Kefalonia Travel Guide

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Argostoli is the capital of Kefalonia and sits alongside the Koutavos Lagoon.  The capital was completely flattened by the earthquake of 1953, which destroyed the many Venetian-style buildings and paved streets.  The town was rebuilt quickly using pre-stressed concrete, which is earthquake resistant, but unfortunately with the loss of its Venetian character.

In Argostoli, there are fruit and vegetable markets, bakeries and several supermarkets along the waterfront in Metaxata Street.  Argostoli also offers an interesting variety of gift and tourist shops selling a wide range of handicrafts, including hand woven tablecloths, pottery, gold and silver jewelry and icons. General shopping is available every morning Monday to Saturday; there are very few shops and businesses open on Sundays.

Most shops  will open in the morning around 8.30am and close around 1.30pm for Siesta.  They then re-open at approximately 5.30pm until 8.30pm.  In low season the shops will only open in the evenings on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  In High Season they will open every evening and will stay open much later.

Kiosks are open every day from 7am to midnight.

There are a number of museums in Argostoli which are open from 8am until 2pm every day except Sunday.  

Argostoli is a great meeting place with many coffee shops and is ideal for people watching, a favourite Greek pastime!  


Just a short drive from the capital of Argostoli is the tiny Village of Farsa perched on the Cliffside.  Before the Earthquake of 1953 the original village was much further up the hillside, you can still see the abandoned and damaged buildings.  After the Earthquake the villagers moved down to the roadside and rebuilt the village.  Farsa is thought to be the inspiration for Louis de Bernieres’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and the village where Pelagia and her father lived.


Kourkoumelata was completely rebuilt after the 1953 earthquake by the extremely wealthy  Vergotis.  He financed the whole rebuild, including an Olympic-sized sports stadium, vast school and clinic and rows of tidy Californian-styled houses surrounded by green lawns. The only condition was that the residents of the village kept their gardens and any communal areas neat and tidy.  He is buried in the village in an ornate marble mausoleum and his family still have a home there.


This is a picturesque village on the slopes of Mount Enos and is said to be the original home of Marco Polo's ancestors.  Many years ago the local nuns prayed to God to save them from the pirates who regularly pillaged the village, they were turned into snakes and every year during the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin (8 - 15 August) harmless small snakes with crosses on their heads appear.  They are said to bring good luck, a theory reinforced by the fact that they did not appear during the German occupation in World War II or in 1953, which was the year of the big earthquake.


Famed for its fish, Katelios used to be a tiny little hamlet with a handful of fishermen and their families.  Over the years it has grown, but still remains sleepy and laid back.  Cluttered with red and blue fishing boats and surrounded by golden beaches, this little village has some superb tavernas serving fresh fish.

Katelios is also home to the conservation society, who will be able to give visitors lots of information on the wildlife in the area and what can be done to help protect it.

Ano Katelios, a picturesque village of natural beauty is situated in the upper right part of the valley below the village of Markopoulo, with a river passing through its centre. This river is unique in Kefalonia for the fact that it has natural water flowing throughout the whole year.

Kaminia beach and the Turtles
Slightly further along the coast from Katelios you will find the excellent beach of Kaminia, also called Mounda Bay or Ratzakli. Clearly signed from the main road, the road snakes its way down the hill to the long sandy beach, which shelves very gently into the sea. Kaminia beach is the nesting ground for the Loggerhead Turtle, known as Caretta Caretta, who come back every year to the place they were born to lay their eggs.


Skala is more of a typical tourist resort today with its variety of gift shops, restaurants and Tavernas.  

On the outskirts of Skala you can find a mosaic floor (all that remains today) of a Roman villa dating back to the second half of the 2nd Century AD. In the main hall of the 'villa' the mosaic shows a young man being torn to pieces by a lion, tiger, puma and a leopard; and the long inscription below, signed by the artist, suggests that this scene was an allegorical warning to guests not to allow themselves to be devoured by envy of their host's prosperous villa.

Above the resort is the village of Old Scala, which was ruined during the 1953 earthquake but which is well worth the effort to see.  It is very peaceful with stunning views.


Sami is the old capital of Kefalonia and is nestles in a bay on the East coast of the island looking straight across to Kefalonia’s sister island Ithaka.  It’s a bustling port, with regular ferries leaving to the Greek mainland and Ithaka together with private yachts and fishing boats and a handful of tourist excursions.

As with the majority of the island Sami was destroyed during the 1953 Earthquake and was rebuilt according to strict earthquake regulations with some help from the British.  However on the outskirts of Sami you will find the Acropolis, one church in ruins, the other slightly higher on the hillside rebuilt with stunning views down to Antisamos beach and across the sea.

