Kefalonia is a largest Ionian island. It is located at the end of Patraikos bay, between Zakynthos and Lefkada. Consists of main island and peninsula Paliki. Ithaka island on its North-East side, also belongs to Kefalonia municipality.
The island is hilly and mountainous terrain, with the highest peak called Mega Soros is located on Mount Ainos, 1628m above sea level.
Kefalonia is known for its olive, grape and currant industry.
Inhabitation of the island started in the 10th century BC. According to Greek mythology, island got its name from king Kefalos, first king from paleolithic era, who was a son of god Hermes and his mistress Hersa.
During Bronze age, the island was one of the centers of Minoan culture. In Peoloponesian wars, Kefalonia was part of Athenian League and later member of Aitolian Union, created to contain Macedonian aggression. Romans conquer the island on 189. BC and later the rest of Greece is conquered. After the rule of Byzantines, in the middle ages Kefalonia was again conquered by foreigners, by Normans and their leader Robert Guiscard, who died during large rebellion in 1085.
Until Turkish conquest in 1479 he island was ruled by Venetian and Neapolitan families.
In 1797. Kefalonia was occupied by the French and their rule lasted until 1815. when British took over the island and made whole Ionian region their protectorate. The island became part of modern Greece in 1864.
During WW2 Italians captured the island in 1941 and controled it unti capitulation in September of 1943. Germans took over the island and demanded disarmament of Italian troops before their departure. Italians refused and as retaliation Germans killed almost 5000 Italians. This event is described in a book and later movie Captain Correli's Mandolin.
The island covers area of 782km2, with coast length ca 250km and 36000 permanent residents. In the capital of the island Argostoli, lives more than a third of total population. Second largest town is Lixouri, located on Paliki peninsula, reachable both by land and Ferry from Argostoli. In these two towns lives two thirds of island population.
Kefalonia is located in high risk zone for earthquakes and along with Zakynthos is an island with the highest risk and probabilities for an earthquake to happen in Ionian Sea. in 1953. the island was almost totally destroyed by 7,2 degrees (Richter Scale). Earthquakes lasted for 3 days, from 9. August till 12. August killing 455 people. Similar earthquake happened in 1983. but with no death toll. Kefalonia is one the rare islands in Greece where you cant find so many old and traditional houses, because the island had to be rebuilt several times.
The island has rich flora and fauna and certain number of endemic and rare species. Some of its areas are part of Natura 2000, European network of areas under protection and great biological diversity. Mount Ainos became national park in 1962. and has also very rich flora and fauna. Important natural resources, attractive to tourists are Melissani Lake, cave Drogarati and Kutavos lagoon in Argostoli. Kefalonia is also known for endangered species of turtles Kareta Kareta, that lay their eggs along the southern caost of Kefalonia.
Near Argostoli there are remains of ancient city of Krani and Venetian Castle of Saint George, also several Minoan tombs located in villages Mazakarakata and Metaksata, 5km to the East from Argostoli.
Holidays in Kefalonia are perfect for enjoying islands wonderful beaches and long walks in its fantastic nature. Also you can find many cultural and archaeological sites, castles and monasteries.
You can visit Archaeological Museum of Kefalonia in Argostoli, with three separate chambers from different periods in history. Materials and artifacts are collected from various site on the island (Sami, Fiscardo, Drakaina Cave in Poros, Skala, graveyards in Kokolata and Metakata). The exhibition includes various objects, tools from Paleolithic period, pottery, coins, swords from the Bronze Age, remains of Egyptian civilization and many artifacts from the Golden Age of Kefalonian society in the 5th century BC called Tetrapolis (age of the 4 cities- Krani, Sami, Pali and Proni, named by the sons of Kefalos, first Kefalonian king. Working days of the museum are from Tuesday to Sunday and working hours are from 8-15h (November-May) and from 9-16h (June-October). Entrance fee is 3 Eur per person.
Kefalonia is located in western part of Greece and is reachable by sea or air. Island has one airport called 'Anna Pollatou' (https://www.efl-airport.gr) with daily flights to and from Athens and other large European airports.
There are several options for reaching the island by ferry. From the port of Kilini, Western Peloponnese to the town of Poros, with company 'Kefalonian Lines' (https://kefalonianlines.com/kefalonia-poros-killini/) From Nidri, Lefkada to Fiscardo on the far North, with the company West Ferry(http://westferry.gr/) From the town of Astakos to Sami, with the company Ionian Pelagos (http://www.ionionpelagos.com/en/content/109) From Zakynthos island to Pessada village in the South with the same company, Ionian Pelagos.
The pricelist of West Ferry company: Adults: 8,5e Children older than 10y: 4,3e Children 6-10: 2,15e CHildren under 6: Free of charge Car: 35e Motorbikes up to 250cc: 7,4e
If you are arriving to Kefalonia by car you can find excellent road network. Main island road is Fiscardo-Sami-Argostoli and on the South Skala-Argostoli. If ou want to visit Paliki peninsula, easiest way is to use ferry from Argostoli (adults 2,8e, 4e for the car and 2,9e for motorbikes). Ferry travels about 20 minutes to Paliki and has departures every hour.
For exploring the island you can use public transportation. Timetables and routes you can find on following website (http://www.ktelkefalonias.gr/).