The island of Kefalonia, also known as Cephalonia, is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece, with an area of 781 square kilometres (302 sq mi). It is also a separate peripheral unit of the Ionian Islands Periphery. The capital of Cephalonia is Argostoli.
Coordinates: 38°15′N 20°30′E
Kefalonia is in the heart of an earthquake zone, and dozens of minor or unrecorded tremors occur each year. In 1953, a massive earthquake almost destroyed all settlement on the island, leaving only Fiscardo in the north untouched.
Among important natural features are the Melissani and the Drogarati caves.
The island’s highest mountain is Mount Ainos, with an elevation of 1628m; to the west-northwest are the Paliki mountains, where Lixouri is found, with other mountains including Gerania and Agia Dynati. The top of Mount Ainos is covered with Abies cephalonica trees and is a natural park.
Kefalonia is well known for its endangered loggerhead turtle population which nest at Kaminia beach under the watchful protection of the Sea Turtle Protection society.
There are five harbours and ports in the prefecture: four main harbours on the island, Same or Sami, and a major port with links to Patras and Ithaca. Poros, in the south, has ferry routes to Kyllini; Argostoli, in the west, is the largest port, for local boats and ferries to Zante and regularly to Lixouri; Fiscardo, in the north, has links to Lefkas and Ithaca. There is room for about 100 small boats in Argostoli, where the port stretches 1 kilometre around the bay, while Lixouri is situated 4 km across the bay from Argostoli, on the Lixouri peninsula. There is a road connection to the rest of the island, but driving from Lixouri to Argostoli involves a 30 km detour.
In the Southwest of the island, in the area of Leivatho, an ongoing archaeological field survey by the Irish Institute at Athens has discovered dozens of sites, with dates ranging from the Palaeolithic to the Venetian period.
From archaeological point of view Kefalonia is an extremely interesting island. Archaeological findings go back to 40,000 BP. Without any doubt the island’s most important era is the Mycenaean era from approx. 1500-1100 B.C. The archaeological museum in Cephalonia’s capital Argostoli – although small – is regarded as the most important museum in Greece for its exhibits from this era.
Read more of the history of Kefalonia
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, released simultaneously as Corelli’s Mandolin in the United States, is a 1994 novel written by Louis de Bernières which takes place on the island of Cephallonia (Kefalonia) during the Italian and German occupation ofWorld War II. In the US it was originally published as Corelli’s Mandolin.
Caves on Kefalonia:
The Agios Gerasimos Cave in Argostoli, situated 3 km from town. This is where Agios Gerasimos, the island’s patron saint, led an ascetic life before settling to the Valley of Omalon.
The Spilies Caves in Fiskardo. The Caves situated on the hill of Spiliovouno are sites of archeological interest. In close proximity, are found remains of Cyclopean walls.
The Drakospilia Cave in Lixouri. The Dracospilia Cave (the cave of the dragon), is located to the South.
The Zervati Cave in Sami. The Zervati Cave, located in the area of Karavomylos, measures 18 m deep and 75 m long. It features two small lakes whose banks support aquatic plants that are rarely encountered in Greece. It is not open to the public.
The Aggalaki Cave in Sami. The Aggalaki Cave, found in the area of Poulata, is surrounded by fourteen other caves. It has a 50-m-deep cauldron-like opening, and comprises a lake with a surface area of 3.000 m2 approximately, and a subterranean karst branch that extends over some 8.000 m2. The cave is not open to the public.
The Melissani Cave or Melissani Lake is a cave located northwest of Sami, about 5 km SE of Agia Efthymia and NE of Argostoli. Forests surrounds the cave and the mountain slope is to the west.
