KEFALONIÁ (also known in English as Cephalonia) is the largest of the Ionian islands, a place that has real towns as well as resorts. Like its neighbours, Kefaloniá was overrun by Italians and Germans in World War II; the “handover” after Italy’s capitulation in 1943 led to the massacre of over five thousand Italian troops on the island by invading German forces, as chronicled by Louis de Bernières in his novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Virtually all of its towns and villages were levelled in the 1953 earthquake and these masterpieces of Venetian architecture had been the one touch of elegance in a severe, mountainous landscape.
Flights to Athens and regular ferries from Argostoli and Poros to Killini (Peloponnese, buses to Athens) and Fiskardo to Levkas (Vassiliki) keep it in touch with the rest of Greece.
Fiskardo (or Fiscardho or Fiskardho!) is a bustling, crescent shaped harbour with brightly painted houses, harbour side cafes and restaurants. Located on the northern tip of Kefalonia, Fiskardo is a well protected bay and also a very popular one. Fiscardo offers a wide selection of cafe bars, restaurants and tavernas to enjoy as well as an array of shops, cash points, showers and a regular ferry service are available in the port. On the pontoons you will be able to fill up with water. It has been said that Fiskardo is the most scenic spot in the Ionian island sailing area and certainly one of the best opportunities to take some photographs!
If you are planning on visiting in the high season it is best to arrive early in the afternoon to avoid disappointment in finding a place to moor. The mooring fees are very low, but the harbour side can become very crowded, especially when trip boats disgorge 500 trippers each. In 2015-16 new stainless steel mooring rings were fitted around the harbour to enable restaurants to use the full width of the paved area to the harbour side. The strength of these mooring rings appears less than more traditional bollards.
You may wish to moor in the bay just south of Fiskardo, explore the caves and take a dinghy into town. Sailing south choose from many inlets where you can stop, swim and relax before heading to Agios Euphemia, from where you can visit the famous underground caves of Lake Melissani.
Whilst approaching Fiscardho keep an eye out for Kevin from ‘Sailing Pics’ – a fantastic photographer and sailor Kevin can take photos of you sailing your yacht into port with no obligation to buy. If you stop by his booth when you moor up he can show you what he has taken and you can buy a CD containing the whole photo-shoot of you, on your yacht, on the sea - a fantastic holiday souvenir. If you don’t want to buy them, no problem you don’t have to. For more information visit www.sailingpics.com
This is a smart little port crowded with boats (arrive early for a good berth), and quite classy restaurants and cafés with classy prices. It's well worth a visit in spite of the crowds. Food here is more imaginative than average, but if you're ready for a change from Greek cuisine, try 'Lord Falcon'. Tucked 90m behind the SW corner of the harbour, it offers good Thai food as well as some more conventional Greek dishes. Café Tselenti has the highest prices with fine food and service.
It also provided the inspiration for 'Capt Corelli's Mandolin', and Minas (who owns the place and used to be a professional guitar player) is a mine of musical knowledge. His CDs — covering a wide range of genres — play on a superb sound system. Not only that, he sells draft beer. Agree a play list with him for the afternoon, then it's a great place to read a novel while he takes his siesta. For yachts, there's fresh water on most quays. Tassia's pontoons are recommended for deeper draft vessels. If (very rare) southerlies are forecast, only the southern quays are tenable.
at 38.42826, 20.58636
at 38.37325, 20.61247
Horgota or Gorgotha Beach
A quiet beautiful spot for lunch with good anchoring. Not yet in the Ionian Pilot so less traffic than would otherwise be the case. According to the sign at one end of the beach it was used to film scenes in "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" - located at 38.364478, 20.615571
at 38.31418, 20.62085
Agios Euphemia, Kefalonia
Ay Eufemia (Aghia Efimia or Agios Euphemia ) is one of the most beautiful seaside villages in Kefalonia and was once the main ferry port on Kefalonia island but after the earthquake in 1953 the town of Sami was developed in its place. Ay Eufimia still has all the facilities you are likely to need and if you visit it is worth venturing ashore and finding the caves which are situated on the road to Sami. The harbour master organises and helps with berthing and collects the mooring fees. Call him on CH74. Services include water and electricity. There are numerous bars, shops and restaurants located all around the port of Ay Eufemia and if you take a walk north you will enjoy some excellent views and great tavernas!
