CEFALONIA

Mysterious Cefalonia

Cefalonia has an indisputable dominant personality with dramatic contrasts of unexpected beauty.

From dazzling beaches and secret coves – hidden at the feet of wild and imposing mountains, lush vegetation, amazing red and orange sunsets to charming villages with traditional character, Cefalonia has it all and inspires you to loose yourself on purpose!

Cefalonia became world famous through the blockbuster movie “Captain’s Corelli Mandolin” that exalted the island’s beaches and picturesque scenery. Since then, numerous celebrities from all over the world have spent their holidays on the island.

Luxury houses, exceptional traditional taverns and popular restaurants give out the sense of courtesy and authenticity that distinguishes Cefalonia from most destinations not only within the borders of Greece, but also around the world.

Fiscardo, on the northern tip of the island will enchant you with its traditional houses and narrow pedestrian roads, while Myrtos beach has been voted as one of the best beaches in the world and it’s definitely among the most photographed ones in Greece.

Experience a dreamy holiday in one of our private villas in an idyllic settlement and make sure to explore all of Cefalonia’s hidden treasures!

Adventurous, just like its local people, with an exclusive ability to be distinguished on every single edge of the world, Cefalonia is a divine paradise you will never say ‘

arriverdeci’ 

to, as it will always guide you back like the sirens!

Mount Aenos

Mount Aenos is an exceptional natural preserve boasting a forest of the unique black firs of Cefalonia. Aenos became widely known as the Monte Negro of Greece due to the dark color of the trees that seemed black when seen from far away. This beautiful National Park hosts a great variety of flora species and a rich fauna including reptiles and birds, such as the hawk, the woodpecker and the blackbird. The most important mammal found here, but unfortunately is under extinction, is the famous Aenos wild horse, which belong to the Pindos breed and is small and very strong.

Melissani Lake cave

This is a rare geological phenomenon. This cave is located in Karavomylos, about 2 km from Sami. The ceiling of the cave’s main hall has collapsed, creating two sections. One is open air and the other is roofed. The entire length of the cave is about 160 meters and its maximum depth 39 meters. In the center of the lake-cave, which is open air, there is a tiny islet, where archeological findings verify the worshiping use of this cave in the antiquity. This is why Melissani is also called the Cave of the Nymphs. Even though the tour doesn’t last long, it’s still beautiful to watch all these different shades of blue in the water. The cave is open daily until late at night. Do not miss this out since the spectacle of the lake in a cave with no ceiling and the sunrays radiating in its waters it is just superb!

Dogarati Cave

This cave is located a few kilometers away from the port of Sami. It’s 45 meters wide, 21 meters deep and 9 meters high and it’s divided in 2 sections, out of which only one is accessible to the public. The main hall is used for many cultural events, since it has excellent acoustics, and it can accommodate up to 500 people. The artificial lighting together with the reflections of the stalactites creates a unique visual panorama.

The Lighthouse of Agioi Theodoroi

The lighthouse, also known as Lantern (“Fanari” in Greek), is located in Lassi, near Argostoli. It was built on 1820 based on a British architectural design. Unfortunately during the earthquakes that stroke the island in 1953 it was totally destroyed, but was later reconstructed according to the original blueprint.

The Monastery of Agios Gerasimos

Agios Gerasimos is the patron saint of the island and the monastery, where his body is kept, is located in Omaloi. Agios Gerasimos departed on August 15th 1579 and the Patriarchate declared him as Saint on 1622.On October 10th 1581 they dug up his body, which was intact, giving off a pleasant scent. The procession of his body on August 16th is a major celebration of Cefalonia and it attracts thousands of people.

The Fortress of Agios Georgios

The Fortress of Agios Georgios is located at the village Peratata on a 300 m altitude and was probably constructed during the 12th century AD by Byzantine Emperors. It’s about 16.000 m2 and its surrounding walls are approximately 600 m long. Inside the walls there were public and private buildings, churches, food and ammunition warehouses, barracks, hospitals, prisons and water tanks. Visitors will also see the remnants of the catholic church of Agios Nikolaos and a tunnel that led from the castle to the lagoon of Koutavos and it was used in case of emergency exit. This castle was actually the capital of the island till 1757, when Argostoli became the new capital, but it was heavily damaged during the earthquakes of 1636, 1637 and 1953.

