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Sights of Kefalonia
The Lighthouse of Saint Theodoroi in Lassi fanari road
One of the most famous sights in the area of Argostoli, and more specifically of the so-called round of Lassis, is the Lighthouse of Saint Theodoroi. It was named after the little church which is located very close to it. The whole area has been named after the lighthouse which, for reasons of simplicity and briefness, is called Fanari.
It is a traditional lighthouse used for the approaching to the shore ships, so as to avoid rocks. Built in 1829, during the British Rule, like many of the traditional landmarks which characterize the island (see also Dervosetos Bridge), it is a work of J.P. Kennedy. It stands out as a circular Doric building, similar to which there is none in the whole island.
Like everything else in Argostoli, as in the whole of Kefalonia, it was destroyed during the earthquake of August 1953. It was reconstructed immediately after, unfortunately with only few other masterpieces of the pre-earthquake era. Works of renovation have recently taken place, in order to save the lighthouse from the extended corrosion caused by sea water.
Katavothres in Lassi fanari road
One of the most well-known sights which is also a top geological phenomenon of our island, is Katavothres. They are located in a distance of about 2km from the island’s capital, Argostoli, in the so-called round of Lassi.
Sea water enters through holes near the shore and then disappears. In reality, the water entering in that exact spot follows quite a long route. Finally, it flows into the lake of Melissani as well as Karavomylos. This was unveiled in 1963, when Austrian geologists put artificial colorings in one of these entrances and afterwards, using radioisotopes, verified the route of the “disappearing” water. Rain water is also added to the quantity of sea water, which at some point meets the water which crosses the island underground.
The mills were place there by the British man Stewens, who was the first to observe the phenomenon. The big earthquakes of 1867 and 1953 didn’t have any impact on this, excluding the fact that they destroyed the construction on its surface, which was nonetheless reconstructed.
Italian war memorial II in Lassi fanari
The Italian War Memorial is located on a ridge above the town of Argostoli, near the start of the tree-lined coastal road to Lassi Fanari road. It was built to honour the thousands of Italian soldiers killed or executed by the Germans after refused to surrender their weapons following the Italian armistice with the Allies.
Italian war memorial I in Lassi fanari road
The memorial lies near one of the many execution sites scattered throughout the island of Kefalonia and serves as a reminder of one of the most horrific episodes of World War II.
Saint Gerasimo’s Cave in Lassi
The Cave is located in the area of Argostoli called Lassi. Saint Gerasimos led an ascetic life when he came from Zakynthos to Kefalonia in 1555 and stayed here for 5 years. In 1560, he went to Omala, where his monastery is today.
In the northern side of the Cave, there is a natural hole of approximately 30x30cm, which provides natural lighting and a view to the sea.
Today, the Cave has been embodied into a small chapel, which constitutes one of the buildings of a small male hermitage, branch of the Holy Monastery of St.Gerasimo’s Omalon.
Dervosetos Bridge in Argostoli
The historical bridge of Argostoli, also known as Dervosetos Bridge, was built in 1813 by Charles-Philip De Bosset in an attempt to prevent entrance to Argostoli through Koutavos. In those days, this was synonymous to, in the best case, malaria and in the worst case, death. For this reason, the road ending up to the bridge is dedicated to this man and named after him.
It is a bridge which was originally wooden. After the leveling of the Metela hill, it became a stony bridge. In its middle, one can see the monument in the picture, together with a four-language sign, in memory of those who built not only an important memorial but also a great infrastructure work of that era.
The Castle of Saint George
One of the most famous sights, of great historical significance for the area of Livathos, is Saint George’s Castle. It is a notable Venetian castle in Kefalonia, with ensuing 16th century Enetic interventions. It was the capital of the island till 1757. In subsequent years, there have been many works of conservation thus helping the castle to acquire a part of its former glory.
The view from the top is magnificent, as it was selected on the basis of the best possible supervision. From its top, one can be able to see a big part of the island and the view to Argostoli as well as Karavado is remarkable. Old churches and buildings have been sustained in its inside, as well as in its suburb (borgo) which can be found eastward from the entrance of the Castle.
In the castle’s borgo, there is the Holy Metropolitan Temple of Evaggelistria, a typical example of Ionian Baroque art. In the Temple’s interior, remarkable post-Byzantine icons of the ruined Temples of the Castle are kept.
In the south part of the Castle, one can find the historical Temple of Saint Andrew Milapidias. In its old nave, a Religious Museum operates with remarkable post-Byzantine icons.
Until today, there have been no excavations but only maintenance, cleaning and rebuilding works of ruined sections. A tunnel which connects the Castle to Argostoli has been a historically known fact, but this has not yet been revealed and investigated. Cleaning works as well as sporadic wall cementing are carried out annually while, one of the most important works is the prop of the central Gate.
One of the most breathtaking scenery in the whole of Kefalonia can be found in the west coast of Lixouri, in the famous Kipouraion Monastery. It is situated at a distance of about 15km from Lixouri, on the road leading to Havriata (the balcony of the Ionian).
It’s establishment is calculated in the 17the century and takes its name from the many gardens that fathers owned in order to provide their offspring with the necessary livelihood. It is built on an upright rock on the sea. In 1759, the Archibishop Chrysanthos Petropoulos Paxinos builds the church of the monastery and it is dedicated to the Annunciation. Soon, a male priory is established there. In 1915, a French commander ship bombards the Monastery by accident, as through the thick fog they watch the smoke from the chimney and mistake it for an enemy ship. The destructive earthquakes of 1953 further affect the Monastery.
