General Questions About Kefalonia
1Introduction of Kefalonia Island?
Kefalonia – Cephalonia is an island you can return to again and again, and still discover something new. A paradise for nature lovers, this lush island has a special kind of fir which grows only here and nowhere else in the world. There are wild horses on the mountainside, and goats and rabbits with golden teeth because of the minerals in the ground. In the sea swims the turtle Caretta Caretta, dolphins and the monk seal Monachus Monachus, and the waters of the island are considered amongst the cleanest in the world. Marvelous beaches, an underground cave and lake, the tomb of Odysseus, the fishing village Fiscardo, the Robola wine, Lord Byron’s view…Kefalonia – Cephalonia is truly an island of much variety, and anyone who enjoyed Louis de Bernier’s “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” and wants to see what the island is really like will not be disappointed. It is an island of many miracles: on the day of the Virgin Mary, the 15th of August snakes come into the village Markopoulo, blessing the Church of Our Lady with their presence.There is a flower on the island that only blossoms on this day. The patron saint Gerasimos’ well preserved body is sometimes said to have seaweed on his feet – local folklore has it that he visits his friends St. Spyridon and Nectarios on the neighbouring island Zakynthos (Zante) and Corfu. The sea water that disappears under the ground at Katavothres and pours out on the other side of the island. In Argostoli you have most of the nightlife, cafes, the cinema, banks, bus station and harbour. Lixouri and Sami are quite large places, and here you will find many bars and taverns as well. Fiscardo offers the perfect idyll, it is small and very cozy, and so is Ag Efimia, Skala and Poros. There are many more places to stay but they won’t all fit in here.
2History of the island?
Kefalonia – Cephalonia is already mentioned in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. He called the island Deuchalion, and said it then belonged to the kingdom of Odysseus and that it sent warriors to fight in Troy. We do not know for sure why the island has its name. It is either because it is the largest island in the Ionian archipelago, Cephali means “head” in Greek, or it got its name after the first king, who according to mythology was called Cephalus. There have been paleolithic findings around the island dating 50 000 years back in time. Kefalonia – Cephalonia was united with Ithaca and the mainland at that time, and you can still see from the shape of the two islands that they once were one. During Mycenaean time the island of Kefalonia seems to have been very rich . Later on the men of the island are mentioned in wars against the Persians (5th cent. BC) and there were alliances with several other city-states like Athens, Corinth and Sparta. In 188BC the Romans conquered Cephalonia and they sold its inhabitants as slaves and looted the island. The island also suffered pirate attacks many times through history. At the end of the 12th century AD the Francs conquered the Ionian islands, and were to stay until the Turks defeated them in the 15th century. Then followed Venetian rule from AD 1500 to 1797. Cephalonia was to suffer several Turkish attacks, and in 1797 Napoleons army invaded the island. A year later the British help the Russian/Turkish army take over. In 1807 the French came back, and two years later the British seized power. In 1864 the island was finally liberated, but was to be occupied by Italian and German military during the second world war. In 1953 there was a terrible earthquake which destroyed most buildings on the island, and killed many. Only the northern village of Kefalonia- Cephalonia ,Fiscardo ,was saved and is today the only village on the island with older architecture.
3What to See?
Most island tours include the cave Drogarati and the underground lake Melissani, the monastery of Ag (St.) Gerasimos, the picturesque Fiscardo and a view of the amazing Myrtos bay. You should also try to visit the Venetian Castle of Kefalonia, nunnery of Ag (St.) Andreas,Robola wine factory, the plaque of Lord Byron with its wonderful view, as well as the perfectly built Kourkoumelata village which has been rebuilt almost as it was before the earthquake. In Argostoli there is an archaeological museum as well as a folklore museum. Just outside Argostoli is Katavothres where the water disappears under the island, only to come out on the other side. In the beautiful little village Assos you can visit a Venetian Citadel, and enjoy a nice meal in the tiny harbour. Assos is also called the Honeymoon village, since Charles and Diana made a stop here with their yacht when newly wed. In Skala are the remains of a Roman villa with a beautiful mosaic floor. From the island there are daytrips to the neighbouring islands Ithaka, Lefkas and Zakynthos (Zante), and to Ancient Olympia on the Peloponnese.
4Beaches of the Island?
