About Kefalonia Island, Greece

Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian islands in western Greece. It is the sixth largest of all the Greek islands. The island’s highest mountain is Mount Ainos, which is 1628 meters tall.

Kefalonia lies in the heart of an earthquake zone and experiences dozens of minor earthquakes each year. In 1953, a series of four earthquakes hit the island, the third being the largest at 7.3 on the Richter Scale. The earthquake’s epicenter was located right below the southern tip of Kefalonia. The entire island would be raised two feet where it still remains today. The only settlement to escape damage was Fiskardo in the north. After the earthquake, many residents chose to leave the island and start life elsewhere, which resulted in damage to the island’s economy.

Kefalonia has been considered to be Homeric Ithaca, the home of Odysseus. Kefalonia has also been referenced as the place that the goddess Britomartis received divine honors from the inhabitants of the island. Britomartis was the goddess of the mountains and hunting. She was sometimes believed to have been a mountain nymph.

In 1864, Kefalonia and the other Ionian islands became part of the Greek state. During World War II, the island was occupied with Axis (Rome-Berlin-Tokyo) powers. Until the later part of 1943, the occupying force was mainly Italian. The island itself was spared fighting until September 1943 when the Italians wanted to return home, but the Germans were afraid the Italians’ munitions would be used against them in the future. The Italians worried about the same thing and they would go to battle. The Italians would lose and about 5,900 Italians would be executed. The book and movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres were based on this story.

Administrative Region of Kefalonia Island, Greece

Ionian Islands

Area of Kefalonia Island, Greece

786.58 km2 (303.70 sq mi)

Population of Kefalonia Island, Greece

35, 801

Top Attractions in Kefalonia Island, Greece

Domaine Foivos – The oldest winery in the country. Foivos uses the traditional method of making and storing wine. This winery even produces wine underwater.
Lourdas Beach – Located in the town of Lourdas, which sits on a hill. White sand and crystal blue water are features of this beach. The best feature of all might be the waterfalls that pour from the cliffs.
Agios Gerasimos Monastery – Located near the town of Omala. Named for the patron saint of Kefalinia, Agios Gerasimos, who founded the monastery in the 16th century. Paintings lines the walls of the church as well as the nun’s monastery.
Castle of Saint George – The ruins of this castle offer history and a spectacular view of Kefalonia. Castle was built by the Byzantines in 12th century, but is mostly known as a Venetian castle. Near the village of Peratata, which offers a lovely local experience and tavernas serving local cuisine.
Cyclopean Walls – Large, limestone boulders that guard the ancient site of Krani, one of the cities belonging to Odysseus. Built during the Mycenaean period, in the 7th or 8th century. Walk the seven kilometer wall that offers wonderful views for picture-taking.
Castle of Assos – A Venetian fortress built in the 16th century. Parts of the gate, walls, and some rooms still remain today. A guided tour is recommended if you want to learn the detailed history of the castle.
De Bosset Bridge – Located in Argosoli. This bridge was built in 1813 for engineer Charles Philippe De Bosset who was employed by the British Army. Is the largest stone bridge on a sea.
Drogarati Cave – Estimated to be 150 million years old, the cave was discovered approximately 300 years ago. Cave is 60 meters deep, humid, and high in temperature. Only part of the cave is open to visitors due to the extreme heat in the other areas.
Antisamos Beach – Approximately 30 km each of Argostoli. A lovely area with turquoise blue water and well-organized beach. The movie, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, was partially filmed on this beach.
Iakovatios Library and Museum – Located 18 miles from Argostoli. Housed in an old mansion that was once owned by the Typaldi-Iakovatios family. Collection spreads out among the 14 rooms.

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