Greek Guide

Kefalonia Tourist Attractions Cephallonia Day Trips

Kefalonia Cephallonia Tourist Attractions Day Trips Greece Greek Travel Guide

By day the lovely island of Kefalonia offers you a wealth of attractions from chic cafes and fine fish restaurants in the cosmopolitan capital to densely forested mountainous countryside and fascinating stalactite caves to explore. Take the time to get to know the island and you'll soon realise why writer Louis de Bernieres fell in the love with the place and used it as the inspiration for his best selling saga of love and war, Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

The Hollywood version of Captain Corelli was filmed in and around the main port of Sami on the island's east coast but don't be disappointed to find the town looks nothing like it did in the blockbuster movie. Sami was devastated in an earthquake in 1953 so the movie moguls had to order the construction of an elaborate set to recreate the elegant Venetian architecture which characterised the town before disaster struck. But Sami makes a good base for exploring two of the great natural wonders of the Greek islands the Melissani Lake and Drogarati Cave.

Melissani, 2.5 kilometres west of Sami, is part of a huge underground lake linked to the sea on the west coast of the island near Argostoli via a subterranean channel. You can take a guided boat tour of two large caverns flooded with water which shimmers in a kaleidoscope of colour caused by sunlight pouring through the collapsed limestone roof.

The awe inspiring Drogarati Cave, four kilometres south west of Sami, is another "must see" on your list. The large cavern, bedecked with impressive stalagmites and stalactites, hosts occasional concerts due to its perfect acoustics. Opera diva Maria Callas is among the stars who have performed here.

Corelli fans might want to pay a visit to the fishing village of Agia Efimia, 10 kilometres north of Sami, to have a drink or a meal in the café favoured by the actors and crew. Unsurprisingly it's now called Captain Corelli's! For a flavour of how Sami looked before the earthquake, visit the island's loveliest village, Fiskardo, at the northern tip of Kefalonia. The village was constructed on a bedrock of limestone which thankfully saved its elegant, pastel painted 18th century Venetian buildings from serious quake damage. From here you can make a day trip over to the unspoilt island of Ithaca, the legendary kingdom of Homer's Odysseus.

The island's capital Argostoli is a lively port town with smart shops, bars and restaurants. The town's Archaeological Museum has a well labeled collection of finds from around the island including treasures unearthed from the Sanctuary of Pan near the Melissani Lake. Various excavations indicate that Kefalonia was inhabited as far back as 50,000 BC. For a fascinating glimpse into island life in a bygone era visit the History and Folk Museum which houses a collection of traditional costumes and various 19th century paraphernalia showing how the nobility lived under French and British colonial rule. There are also photos taken before and after the 1953 earthquake.