Kefalonia – Cephalonia Beaches Two of the best sand beaches are to be found in Lassi and are called Makrys Gialos and Platys Gialos. They are suitable for children, but can get quite busy during high season. Myrtos is probably the most photographed beach in Greece but the road down to it is so steep and winding that no bus can take you there, so you’ll have to either walk all the way or rent your own vehicle. It is a pebble beach and the sea quickly gets deep, so it is not an ideal place for small children. In Skala there is another long sand beach. In Fiscardo you will have to get into the sea from rocks, but the water is crystal clear. Petani is also a nice pebble beach. If you can, you should also try to get to the paradise beach Antisamos, which is outside Sami, but has no bus connections. There are many more beaches and they are all special in one way or the other.
Travel To Kefalonia
Kefalonia is situated off the west-coast of mainland Greece and can be reached by sea and by air. There is an international airport on the island, which has daily flights from Athens and other major airports throughout Europe (charter flights). The new updated site of the airport is www.efl-airport.gr where you can find useful information, as airlines, today’s arrivals and departures etc. Easy Jet, Ryanair, Transavia, Norwegian, Thomson, Thomas Cook are some of the airlines which fly to Kefalonia
There are various ports in Italy (Bari, Ancona, Brindisi and Venice) that have connections to mainland Greece and Kefalonia directly (starting from May). In Greece, ferries to Kefalonia, depart from Killini, a port town in western Peloponnese and arrive in the port of Poros. Until 2016, routes from Patras to Sami were availiable. But up today, no information is released for 2017. Local ferries depart from the port of Astakos in mainland Greece, to Sami Kefalonia and Ithaca. During summer season (starting from May), the port of Fiscardo in northern Kefalonia receives ferries from Vassiliki Lefkada, while the port of Pessada in southern Kefalonia operates ferries to Shinari Zakynthos. Please visit the below sites for more information. Ferries sites: www.kefalonianlines.com +30 210 9515100 www.ioniangroup.com +30 210 9499400 www.ferries.gr/agoudimos +30 2810 346185 / 330598 www.ionionpelagos.com/en Kefalonia +30 26740-22111, Ithaki +30 26740-32104, Zakynthos +30 26950-23984 , Lefkada +30 26450-31555, Astakos +3026460-38020 Patras is about 2,5 hours from Athens and Kilini is approximately 4 hours from Athens. If you do not have a car of your own, you can use bus transportation (KTEL) from Athens or Patras. Bus Transportation (KTEL): www.ktelkefalonias.gr/en Tel. No. Athens +30 210 5150785 Tel. No. +30 26710 22276 / 22281
3Moving around the island
Moving around the island You have already arrived to the island and your journey is about to begin. Following ,you will find several different ways – depending on your adventurous, athletic or relaxing motives – to move through the island. You can choose among different transportation services depending on your mood . Have in mind that there is public transportation but its services are not very frequent. Bus Transportation (KTEL): www.ktelkefalonias.gr/en 5 Ant. Tritsi avenue – 28100, ARGOSTOLI-KEFALONIA Tel. No. +30 26710 22276 / 22281 Checking the island by the sea Kefalonia coast is dotted with picturesque inlets, secluded beach coves while the Ionian Sea is a place of calm, deep blue waters. There are many ways to explore Kefalonia coastline or visit the nearby island of Ithaka, Lefkada, Zakinthos and Meganisi. Sail around Kefalonia, go fishing, discover a secluded bay, swim and have a barbecue at the beach … Whether you want a romantic voyage for two, an organized cruise in Ithaca or a day boat hire, we guarantee an enjoyable time. All Kefalonia’s secluded bays and beaches have their own distinct beauty. After a brief but thorough instruction you can explore the idyllic green coastline of northern Kefalonia. You can either find your own little cove or you can try your fishing skills. The beautiful clear sea is also perfect for snorkeling with underwater visibility of up to 50 meters. You will experience a unique feeling of freedom while exploring the beautiful coastline and you will always remember this unforgettable trip.
