Cephalonia is a popular holiday destination in Greece. At 300 square miles, it is the largest of the Ionian Islands, with the city of Argostoli as its capital. Though its position along a fault line and heavy vegetation have made it the unfortunate recipient of many natural disasters over the years, the natural beauty of Cephalonia’s many beaches, caves, and surrounding forests continue to draw visitors from all over the world.
Like many regions in Greece, Cephalonia has a long, colorful history with a very early beginning. While primitive historical records are rare, there have been many archeological discoveries from the Mycenaean era, between 1500-1100 BC. Since then, the island has been ruled by many different people throughout history, from the Venetians to the French to the Ottomans. The British occupation in the early 19th century was responsible for a great deal of building on the island, including Drapano Bridge. In 1864, the island officially became a member of Greece.
Some of the most breathtaking attractions on Cephalonia are the island’s monasteries and churches, demonstrating the close relationship between Greece and its orthodox religion. Perhaps the most venerated is the Monastery of Saint Agios Gerasimos, the patron saint of the island of Cephalonia. Below the existing monastery is a cave in which Gerasimos used to pray. Both are available for visitation. Each August and October, the people of Cephelonia honor his memory with a large procession and festival.
History enthusiasts can wander the many attractions on display throughout the island. The town of Argostoli offers the Korgialeneios Library and Folklore Museum, as well as the Museum of Natural History of Cephalonia and Ithaca. The town of Lixouri also offers the stunning natural wonders inside the Drogorati cave, as well as the 20,000 books that comprise the Lakovatios Library. Fiscardo’s Nautical and Environmental Museum offers a peek into the world under these stunning blue seas.
Cephelonia is especially popular for its many beautiful beaches, the most popular of which is Myrtos Beach. Situated at the base of two mountains, Myrtos is only accessible by a steep, twisting road from the village of Divarata. It is made up primarily of a marble limestone material that has been eroded down to small, round stones. The bright white beach and the deep blue of the Ionian Sea combine near the shore, coloring the water with a unique shade of turquoise.
In stark contrast, Xi Beach boasts rich red, clay sand, said to have several beneficial properties for the skin. The water depth at Xi Beach is much more shallow, making it more family friendly. Xi Beach is also very conveniently located near many lodging and dining options. Visitors can also rent beach chairs and water sport equipment.
One of the most developed beaches on Cephalonia is Skala Beach, combining the beauty of turquoise waters with the convenience of nearby visitor resources, including restaurants and water sports rentals. One appeal of this long beach is its many picturesque rocky outcrops and dense bordering vegetation.
Cephalonia Hotels & Lodging
Cephalonia Hotels & Lodging
One of the most well known resorts on the island is Cephalonia Palace Hotel in Lixouri (pictured). The grounds of this beautiful property are situated on the red-brown sands of Xi Beach. Amenities include a pool and spa, water sports, a buffet restaurant, and nearly 200 fully serviced guest rooms. Other popular luxury hotels include Avithos Resort in Svoronata and the Regina Dell Acqua Resort in Skala.
Cephalonia offers some budget lodging options that fit into almost anyone’s financial resources. Establishments such as the Pericles Hotel in Sami and the Terra Mare Hotel in Lixouri offer comfortable lodging for very little money. Visitors can also opt to rent their own vacation rental, ranging in size and price from large villas to small apartments.