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Myrtos Beach on the Island of Kefalonia (Greece)

Myrtos Beach on the Island of Kefalonia (Greece)

Emmanuel Tresmontant - 2010-09-02

Kefalonia, the largest island in the Ionian Sea, is known throughout Greece for the whimsical nature of its inhabitants. Might they be affected by the earthquakes, winds and heat? In any case, much like the Islands of the Cyclopes and of the Lotus-Eaters portrayed by Homer, this is a place which is both unfamiliar and magical - an island to be reckoned with. And Myrtos Beach is its crowning glory.

Situated opposite the mouth of the Gulf of Patras and a stone’s throw from Odysseus’s legendary Ithaca (Ithaki), Kefalonia is one of the least crowded Greek islands, as tourists tend to prefer Corfu (Kerkyra) in the Ionian Sea, and Santorini (Thera) and Patmos in the Aegean.
In 1953, a major earthquake devastated the region; only a few signs of the illustrious Venetian Empire to which Kefalonia belonged from 15C to 18C still remain. This verdant, mountainous island is visited for its sparkling coves, beaches and landscapes dotted with ancient olive trees. Following in the footsteps of Byron, who wrote his Don Juan here during the Greek Revolution, you will discover the Melissáni cave lake and other magical sites and meet amiable characters such as members of the august Gentilini family (whose ancestors came from Venice ages ago), vintners of a famous white wine.
 
While Kefalonia (its name comes from ‘kefali,’ the Greek word for ‘head’) boasts several remarkable sites - the Drogarati cave, Melissáni cave lake and Avithos sand beach, to name but a few -the island’s most beautiful landscapes are located on its northern tip.
The road north follows the Gulf of Argostoli (the capital city), offering sublime views of inlets nestling below the cliffs (and therefore only accessible by boat) and of the Ionian Sea. Above all, this winding road will lead you to Myrtos, generally considered to be one of Greece’s most beautiful beaches. Tall white limestone cliffs with caves bored into the rock frame turquoise waters kissed by warm currents. It is very sunny - to avoid overexposure, you might hire a lounger and beach umbrella.
 
Near Myrtos, the Assos fishing village is a small, flower-filled harbour giving onto coves where local farmers sell delicious thyme honey. On the northernmost tip of the island, have lunch or dinner at the lovely, picture-perfect port of Fiskardo village, where Kefalonia’s best taverna serves lobster straight from the sea.
 
PRACTICAL INFORMATION
 
Getting there
Kefalonia is a one-hour flight from Athens, or, more economically, three hours by bus from Athens to Pátra (the Peloponnese capital, featuring the world’s longest multi-span cable-stayed bridge), followed by another three hours by ferry to the Sámi harbour on the island’s east side.
 
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Kefalonia, the largest island in the Ionian Sea, is known throughout Greece for the whimsical nature of its inhabitants. Might they be affected by the earthquakes, winds and heat? In any case, much like the Islands of the Cyclopes and of the Lotus-Eaters portrayed by Homer, this is a place which is both unfamiliar and magical - an island to be reckoned with. And Myrtos Beach is its crowning glory.

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