Archeological Museum

The Archeological Museum in Argostoli houses various antiquities found on the island. Among its exhibits are various items from the prehistoric and the roman years, but it mostly features findings from the Mycenaean era: ancient coins, copper swords, stamps, precious stones, tools of the Paleolithic man and ceramics of the Geometrical and the Archaic era.

The Monastery of Virgin Mary in Agrilia

This Monastery is dated back to the 18th century when in 1772 two shepherds and their maid found the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary. The Monastery is located at Agrillia region, near Sami, and it has an incredible view to the beach of Antisamos and Ithaca.

Iakovateios Library – Museum

This historic library is located on the western part of Lixouri and it is housed in the pre-earthquake mansion of the Typaldos-Iakovatos family, restored in 1984. It consists of 14 rooms, beautifully decorated, and it boasts a collection of 30.000 volumes, a big part of which is from the 16th, 17th, 18th and the 19th century. The Museum hosts manuscripts, ecclesiastical vestments, old furniture, paintings, 36 priceless icons and3 gospels handwritten on vellum dated back to the 10th, 14th and 15th century.

Korgialeneio Historic and Folk Art Museum

This Museum is housed in the imposing building of the homonymous Library, founded in 1962. The archives depict the island’s history starting from the 15th century till 1848 and its founding aimed at preserving the memories of Cefalonia before the earthquakes of 1953. It boasts a collection of historic documents, paintings, personal artifacts, porcelains, silver decorative items, old furniture, photographic archives, ecclesiastical utensils, icons, coins, musical instruments and many more.

Mycenaean Tombs – Mazarakata

These very important tombs verify the existence of a substantial Mycenaean settlement in this area. Amongst the archeological findings is rare jewelry of Mycenaean art.

Roman Villa in Skala

The remnants of a roman villa of the 3rd century BC in the location of Skala, definitely worth a visit. Mosaics in mint condition, with complex reenactments were brought to light after years of archeological excavations.

Tzanatta – Arched tomb

The archeological excavations in this area brought to light the biggest arched tomb ever found in western Greece. Amongst the unique findings are jewelry and a stamp, verifying once again the existence of an important Mycenaean metropolitan hub.

MIRTOS

Mirtos was voted as one of the best beaches in the world and it is the trademark of the island. Its exotic natural beauty with the transparent waters, the dazzling white sand and pebbles, the steep cliffs that submerge in the sea, the consecutive Blue Flag awards and the amazing sunset has justifiably travelled around the world. This beach cannot be missed.

MAKRYS GYALOS

Makrys Gyalos is a cosmopolitan beach, only 3 kilometers from Argostoli, visited by hundreds of people every day. It’s fully organized, with umbrellas, sun beds and lifeguards on duty. At Makrys Gialos you will have the chance to try water sports or relax on one of the many beach bars, taverns, restaurants and small cantinas.

PLATYS GYALOS

We could say that Platys Gyalos is the better other half of Makrys Gyalos while it is actually its extension. They are both known for their azure waters and the golden sand. It has been awarded with the Blue Flag and it’s fully organized.

VATSA

Vatsa is actually the beach everyone is looking for but very few are able to find! This is a sort of a local legend. It’s an untouched, almost primitive landscape, mostly accessible by sea, while lunch in the only local tavern -owned by a somewhat peculiar man- will certainly be the highlight of your vacations.

LOURDAS

This is one of the most well known beaches of the island. It’s sandy and though not very long boasts amazing blue waters.

FOKI

This is a rather unknown beach, only 5 minutes by car from Fiscardo. It is not organized and ideal for those who love pebbly beaches. Foki mostly attracts people who look for calmness and peacefulness far away from crowds. The trees that reach all the way to the shore, give waters this amazing, dreamy emerald color while offering the most cooling and rejuvenating natural shade.

POROS

Being one of the most beautiful beaches of the island, Poros will just enchant you. Here you will find umbrellas, sun beds, beach bars, restaurants and a small market. This 2 kilometers long beach is surrounded by smaller coves with sandy shore.

