The capital town of Argostoli (Greek: Αργοστόλι)
Argostoli is the capital of Kefalonia and the island’s main working port with a natural harbour. It is on the east coast of a peninsula, surrounded by mountains, and an ideal base from which to explore the island. There is a very attractive cobbled promenade fringed with palm trees along the harbour in Argostoli. Here, in the early morning, you can see the local fishermen bringing in their catch and in the evenings this is a favourite place to stroll. Where the promenade ends there is a permanent vegetable market of local produce and a selection of cafes and small tavernas which are ideal for an ouzo and some mezes. Argostoli main square is lined with cafe bars and restaurants.
In the summer the square attracts children who gather here to play while their parents drink coffee in nearby cafes. The Greek children stay up very late in the summer… Traditionally, the town square was used for promenading but nowadays the promenading tends to take place around the area of Lithostroto.
‘Kabana Square’ is the square of the bell-tower. You can admire a panoramic view of Argostoli from the top of the bell-tower and see a photo-exhibition concerning the tower and Lithostroto (the pedestrian) street and Argostoli before the earthquake of 1953. Lithostroto is the main shopping street and this is where people come from a stroll late in the evening in the summer. Night- life is centred around the main square and along Lithostroto.
The beautiful architecture of Argostoli was severely damaged in the 1953 earthquake losing most of its Venetian architecture. The town was rebuilt soon after, following the original street layout. The most frequent ferry boat you will see coming and going from Argostoli is the Lixouri ferry service which, in high season, departs every half hour. Journey time is less than half an hour and it offers great views of Argostoli, Drapano bridge and the famous Katavothres and the Fanari (lighthouse).
The Drapano bridge, also known as the De Bosset Bridge, is the 900 metre long stone bridge from Argostoli to Drapano, which was constructed in 1813 during the administration of the Swiss de Bosset, who was in the service of the British army. The bridge was constructed to enable villagers to communicate more easily with the island’s capital. The original structure was predominately made of wood. In 1842 the bridge was remodeled by the then Resident, Baron Everton and built with hard stone giving it the shape we see today. The bridge has been pedestrianised since 2005 so you must now take the longer route round the lagoon if you wish to drive to the North part of the island or towards Lixouri. The bridge is not only a landmark but a historical monument of the period of British rule between 1809 and 1864. The symmetrical obelisk, half way along, has seen a change in inscription according to different periods of rule. Originally dedicated to the glory of the British Empire, the disappearance of its inscribed plaque coincided with the end of British rule!
The Kephalos Theatre is a new building which seats 500 people, and was designed to replace its Venetian ancestor which was a splendid example of the architecture of that era. The original version was badly damaged during the Second World War and was finished off by the 1953 earthquake.
Lixouri (Greek: Ληξούρι)
Lixouri is Kefalonia’s second-biggest town, but the pace of life is usually quite slow. Life here revolves around the main square, where you’ll find shops, bars and pavement cafés. The village organizes many local festivals throughout the year. It is well-known for its rich cultural tradition and hosts one of the oldest philharmonic schools in Greece. Most of the locals in Lixouri are famous for their musical capacities. A stroll around the village reveals old churches with nice frescoes, an archeological museum, neoclassical buildings and the famous Monastery of Kipoureon which is an ideal place for relaxing. There are quite a few sights found around, like the old lighthouse, but really it’s the local beaches that deserve most of your time.
The beaches of Lepeda, Mega Lako and Xi have an orange- tinted sand and shallow waters and are ideal for children to swim and paddle in.
Fiskardo (Greek: Φισκάρδο)
Fiscardo is a picturesque and beautiful Greek harbour village on the Northern tip of Kefalonia. It will most probably take you an hour and a half to drive here from the capital town of Argostoli. Of the approximate 365 villages on this large and diverse island, Fiscardo is unique in that it was left virtually undamaged during the great earthquake of 1953, that ruined most of the historic buildings on Kefalonia. Traditional Greek fishing boats moor alongside the luxurious yachts during the busy summer. If you are early enough you can buy freshly caught fish. Fiscardo at night takes on an entirely different perspective. The lights, the old buildings, cafés, bars and tavernas all come together to provide a magical Mediterranean atmosphere. Of all the villages on Kefalonia, Fiscardo stands out as having a unique character, especially on a summer evening.
Beaches on this part of Kefalonia are pebbly – not sandy. Ideal for swimming as the bays are sheltered and the sea is usually calm and crystal clear.
During your stay or visit to Fiscardo, it is worth visiting the nearby small villages of Matsoukata and Tselentata where the view to the island of Ithaca is more than impressive and a walk in the little narrow cobbled streets by the old olive trees will most probably take you back in time!
Assos (Greek: Άσσος)
The tiny, secluded village of Assos is really romantic and perhaps one of the most beautiful location on the island of Kefalonia. The Assos peninsula is on the west coast of the island with the village found at the bottom. The whole area is surrounded by beautiful coastal scenery of dramatic white rocks with hillsides covered in forests of cypress and pine. Dominating the entire area are the remains of a Venetian fortress high up on the imposing peninsula. Please visit the ‘Castles’ section of this guide if you would like to read more about the Venetian fortress of Assos.
Assos is a simple and even rustic village with about 100 inhabitants. It has some fine examples of Venetian architecture commonly found on Kefalonia before the 1953 earthquake. It seems like the romantic and picturesque village of Assos has been stuck in time. Certainly the place to spend a quiet, relaxing day and do nothing other than perhaps tasting the fresh fish caught that morning and enjoying the beauty of your surroundings… There is a small pebbly beach where you can have a swim whilst enjoying the impressive view of the castle at the top of the hill just across the little bay.
Agia Efimia (Greek: Αγία Ευφημία)
Situated 7 km north of Sami on the east coast of Kefalonia and 30 km from Argostoli, Agia Efimia is a very pretty fishing village with a well sheltered harbour. It is a popular stop for the yachts and sailing boats which cruise the Ionian islands and has a number of excellent waterside cafes and tavernas around the harbour. You will find some of the best home-cooked food on the island! Lots of small pebble beaches are scattered around this area and the famous Myrtos beach is about a 20 minutes’ drive away. Agia Efimia was once one of the island’s most important centres of trade. However, the whole village was destroyed in the 1953 earthquake and completely rebuilt with help from the French. Beaches in the region of Agia Efimia are of unique beauty as they are made up of white pebbles and you certainly have to swim here at least once during your stay on the island…
Kourkoumelata (Greek: Κουρκουμελάτα)
Kourkoumelata was home to a wealthy shipping family when it was destroyed by the 1953 earthquake. As the whole of the island was struggling to rebuild their homes, the three Vergotis brothers made a family decision to rebuild every single house in Kourkoumelata. They decided not only to rebuild what had been lost but to make a new, improved village with better facilities for its inhabitants. New roads were built and electricity was quickly put in with Kourkoumelata being the first village after the main towns of Argostoli and Sami to get their electricity supply with the influence and wealth of Giorgos Vergotis. Nowadays, the inhabitants take great pride of their village as they keep each house in very good condition with beautifully tended gardens and clean public areas. An unusually designed cafe bar was built in the shape of a ship and this is ideally situated on the main road to take full advantage of wonderful views across the Livatho countryside and out towards the little island of Dias.