- Al Fresco Cinema
- A day trip to Lixouri
- Harocopion Foundation
- Corgialenios Museum
- Nikos Farmlet
- Greek Coffee
- The Greek Orthodox Church
- Coffee Cup Reading
- Ecclesiastical Byzantine Museum
- Sea Turtles in Argostoli
- Melissa Bakery & Pasty Shop
- Robola of Kefalonia
- Mezzedes Time
- The Kefalonian Take-Away
- Loukomades, also known as Dough Balls
- Traditional Custard Pie:Bougasa
- Kefalonian Sweets
- Voskopoula and Local Cats
- Koutavos Lagoon
- Agion Theodoran Lighthouse commonly referred to as the Faro
- World War ll
- Alternative & Extreme Tourism
There is much to see and do in Kefalonia but there is also much to experience. Please use the information here to create your own itinerary, copy and paste whatever you wish. Please take a look through our "Photos & Video" section. Everything offered here is accessible by walking or biking, getting around Argostoli is quicker and easier without a car. Get your car delivered to the villa a few days after you arrive so you are not paying fees while it sits.
If you opt for a tour with Kefalonia- Elements they will pick you up and return you back to the villa. We would like to hear about your favourite experiences so please add them to our Facebook page.
Al Fresco Cinema: A little further up from the Villa is an outdoor movie theatre. During the summer it operates Monday – Sunday 9.30pm there is no need to book just turn up. Most of the movies are in English, entry is 8.00 Euro per adult and alcohol is available for purchase. Contact phone number is 26710 25880
A day trip to Lixouri: The ferry to Lixouri leaves from the port every half hour and takes passengers and freight across to the other side. It’s about 20mins trip. Take your bike across and spend the day eating, swimming and cycling around, come back in the early evening, remember to ask the time of the last returning ferry. Lixouri is very different to Argostoli, you will have a very enjoyable day. There is a small passenger fee but bikes go free. Reserve a bike with side carrybags at www.rentabikekefalonia.gr phone 267 1026602
Harocopion Foundation: If tourist souvenirs are not for you, but you appreciate handmade textiles, this is a "must see". The foundation was originally established to conserves and teach the techniques acquired during Kefalonia’s years of foreign occupation. Many of the pieces are reproduced from original pieces held at the Corgialenios Museum.
The foundation is self-funding and at times has found it difficult to continue its important work. It is close to the Villa, a little further up from the cinema and opening hour are Monday – Thursday 9am – 2pm, Friday 5pm – 9pm. I am sure you will find many beautiful and unique handmade items to buy. They will also make to order or better yet they can also organize workshops for 3-10 person. So get your group organized and Vivian can make the arrangements for you.
Corgialenios Foundation Library, Historical Cultural Museum: The foundation was established in 1924 and in 1966 the library and museum were added. The foundation's mandate is to preserve, conserve and disseminate the cultural heritage and traditions of Kefalonia and Ionian civilization. Kefalonia has had many foreign occupiers over the centuries. You will see wonders from the Byzantine and post Byzantine area; carvings, ceramics, sculptures and rare books, luxurious clothes, textiles, silver utensils, crystals, porcelains and the jewelry of our French and English occupation, the massive destruction of the earthquake of 1953. Many of the textiles seen here are reproduced at the Haropio. The foundation is situation close to the main square; opening hours are Monday- Saturday 9am -2pm, Friday 5pm - 9pm. There is a small entrance fee. Phone: 2671-28835www.corgialenios.gr
Nikos Farmlet: At the Villa guests are often treated to homemade cake which are made with goat’s milk. I have a small herd of goats, a few cows, two puppies, Harry and his sister Loula that look after the herd, and a few cats. During summer the goats are milked and we make halomi cheese. The farmlet is in a beautiful olive grove and in the winter we collect the olives and make our own olive oil. I visit the animals twice daily 7.30am and after siesta around 6.30 pm, you are welcome to join me. If you have any food surplus to your requirement on your departure the animals will appreciate it.
Greek Coffee: No one is sure who had it first, the Greeks or the Turks. Of course in Greece we call it Greek coffee. The beans are roasted and then ground to a powder, the coffee is readily available at all grocery shops so take some back home with you. It is usually drunk medium (metrio) or sweet, this denotes the amount of sugar. It’s made in a narrow neck copper pot, one teaspoon sugar and one heap coffee, bring to the boil, and pour into a small cup. Greek coffee is always served with a cold glass of water. Unlike espresso, Greek coffee always has crema on top and sediment on the bottom, do not drink it to the bottom of the cup. Leave the espresso for your trip to Itlay, when in Greece you must try Greek coffee, it is delicious and healthy.
