For whatever reason you might visit or return to Kefalonia, be sure to visit one special place - Monastery of Kipouria (Moni Kipoureon) on the Paliki peninsula, near Lixouri (15km). Why? Because of unforgettable sunsets? Definitely ! Because of the magnificent position of the monastery itself? Yes, Kipouria Monastery is located at the western side of the island of Kefalonia, overhanging a cliff that crashes into the Ionian, and makes you feel as if the end of the world was beneath your feet. Dating from the far away times, it is also known as THE VERANDA OF THE IONIAN. And finally to meet Kefalonia's true saint? A must. If you visit the monastery be sure to let Father Efsevios give you the tour as he untiredly does for hundreds of visitors during the day. If there's a person or anything else that will stay carved into my kefalonian memories forever, it will for sure be the memory of the solitary monk of Kipouria, a man locked up in his non-material world whose very appearance and simplicity will mesmerize you, a man so modest in demeanor yet so rich in spirit and mind that it will make you wonder is it really possible that saints like him actually exist in this material world of ours.
For those who do not know me, and those who do, it may seem quite odd for a Croatian girl to be so overwhelmed by anything else than the beautiful Adriatic sea. True, no place ever feels as good as home, no pine ever smells as fine as back home, no beach ever feels as beautiful as back in the deep blue Adriatic. We like to call it the ''Mediterranean as it once was''... But then, there's Kefalonia... And it feels like home! Once you get to know it's soul, you'll never stop coming back. A paradise lost and found, a place of unspoiled beauty, still mostly untouched by evil tentacles of mass tourism. Wherever & whenever in Greece, I always get that special feel about places. The 'greek' spirit. But Kefalonia has had and still has a true greek spirit in its purest form. No view from the balcony of a 5* hotel can ever make you feel as blessed as a dusty old dirt-track somewhere on the kefalonian west coast, a piece of rock to climb on and a breathtaking view of the Ionian sea in all its might, followed by a distant tinkle of a goat bell somewhere among countless olive groves. An ideal escape for all you nature lovers, hikers, photographers, all those seeking a very relaxing and alternative type of tourism and a taste of untamed Greece.
There is a little beach area hidden away, which is nice and secluded for that pick nick or lazy afternoon swim,with clear water and white pebbles.
Not far from the Makis Apartments.
Go out of the Makis Apartments turn right about 20-30yds on your left is a cemetery wall follow this wall down to the beach area.
You'll need beach mats a brolley and those important beach shoes.
Ayia Efvimia is a nice enough town in itself, backing onto barren hills but enjoying enchanting views to Ithaca across blue waters, and boasting its sleek white yachts. But to find one of the most beautiful beaches I found on Kefalonia, forget Myrtos (unless you want to be photographed by every coach excursion going!), just follow the path hugging the left of the bay looking out to sea. On the corner where the road veers off along the coastline beyond, there is a flight of steps behind an olive tree leading to a tiny, secluded and wonderful cove. Barely ten metres across, but easily the prettiest beach I've ever seen. Sitting on the rosy pink and pure white pebbles, or swimming in the cool water, some of the clearest in Greece, enjoying the magical views of mythical Ithaca, you may feel as if you're in a dream. Indeed I did, on discovering this beach on a recent visit, and I will never forget the cool touch of the water after a long, hot tour of Kefalonia! Alternatively, you could always take a stroll out to the right of the resort, where alongside the road on the strand lie numerous slightly more open coves, nonetheless inviting and picturesque. Sometimes it pays off to head away from the crowds and find your own little piece of paradise even if it is only for an hour or two (we only stayed for 20 minutes!)...
We decided to venture out to Assos depending on the limited on public transport on day 2 of our trip. It was a splendid day out! We took the local bus from Ayia Efemia which took a circular route to and from Drakoulata to Ayia Efemia before setting out on a journey towards Fiskardo!
It was exciting to do all that by ourselves, or so we congratulated ourselves too soon. We passed Myrtos, the b.e.a.c.h. oohing at its beautiful sandy bank.
The local bus dropped us literally by the top of the road leading down to the village of Assos. Oh the view was spectacular but the journey down hill of 3.5 km was not. It was also hot. We discovered outdoor latrine as one of us just had to go!!!
However the trek, it was worth it. Assos is really a gem of a village where pretty houses surround a bay which is shallow enough for the kids to paddle. It is really small apart from the hugh Fort on the hill which was too tiring to hike up to after our downhill marathon. I will surely go to Kefallonia again!
Note that a yacht managed to moor near to the bay too! It was heavenly.
If you are feeling energetic on your holiday and enjoy walking you could take a hike up to the old village of Skala that was destroyed after the 1953 earthquake that killed 36 and injured hundreds of villagers. It is quite a walk especially in the heat so is only recommended for those who are in good health. To get there you walk to the top of the main street to the back of the village and keep walking. You come to a football field, carry on until you will eventually see the ruins of the old village. There you will see the Olive press machinary, old remains of houses and the cemetry etc. The views looking down to Skala below and across to Zakynthos are breathtaking. I believe you can buy a guide for the walk from the kiosk situated towards to top of the main street of Skala. I would allow yourself at least 3hrs to complete the walk.
I've no idea whether this is off the beaten track, nowadays, but it was when we visited.. We were looking for Lake Avithos, which we never found and stopped in A. Nikolaos instead.
This was a "proper" establishment, with the old lady of the cafeneon dressed in black. She was tatting but allowed Michael to be a welcome interruption. There were numerous old tyres on the floor, for some reason, and Michael spent the time here climbing in and out of them, much to the amusement of everyone.
The clientele here was a group of young men who had been hunting, their guns propped by the table and their kill (pigeons) hanging nearby. We were invited to join them at their table and had our beer bought for us. A very nice experience.
These caves are to be found inland two kilometres beyond the resort of Sami. In 1963 the caves were made accessible to others less brave than the explorers that had precariously gone before them.
For a moderate charge you can join the queue along an artificial tunnel and then be transported around part of the caves in a small rowing boat.
According to the very interesting guide book that you are given upon payment of the entry fee, the area is a 'geographical phenomenen'. I am sure it is - but it did nothing for me!! OK it rained while we queued and while we were being rowed around, but quite honestly that didn't influence my decision!!
I have been to more impressive underground caves in Majorca and Lanzarote!
I imagine someone with more interest in this field would appreciate the true beauty and geological worth of it much more than me!
The green " valley of the 40 wells " in Omala is dominated by the convent of St. Gerasimos with its chapel and richly decorated new church. Gerasimos Notaras, a monk from Trikala, founded the convent in the 16th century. After he died he was canonised since his corpde didnt decay. His body rests in a silver coffin inside the chapel. On the 16th of August the day he died, and on the 20th October ( removal and granting of the Holy Relics ) his body is carried in a procession out of the chapel to an old plane tree which was planted by the saint himself. The convent is a famous place of pilgrimage and known for its miracles all over Greece.
As you leave Lassi there is a road off to the left which meanders down to the Fanari lighthouse and on to Argostoli.
Be warned this is a long walk taking over an hour but it does make a change from walking up the main road into Argostoli.
Cephalonia is famous for its wildlife, if you are lucky you might see the wild horses of the Ainos mountains or the sea-turtle at their nesting site on the beach at Ratzakli. If you take the ferry to Ithaca from Fiscardo you may catch a glimpse of the seals.