Things to Do in Kefalonia
The lighthouse of Agioi Theodoroi The Lighthouse (Fanari) of Agioi (Saint) Theodoroi is a distinguished landmark of a circular, simple Doric structure with 20 columns and its tower is 8 m tall. The lighthouse was built in 1828 century when the island was under the command of Charles Napier, and it was deemed necessary for navigation. In 1863, after the integration of the island to the Greek State, this lighthouse was included in the lighthouse network of Greece. The earthquake of 1953 destroyed the lighthouse. It was rebuilt in 1960 by local architect Takis Pavlatos according to its original architectural design. The view from the Fanari is magnificent as from the front you can see across to the Peninsula of Paliki and the island of Vardianoi. The lighthouse of Agioi Theodoroi works till today and gives a romantic view at night. It is found 3 km from Argostoli, close to Katavothres and you can admire it if you choose to take the boat from Argostoli to Lixouri. A great place to relax, swim and take photos of the great view. The area Kaminia The area Kaminia (kilns), located 32 km from Argostoli, took its name from roof tile artisanship that flourished on the south hill side village of Ratzakli. The development of roof tile making in this area has been sustained by an ample amount of argil that the locals call “glina” which is found on the slopes of the coast. The exact period of their construction is not known, but in the mid 19th century there was sustainable economy of roof tile production and trade on southern Kefalonia. This is a recently excavated kiln Koutavos Lagoon and DeBosset bridge One of the best attractions in the capital of Kefalonia, Argostoli, is the Koutavos Lagoon, a feeding ground for the turtles caretta caretta, wild ducks, black headed hens and swans, a variety of fish and a stop for many migrating birds. It has taken its name from the ancient word “Kottavos” meaning wash bowl. Now a nature reserve, it was once an almost impassable swamp where mosquitoes and malaria were rife until the Drapano Bridge was constructed in 1813 to improve access to Argostoli from the villages across the bay. Nowadays the bridge is a wonderful walk for pedestrians, from where the visitor can admire the whole of the capital as well as the lagoon itself which is a wonderful sight. A small islet stands in the centre of the lagoon but is out of bounds for the visitor as it serves as a nesting and feeding ground for waterfowl. From the harbour front, one can walk or cycle along a magic path around the lagoon for 6,5 km to a shady forest of rare trees that constitute the town’s largest park. The beautiful De Bosset/Drapano bridge was constructed by Colonel Charles Philip de Bosset, a Swiss engineer in the employ of the British army, under the British governor of the island, General Sir Charles James Napier. At the beginning, it was a wooden bridge at the centre of Koutavos lagoon connecting the capital with the surrounding villages. Four years later stone arches were added and, after some 26 years, the entire bridge was rebuilt in stone. The recently renovated De Bosset/Drepano Bridge at the capital of Argostoli offers today, to locals as well as holiday makers, a magical sight and a wonderful walk! Almost halfway along the Drapano Bridge stands a stone column (obelisk) built by the British to commemorate their stay. Roman Villa Agia Efimia At the heart of Agia Efimia, archeologists have identified traces of an ancient Roman Villa and mosaics from the Roman Period. While you visit this beautiful village you can take a look at it, on the road of the diving centre. From there you can take the stairs to the little parallel road above the coast. You can choose between the old Agia Efimia trail (ask us or the locals if it is open) or just walk down to the 1760 bar to the other end of the road just to get another (higher) perspective of the village and the little port. Roman Villa Skala At the edge of Skala village, there are the remains of a Roman Villa. According to the evidences, this villa was constructed in the 3rd century AD and belonged to a wealthy Roman. On the floor it has interesting mosaics. One of these mosaics depicts an altar with a sacrificial bull, while a man is about to kill him. Another mosaic shows the god Envy attacked and eaten by four wild animals: lion, tiger, panther and leopard. In the early Christian times, a church was constructed over a part of the villa. This ancient site is small and a short walkway has been constructed along it for visitors. The villa was discovered by accident in 1944 by the owner of the land. Excavations started in 1957. On the edge of the present village is the remains of a 3rd-century Roman Villa with some remarkably well preserved mosaics. The traveller can visit the site free of charge to see the mosaic flooring in three rooms, which were excavated in 1957. Mazarakata Tombs, Argostoli Located five kilometers outside Argostoli and towards Pessada, you come across the Mazarakata Tombs, found in the early 20th century. The cemetery was excavated by accident by Colonel De Bosset searching for limestone to coat the roads. The archaeologist Panagis Kavadias from Kefalonia was excavating