Kefalonia: The Largest of the Ionian Islands

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Kefalonia: The Largest of the Ionian Islands The Greek island of Kefalonia was all but destroyed by the infamous Ionian earthquake of 1953, also known as the great Kefalonia earthquake. Nearly all Kefalonian buildings were destroyed outside of a small area in the far north. Kefalonia was able to rebuild, and it is now one of the more prosperous and cosmopolitan parts of Greece.

Argostoli is Kefalonia’s capital and largest city where you can find the island’s most diverse offering of hotels and restaurants. Be sure to taste the two local specialties, kreatopita (meat pie) and crasato (pork cooked in wine). The waterfront is a popular area that features produce and meat markets and plenty of cafes to sit and relax and watch the ships passing by. If you are interested in learning more about the culture of Kefalonia and its history, check out the Historical and Folklore Museum of the Corgialenos Library. The well-labeled displays in this fine museum showcase traditional clothing, tools, handicrafts, and objects used in daily life across the centuries in Kefalonia. A highlight of the museum is its collection of pre and post-earthquake photographs. The purpose of the museum is to preserve Kefallonioan art and culture.

If you have the time, be sure to take an excursion outside of Argostoli to see the beaches and mountains. The closest beaches are Makrys Gialos and Platys Gialos, 5km south of the city in Lassi. Lourdata is also a good beach that is 16km away that features an attractive expansive beach set against a mountainous green backdrop.

One of the top destinations in Kefalonia is Myrtos Beach, widely considered to be one of Greece’s most breathtaking and picture perfect beaches. Visitors admire the white sand and shimmering blue water set between tall limestone cliffs far below. The beach is 8km south of Assos and drives very large crowds during peak tourist season.

Kefalonia is known for its outstanding vintages from the robola grape. The wet winters and dry summers of Kefalonioa are ideal for robola cultivation. Wine lovers may want to stop at one of the robola vineyards on the island. The best-known winery on the island is the winery of the Cooperative of Robola Producers of Kefalonia, located southeast of Argostoli. Here, grapes from about 300 independent growers are transformed into the yellow green robola, a dry white wine of subtle yet lively flavors. The other two well-known wineries of the island are Gentilini, 2km south of Argostoli and Metaxas, 27km south of Argostoli, almost to Skala.

If you enjoy adventures, there are plenty of options. The calm, crystal clear water of Kefalonia is ideal for kayaking. You can paddle down the dramatic coastline, past limestone cliffs, secluded beaches and forests of cypress trees. Sea Kayaking Kefalonia offers a full range of day-long kayak tours with lunch and snorkeling gear, multiday excursions and certified courses. You can also find a variety of hiking, caving, canyoning, jeep safari, or bike tours on the island.

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