KEFALONIA, also known as Cephalonia, Kefallinia, or Cephallenia is the largest of the seven islands in the Ionian Sea, having an area of 781 square kilometres (302 sq mi). [The Ionian Sea runs down the west coast of Greece, as opposed to the Aegean which is the large open sea off the east and south coast of Greece’s mainland].
Kefalonia in modern Greek it is written as “Κεφαλονια”
Kefalonia’s capital and administrative centre is Argostoli. also the largest town of the island. The other largest towns of the island are: Lixouri in the Paliki peninsula; Sami the third largest town and most important port; Erisos with the harbours of Fiscardo and Assos; And the harbours of Poros and Skála.
Kefalonia’s population is currently estimated to be around 45,000 people with about a third living in the capital of Argostoli and the nearby villages.
Many -or most- of the Cephalonians have surnames ending in "-atos", and many villages on the island have a name ending in "-ata".
Kefalonia is an interesting mix of old and new due to its many picturesque villages coexisting though not overshadowed by the many modern holiday resorts and villas.
Car hire is a must for those who aim to explore the island or even to just drive around for a night out since Kefalonia is a relatively big island and public transport is infrequent.
The seas around its numerous beaches are mostly turquoise. The beaches are of an extreme variety, broad and golden or with clean pebbles. Rich vegetation, fertile valleys and dense fir forests mingle with the wild and sheer mountain scenery; A fascinatingly varied geological profile that has chiselled through the thousands of centuries the small coves and the unique complex of caves, such as the spectacular caves at Melisani and Drogarati (Activities & Sights section) that attract thousands of holiday visitors each year. The beach of Myrtos (Beaches section) is being quoted repeatedly and has been voted in many publications as one of the top-ten beaches of the world.
In 1953 there was a devastating catastrophe; A massive earthquake that destroyed nearly 90 per cent of –predominantly Venetian-style- buildings on the island and most infrastructures. Hence, the architecture has been adjusted to modern-safer conditions and now all Kefalonia's buildings have been built to strict earthquake-safe standards. In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked Kefalonia as the fourth most idyllic place in Europe, rich in natural beauty and with the qualities of a relaxed and comfortable life.
As it has been nicely put “Kefalonia is characterized by the creative forces of nature and three thousand years of cultural history.” [And] Both history and natural uniqueness are evident at every step a visitor makes.