by Massimiliano Cremascoli
In my mind the Ionian Islands have been, so far, a somewhat neglected part of Greece, lying as they are in the shadow of the more aesthetically beautiful archipelagoes of the Cyclades, the Dodecanese, the Sporades and the Argo-Saronic. I have to admit that my first foray to the Ionians, the island of Lefkhada, strengthened my conviction about the whole archipelago; with that belief in mind I started my trip to the island of Kefalonia.
At first glance the port of Argostoli, set in a fascinating location, in a bay within a bay, seems a rather ugly Greek town whose buildings of reinforced concrete are designed to withstand some powerful earthquakes, rather than being architecturally pleasant. In fact, if you take a look at photos of Argostoli pre-dating the quake of 1953, you can see that the port was lined with some of the most beautiful Venetian neoclassical houses of the Ionian. Houses which, sadly, have been flattened like almost every building in the island.
Nowadays, strolling along the port and the pedestrian De Bosset bridge, you can easily spot giant hawksbill turtles (Caretta caretta) languidly and gently spinning so close to the shore that you can almost touch them. The whole town at sunset has a certain charm of its own.
The island is large and mountainous. The landscape is wonderful, with spacious bays and truly amazing beaches, inlets, and coves whose colors range from aquamarine to the deepest of cobalt blue.
There are no ancient sites to visit, but the scenery is magnificent. The hills are covered with verdant cypresses and pines. The peak of Mount Enos at 1632 metres is home of the Abies Cephalonica firs that cover the slopes along which one can spot herds of wild horses. The weather around this mountain can deteriorate very rapidly even in the deep of summer. In winter, the area is shrouded in mist and snow.
The road from Argostoli to the northern peninsula is truly gorgeous, climaxing at the beach of Myrtos and the nice villages of Assos and Fiskardho. What about the seascape? Well, Kefalonia has probably more than one hundred beaches and coves to choose from, ranging from the Seychelles-like cove of Pessada, through beautiful and serene Porto Atheras to the white pebble beaches of Myrtos, Petani and the red sand beach of Xi, just to name a few.
If you are tired of sun and sand you could visit one of the few wineries in the center of the island, which produce Robola, a dry white wine, whose grapes thrive only in the island of Kefalonia.
Last but not least, there is the little blue lakelet in the cave of Melissani, now a big tourist attraction. What is curious is that this lakelet, which is brackish, communicates with the sea near Sami and, via an underground channel, with the gulf of Argostoli, eight miles away, on the other side of the island.
In the end Kefalonia delivered far more that I was expecting, and I hope that you can also enjoy one of the more rewarding and pristine islands of Greece.
This article originally appeared at https://massicremascoli.com/2019/02/03/kefalonia-is-it-a-hidden-treasure-of-the-whole-greece/.