Kefalonia is the biggest Greek island in the area of the Ionian Sea and Mount Ainos is the highest mountain in the same area, with an altitude that surpasses 1,600 m. Mount Ainos is well known not only for its altitude but also due to its dense forest of Kefalonian fir trees (Abies cephalonica), which dominate at the upper altitudes. This species is endemic to Greece and was described for the first time in the same region. In the area three different habitats can be discerned: the fir tree forest, which can be pure or at lower altitudes be mixed with elements of maquis (Arbutus ssp. Quercus ssp. etc.), the rocky or pebbly slopes which are characterized by more sparse vegetation and on which one can often come across interesting floral elements and the rocky peaks and the non-forested upper regions of Mount Ainos, on which several endemic plants of Kefalonia or the Ionian Islands can be found. The area has been designated as a National Park.
The fir forest of Mount Ainos as an ecosystem and as a natural heritage is of particular significance as it is the only one of its kind in the Ionian region. It is also noted that the significance of this forest lies in the genetic pureness of the species Abies cephalonica, since in mainland areas of Greece, where this species can also be found, it is often crossbred with the Balkan fir species Abies borisii-regis. Mount Ainos is important from a biogeographical point of view since on its slopes and peaks endemic plant species can be found. Also, the spread pattern of several plant species which are found in the area indicate close biogeographical ties between the Greek and Italian peninsulas.
Cape Agios Georgios (Greek: Άγιος Γεώργιος)
Inland from cape of Agíos Georgíos a small harbor is formed, which is suitable only for boats. It is open E, it has a very narrow entrance and it is very difficuld to identify.
Saint George cape lies 10 Km south to Lixouri (90 minutes walk). It is a splendid stretch of sand.
Cape Kounopetra (Greek: Κουνόπετρα)
‘Kounopetra’ meaning swaying rock is situated approximately 10 kilometers south of Lixouri on the picturesque Cape of Akrotiri, 5 kilometers beyond the village of Manzavinata. A large slab of the coastal rock a few centimeters from shoreline at one time used to move rhythmically, uninterruptedly in an east-to-west direction, it’s gentle movement was visible from the shore. It made 20 vacillations a minute.
Before the earthquake in 1867, the rock almost touched the shoreline and visitors would place a knife between them, which would be pressed against it, but after the earthquake the gap widened. Tradition claims that English ships tied thick ropes and chains around ‘Kounopetra’ in an unsuccessfully attempted to either remove it or at least displace it to stop the movement. After the earthquakes of 1953 the rock stopped moving. The earthquakes shifted sections of the seabed, stabilizing its base.
Cape Atheras (Greek: Αθέρας)
Cape Atheras is in the very north of the Paliki peninsula of Kefalonia.
A very scenic route by road around the Gulf of Argostoli or alternatively the ferry from Argostoli to Lixouri can be taken, thus saving the drive around the Gulf. On reaching the top curve of the Gulf a small road branches off to the right and it is then a fairly reasonable if narrow road leading through the small village of Athres and then eventually down to Agia Spiridonas and Athres Bay.