For a really authentic Greek café experience visit the coffee shop by the De Bosset Bridge and ask for a metrio Greek coffee. There is usually locals in there playing backgammon. While you are there try two other local traditions, especially if you have children. Turkish delight, a square or two with a cold glass of water or a vanilla sometimes referred to as a "submarine" with a cold glass of water, children love them both.
The Greek Orthodox Church: Religion plays a big part in the lives of the local people and churches are to be found everywhere. Aside from the theological aspect they are stunning works of art and worth a look. After you have your coffee by the bridge cross over diagonally to the church. Most churches are open all day and you may enter, they are great for a quiet moment or just a cool place to get out of the sun for a bit. Either way take a seat and have a good look around. If Orthodoxy is not your religion, its makes no difference, you may light a candle or cross yourself in whatever manner you please, leave a donation for the candle. You are also welcome to attend Sunday services and any festivals or religious ceremonies especially at Christmas and Easter. The patron Saint Gerassimos celebrates on two special feast days 16 August and 20 October. Many travel to the island to attend in the hope of being healed. All accommodation is book out over these days, please book well in advanced, wherever you choose to make reservations.
Coffee Cup Reading: Greeks are a superstitious lot who see meaning in everything, and the sediment of the coffee is no exception. They believe that the shapes made by the sediment up the sides of the cup can foretell a person’s future. Only certain people have the gift to read the cup.
Some have their cups read for fun but there are those who do not make any major decisions without consulting their coffee cup reader. We have a coffee cup reader at the bottom of our street and all day there is a trail of locals in and out of her front yard. There are a few rules for having your cup read; the cup handle is considered the family home you need to drink coffee from four locations around the cup, at the handle, opposite the handle and then left and right of the handle. When she/he is reading, the distance from the cup handle will determine how close to your family the event will occur, for example if she sees a beached ship at the opposite side to the handle this can indicate a death but not within the family. Readings must be done before sunset, and are not to be paid for but a donation is expected. If you are lucky enough to have a reading ask how to tip the cup over so the sediment goes up the side of the cup walls.
Ecclesiastical Byzantine Museum: If you appreciate iconography this is the museum to visit. The quality here is unsurpassed and will rival any museum in the world. It is located just outside Argostoli in a beautiful village, Peratata- a short taxi ride. The museum itself has three sections that display woodcarvings, portable icons and relic from the 15-through to the 19th century. You will also gain access to the Church next door.
St Andrews Monastery is believed to have been built during the 13th century and was renovated in 1639. The earthquake in 1953 caused damage and while renovating, rare wall paintings were discovered. It is only recently that the church has been fully restored. The museums curator is a specialist in icon restoration, if you have a family piece that needs work, talk with him. This museum receives no government funding and relies on a very small entrance fee so donations are welcome. Visitors are welcome 8am - 2pm everyday except Sunday Phone: 2671069700.
Sea Turtles in Argostoli: Early on any morning head to the waterfront, grab a coffee from the many bakeries and look for the fishing boats that come into the port to sell fish to the locals. Each morning the turtles come into enjoy the fish that the fishermen offer. There is always a crowd around the boast watching the turtles. Buy a few small fish and offer them to the turtles in exchange for an excellent photo opportunity. The Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Caretta Caretta nests on most of the southern sandy beaches of Kefalonia. The island is one of the northern most nesting sites of sea turtles in the world. See the video taken by my young nephew.
Melissa Bakery & Pastry Shop: After your encounter with the turtles walk toward the Agora (further along the sea front) and look for the Bakery with the Bee logo (Melissa means bee). The bakeries produce many of the well-known sweets that Greece is famous e.g. baklava, walnut cake, kataiff etc. You can buy these sweets by the piece, by the plate or by the kilo. If you are allergic to nuts please take care. When Greeks go visiting they take a gift which is usually cakes, baked goods, sweets, wine, or ouzo, all items available from the bakery. In the mornings, many locals will grab a pastry from their local bakery and a coffee. The pasties flavours vary but the more common are feta cheese, and spinach with feta. The pasties are at their best in the morning!!
Greek bread is fantastic and many varieties are produced each morning; some with yeast and others without. Greeks like it fresh and buy it daily. Buy a loaf and enjoy it with some good olive oil and glass of local wine back at the Villa, and remember if there is any left, there is always the goats.
Robola of Kefalonia: Along the same water front road you will find the Robola Producers Co-Operative unlike many other shop this one is open long hours: Monday – Saturday 9am – 10.30pm and Sunday 10am-2pm and again 7.30pm – 10.30pm, phone 26710-24563. Robola is a grape variety which is widely grown and thrives on the poor rocky soil of this island alone. The Robola vineyard is located very close to Ag Gerassimos church and you are able to pop in for a wine tasting. However the service at the shop in Argostoli is much better and the manager speaks brilliant English. He will introduce you to all the different varieties both white and red and you can taste test them. Ask him about the organic white Robola, it is excellent and my personal favourite. The co-op does a sturdy gift pack for 3 bottles it’s easy to carry and the bottles are well protected for transporting home with you.