on the tombs of Mazarakata from 1899-1909 and until the early 20th century he had searched the four tombs discovered by De Bosset and he brought into light another 12 tombs and 83 burials. Beneath the tombs and caves were roads through which they transferred the dead. The 17th tomb was accidentally discovered in 1951 by the archaeologist Spyros Marinatos from Kefalonia. The cemetery, which was found intact, is of great importance, it is the largest cemetery of the Mycenaean period the ruins of the Mycenaean era, witness to the culture that flourished in this region. Many reports were held in the books of Homer about Kefalonian cemeteries, and after what came to light, they seem rather confirmed. De Bosset donated some of the findings to Switzerland, the rest of the haul of Mycenaean vases and small art crafts were shared out between the archaeological museums in Athens and Argostoli. Boatanica Garden Argostoli Kefalonia Botanica was established in 1998 at the initiative of the Focas-Cosmetatos Foundation. Its original aims were the preservation and display of the wild and endemic plants of Kefalonia and the promotion of environmental issues. Kefalonia Botanica is situated 2 km from the centre of Argostoli and today covers 10,000 sq.m terrain. The need to create an educational botanic garden emerged from the fact that, though Greece has the richest and most varied flora in Europe, very few botanic gardens-research centres are located in the country. The Greek flora is under threat from summer fires, urban development, overgrazing and tourism. It is imperative to learn how to preserve plant populations and how to use them in context of sustainable development. Kefalonia Botanica – which is running field environmental programmes for kindergarten and primary school children – aims to raise public awareness of problems relating to the environment and its protection. Looking to secure the necessary financial support, Kefalonia Botanica will develop the appropriate infrastructure for the promotion of scientific research in the field of Botany at national and international level, through various collaborations and the exchange of scientific personnel. Human intervention on the site was initially confined to the preservation of existing plants by the removal of dead branches, weeds etc., the tracing of paths and the creation of a watercourse. Several herbs were planted in a specific area, subsequently enriched by various Ionian wild plants. Gradually the site will develop plant habitats such as forest, maquis, phrygana, grassland, which will include special plant collections according to their use in medicine, cooking, floriculture etc. Thus, Kefalonia Botanica will present “Edible Plants”, “Aromatic Plants”, “Plants in Mythology”, “Plants in Folklore” and other plant collections, which the visitor will be able to access through specific routes. The aim is to preserve, educate and at the same time delight the visitor. 2008 saw the creation of a man-made small lake holding 500 cu.m. of water. This water resource, featuring Mediterranean water plants and mosquito-control fish, extends and enriches the area open to the visitor, and adds to the content of the environmental educational activities. It also acts as a valuable reservoir in the event of a brush fire. With a 4 euro ticket you can visit both the museum and the gardens. The Focas-Cosmetatos Foundation 1 P. Vallianou str, Argostoli Tel: +30 26710-26595/6 e-mail: email@example.com www.focas-cosmetatos.gr/garden_en.html Ancient Sami Located about 9km from Agia Efimia and 2km from Sami, on the top of the hill, stands the ancient Acropolis of Sami. If you enjoy walking, try the following route: On your way to or back from Antisamos beach, you follow the sign to “Ancient Acropolis of Sami” with the car. Alternatively, if you want to walk even more, leave your car at Sami, ask for the sign of the beginning of the walking trail at the bottom of the mountain and follow that route. Once you arrive at the top of the hill, you can enjoy an amazing view of Sami bay, ruins of the monastery of Agioi (Saint) Fanentes, of the 11th century, as well as you can pass through the ruins of the walls of Ancient Sami. The difficulty level is easy and in order to do the round you will need approx 2,5 hours. It is worth it! Ancient Sami was a powerful fortified town with an autonomous and independent state with its own coin inhabited from the Paleolithic Times. A strong and densely populated town with strong fortifications, it was located on the top of the cliff. Several references of Ancient Sami are found in Homer’s poems (Iliad, Odyssey) when Sami fought in the Trojan War. Though, in 188 B.C, Sami lost its autonomy and freedom during the siege from the Romans. During the Roman times, Ancient Sami flourished again due to the trade development and the increasing population. At that time, they built luxurious houses and public buildings. Excavations have brought to light parts of the citadel built during the Hellenistic Period and some Cyclopean walls situated in Paleokastro and Agioi Fanentes, from where the view is spectacular. The walls included 22 entrances, parts of an ancient theatre and rich tombs that date back to the 3rd