Late summer in Kefalonia

In search of shadow in Fiscardo. 

Now that the villages are quiet, but the waters are still warm, the wineries are welcoming the new crop and you will see the autumn colors on the trails, you will discover more reasons to love it.

It is impossible to get to know Kefalonia on a single trip. Its villages are more than its beaches and, besides a beautiful coastline, are full of caves and caves, trails, remarkable producers. So welcome in the autumn with a few more dives, but also hiking, exploring by sea, wine tastings of Robolas and other Kefalonian varieties in restaurants and wineries.
 
Beaches and lakes

At this time, when people are scarce, chances are you’ll see Caretta caretta turtles or Monachus monachus seals on beaches like Dafnoudi to the north. You will enjoy the famous Myrtos, with its amazing light shades and the red sandy beach of Xi beach, on the Palliki peninsula, without any fuss. In the south you will find large and organised beaches alternating with rocks and small sea caves.

Drogarati Cave. (Photo: NIKOS KOKKAS)

To explore the land caves one can start from the dark cave Drogarati with the imposing stalactites, said to have existed for 150 million years, and continue boating in the Melissani cave or Nymph’s Cave, which and the turquoise shades of water. They are close to each other, to the southeast of the island. Melissani lake cave is a unique phenomenon, revealed by the collapse of part of the roof. From this point the incoming natural light plays with the water. It is 160 m long, 40 m wide and the depth of water reaches 39 m. It is vibrating daily – in 2018 it had 230,000 visitors. In September, in addition to individual tourists and groups,

The map of the caves of Kefalonia is complemented by Agalaki in Poulata, Kounopetra, Katavothres, where seawater arrives, Drakaena and others less well known.

– Melissani Lake (tel. 26740-22997). Autumn hours: 09.00-17.00. The 15-minute boating costs 7 euros.
– Drogarati Cave (tel. 26740-23302, 09.00-19.00). Entry 5 euro.

Cephalonia of action 

English, Italian, German, American and other nationalities set the example for a more ‘active’ exploration of Cephalonia. “Our customers are foreign, at a rate of 98%. Few Greeks participate in the programs, ”says Irene Potamianou of OutdoorKefalonia.

Coasteering on the South Coast. (Photo: NIKOS KOKKAS)

 Following their example, we set off in the morning, along with a small group of Dutch, for coasteering, that is, a seaside hike alternating with diving and swimming under rock arches and in small caves. Not even halfway through. Our Greek temperament and the time constraints of the job, of course, made us return early.

Continuing by sea exploring the south coast, we sail alongside Makris and Platis Gialos, two of the most well known and well-organized beaches in the south. The Frenchman has arrived at the island of Zeus by canoe. At its top and in the name of Panagia Diotissa, as the chapel is called, the Greek twelve meet with Christianity. Opposite to the highest mountain of Kefalonia and all the Ionian islands, Ainos, a national park in its greater part, thanks to the rare species of Cephalonian fir. Autumn is the best season for hiking and jeep safaris throughout mountainous Kefalonia.

Myrtos beach. (Photo: NIKOS KOKKAS)

The seaside adventures, of course, do not stop there. In Myrtos you will be paragliding when the winds favour it. Most interested in scuba diving are the seabed in the north, with World War II wrecks, such as the British submarine “HMS Perseus”. Diving in Melissani Lakes requires special permission. Another extreme way to get acquainted with caves, such as the Angalaki and that of the Theodoroi, is to descend with ropes and special equipment.

– Where to contact: OutdoorKefalonia (tel. 6979-987611, 6986-920559, outdoorkefalonia.com). For coasteering, seakayaking, jeepsafaris, hiking, mountaineering and other activities by George Potamianos and his team.
– Mountaineering Club of Kefalonia (tel. 6974-640632).
– National Forest Management Agency, Argostoli (tel. 26710-29258, foreasainou.gr).
– Lassi Rent a Boat (tel. 6986-920477,
 lassirentaboat@gmail.com).
– Fiskardo-Divers (tel. 26740-23832, 6970-206172, 6949-393501, fiskardo-divers.com). 
Lixouri, and especially the capital, Argostoli, offers

villages, flavors and Wine

Lives and a variety of cafes and bars. Of great interest, however, are the inland routes, such as those of Palliki and that of Fiskardo to Agia Efimia.

Odysseus has given a unique mark to the Jerusalem Tavern with a rich wine cellar. (Photo: NIKOS KOKKAS)

On the beach of St. Jerusalem, Odysseus, in the homonymous tavern, has set up his own small bar, a British pub, opposite the classic tavern showcase with his mother’s cooks. A sweet coexistence backdrop that complements an extremely up-to-date list of 88 different types of jeans, including Japanese, as well as a collection of rare malt and other Scotch whiskeys.

More centrally, in the less touristy Faraklata, Katerina Dimas welcomes us to the Museum Hotel George Molfetas: “Welcome to my dream!” The yard is full of clay pots and plants. This special stone-built hotel, full of old furniture and objects, “watered” by Katerina’s romance and a keen nostalgic aura, brings you back to the island’s architecture before the catastrophic earthquake of 1953 and Kefalonia. and musician George Molfeta, who inspired the name of her small hotel.