This is a small hamlet whose quay side road is lined with a few cafés and restaurants and a shop or two. It's often quite a windy entrance, which makes anchoring stern-to with a cross-wind rather demanding. Bows-to is easier. Notices threaten high fees for mooring here, but outside peak season there is rarely anyone around to collect them. Water and electricity. Greeks and those "in the know" come here from far afield to visit restaurant 'Paradise' (turn right from the quay side, go 500 metres). Stavros's family has run this place for more than 3 decades, "Paradise" is still a favourite, although the more international style of Fiskardo restaurants is catching up.
South of Agios Euphemia on Kefalonia is Sami. Sami used to be the capital town of the island of Kefalonia and is more commercial than other places, it is the second busiest port on Kefalonia serving ferries to Corfu, Ithaki (Ithaca), Patras and Italy. Sami has a long waterfront, lined with shaded restaurants and tavernas serving the locally caught fish of the day. A working town, Sami is also relatively cosmopolitan compared to other ports in the Greek Ionian with banks, shops, tavernas and bars as well as local lace shops.
Sami is a useful stop to visit either the (over-rated?) stalagmite decorated Droghorati Cave, or to travel in a punt around the half drowned Mellissani Caves, both within 5km. Both can also easily be reached from Ay. Euphemia. Ferries to Killini, on the Peloponnese.
Sami has various sites where parts of the film 'Captain Corelli’s Mandolin' was filmed.
The port-town of Poros provides a significant link with its daily ferry service between Kefalonia and mainland Greece. After the earthquake of 1953, when the few fishermen's houses which made up the village were destroyed, it was rebuilt with the assistance of the British. The town is set amidst dramatic scenery of mountains Atros and Pahni and its coastline provides beaches and a safe port. The ravine of Poros is an 80 metre deep precipice, with steep slopes where you will see hollows in the rocks - the footprints of the mythological Hercules. River Vohinas springs from a 'bottomless' lake, with is a dry bed river in the summer months but in winter, flows through Poros.
Local caiques (traditional Greek fishing boats, which have been converted for pleasure-cruising) operate out of Poros to nearby beaches such as Koutsoupia, which are otherwise inaccessible by road. It is also a good base from which to cruise over to the islands of Ithaca and Zante.
SE Cephallonia Beaches & harbours
a string of day anchorages, good for night stops if you're a brave soul with good ground tackle. But don't blame us if the night wind and waves rock you awake. And while we're mentioning rocks, make sure you've got your exit plotted out before you go to sleep. There are two harbours on the coast before Argostoli.
Just 2nm round the SE corner. Well sheltered, reef off entrance. Small hamlet; tavernas.
at 38.09602, 20.6587
A convenient little port 2nm short of Argostoli airport runway touchdown point. Moor end on to quays, or anchor. No local facilities, a couple of tavernas within 1km. Taxi Dennis Tzortzatos; phone 6984083827. Off-shore reefs to be negotiated.
Kefalonia Island International Airport (EFL or LGKF) Minies 28100
Kefalonia Island International Airport (airport code EFL or LGKF) is the airport on Kefalonia Island, Greece and is 9 Km west of Argostoli, the capital of Kefalonia Island, the largest of the Ionian islands in western Greece.
You can fly into Kefalonia, Argostoli airport direct from a number of UK airports with charter airlines including Easyjet, Monarch Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways.
is a port of entry, nearby airport. Ferries to Killini. It's a bit off the beaten track for sailors, but the pedestrian precinct of the town has a lively evening volta, and an excellent range of shops. The sheer native bustle of the place, only lightly touched by tourism, is very attractive. A 'marina', built just outside the town has never been commissioned. Many quays in it are uncomfortably exposed to surge from the summer northerly winds.
west side of the gulf of Argostoli, has a slip and small hard if you need a haul out (hard damaged by earthquake early 2014)