century B.C. The view from Ancient Sami to the sea and the inland is great. Ainos Mountain, Kefalonia Mountain Ainos, located 30 km from Argostoli, known as Monte Nero (black mountain) during the Venetian period, due to thick forestation of the dark Kefalonian Fir tree (Abies cephalonica) is the tallest mountain of the Ionian islands with an elevation of 1,628 metres (5,341 ft). On clear days, the view includes the NW Peloponnese as well as the islands of Zakynthos, Lefkada, and Ithaca. No ski resorts are found on this mountain range, but there are beautiful caves to be seen in the north. A highway which passes over the mountain range connecting traffic from southwestern to the eastern part of the island, is one of the few roads going into the mountain range. Approximately 3,000 to 4,000 people live on the slopes of Ainos. The easiest way to get to the summit is to drive along the Mt. Ainos road from the North West to the transmitter station. Leave your car there and then continue along the dirt track on foot for about 10 minutes until you reach some steps to the right and a sign post. Go up these steps for another 10 minutes to reach the summit. A concrete post at the summit has a metal container strapped to it which contains a visitor book. The forest flora includes many varieties of wild flowers, other wonders hide there, like a large variety of orchids, of which certain endemic, just like the violet of Kefalonia. You will also find mushrooms, and its fauna consists of various species of reptiles, bird such as the woodpecker, blackbird and hawk, as well as mammals. As impressive as this forest might be you will also be amazed by your encounter with the small semi-wild horses (Equus caballus) which you will see mostly at the SE side of the mountain. Almost as rare as the golden-toothed goats are the wild horses of Ainos. Mt. Ainos was first declared as a National Park in 1962 and houses the heart of Kefalonia’ s biodiversity. Visitors and environmentalists flock to Mt. Ainos as it is the island’s most precious reserve. In 1962 the Greek government declared the Ainos forest a national park and thus protected it by law. Albeit classified as a “Lower Risk Near Threatened”,Abies cephalonica is on the 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Enjoy the following trails: The Environmental Centre of Ainos – Chionistra is an ideal fairly easy, circular hiking path of 6,184m. You will enjoy a hike in nature and a wonderful view along the way, starting and finishing at the Environmental Centre of Ainos that you can reach by car on a paved road. This pleasurable walk will last approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes if you don’t make any stops at the recreation areas you will meet along the way. Vlachata – Environmental Centre of Ainos trail has a moderate level of difficulty and reaches 2,065m. length. Start your excursion near Arias peak and enjoy your walk through the fir trees as well as the breathtaking views towards the S & SW part of the Ionian Sea. Your walk will last approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes and will end at the Environmental Centre of Ainos. Digaleto – Megas Soros trail is 6,595m. long, it begins north of the Digaleto community and ends at Mt. Ainos’ highest peak. It’s a fairly easy to moderate level of difficulty hiking trail and you will need approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes to cross it. Enjoy your walk in nature as well as the wonderful view towards the Ionian Sea and the Peloponnese. Epano Eza – Melissi trail is of moderate difficulty and reaches 2,596m. in length. Your hiking experience will last about 1 hour and 30 minutes in a dense forest of Abies Cephalonica fir trees from Epano Eza to Melissi locations. Kissos – Petasi – (Nyfi) – Megas Soros – Kissos trail has parts of easy to moderate level of difficulty although considerable hiking experience is required at some locations due to steep slopes. This circular hiking trail has a length of 8,640m. and you will need about 4½ hours. On your way you can visit the Petasi and Nyfi caves. When you reach the peak of Megas Soros you will be overwhelmed by the panoramic view of the neighbouring mountaintops Kroukoumpia and Chionistra as well as the islands in the south Ionian Sea and the western part of the Peloponnese. You will access the trail by dirt road. For more info check www.foreasainou.gr Assos Castle Kefalonia Situated on the north west coast of the island, 25 km from Agia Efimia (through the deviation road that is used until the main road is fixed), the Assos fortress is the larger of the two castles of Kefalonia and is one of the largest castles in Greece. In 1584, a petition had been submitted by the nobles of Kefalonia to the Venetian Senate for the foundation of a new fortress, as the castle of Saint George could not defend the whole island against the Turkish threat and the pirate raids. assos castleBuilding started in 1593 under the supervision of Ambrosius Cornelius. Its 2000 metres of walls follow the contours of the terrain and form an irregular rectangle of 44,000 sq. meters, reinforced at five points by bastions, virtually running around the naturally impregnable peninsula. Parts of