In my mind the Ionian Islands have been, so far, a somewhat neglected part of Greece lying 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 in the Ionian, 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 marvelous position, in a bay within a bay, seems a rather ugly greek town whose buildings of reinforced concrete must withstand some of the most powerful earthquake on earth and not be pleasant architecturally. In fact if you take a look at old photos of Argostoli, pre dating the quake of 1953, the port was lined with some of the most beautiful Venetian neoclassical houses of the Ionian which, sadly, have been flattened like almost every building in the island.
Today strolling along the port and the pedestrianized 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 and the whole town at sunset start to has, suddenly, a certain charm of its own.
The island is large and mountainous, the landscape is wonderful with spacious bays and really amazing beaches, inlets and coves whose colors range from the aquamarine to the deepest of cobalt blue.
True there are no ancient sites to visit but the scenery is so 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 which covers the slopes where you can spot, also, 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 pebbles beaches of Myrtos, Petani and red sand beach of Xi just to name a few.
If you 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.
And last but not least, there is the little blue lakelet in the cave of Melissani, now a big tourist attraction; what is curious, however, is that this lakelet, which is brackish, communicates with the sea near Sami and, also by 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 island of Greece.