Kefalonia is the largest of the seven Ionian islands lying off the west coast of the Greek mainland. While all of the islands are characterised by rocky, green, mainly tree-covered mountains, and surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise waters, Kefalonia has some of the most spectacular scenery in the region. Home to the highest mountain of the archipelago, Mount Aenos, with its indigenous black pines and famous vines, it boasts strips of sandy beaches and popular tourist resorts in the south; ancient limestone caves, and views to the island of Ithaka to the east; the quieter, less-mountainous, agricultural, Paliki Peninsula to the west; and tall Cypress trees, silver-grey olive groves, and Venetian villages and fortresses to the north.
On Kefalonia, all roads lead to Fiscardo. The north is the most beautiful and magical part of the island. Famous, and on everyone’s ‘to visit’ list, but despite that – and those canny enough to have chosen to stay here – it still remains peaceful and unspoilt. It’s another world: far from mass tourism, far from big hotels and long stretches of beach with hundreds of parasols ranged in rows above plastic sunbeds, fast-food restaurants, and water sports.
Far from the airport, far from the hubbub of the outside world, Fiscardo has to be earned. Climb the long, winding, mountain roads, marvel at the sumptuous views, pass through the traditional villages, wonder at the goats perched high on the rocks, or encroaching humorously into the roads.
Once there, soak in the cosmopolitan atmosphere, refined glamour, elegant yachts, pretty Venetian architecture, sophisticated boutiques, and hum of harbour-side restaurants. The stage is set. Even while drinking your first, quiet, morning coffee, or sipping your chilled glass of evening wine down in a bar by the water, you already feel like you belong here, and you know you will return…
You may want to avoid the village in the middle of the day: from noon until 4pm. That’s when the tourists not lucky enough to be staying this end of the island, descend. Arriving by bus or by boat, they are but passing through, regretting already that they are not lucky enough to be one of you…
Whether you wish to while away your days by the pool or down on the beach, having leisurely lunches on taverna terraces, or sipping cool white wine while watching the stunning sunsets; or you’re the more active type who needs to fill their days with adventure and exploration – there is plenty on offer to suit everyone’s taste, and everyone’s budget.
Wander the old mule tracks and explore the countryside and Venetian ruins; hire a small motorboat and potter along the coast, mooring up in secret coves; swim in the crystal-clear waters and snorkel over the seabed, or learn to breathe underwater on a Scuba Dive trip; ride over the hills on horseback; take a ferry, hop on a day cruise, or hire a yacht with a skipper and sail the seas and visit the other islands nearby. Jump in the car and explore the island: visit the wide variety of beaches, making sure you stop off at famous Myrtos; buy your fish in the morning from the waterfront in the small but bustling capital, Argostoli – keeping your eyes peeled for turtles in the bay; seek your water sport thrills from the sandy beaches in Lassi; do a tour of a winery and sample the local wines; visit the Drogarati limestone caves, and be paddled across the translucent fresh water lake in Melissani Cave…. The list is long.