Captain Corelli’s isle
The biggest of the Greek Ionian Islands, Kefalonia shot to fame in the Hollywood blockbuster, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Take one look at the place and you’ll see why its scenery was deserving of the big screen. Tree-studded hills stand guard over sprawling vineyards, and honey-hued sands are kissed by turquoise waters.
The popular resorts
Skala, in the south-east, leads the way as far as holiday resorts are concerned. Its long beach is backed by pines, and its nightlife is the liveliest on the island, with stylish bars and music clubs setting the tone. Lourdas, further west, is also popular. Life here revolves around the sleepy main square, and the village is fringed by 2 miles of coastline. Then there’s Lassi, which people flock to from far and wide to watch the spectacular sunsets.
Wherever you choose to stay, the island’s main attractions are within day-tripping distance. Don’t miss Myrtos Bay, a spectacular chalk-white beach which Captain Corelli’s directors couldn’t resist slotting into the movie. And pay a visit to the age-old chambers at the Drogorati Caves.
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There’s a good reason this purpose-built town has become Kefalonia’s biggest holiday spot. It’s got excellent sandy beaches and a main street packed with bars and restaurants, plus it’s just a 20-minute hop from the airport. All the excursions stop here, making it a first-rate base from which to explore the island. And you’re just 3 kilometres from the island capital, Argostoli.
Lixouri might be Kefalonia’s second-biggest town, but it’s still a laid-back place where the pace is set firmly to slow. Life here revolves around the main square, where you’ll find shops, bars and pavement cafés. There are sights dotted around, like the lighthouse and museum, but really the beaches are the star turn.
The peaceful village of Lourdas sits on a steep hillside on the south coast of Kefalonia, about 16 kilometres from the capital, Argostoli. It’s a traditional kind of place with a central square shaded by a plane tree, with little tavernas and music bars tucked into the streets around it. The pine forest and cypress trees of Mount Ainos make a lovely backdrop. As for the beach below, it’s set in a tranquil bay backed by vine-shaded restaurants.
Assos is a restful village on the west coast of Kefalonia, a beautiful Greek island south of the mainland. It’s nestled on the side of a horseshoe-shaped bay filled with azure waters. There are a handful of waterside tavernas down by the harbour, each with views of the pebbly beach. At the back of the village are rolling hillside carpeted with cypress and pine trees. And on top of one of the hills sits a huge 16th-century fortress overlooking the village.
Bazukata keeps a very low profile on the Greek island of Kefalonia. It’s a tiny hamlet that sits quietly on a cypress-clad hillside right up in the north, with views across to the neighbouring island of Ithaca. This tranquil place isn’t spoilt by shops, bars and restaurants – though it’s made sure holidaymakers get all those at the nearby town of Fiskardo.
Chalikeri is a tranquil little hamlet sat on a eucalyptus-covered hillside along Kefalonia’s north-western coast. Peace and quiet is what this spot is all about – you get a few beautiful villas dotted about the greenery, a couple of sandy coves down the road, plus some hiking routes that set off into the olive groves. Everything else is taken care of at the nearby coastal village of Fiscardo.
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