the walls and an arched entrance gate are the mainly preserved sections. Within the ruins, the guest can find some interesting structures, such as the small church of Agios (Saint) Markos and the house of the Venetian High Commissioner. A little lower down the hill there is another chapel dedicated to Prophet Elias, which also contains a beautiful wooden carved iconostasis. The strategic location of the Castle allowed supervising the whole sea area and from there you can get beautiful view of the bay. Till 1956, the Castle of Assos was used as a place for political prisoners, who lived there and cultivated vineyards and cereal. The latest inhabitants lived within the castle walls up until the late sixties. They were known as the Kastrini people and were groups of large families who lived from cultivating olives and grapes. For hiking lovers, I recommend you spend a day at the village of Assos and enjoy the magical trail around the Venetian Castle. Try to do that either early in the morning or in the afternoon when the sun is not so strong, with a hat and sun protection as most of the route is not shaded. In order to climb up the castle and walk to reach the western point and come back you will need approx 2 hours. You will park your car on the parking space available at the bottom of the castle and then walk up the pedestrian road. Before you arrive at the peak you will see a sign guiding you on the left (check photo on the right) so follow it to arrive at south gate which offers amazing views. On the way back you can use for your exit the main gate. The views of the Assos picturesque port and the nearby isolated beaches are breathtaking! The castle is open daily with no entry fee. Kipouria Monastery Breathtaking Sunset! During your day trip to Paliki area, 15km from Lixouri and very close to Platia Ammos, you can find Kipouria Monastery (Moni Kipouraion) built in 1759 by Archimandrite Chrysanthos Petropoulos from Paxos. Its name “Kipouria” comes from the greek word “kipos” (land, vegetable garden) as the monks supported themselves by cultivating all the land around the monastery. It is overhanging a cliff that crashes into the Ionian, 100 meters above the sea level, in a unique landscape. It has view to the west with a courtyard for guests to attend one of the most spectacular sunsets of Kefalonia. This beauty and serenity of the location together with its spiritual treasures constitutes the Monastery a supreme attraction for the visitor. Within the Monastery one can worship the miraculous icon of the Annunciation as well as the skulls of the founders of the Monastery, Chrisanthos, Konstantios and Efronios. A piece of the Holy Cross offered to the Monastery by the Russian Prince Vladimiros Dolgoroukis in 1862 is also kept in the Monastery. An elegant glass jar holds St Dimitrios’ Myrovlytis holy myron from the 7th AC century. One can also worship various Saint’s relics as well as Agia (Saint) Paraskevi’s miraculous icon, a unique treasure of the destroyed Tafios Monastery. Holy relics, rare post-Renaissance, post-Byzantine and Italian-Cretan icons and items of faith can be found in the church which was built within the monastery area. The Monastery celebrates on: March 25th, Annunciation of the Holy Virgin 3rd Sunday of Lent, Holy Cross Worship Day September 14th, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, with devout vigil in the presence of the local Metropolitan July 26th, feast day of Agia Paraskevi Drogaratti Cave Drogarati Cave was discovered 300 years ago and opened to the public in 1963. It was discovered when a strong earthquake caused a collapse that revealed the cave’s entrance. It is close to Melissani Lake and belongs to the same geological region. Drogarati is an impressive cave with remarkable formations of stalactites and stalagmites. It is located at an altitude of 120 meters in the area of Haliotata and 3 kilometers from Sami. According to archaeologists, Drogarati cave is over 100 million years old and constitutes a rare geological phenomenon. It is about 60m deep and has a constant temperature of 18 degrees. The humidity of the cave reaches 90%. Even though it has undergone many damages mainly because of earthquakes, as well as human activities, the roof and floor of the cave are graced with countless stalagmites and stalactites, created by lime deposits in the water that filters through the bedrock above them. They are estimated to grow at a rate of 1 cm over 100 years and they offer an amazing sight for the visitor. Drogarati Cave consists of two parts, the one accessible to tourists consists of a long corridor that leads to what they call the “Royal Balcony”, a natural platform of stalactites that beautifully reflect the light. From there, the visitor descends to the 900 sq. metre “Chamber of Exaltation” which has great acoustics. That is why has hosted a number of concerts and cultural events (check relevant video). It is also one of the few caves where relatively bright electric lighting has been permitted, enabling the visitor to fully admire this marvel of nature’s creation. Scientists have discovered that Drogarati Cave has an extension that is not reachable and believe that it is connected to other sea