EMPLISI

Emplysi is a charming beach, near the picturesque Fiscardo. Since the coast is full of thick pebbles, you will definitely need a sunbed in order to comfortably enjoy the sun. The scenery is evergreen and the deep waters are crystal clear. Emplysi is a rather quiet place, sheltered, but not organized.

XI

Xi is an “alternative” beach that will make you want to come back for more. They say its soil contains therapeutic elements and many people that visit this place cover themselves with mud! Nevertheless, it has a superb natural beauty, numerous beach bars and it’s well organized.

LEPEDA

Lepeda is a beautiful family beach with silky white sand and transparent blue water. It’s located just 2 kilometers from Lixouri and it’s ideal for those looking for an organized beach with shallow waters. The local picturesque tavern has delicious, fresh fish and seafood.

ASSOS

The beach of Assos is located at about 10 kilometers from Fiscardo. It’s covered with small pebbles, however the seabed is covered by golden sand. There are many scenic coffee places nearby where you can enjoy a cold beverage or a frappe overlooking the dazzling sea! You can also rent a small boat and tour the nearby-secluded beaches.

KOUTSOUPIA

Koutsoupia is yet another small, secluded paradise, accessible only by boat. The evergreen landscape, the thin white sand and the turquoise blue waters will make you think you are in some exotic coast in the Caribbean. Enjoy the beach and the sun away from the bustling crowds!

AMMES

Ammes is indeed like a nice warm, sandy hug! It’s located near the airport and about 10 kilometers away from Argostoli. The crystal clear waters and the fine, golden sand attracts hundreds of locals and tourists every day. No one leaves before sunset, when the waters take a deep reddish color that takes your breath away!

PETANI

Way before you even get to the beach, you will feel the magic. The 10 km road trip from Lixouri will take your breath away. The small pebbles will massage your feet, the rejuvenating breeze will caress your face and you will simply enjoy the turquoise, clean waters. Petanoi is fully organized and easily accessible.

ATHERAS

Atheras is a quiet beach with white sand and emerald waters. Even though it’s about 30 km away from Lixouri, the road is very good and it is the preferred choice for many families due to its shallow waters. In the area, you will also find numerous scenic seaside taverns, where you will enjoy the fresh fish, seafood and well-cooked meat!

PLATIA AMMOS

This is the beach that the locals are unsuccessfully trying to hide from the visitors. It used to be accessible only by boat, but now things have changed. The only thing that stands between you and this secluded paradise are the 400 stairs you need to climb down. The hot sand has nestled in between the imposing rocks and the sunrays breathe life in the sparkling waters. The entire peninsula of Paliki is unspoiled, yet welcoming!

KAMINIA

This is an exotic, secluded and isolated beach on the southern tip of the island. It’s located in the middle of nowhere, but you will find it on the way to Skala. Just take a right turn before reaching the village of Ratzakli. The beach is easily accessible, however its most beautiful and somewhat shady spots can only be found by going on foot. Ideal for swimming and relaxation in a quiet natural environment, it is also a refuge for the Caretta-Caretta turtles.

ANTISAMOS

This is yet another famous beach. Antisamos became known by the movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, since some famous scenes were shot there. The ever emerald blue waters, the small white pebbles, the amazing view, the trees that reach all the way to the water and the bustling beach bars are only few of its attractions.

SKALA

This is a 7 kilometers beach! A favorite meeting point for water sports aficionados and not only! Skala is famous for offering unforgettable moments and romantic walks. It’s organized, sandy, with deep azure waters. In the homonymous village, you will have the opportunity to see up close the Roman Villa of the 3rd century BC with the astonishing mosaics, as well as an ancient temple dedicated to Apollo.

Aliada

This is an exclusive local dish made with garlic, potatoes purée and the broth from an octopus that has been broiled.

Almond pie

A cake with almonds, flour and eggs.

Pasteli

A caramelized sweet snack, made with sesame and local honey.

Mandoles

A sweet snack made with almonds and sugar.

Galaktoboureko

A sweet made of dough and cream filling of eggs, sugar and milk.

Lamb “kleftiko”

Lamb baked in aluminum foil and filled with green peppers, feta cheese and lots of pepper.

Kakavia Soup

This is the most delicious fish soup, prepared with the broth of local fishes.

