoy nearby Mounda, a major site for nesting turtles with part of the beach specifically set aside as a protected area.
Above the village is Paleo Skala, a once deserted settlement newly rejuvenated as the gorgeous old houses are renovated and rebuilt. It is a lovely spot where goats and sheep roam the hillsides and a rich agricultural heritage remains evident in the variety of orchards, groves and fields that flourish under the Greek sun.
Seven kilometres west of Skala is Katelios, a quiet, laid back village renowned as one of the friendliest fishing ports on Kefalonia and home to several excellent seafood tavernas.
Erissos Peninsula, the island's northernmost region, is home to Fiscardo, with its row of pastel coloured Venetian-style houses lining the delightful quayside, many now converted into trendy, cosmopolitan cafés and tavernas.
The tiny hamlets and villages surrounding the port offer fabulous views of Mythical Ithaca and Lefkas and there are numerous coves and quiet bays like Emblissi Beach to explore. The attractive seaside village of Assos oozes a placid charm. Its jumble of tiny houses boasts a riot of colourful façades and there are spectacular views from its elevated Venetian castle.
Melissani cave and underground lake close to Karavolimnos are hugely impressive. Startlingly bright daylight pours in through a hole in the cavern roof, creating a pool of brilliant aquamarine water and a strange, almost ethereal atmosphere. Another fascinating geological feature can be found at the nearby Drogorati Cave where 100 steps lead down through the cool limestone to a wealth of spectacular stalagmites and stalactites.