caves. Drogarati Cave is therefore a natural art masterpiece that has taken its present form after thousands of years, while it continually changes. It is visited by many tourists every year and can be found 5 km to the south of Sami village, on the eastern coast of Kefalonia and right on the main road that connects Sami to Argostoli. Melissani Lake Melissani Lake was opened to the public in 1963 and is located northwest of Sami village near Karavomilos. The cavern, caved in, several thousand years ago creating an amazing sight. The cave is about 500m from the sea but its water level is a meter higher than sea level, the brackish water rises from a 30m deep cave system on one side of the cave and flows to the other end, through narrow crevices, into the sea. Scientists have discovered by dye tracing experiments of 1959 that the water travels from Katavothres, on the other side of the island and comes out here. The best time to visit the lake is when the sun is right overhead around noon depending on the season, when the sunlight rays strike the water, creating a magical blue light atmosphere. Mythology mentions that the cave was named after one of the nymphs, called Melissanthi who committed suicide because God Pan was not responding to her love. The excavations carried out in 1951 and in 1962 brought to light artifacts (an ancient lamp, plates and figures of the nymphs and god Pan) dated to the 3rd and 4th century BC that were used during the post classical periods. The tour is done by boat (have a look at the following video). You first enter the chamber with no roof and then you pass from a narrow channel to the second chamber that is a big cavern with numerous stalactites and stalagmites. The opening period is normally from Easter to October, but if you are travelling close to these dates, ask before you go. The cost was 7euros/person in 2015 and try to be there around 12 noon to get the best of it! St George Castle Kefalonia If you are spending a day at Argostoli and you want to visit a historic landmark with great views, take your car and drive approx 7km, at 320m high peak above the villages of Peratata and Travliata where signposts show visitor the way. You will need to park your car approx 600m from the entrance of the castle where you can walk around the beautiful village of Kastro with traditional houses and amazing views. kastro church of evaggelistriaIt is worth visiting the ruins of the medieval church of Evangelistria, which dates from 1420 and the church of Agios Theodoros which is even older. The original castle dates back to 11th century, Byzantine times, but most of what is seen today comes from the Venetians who took it from the Turks at the end of 1500 with the aid of the Spanish and the Kefalonians. The Venetians fortified the castle walls with the use of forced labour and shipped in Venetian craftsmen to build a small town in the front of the castle in the area called the Kastro. A ‘borgo‘ or suburb was built in the front of the castle and this is the area called Kastro. The work was carried out by 40 Venetian craftsmen and local forced labour. The road leading to Argostoli from the castle was named Strata Communa and runs behind the hill which was planned to ensure that it would not be seen by passing ships. Work on the castle was completed in 1545 and it covers an area of 16,000 square metres and is enclosed by 620 metres of walled fortifications. The castle became the effective capital of Kefalonia until 1757 when it was transferred to Argostoli. The castle is usually open to visitors all days except Mondays, throughout the summer and entrance is free, but for openings check before you go. Take hats and water as there is not much shade around. After a walk around the castle you can sit in one of the cafes in the village and enjoy the views.
1Emergency Telephone Numbers
First Aid: 166 Fire Brigade: 199 Police Emergency : 100 Telephone code Greece: 0030
2General Useful Telephone Numbers
GENERAL USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS: National Tourism Organization of Greece (EOT): 26710 22248 Municipality of Argostoli: 26713 60100 Municipality of Lixouri: 26713 60950 Municipality of Sami: 26743 60500 Municipality of Fiscardo: 26743 60300 Municipality of Ithaca: 26740 32795 Argostoli Police Station: 26710 27821 Tourist Police in Argostoli: 26710 22815 Lixouri Police Station: 26710 91207 Sami Police Station: 26740 22100 Fiscardo Police Station: 26740 41460 Ithaca Police Station: 26740 32205 Patras Port Authority: 2613 615400 Killinis Port Authority: 2623 092000 Argostoli Port Authority: 26710 22224 Lixouri Port Authority: 26710 94100 Sami Port Authority: 26740 22031 Poros Port Authority: 26740 72460 Ithaca Port Authority : 26743 60640 Fiscardo Port Authority:26740 41400 General Hospital in Argostoli: 26710 38000 Mantzavinateio Hospital in Lixouri: 26713 60308 Health centre in Sami: 26740 22222 Health centre in Ithaca: 26743 60100 Post Office in Argostoli: 26710 22312 Post Office in Lixouri: 26710 91206 Post Office in Sami: 26740 22012 Post Office in Ithaca: 26740 32386 Bus Terminal for Kefalonia in Athens: 210 5150785 Bus Terminal in Kefalonia: 26710 22276 / 22281
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