Tsigari

This is very popular amongst the vegetarians, since it’s basically spinach cooked with rice and lots of lemon sauce.

Bouryetto

A dish made of two kinds of local fish, pasta, onions, garlic and a thick sauce.

Riganada

Bread slices, baked or fresh, with olive oil and oregano.

Strapatsada

Eggs with tomatoes, fried in local olive oil, salt and pepper.

Bourbourelia

This is a soup with peas, salt, pepper and olive oil.

Pies

The pies are probably the island’s cuisine trademark. Made from handmade dough and various stuffing, like rice and meat, leek and spinach, vegetables, cod and octopus.

Rabbit cooked in Mavrodaphne wine

Rabbit cooked in tomato sauce and boiled with the famous red and sweet wine Mavrodafne.

GENERAL INFO

Climate

The Ionian Islands enjoy a typical Mediterranean climate. Chefalonia has long, hot summers, with abundant sunshine and temperatures that reach up to 35 degrees. There are only a few rains during summer months and the nights are somewhat cooler. The islands on this part of Greece do not experience the famous “meltemia”, summer winds, very usual in the Aegean. Thus, the temperature does not considerably vary. However, there are beaches, especially on the northwestern side of the island that experience extremely strong winds and underwater streams that require attention in swimming. A good example is the famous beach of Myrtos. Spring and fall are certainly the ideal months for sightseeing and walking, since temperatures vary between 15 and 20 degrees, facilitating any kind of sports and even swimming. The winters are mild, with temperatures that won’t drop below 9 degrees. The heavy rainfalls, the high humidity and the gentle winds are responsible for the lush green landscape of Chefalonia.

Telephone

The national prefix for Greece is +30 if you are calling from abroad. The area codes for Cefalonia are 26710 (for Lixouri and Argostoli) and 26740 (for Sami and Fiscardo) and the local phone numbers have 5 digits. If you want to place a call to another country, you have to start by dialing this country’s national prefix (i.e. for Germany is 0049, for England is 0044, etc.) and then continue with the desired area code and number.

Currency

Euro € It is not always easy to receive change for 200 and 500 Euro Notes.

GETTING THERE

By Air

The airport is located 9 kilometers off the island’s capital, Argostoli. There are daily flights between Athens and Cefalonia throughout the year, as well as numerous charter flights between the island and major European cities during the summer months. Additionally, during the summer there are flights between Cefalonia and other cities in Greece. The airport can be easily accessed either by private cars or by bus and taxi.

  • Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos www.aia.gr
  • Olympic Air: For accurate timetable and ticket costs visit Olympic Air website www.olympicair.com | Tel.: 801 801 0101/+30 210 3550500
  • Cefalonia Office Tel.:  +30 26710 28808, +30 26710 28881

By Boat

There are daily boat connections between Cefalonia, Peloponnese and the district of Sterea Ellada.

  • From Astakos region, Sterea Ellada

There are daily boat routes from Astakos to the port of Sami in Cefalonia that last approximately 2,5 hours. For accurate timetable and ticket costs call here: Cefalonia Port:+30 26710  91280
Port Authorities of Astakos: +30 26460 41052.

  • From Patras

There are daily boat routes from Patras to the port of Sami in Cefalonia that last approximately 3,5 hours. For accurate timetables, prices and reservations please visit: www.strintzisferries.gr
Port Authorities of Patras. Tel.: +30 2610 341 002
Port Authorities of Sami. Tel: +30 26740 22031.

  • From Kyllini

There are daily boat routes from Kyllini to the port of Poros in Cefalonia that last approximately 1,5 hours. There is also a connection between Kyllini and     Lixouri – Argostoli, but only during the summer months. For accurate timetables, prices and reservations please visit: www.ionianferries.gr or www.strintzisferries.gr
Port Authorities of Kyllini. Tel: +30 26230 92211
Port Authorities of Poros. Tel: +30 26740 72460
Port Authorities of Lixouri. Tel: +30 26710 91205. Cefalonia is also connected with the rest of the Ionian Islands.

  • From/to Cefalonia to Lefkada and Ithaca

There are boat routes between Lefkada and Fiscardo, Ithaca and Fiscardo, as well as Ithaca and Sami. For accurate timetables, prices and reservations please visit: www.strintzisferries.gr
Port Authorities of Fiscardo. Tel: +30 26740 41400
Port Authorities of Ithaca. Tel: +30 26740 32909.