The Drogarakis Cave in Sami. The Drogaratis Cave, found 5 km away, is truly a manifestation of the grandeur of Nature which has crafted itself this “sculptural” masterpiece. Once inside the cave, the visitor is instantly captivated by this remarkable workshop of the earth, where stalactites and stalagmites are being formed for thousands of years. The reflection of sunlight on the stalactites creates an unworldly, dream-like atmosphere. The cave contains a 44-m-long descending passageway that leads to a chamber of 30 x 40 m. The latter, decorated with multi-hued stalactites and stalagmites, is noted for its excellent acoustics and is arranged for concerts (a special platform has been erected along the back wall of the cavern). Its domed roof is intact and is of a unique, magical formation. The Drogarati Cave is a rare geological phenomenon and attracts thousands of visitors.
The Sakkos Cave in Skala. The Sakkos Cave is a site of archeological interest, found at the location that bears the same name, between Skala and the Temple of Apollo. It consists of two cavities linked by a small tunnel. It has yielded findings attesting to its use by prehistoric peoples.
Horseback riding in Kefalonia: See the beauty of Kefalonia on horseback, with treks that meander through the olive groves and verdant hillsides of the countryside, then take in the spectacular coastline whilst on a relaxing ride along the beach.
A horseback riding trip can be arranged for experienced riders and for those who would like to try it out for a couple of hours.
You can be taken through the mountains and enjoy the beautiful sceneries and old villages or you could even swim with the horses in the sea. A professional instructor will accompany you for the day. Multiple day trips are also possible and are organized certain days of the week. (See links below)
Scuba diving in Kefalonia: The Caretta Caretta or better known as the sea turtle is quite common around Kefalonia (Cephalonia) and has long lived in these waters. They often come to the surface to satisfy their curiosity, but they quickly disappear when approached. A scuba diving trip for inexperienced and/or certified divers can be arranged at anytime throughout your stay with us. Experience the clean waters and perfect visibility of the Ionian Sea and enjoy the underwater wild life. For those who do not have a licence, it can be obtained in about a week at the diving school in Agia Efimia. You could also go for a trial-dive in order to see if diving is something for you. There are designated diving areas just outside the bay of Agia Efimia, one of the few in Greece. (link to their website)
Canyoning and trekking in Kefalonia is a new concept as not a lot of people are knowledgeable about the canyons in Kefalonia. The most beautiful of them has been chosen for this tour, to make the experience an unforgettable one.
Canyoning is not an activity that requires previous experience to participate. The rules are easy to follow, especially with the support of the experienced local guides. The tour will start with a trek up to the canyon, which will just take a few minutes. There is also a more challenging route for experienced participants.
The end of the canyon is a reward in itself. It leads to the Fteri beach with the most amazing crystal clear waters. The participants may indulge in a swim and some fruits to refresh themselves.
The tourists will then be picked up by a boat and taken to the small port in the village of Zola. The boat also takes the group up the bay to see all the other beaches which can only be reached by boat.
At the small port of Zola is a small fish tavern where tour members may choose to eat lunch before they head back. (Link for further information)
Monte Nero Activities is created and run by an enthusiastic young couple. They are both distinguished for their passion for nature, outdoor activities, exotic trips, animals…
Activities include: Sea kayaking, Trekking, Mountain biking and more, please visit their web site to contact them for prices and bookings.
Water sports – visit some of the more popular beach resorts such as: Lassi – Makris Yialos beach, Poros, Skala or Fiscardo
If you prefer snorkeling there are hundreds of ideal waters around the whole island.
There are many organised activities on the island but if you just want to create your own activities there are plenty of places to explore and discover by yourselves by walking or taking off in the car to unspoilt areas all over Kefalonia. Try your hand at sea fishing, sailing, swimming or snorkeling from your boat into the deep clear warm waters of the Mediterranean.
• Loggerhead seaturtle conservation in Kefalonia
for the research and protection of marine and terrestrial life
• Horseback riding in Kefalonia
If you enjoy horse riding, the Greek weather, communing with nature, varied scenery and good food, a visit to our horse riding stables in Sami is long overdue. You will ride our well trained, sure footed Haflinger Horses who are specially selected for their temperament, safe trail and other equestrian activities.