View of Assos, one of the most touristy seaside villages. (Photo: NIKOS KOKKAS)

Seaside Assos has a quirky, picturesque nature, with its newly built houses painted in intense shades, a little old and a little half-congested.

In one of the most beautiful and tourist villages of the island, Fiskardo, sailboats and yachts are tied everywhere. Tasia Dendrinou remembers her father’s tavern operating without power for the first twelve years (opened in 1972). They cooked in petrol then. He saw the village change, become tourist, become the most cosmopolitan of Kefalonia and always remain a hospitable locomotive. The tavern turned into one of the most popular restaurants in Fiscardo, the fishing village where Kavvadias spent his childhood.

Tassia Restaurant. (Photo: NIKOS KOKKAS)

Tassia took the opportunity of our short visit to talk to us about local cheeses and to offer us a refreshing, freshly baked, Robola of Basigu Estate. The estate is located on the other side of the island, in the area of ​​Agios Gerasimos Monastery, where this variety grows. Remember that Robola is a white vine variety that is registered as a Cefalonia Origin Product.

In the autumn, the most beautiful and “drunk” way to meet Kefalonia is to taste its wines in restaurants and wineries every afternoon. Wine tourism could greatly contribute to the expansion of the season and overall to the island’s travel profile, especially now that winemakers are creating a Union for more coordinated collective action.

The brothers Constantine and Ioanna Haritatou. (Photo: NIKOS KOKKAS)

Haritatos boutique winery ( haritatosvineyard.com ) is housed in the old stone farmhouse of 1863, which has been restored with great respect and sensitivity by the family. It is its locality at every level that makes it interesting. From the cultivation of the local variety Vostilidi and the difficult task of the Hariton monotone label to the architecture and every detail of the house, which takes you to the climate of another era and connects you to the history of Kefalonia. It won me Mademoiselle Haritatou – an old-fashioned black tanker – for the fine balance of its powerful features.

Gentilini Winery ( gentilini.gr) is also a must visit), outside Argostoli, with a beautiful outdoor area for wine-making and a vineyard ideal for an evening stroll overlooking the sea. On the estates of the Petrakopoulos winery ( petrakopouloswines.gr ), also known as “Melissinou”, you immediately “smell” your love for the art of viticulture. At each stage of grape cultivation and wine production, personal care stands out. Even standard procedures are constantly monitored by the people in the winery. 

The small beach of Alaties, near the village of Halikeri. (Photo: NIKOS KOKKAS)

You can continue to get acquainted with the nine wineries of Kefalonia, trying, besides Robola each, their efforts with Mavrodafni and Moschato of Kefalonia. Meet pioneering producers, such as Euryviadis Sklavos, and discuss with him the biodynamic-homodynamic cultivation method of the Mavrodafni and Vostilidi varieties, try his own Robola of Cephalonia and other labels. Browse the landscapes of Kefalonia, searching for its vineyards, and take with you the gift of the island with some bottles with their intoxicating aromas.

How to get there

• By air, Kefalonia is 55 minutes from Athens. An average price for September with Aegean Airways ( aegeanairways.com ) is 65 euros for a simple trip.
• By ferry, the ports of Sami and Poros Kefalonia are connected to the ports of Patras and Kyllini via Ionian P. Lines (tel. 26740-32104,  ionionpelagos.com ) and Levante Ferries (tel. 26740-23089,  levanteferries). com ).

Accommodation

• Museum Hotel George Molfetas  (tel. 6937-014758, kefaloniamuseumhotel.com). Retro décor and an indoor courtyard where you can enjoy homemade breakfast and personalized meals upon request. From 166 euros double.
• Faros Suites & Faros Residence (tel. 26740-41285, fiscardosuites.com). Rooms and apartments, many with sea views, indoor pool and comfortable poolbeds. Only for couples and groups without children. From 100 euro double and from 155 euro apartment.
• Odysseas Waterfront Apartmens  (tel. 26740-41023, 6985-995128, odysseasfiscardo.com). Apartments in Fiskardo, with views and sun loungers on the large balcony above the sea. From 110 euros 4-person apartment.
• White Rocks Resort Hotel  (tel. 26710-28333, whiterocks.gr). Renovated hotel with private beach, rooms, apartments and bungalows, restaurants and swimming pool. From 157 euros double.

For bookings relating to your stay visit: www.booking.com
 
Food

• Restaurant Tassia  (tel. 26740-41205, tassia.gr) in Fiscardo. Try the traditional Kefalonian meat pie, delicious octopus with red wine and sun-dried tomatoes, fresh fish and Kefalonian Robolas labels.
• Deco Mediteranean Cuisine  (tel. 26740-23753, 6945-855769, decoartcuisine.gr). Seafood tables and contemporary Greek cuisine in Sami Miaouli Coast.
• Odysseas  (tel. 26740-41133, 6932-885944). Tavern on the beach of Erissos, “fortified” with rich wine cellar.
• Molos  (tel. 26740-51220). Fish tavern in Assos for cooking and fish, by the sea.
• Panormos kitchen and bar (tel. 26740-41203, 6980-105645). Restau-bar in Fiscardo, for coffee, food, drink and even dancing, if you have the mood.

Reproduced from an article in  – kathimerini.gr

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