  • From/to Cefalonia to Zakynthos

This connection applies only during the summer months (May to October) and takes place twice a day. The journey, that lasts approximately 1 hour, is between the port of Pessada in Cefalonia and the port of Schinari in Zakynthos.
Port Authorities of Argostoli. Tel: +30 26710 22224 Zante Ferries: www.zanteferries.gr, Tel: +30 26710 91280.

  • From/to Cefalonia to Corfu

You can travel between Cefalonia and Corfu with a flying dolphin. For accurate timetables, prices and reservations please visit: www.ionian-cruises.com Petrakis Ferry Lines. Tel: +30 26610 31649 (based in Corfu).

  • There is also a boat connection between Argostoli and Lixouri. The boat leaves every half an hour, the trip lasts 20 minutes and it costs 1.70€ per passenger and 4.30€ per car. For more information you can call the Port Authorities of the above cities or visit the website www.ionianferries.gr.
  • Finally, during the summer months there is a boat connection between Cefalonia and Brindisi in Italy, with Endeavor Lines Ferries.

For accurate timetables, prices and reservations please visit: www.endeavor-lines.com.

LOCAL TRANSPORTATION

Local Buses

Chefalonia’s road network is good and so is its public transportation system. The main Long Distance Bus Terminal (KTEL) is in Argostoli and from there you can get information about itineraries and prices. The bus itineraries cover almost the entire island and the tickets are not expensive. There are 4 daily rides between Argostoli and Sami and 2 between Argostoli and Fiscardo

Taxi Service

A taxi can be used for short or longer distances. The main taxi station is in Argostoli, on Vlavianou Square. However, you can also hail for a cab in the main streets or central places. The fares are fixed between the capital city and the most popular destinations, but you can also check before you get onboard. In the main taxi stations you will also find a board with indicative fares for every destination. Additionally, you can also call for a cab at the following numbers:

  • Argostoli – Tel.: +30 26710 28545
  • Lixouri – Tel.: +30 26710 91459, +30 26710 91524
  • Poros – Tel: +30 26710 72340, +30 26710 72329
  • Skala – Tel.: +30 26710 83231
  • Fiscardo – Tel.: +30 26740 51496

Rent a Car / Motorbike

Chefalonia is the biggest of the Ionian Islands covering an area of 904 km². There are many attractions, secluded beaches and monuments waiting to be explored, thus a car or a motorbike is always the most practical and convenient way to get around. There are numerous car rental agencies on the island. However if you are planning on visiting the island during summer months, it’s better to make a reservation in advance.   Remember that in order to rent a car or a scooter, you need to be 21 years old (for some companies you need to be 25) and you definitely need a valid driving license. Full insurance is optional. Make sure you check the condition of the car beforehand. If you sign for its mint condition, this is how you must return it, otherwise you will be charged with damages, unless you included full insurance in the initial, mutually agreed price. The agency’s representative should take note of any damages and make a mark on the contract. Also, you need to return the car with as much gas as it had when it was delivered to you. Bear in mind that no agency is allowed by law to withhold your driving license or ID card. These can only be photocopied, if necessary (very few agencies do), and then delivered back to you. You should carry them at all times in case the police or any local Authorities request them.   The terrain of the island is mountainous, with many purely agricultural areas, which means that tractors or other vehicles might appear out of nowhere or even animals or pedestrians. Needless to say that you should be extra careful and experienced, especially if you are riding a motorcycle or a scooter. Do not violate the speed limits and do not park where not allowed. The municipal and the traffic police will grant you with a ticket. Remember that even though it’s a rent car or motorbike, you will still have to pay for the ticket. Distances between the most known villages and towns in Chefalonia:   Sami – Lixouri 42 km Poros – Lixouri 70 km Fiscardo – Lixouri 50 km Argostoli – Lixouri 30 km Pessada – Argostoli 15 km Argostoli – Fiscardo : 50 km Argostoli – Poros : 43 km Argostoli – Skala: 40 km Argostoli – Sami : 24 km Argostoli – Agia Ephemia: 36 km

