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The most majestic of the Ionian Islands and the largest of them all, Kefalonia has always retained a touch of class, never letting the tourist industry go to its head. From the sandy beaches of the south, to the cypress and pine clad rolling hills of the north, the island is incredibly versatile and has some of the most stunning views in the region. It is an island with a history of turbulence, wars and natural tragedy, highlighted by the heroic stories of its passionate and fiercely independent people. This was dramatised by Hollywood in the romantic epic of Louis de Bernières book, ‘Captains Corelli’s Mandolin’, which was filmed on the island.

The highest peak in the Ionian, Mount Aenos, towers over the surrounding mountain ranges and ensures the scenery is nothing but dramatic where ever you are on the island.

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Argostoli, the capital; a small lively town with a bustling port and vibrant atmosphere is centered around the main square which is lined with cosmopolitan restaurants and cafeterias. Here is the gateway to the expansive stretches of sandy beaches of the villages of the south. Starting from the tourist resort of Lassi, the pretty shoreline is fringed with long golden beaches, some of the finest being in Scala and Lourdas. The soft, fertile soil of the island have also become famous for producing some of the best wines in Western Greece and amongst the top wines of the country. With their own indigenous grape, Robola, Kefalonia has kept its wineries small and select, producing a light, crisp wine that it has been produced for nearly 700 years. Heading along the rugged north coast will lead you eventually to the stunning, and much photographed Myrtos beach, one of the most spectacular shots in Greece and widely used to advertise the country. Slightly inland you can also see the natural phenomenon of the Melissani Lake and Drogarati Cave with their stalactites and stalagmites.

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The island is also well known for its pretty, waterside villages, most of which are situated in the northern region of the island, amongst the cypress and fir clad background. Unlike the southern towns and villages, most of the houses in the Erissos Peninsula are old, many Venetian, as the whole region was fortunate enough to escape the dramatic earthquake of 1953 that devastated the island. The northern peninsula is well known for its picturesque villages, Assos, the favourite of Lord Bryon, with its castle, pretty little waterfront and tranquil lifestyle, and cosmopolitan Fiscardo; the jewel of Kefalonia’s crown and one of the prettiest villages in Greece. A welcome port amongst sailors and locals alike, Fiscardo attracts a huge wealth of people, including a range of worldwide celebrities. In August the village could almost be mistaken for St Tropez or Cannes with the array of luxurious yachts and private cruisers moored along the tiny harbour, outside the peak season though, the village goes back to being a small-relaxed fishing village.

The region is also home to the endangered species, the monk seal, which live in the clear, turquoise waters and the caves and coves surrounding the peninsula. In contrast to the long sweeping sandy beaches of the south, the northern beaches are pebbly, fir tree lined, with the characteristically crystal clear waters that the Ionian is famed for. The calm waters of the Ithacan straights are ideal for pottering about from beach to beach in your own motorboat, hired from Fiscardo.

With superb beaches, stunning scenery, genuinely friendly locals and excellent food and wine, Kefalonia holds something for everyone wishing to visit the island.

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