Mezzedes Time: Dinner is eaten very late in Greece especially in summer and there is a period in the late afternoon that is perfect for a drink and a nibble. Greek's rarely drink without some accompanying foods. At its simplest you can go into any Greek café and order yourself an ouzo or a glass of house wine with a meze. The mezze is usually olives, tomatoes, cucumber, fish or some preserves meat. On a larger scale mezzedes are made to share and in a taverna or restaurant a selection is ordered for everyone at the table, there are usually a selection of dips with crusty bread plus hot and cold foods especially seafood and a bottle of ouzo, Robola or house wines. Remember is is pre-dinner so don't eat too much.
The Kefalonian Take-Away: There is no "American" style fast foods on the island, but we have our own version, the Pita and the souvlaki. These are a favourite with everyone and are very delicious. They look similar to the doner kebab but they are very different. This food is only available in the evening, it’s cheap and healthy as far as fast foods go. The souvlaki is marinated pork or chicken cooked over coals, add to that red onions, lettuce, tomato, yogurt dressing and a few French fries all wrapped in a soft warm pita. The other version the ‘’pita with everything’’ as they call it has the same salads but the meat is either chicken or lamb cut off a large column that has been slowly cooked for many hours. Grab a couple with a bottle of water as you stroll around the harbor and port during the evening, they are about 2 Euros each.
Promenading: Perhaps this is remnant of our colonial past. Town squares, have many purposes but one of the most important is to promenade slowly. It is about being seen and to see others, in the days before media and communication devices it was the only way to stay in touch with friends, family and neighbors. In summer the town square is the focal point, after a busy day or the evening meal the locals with children in tow, no matter what their ages will go to the square and walk up and down until late into the evening. It is a time to catch up with your friends, family and neighbors to see what everyone is wearing, to hear the latest gossip and to tell stories of your own. In a small town like Argostoli everyone knows everyone, the local women often have their arms linked when walking together and their men are a few steps behind. After you have promenaded enough to justify the calories go to a Zaharoplastiou (cake shop) and have a typical Greek drink, ice coffee, ice cream or cake, Premier on the left-hand corner at the square is a good choice. During summer there is always a series of concerts at the square anything from opera to jazz. So step out with us and promenade like a local.
Loukomades, also known as dough balls: Every adult and child on the island has been brought up on these dough balls dripping with honey and toasted sesame seeds. Grandmothers have been making them for countless generations. At the main square you will find a spectacular restaurant, The Premier, they grow their own organic vegetables at their own farm. The seafood and the meat is fresh and they use extra virgin Kefalonian olive oil and Kefalonian feta cheese. All the bread is bake daily on the premises. They have several varieties of dough balls but start with the traditional, another specialty of the Ionian, is meat pie. The Premier is open daily until 2 am.
Traditional Custard Pie: Bougasa, a Kefalonian gastronomic institution and very difficult to find the original, but it’s just a matter of a little local knowledge. The bakeries do have them but they are made with puff pastry and the essential addition of icing sugar and cinnamon is missing. This small home-style bakery caters for locals and the signage is in Greek only. These are made fresh in the morning only, they also have excellent cheese pie. From the Villa ride/walk along the ‘’street with the palms’’ until you get to the main square, once at the square facing forward, walk diagonally toward your right, the shop is on the corner and has blue furniture outside. A bougasa is like a large rectangular pie. Ask for one, they will cut a large one in half, open it like an envelope and add icing and cinnamon…. They are very very delicious. The signage is all in Greek look at the potos to help you find it.
Kefalonian Sweets At Voskopoula: These sweets are unique to the island and it is believed they are a vestige of our Venetian masters. Many of the bakeries stock them but the best place to buy is the place that has actually been making them since about 1910. When you first enter Lithostrato Street, Voskopoula is on your left hand side, a small narrow shop but bursting with the most incredible variety of local sweets. I often see tourist enter the shop but leave empty handed, so here is how it works. All the items are sold as single pieces or on a kilo bases. Take a bag and select a piece or two from each basket, the shop assistant is happy to explain what the main ingredients are (usually nuts). When visiting a local these are often taken as gifts. Take a kilo or two home with you. You can now buy online too phone 26710 69832
A brief explanation of the most traditional sweets:
Madoles: two types, an almond in a red crumbly outer layer, or golden crumbly layer of honey. The red is harder to the bite. They are in baskets next to each other just spoon out whichever quantity you want, buy heaps or else you will be back every night.
