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Kefalonia Beaches and Highlights
Time seems to pass slower on one of the most beautiful but still untouched by the mass tourism Greek islands – Kefalonia (Cephalonia). This Ionian island is still wild and romantic. It is a great destination for people who prefer a slower pace.
Kefalonia’s beauty goes beyond the cliché. It was first revealed in the Holywood production Captain Corelli’s Mandolin starring Penelope Cruz, Nicolas Cage and Irene Pappas. The film was published more than 15 years ago but since then many people call the land Captain Corelli’s island.
Geography and Nature
There are seven major islands in the Ionian archipelago and Kefalonia is the biggest one. Exploring the diversity of its coast and majestic mountains is a journey of endless discovery. The island’s coastline is almost 150 miles (240 km). It features 40 beaches – pebble or sandy. On its teritorry is the highest mountain peak in the area – Megas Soros (1,627m).
Kefalonia has become a chic tourist destination for many British, U.S and Scandinavian tourists. Local people claim that two decades ago the island was mostly deserted. Cephalonia`s citizens are convinced that their birthplace gained popularity thanks to its unspoiled beauty. The village coast is lined with numerous small coves lapped by azure water. The olive green Mediterranean plants stretch to the edge of the sea.
This is the largest of the Ionian islands with diverse landscapes and breathtaking scenery. The real miracle is that this place has escaped mass tourism. One of the reasons might be that the road network is difficult for driving.
The southern part of Kefalonia features sandy beaches surrounded by clay rocks. The northern part of the island is highlighted by limestone coastline with pebble beaches.
Similar to its neighbouring island – Lefkada, Kefalonia is a mountainous territory. It is covered by dark green pine trees. The combination of the green mountains and intensive blue sea water is unique! The landscape looks more relaxing than Lefkada`s nature where the natural colors are more sparkling and vibrating.
Since the island is located in a seismic area, Greek scientists report that recently new beaches have emerged from the sea.
This is one of the most photographed seasides in the world. The place was voted the most beautiful beach in Greece for several years. Myrtos is situated between two mountains on the north-west coast of the island. The stunning beauty of the place comes from the unique combination of white pebbles and fantastically intense aquamarine waters. The beach is considered a jewel in the island’s crown.
Unlike other similar beaches in the area like Egremni or Milos in Lefkada, you can easily access Myrtos beach with a car or motorcycle. There is a free parking close to the shore. Maybe this is the reason for it’s overcrowding.
Here tourists are not disturbed by people trying to sell things on the beach. All you can feel on Myrtos beach is relaxation and enjoyment.
The central part of the seashore is crowded maybe because it is partially sandy and comfortable for relaxation or activities. There are sun umbrellas and chairs, a cafe shop and a few chemical toilets as well. The left corner of the bay is less crowded. It is pebbled, non-organized and surrounded by majestic cliffs. There is a picturesque cove and beautiful rocks in sea where many enthusiasts practice cliff jumping.
The road to Myrtos beach gets busy in high season with many rent-a-cars and scooters around. To get to this natural attraction you have to take the main road between Argostoli and Fiskardo. The intersection for the bay is located in the village of Divarata. There is another road – from Asos to Myrtos beach that is shorter and very comfortable for tourists settled in Asos or Fiscardo but it does not operate since the earthquake in 2013. There are approximately 100 m of the road in reconstruction. Due to the economic crises in Greece, there is a small chance of reopening the road soon. In 2014, even the beach was made inaccessible due to rock fall caused by a strong earthquake.
There are three quiet and small pebble beaches in Assos. They are surrounded by Venetian-styled houses and hills carpeted with green Mediterranean plants and flowers. On the top of the hillside there is a majestic fortress. Around it, there are dense forests reaching down to the shore where small beaches are lapped by emerald colored clear waters. It is lovely to swim there! And the third beach is actually a very small cove with a miniature beach.
Just behind the main beach of Assos there are charming café bars and restaurants offering delicious specialties. Small part of the beach is organized with sun beds.
The water is very calm and clear making it possible to explore the undrewater world of Kefalonia. In my opinion, Assos bay is the perfect place for relaxation in Kefalonia. It reminds of the unspoiled Mediterranean atmosphere of times past.
Aghia Jerusalem Beach
Just 1,8 miles (3 km) from Fiscardo, this place is considered to be one of the hidden gems of the island. The bay is about 7-10 minutes by car from Fiscardo and 20 minutes from Assos. You have to drive to the village of Manganos and turn right at the crossroads. The road is so tiny that two cars can hardly pass each other. This road can also take you to Alaties beach.
Aghia (Saint) Jerusalem can be a peaceful place even during the high season. The bay is divided into two smaller pebble beaches by a rock. The biggest part is organized with sunbeds (4 euros per person) and umbrellas (2 euros). There is a Greek restaurant serving good food in an idyllic setting.
The beach was named after the small Christian church standing on the side of the coast. The crystal clear water sometimes appears blurred because of an underwater intersection of fresh and salt water. Local people explain that there is an underwater river that flows along the bottom of the bay. That is why the water looks like it is mixed with jelly crystals.
Saint Jerusalem beach is one kilometre from the village of Magano where you can taste the unique Greek cuisine in typical small restaurants called taverns.