In 1964, only the Monastery’s nave is rebuilt while the other buildings are constructed during the 90’s, with personal work of the only monk who still lives in the Monastery.
Inside the Monastery, one can worship the thaumaturgic icon of the Annunciation as well as the skulls of the Sacred Founders of Saint Chrysanthos Monastery, Constantios and Efrosyni. In addition, a piece of the True Cross which was donated to the Monastery by the Russian Prince Vladimir Dolgoroukis in the year 1862 can be found there. In an elegant bottle glass, there is Holy Myrrh of Saint Demetrious Myrovlitis, dated back to the 7th century. Visitors can even worship relics of various Saints, as well as the thaumaturgic icon of Saint Paraskevi, the only remnant of the ruined Monastery of Tafiou. At present, only the Monastery’s ruins have been saved and it is considered to be merged with Kipouraion Monastery. One should also not forget to admire the wooden retable of the Monastery.
In the old days, there were quite a few monks in the Monastery, who were preoccupied with the cultivation of the property.Today only one monk, Efsevios, resides there and greets visitors on March 25th and September 14th, days when the Monastery celebrates its Saints. Nonetheless, if you happen to pass by on any other day, you will be able to experience warm hospitality and you will spend your time gazing at the sea with him.
Also, visitors should not miss the unique sunset from the Monastery’s courtyard in the deep, blue waters of the Ionian Sea. The breathtaking scenery which harmoniously combines the untrodden mountain with the trackless sea is very reminiscent of Karoulia in Mount Athos which, in connection with its spiritual treasures, is definitely an attraction for visitors. A warning for lovers of the wild landscape: this might be just the place for you!
The Lighthouse of Gerogombos
One of the most famous attractions of the Peninsula of Paliki is the Lighthouse of Gerogombos. It is a 13m high tower, standing on the edge of the homonymous bay. It was constructed by the British in 1807 and destroyed by German troops during their withdrawal from the island. It was rebuilt soon after, in 1947.
The range of the lighthouse is 20miles.
The lighthouse is located very close to Lixouri, following a wonderful route which crosses some of the most picturesque parts of the region. Lepeda beach, Michalitsi, Soularoi and Xi are some places that the visitor should not forget to visit while going towards the lighthouse. Also, Mantzavinata with the renowned Kounopetra should be a mandatory stop while going there. Additionally, on the way back, visitors should not fail to remember visiting Havriata (the balcony of the Ionian) and Kipouria.
The view from there is magnificent. Not only does the endless Ionian sea and the view from the Peninsula lies before you, but also some of the most beautiful and historic places of the island can be found there. In that Cape, there once was a Temple dedicated to God Poseidon, whose mosaic floors can be found in the archaeological museum in Argostoli. There, it is mentioned by historical sources,that ships with a destination to the great Ports of the Mediterranean such as Sicily, Italy and Malta stopped at the lighthouse.
Lake Cavern of Melissani
One of the most famous as well as beautiful sights on the island, of great historical interest, is the Lake Cavern of Melissani. This is a lake cavern which is located at Karavomylos, very close to Sami. It was discovered in 1951 by the speleologist Petrohilos and from then on, after some procedures for the construction of an entrance, it has been delivered for tourist access. A big part of the roof has collapsed and as a result,one can observe a kind of irregularity as well as uniqueness.Especially when the sun is at its highest point, the view is breathtaking while the sun’s rays are reflected on the clear, blue waters.
In ancient times, the lake was a place of worship of God Pan and the nymph Melissanthi. The legend has it, that Melissa committed suicide in the lake as a result of her sorrow, since Pan did not reciprocate to her love. According to another version, the shepherdess Melissanthi lost a sheep and while trying to find it, she tripped and fell into the lake. In the lake, there is an island where the archaeologist S. Marinatos discovered a sanctuary of Pan, the findings of which can be located in the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli. These findings include a clay figurine of God Pan, a clay disc depicting dancing nymphs, a clay plate with a procession of nymphs and a small plate with an embossed female figure.
In this unique lake cavern we can find another phenomenon. Water enters the limestone, erodes it and as a result pits are created. This procedure is called karstification. In 1963 it was found that the lake cavern communicates with the entire karst network of the island. This was also confirmed by using colored water which was channeled from the sewers of Argostoli and found on the other end of the island.Today, visitor tours can be done by boat, where one can enjoy the magnificent spectacle of the stalactites, crystal clear water and sunlight which coexist harmoniously.
Drogarati cave is one of the greatest and most beautiful natural sights in the region around Sami and in the whole of Kefalonia. It is located at a short distance from the Lake Cavern of Melissani, making it belong to the same geographical area. It was discovered about 300 years ago when, during a strong earthquake one of its sections collapsed and uncovered what is now the entrance to the cave.
Its depth is around 60 meters with an average temperature of 18o C and a fairly high amount of humidity (90%), as is the case in all caves.
According to archeologists, Drogarati’s age is over 100 million years. The part which is now free to access is only one part of the total, while it is likely that the cave communicates with other caves or cave formations in the area. There are many stalactites and stalagmites formed by water which, in its path, erodes the components of the rock and deposits them at the stalagmite’s edge.
Every 100 years, it is estimated that its size increases by 1cm. Earthquakes as well as human action has contributed to many of them being cut. Nevertheless, the picture of the entrance of the cave is magnificent.
Drogarati cave is open to the public all year round and in the past, several events were held in the 900 square meters hall in its entrance, due to its great acoustics. It is one of the few caves which has allowed for intense lighting in order to enable the visitor to admire nature’s grandeur.