Madolato: this is very similar to the Italian torroni, it is a nougat, typically with lots of nuts. The Italian style is soft and unfortunately this is now being passed off as traditional. Although still delicious this is not the original style of the island. When you go there ask for the “Traditional"Madolato” it is slightly obscured by its location so ask for it. It will be hard and chewy, everyone loves this especially the children.
Pastelli: every grandmother on the island will have made this for her grandchildren, it is warm honey mixed with toasted sesame, once cooled it forms a hard toffee, you can also get a soft version. Honey and sesame, a healthy treat.
Vanila or Submarine: this is a gooey, stretchy white substance that is served on a teaspoon submerged in cold water. After eating the vanilla you really need the water. Often it’s served at the very beginning of a visit to friend and family followed by coffee.
Voskopoula and the Local Cats
You will notice at the front of this shop a bill board with cats on it and a donation box. Pet ownership on the island is still quite new. Unfortunately there is an abundance of stray cats and it is only recently that a feline protection agency exist. This is manned by volunteers with no government assistance. If you have any change or would like to make a cat food donation please leave it at the shop. This has become the drop off point for food, local cats will come here for a feed during the day and the rest goes to the shelter.
Koutavos Lagoon: The lagoon is an ecological gem and its ecosystem provides shelter for a number of rare species of Kefalonian flora and fauna. There are often ducks, swans and many varieties of birds. It is a great place to bike around. Head to the de Bosset Bridge, on the other side of the cafe is the boundary of Koutavos lagoon.
Agion Theodoran Lighthouse commonly referred to as the Faro: This is one of the focal points along a wonderful 5 km walk. When you exist the villa turn left go to the end of the street and turn right and keep following the road to the left. Eventually the road will run out of footpath and you will be walking amongst the pine trees next to the coast. Get to the Faro before sunset and wait, it a magical view. Take a camera.
World War ll
Continue walking, eventually the road will fork to the left and start uphill. At exactly this point is a metal fence behind the fence is a large pit. During World War ll the Italian changed sides and disastrously Mussolini did not make provisions for his soldiers to be removed before the changeover. This pit was very deep, the Italians were lined up and shot falling back into the pit. The pit has filled in naturally over time but it still holds remains and memories for the local people. At the top of the road is a formal memorial to this event. Every year Italian dignitaries attend a remembrance ceremony there. The 33rd Mountain Infantry Division, the Acqui were part of the Italian Army during World War ll. The Aqui division was mobilized for war in October 1939 and took part in the Battle of France. It was later sent to Albania to take part in the Greco-Italian war and remained in Greece as a occupation force on the islands of Corfu, Lefkada, Zakynhos and Kefalonia.
Diagonally opposite is a open workshop (Turquoise) that creates ceramics.This family has an archive of actual photos of the German –Italian occupation. They are very happy to see you and share their archive some of which is displayed on the wall, you may even fancy a new piece of pottery or ceramic to take home. Some of the more expensive pieces are reproductions of designs found in the museum.
Continue up the hill and stay on the same road you will go past my farmlet, the road will start downhill. Keep going and eventually you will be back in familiar territory. The whole walk will take about an hour. Just in time to get back and relax on the balcony with a chilled glass of Robola, take a shower and get ready for some dinner and promenading in the square. The sunsets visible from along this ridge are amazing and well worth carrying a camera for.
Alternative & Extreme Tourism: Yes we have that too, Kefalonia-elements is a company that I would like to introduce you to. They will pick you up and drop you back at the Villa. Giorgio and his crew provide a unique and different ways to explore and experience Kefalonia. They offer an assortment of jeep safaris and ocean trips but for those really intrepid among you, try out caving, hiking, canyoning, rowing, and gorge adventures. They will also organize tailor-make adventures and can accommodate people with special needs and children.
They have a special World War ll safari that also takes in the locations for the movies Captains Corelli’s Mandolin: Kefalonia - Elements
The nature safari goes to Mt Ainos and if you are lucky you will see the wild horses. These horses are in fact the descendants of my grandfather’s herd. Before cars we had horse and my grandfather’s business was renting out horse. The story of how they ended up there involves murder, mayhem and intrigue, I am happy to share it, just knock on our door after siesta and join us for a coffee.
Summer is a very busy time on the island so make your bookings early, call Giorgio on +302671100251 or book via the website www.kefalonia-elements.com The last word on the beauty of Kefalonia must to go Giorgio’s youtube video in the Photos & Video gallery. I also wish to thank Kefalonia-Elements for allowing us to use some of their amazing photos.