Assos is a small tourist village, about 9km away from the main road leading to the famous Mirtos beach, north of the island. You can reach Assos by car or scooter. The road is steep and has many curves. Upon entering the village, you reach a small square with old houses surrounded by several romantic traditional Greek restaurants. The local beach is small but the water is crystal clear. To the left of the village is a semicircular junction with the road to the old fort, which is reached by walking along steep serpentines. The village is very small and has two small beaches. One of them is closer to the center of the village. During the season, most of it have deck chairs and parasols. The second beach is along the narrow road leading to the fort. Some beautiful bays are located in the north of the village, but can only be reached by boat.
There are only a few souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants in Assos, as well as a supermarket. Whoever decides to come to the village of Assos comes here to enjoy the unspoiled nature and beautiful sea. Around the small beautiful square there are several traditional Greek restaurants and cafes, ideal for those looking for the perfect place for a romantic and memorable dinner.
An interesting fortress with rich history is located on the left side of the village. The other island fortress is Agios Georgios, located in the south of the island, near Peratata. For many years Assos was the capital of western Kefalonia and the seat of the Venetian governor. Assos is one of the largest fortresses in Greece. It was built at the end of the 16th century and covers an area of about 44,000m2. Nowadays, it is one of the must-see destinations for tourists.
The fort was built by Venetians to protect the island from attacks by Turks and pirates. It has two kilometers of perimeter wall. The original plan to settle the village with locals never came to fruition. Some of the primary reasons for this are that there are no natural sources for water supply in this part of the island, so this idea was rejected, although the castle remained the seat of the Venetian government in Kefalonia until the end of the Venetian rule in 1799. Even today, the fortress is not easy to reach. Steep serpentines through the forest lead to the top and climbing is possible only on foot.
From 1800 until the independence of Greece in 1865, and after that, only 1,700 people lived here. In late 1920, the fort was used as a prison, in World War II as military detention, and then as a prison for political opponents of the Greek junta (1967-1974). Since 1953, it has become home to a small community known as Castrians, which have been producing olives and grapes.
After the great destruction of the Ionian coast, due to the 1953 earthquake, the prison was disbanded and the fortress abandoned. The 1961 census recorded six residents of the fort and the last resident left here in 1963.
Originally, the castle had four gates, but today there are only two large, while smaller gates are in ruins. Visitors to the main gate pass through a small tunnel while on the second gate in the upper corner is engraved the Venetian lion emblem.
In the ruins that have survived to this day, it is difficult to find 200 houses and 65 public buildings that once existed here. Today’s visitors can see the remnants of the prison and the cells in the center of the fort, which are pretty much intact. There are also the ruins of the former German army barracks and the nearby so-called. “French church” used by French occupiers.