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Kefalonia , also Kefallonia and Kefallinia , is an island in the Ionian Islands in Greece. It is also known by its Italian form, Cefalonia.
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Points of Interest in Kefalonia
The island consists of four peninsulas, and includes some fairly serious mountains, which all goes to make for some outstanding scenery. A series of earthquakes, the last in the 1970s mean there are relatively few relics of antiquity in the island, but architecturally it doesn't look very different from most of Greece. Towards the centre of the island there are two noteworthy caves: the beautiful Drogarati caves seem have suffered somewhat from the loss of rather a lot of its stalactites and stalagmites (allegedly due to occupying German forces using them for target practice during WWII) , but Melissani cave (actually a lake, formed when part of the land above collapsed during an earthquake), filled with brilliant blue water from an underground current which mysteriously flows right under the island, is a memorable experience.
Sami beach (a short drive out of the town of the same name) is also stunning,(blue water, white stones, mountains in a circle around the small bay) but has a permanent traffic jam around it. Myrtos beach, in the West, is also attractive and popular, but can be busy. This beach has a very steep shore break (you are out of your depth about 10ft out!) so is not recommended for non swimmers. Also take plenty of suncream, as the beach is made up of white stones, and in high summer can be blindingly hot. Less ravishing but pretty good beaches which are very much less crowded tend to be found in the south, around Scala and the Lixouri peninsula to the west. The beach of Xi, south of Lixouri, is a lovely sandy beach and always seems to have space and peace. Makris Gialos and Platis Gialos in Lassi are two stunning beaches, but predictably busy. Petani, on the Lixouri peninsula is very pleasant, while Antisamos, near Sami, is where they filmed some key scenes for Corelli. Kaminia Beach is a lovley shallow beach between Anno Katelios and Skala, where you may see a turtle!
The jetty in the film of Corelli, where Mandras throws Pelagia into the sea, is at Horgota beach.
Of the many boat excursions available, one to nearby Ithaca is particularly recommended. Also, the glass bottomed boat tour run by Captain Maki is a must.
The Roman villa just outside Skala, with mosaic floors more or less intact, is worth a visit - recent finds have added to its attraction and digs continue in the area.
Popular events in Kefalonia in the near future
Kefallinia, Kefalonia, Cephallonia - so good they named it thrice. Confusingly, you may hear islanders pronounce it as "sefalonia". The region, incorporating the neighbouring island of Ithaki (Ithaca) is known as Kefallinia, hence the name of the airport.The Island is best known, perhaps, as the setting for 'Captain Corelli's mandolin', though the level of Corelli-related merchandising is not as great as you might expect, even in Sami, the old-fashioned port in the East of the island, the portside of which was turned into a kind of set for the film.
Rent a boat in Agia Efimia - there are a few rentals, such as Yellow Boat - and spend the day visiting secluded beaches which can only be reached by boat.
There are a number of horseriding stables in Kefalonia and it is possible to arrange a ride into the mountains, through ruined villages and ancient vineyards, where the bells of the mountain goats and the cry of eagles are the only sounds to punctuate the silence. Gorgeous, and highly recommended, even in the height of summer. Go to the western corner and visit this remote village called Atheras and take a the road down to its private little beach with its century old monastery "Saint Spyridon"...tucked in time..
One local speciality is Kefalonian meat pie, available in quite a few restaurants. It's a hearty farmhouse thing rather than haute cuisine. Getting a really good example is not easy, however - the Captain's Table in Argostoli is perhaps your best bet for this local dish. Food in most establishments is okay rather than spectacular. Menus tend to be the same in most places; its worth tapping into local knowledge about where to eat.
If you're in Argostoli, visit the big bakery on the main street opposite the harbour and buy the little round cheese pies - they're fantastic
There is a lovely cafe/restaurant at the entrance to the Venetian fortress in Kastro, shaded by trees, with very friendly owners - a Greek man married to an English woman (Nicki). The homemade cakes here are delicious.
Moreover, there is a lovely tavern Dionysos in Poros, which a spectacular view to the island of Ithaca and the marina. There you may find one of the most mouth-watering meat pies (kreatopita) in the island, as it is prepared according to a traditional Kefallonian recipe (contains up to tree different types of meat). Additionally, slightly exotic scenes in Dionysos are the squids that slowly dry while hanging under the sun, waiting to be fried. Nonetheless, the specialty of the restaurant is mousakas, a small bite of which leaves a mouthful of flavours.
Frappe - instant ice coffee. Drunk by everyone, cheap and refreshing. A "ticket" to sit outside a cafe for hours, like the Greeks
Freddo Cappuccino - an iced cappuccino. Also drunk by everyone and stronger than a Frappe and easier on the stomach.
Ouzo - Greek anise-flavoured liqueur
Mythos- good Greek lager - very swiggable after a long day in the sun and usually quite reasonable
Local honey - be sure to buy Kefalonian wild thyme honey, it really does taste special - ,and the local wine, Robola.
There are any number of tacky gifts to be had, though to be fair most of the tourist shops have remained reasonably tasteful and low-key. Souvenirs aplenty, as you'd expect. Some of the jewellery is of reasonable quality and price - you are pretty unlikely to get ripped off on Kefalonia and the Greeks are generally keen to see you get what you pay for in any transaction.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Kefalonia on Wikivoyage.