Most Beautiful Places to See in Kefalonia
This picturesque seaside town is on Kefalonia’s north coast. The beauty of the landscape and architecture have been preserved from the massive earthquake in the mid 1950’s. Lately, this harbor has become one of the most significant tourist attractions of Kefalonia. Luxury yachts and ships sailing mainly under a Maltese flag drop anchors in its waters bringing crowds of high-end tourists to this safe and sheltered harbor. In the last few decades the harbor has been transformed into a world-class yachting hub. The town is a significant port for ferries and taxi boats to Lefkada and Ithaka.
The Fiscardo’s architecture consists of low-level natural stone Greek-styled buildings or Venetian influenced pastel plastered houses. Even the hotel accommodations consist of Mediterranean style villa complexes, arranged around paved lanes and green patios. Here, tourism flourishes in family-run settlements and apartments. This picturesque town retains the ambiance of a time when the Venetians ruled the island.
The promenade of Fiscardo looks over-populated with traditional Greek restaurants and cafes. Most of them have been specializing in traditional Mediterranean cuisine and fine pastry. We personally liked a chic place named “Lord Falcon” with Asian-styled cuisine and a Thai chef. The restaurant offers a great selection of Thai dishes cooked with Asian and local vegetables. The settlement has a beautiful garden with abundant Mediterranean vegetation. The only problem were mosquito. Some people even asked to to move to a table inside the restaurant.
The village of Assos is situated on a twin bay peninsula. In fact, the town is a cluster of 20-30 Venetian style buildings around two gulfs. Almost all houses are built on a narrow strip of land connecting the two bays. Among its main highlights are the Venetian fortress, Venetian style houses and a miniature harbor lined with small boats. The castle was built in the sixteenth century to protect the inhabitants from pirates. Today, it is a famous landmark. The fortress is a fine example of military architecture. It is on the top of a 175 m high hillside. The area around it is covered with a dense forest. The castle features 1.2 miles (2 km) long wall, and two gates. Once you get to the top of the hill, a stunning view reveals. You are able to see secret beaches and the world-famous Myrtos bay. The view to the Ionian sea is amazing!. Words like “dramatic”, “heavenly” and “striking” occur to one at the sight of this natural beauty.
Assos is considered to be the most picturesque village on the island. It is 12 miles (20 km) from Fiscardo and 22 miles (36 km) from Kefalonia’s capital city Argostoli. For centuries Asos was the capital of northern Kefalonia.
Going Aroung Kefalonia
Kefalonia offers endless possibilities for cruising and boat tours. You can also rent a boat to the island of Ithaca which is identified as the home of the mythological hero Odyssey. Lefkada, Meganissi and Skorpios which are north of Fiscardo as well as Zakynthos that is south of Kefalonia, can be easily reached by ferry.
The route Kefalonia (Fiscardo or Sami) – Lefkada (Vasiliki) is operated by West Ferry maritime company(www.westferry.gr)/. The trip from Fiscardo is about 1 hour. The price for a passenger is 8 euros and for a vehicle – 40 euros. We did not manage to book a ferry online. Instead, we phoned the company`s offices in Vassiliki and Fiscardo to book ferry tickets.
We chose to stay at Niriides Hotel Apartments in Assos for our vacation in Kefalonia. We made the reservation online. The accommodation looked pretty and cheap (60 euros per night). When we arrived, we felt really frustrated because the building was not very close to the beach and the village’s center. In the prospect it was written that the hotel is only 600 feet (200 m) from the main highlights but in fact, these 200 meters were more than 150 hard climbing stairs. The hotel was perched on a hill. It was a 10-minute walk from the beach. It was really difficult to reach your room at the end of a hot day under the Kefalonian sun!
But the frustration soon turned into enjoyment. While we were climbing steadily, we passed typical Greek patios, beautiful traditional houses, olive trees and fields carpeted with flowers. There were amazing things wherever we looked!
At Niriides apartments we had a studio with a queen bed and a sofa sleeper. The kitchenette included a small fridge, two hot plates and all the tableware we needed. The suite was perfectly maintained. There was also perfectly working Wi Fi internet.
We had a large balcony overlooking Assos and Myrtos bay. We had amazing panoramic views across the azure sea and the mountains. Below lay the beach, the area with Venetian style houses and typical restaurants. Far from the mass tourism we were able to enjoy quiet surroundings. The quiet around the hotel was heavenly and the spacious balcony was ideal for a fresco dining. The one downside of the hotel was that to get to our room, we had to pass through our neighbours’ balcony as that was the only entrance to our suite. That was a bit inconvenient for both sides.
The location was great for the price. The accomodatiion was totally worth the money. At Niriides Hotel in Kefalonia we had a wonderful vacation with breathtaking scenery.
Kefalonia is a land blessed with beauty that is just waiting to be explored. The most amazing fact about the islands is that it still has a slow relaxed pace of life. In general, the Kefalonian inhabitants are hospitable and welcoming. Many local people try to speak some English.
During your summer vacation in Kefalonia you can enjoy a more relaxed way of life. Other benefit are trying the tasty and healthy Mediterranean cuisine consisting of fresh sea food, vegetables, olive oil and local wine.