In 2000, Sami was the base on Kefalonia whilst they filmed Captain Corelli's Mandolin.  Part of the harbour front was recreated into a pre war Argostoli, Antisamos beach was the location of the Italian army camp and the hillsides above Antisamos were used as the site of the village.  Many of the locals were involved in the film, either as extras or behind the scenes.  When the film was released, as a special favour to the Kefalonian people it was screened in Kefalonia before anywhere else in Greece.  

There is a wide variety of tavernas and bars along the harbour front catering to every taste.  It is the perfect place to dine on the fresh local produce and while away a couple of hours.    There are a number of shops in Sami, both aimed at the local community and visiting tourists.  There is also a post office, ATM, police station and tourist information centre.

Only a short drive from Sami is the subterranean Melissani Lake, with its crystal clear turquoise waters, and the Drogarati Caves with their many stalagtites.

Agia Efimia

This attractive little horse-shoe bay is located north of Sami.  The mountain range behind Agia Efimia has wild rabbits with golden coloured teeth, caused by the bromide found in the natural springs.

In Agia Efimia shops will stay open most of the day everyday.  There is a butcher, two bakeries, a cheese shop and minimarket which are all situated along the sea front.  The supermarket is just back from the seafront on a corner as you enter Agia Efimia from the direction of Myrtos beach.


Fiskardo in the very north of Kefalonia is the only village on the island that survived the 1953 earthquake virtually unscathed.  Less than 100 people live here in the winter, but in the summer the harbour is normally full of yachts and awning-shaded waterfront restaurants and tavernas offering some of the best fish on the island.  

In Fiskardo the shops will usually be open from 8am until 10.30pm for most of the season.  Fiskardo has an interesting variety of gift and tourist shops offering a wide range of gifts from designer labels to local pottery, jewellery and icons.

A number of architectural sites have been discovered which date back to Roman times and indicate that Fiskardo has actually been built on top of an ancient Roman settlement.  


A pretty little sleepy village set on its own tiny peninsular.  The village is set in the dip around a small harbour, with a scattering of café bars and tavernas to choose from.  The white and colour-washed houses run up a fertile valley shaded by silver poplars and cypress trees.  The facades of several pre-1953 Venetian buildings are still in evidence.  Perched high up on the hillside overlooking the village is a Venetian fortress. Built between 1593 and 1595, it was originally used as a refuge for the population of the area, but in later years was used as a prison.  The fortress is now in ruins, although extensive plans are in place to renovate and restore it to its former glory.  The pedestrian pathway up to it is fairly steep in places but well worth the effort for the views from the top.


The second largest town on Kefalonia, Lixouri lies across the bay from Argostoli and was cited by Napier as a better location than Argostoli during the British protectorate. During the 2nd World War the German army used Lixouri as its base on the island.  The main square in Lixouri, which is situated just off the harbour front and has views across the sea to Argostoli and Lassi, has many gift shops and café bars, ideal for whiling away a few hours.

The peninsula has a completely different feel to the rest of Kefalonia as the area is not as mountainous.  The sunset over Lixouri is breathtaking and is best seen from Petani in the north or from the cliff tops close to Kipoureon Monastery.

Regular car ferries run to and from Lixouri to Argostoli.  


Recommended Accommodation

Fiskardo, Kefalonia Beach on Kefalonia Beach, Kefalonia Assos Kefalonia Beach near Architects House, Evreti

Alexandros is a stunning four-bedroom house on the sea’s edge, with a private pool and large garden, enjoying complete privacy and fabulous sea views. A flight of wooden steps close to the house leads down to a rocky cove below... read more

Alexandros Villa, Spartia

Located in the picturesque village of Katsarata near Fiskardo, Villa Evanthia is a new three-bedroom villa with a pool with wonderful views of the Ionian Sea and nearby islands… read more

Villa Lefteris is a brand new one bedroom villa with a private pool in an excellent location in the southwest of Kefalonia. Only 100 metres from the beach and with tavernas and cafes nearby.... read more

Lefteris Villa, Svoronata

A three bedroom villa with private pool and garden, and commanding some wonderful sea and sunset views, Aeolus is situated just above the sea near the village of Spartia.... read more

Aeolus Villa, Spartia

Click Here for a List of Villas with pools on Kefalonia…

Click Here for a List of Villas with pools on Kefalonia…

Evanthia Villa, near Fiskardo

This two-bedroomed house, with its imaginative garden design, private pool, elegant interior and proximity to a private beach, lives up to its name. Only the eye and experience of a talented architect could create a house worthy of such a setting.... read more

The Architects House, Evreti