LOCAL SERVICES

Banks and ATMs

You will have no problem getting money from an ATM, since every bank has one. There are many bank branches on the island, as well as several ATMs scattered around, which operate 24/7. Remember that in order to get money you need to have a card linked to the PLUS, Cirrus or Maestro networks. Check with your local bank for details. The banks are open daily, from Monday to Thursday, from 8am to 2.30pm and on Fridays from 8am to 2pm. No bank is open during the country’s national and religious holidays. You can also use every major credit card (AMEX, Visa, Mastercard and Diners). Entrance to archeological sites, bus tickets, taxi fares or entrance to bars and clubs cannot be paid with a credit card.

Money Exchange

If you are travelling from outside the EU, you can carry traveler’s cheques. All banks exchange almost every major currency and traveler’s cheques; the commission is always lower for cash. The Post Office can also exchange cash, but not traveler’s cheques and usually charges lower commissions than banks. Travel agencies and 5 star hotels exchange foreign currency and traveler’s cheques, but usually with a higher commission. There is also a dedicated exchange kiosk at the local airport, as well as at the Athens international airport Eleftherios Venizelos.

Post Office

The Greek Post Office is called ELTA and you will find branches in the biggest towns of the island. However, you will track down many post boxes in every town and outside 5 star hotels. Boxes might be YELLOW for regular mail or RED for URGENT mail. If you wish to send REGISTERED mail, you need to visit the nearest Post Office and don’t forget to get a receipt. ELTA Argostoli – 19 D. Konstantinou Street, tel.: 26710 22312 ELTA Lixouri – D. Lavragka Street, tel.: 26710 91206 ELTA Sami – Tel.: 26740 22012 ELTA Poros – Tel.: 26740 72644

Police Station

Do not hesitate to call the Police in case of an accident or a criminal act against you or someone else. If you have a problem with your hotel, you can also contact the Tourism Police (tel.: 26710 22815). There are many police stations around the island and you will see officers inspecting the streets of all major towns at all hours.

  • Emergency telephone line: 100
  • Police Station Argostoli: 52 I. Metaxa Str., +3026710 22200
  • Police Station Lixouri: +30 26710 91207
  • Police Station Skala: +30 26740 83100
  • Police Station Poros: +30 26740 72210
  • Police Station Fiscardo: +30 26740 41460
  • Police Station Sami: +30 26740 22100
  • Argostoli Municipal Police: +30 26710 24309

Municipality of Chefalonia

Municipality of Chefalonia. Tel.: +30 26710 22120, 29130 and 29131

USEFUL NUMBERS

  • Argostoli Customs: +30 26710 22335
  • Airport Customs: +30 26710 41150
  • Lixouri Customs: +30 26710 91420
  • Fiscardo Customs: +30 26740 41250
  • Greek Tourism Organization: +30 26710 22248
  • Airport: +30 26710 41511
  • National Bank of Greece in Argostoli: +30 26710 25191
  • Emporiki Bank in Argostoli: +30 26710 22334
  • Alpha Bank in Argostoli: +30 26710 25181

INTERNATIONAL PRESS

You can find International Press (magazines and newspapers) almost anywhere around the island.

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

Health

  • General Municipal Hospital in Argostoli: +30 26710 24641
  • Mantzinateio Hospital in Lixouri: +30 26710 91233, +30 26710 92222
  • Medical Center Sami: +30 26740 22222
  • Regional Medical Center Agia Thekla: +30 26710 97208
  • Regional Medical Center Karavados – Tel.: +30 26710 69387
  • Regional Medical Center Keramies: +30 26710 69101
  • Regional Medical Center Skala: +30 26740 83222

Pharmacy

There are many pharmacies around the island and they are open in the following days and hours: Monday and Wednesday: 8.30am – 2.30pm Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 8.30am –  2.30pm and 5.30pm – to 8.30pm. Saturdays & Sundays: Closed   However, you will find few pharmacies which are open during the weekend and throughout the night. A list of those pharmacies can be found at any time on any pharmacy’s window around the island.

  • Argostoli Pharmacies: +30 26710 24015, 23245 and 24795
  • Lixouri Pharmacies: +30 26710 91490, 93548 and 93675

LUX COLLECTION