Argostoli, our beautiful capital!
If you’re staying in the northern regions of the island there are two ways to drive to Argostoli. One is the road from Sami (a shorter route for those living in that region), that passes the junctions for Ainos Mountain, Saint Gerassimos Monastery and the wineries. The other route begins at the junction at Divarata (the village above Myrtos) it is a wider, more recently constructed road taking you to Argostoli through the Falari mountains (a shorter route if you live in the Pylaros region).
From the Paliki region you can take the ferry across the gulf, or drive around it and join the coast road south. From the east you can drive along the southern coastal road.
This tour is divided into 3 sections, you can choose to do part of it or all of it according to your schedule and interests:
Koutavos Lagoon (south side)
estimated walk time: approx 1.5h*
Once you arrive at the entrance of the city, you will be surprised by the view of Koutavos Lagoon, with De bosset bridge crossing to the other side to a long beautifully spread out city. Once you have driven around the lagoon you can park your car just after the sports center, or closer to the bridge, to start your walking tour.
Once an impassable swamp, Koutavos lagoon and the currently renovated De Bosset bridge is today a magical sight and a wonderful walk for locals as well as holiday makers! You can walk or cycle along the coastal path to enjoy the peaceful environment, a feeding ground for the turtles caretta caretta, wild ducks, black headed hens and swans, a variety of fish and a stop for many migrating birds. An even more impressive view of the lagoon can be achieved by renting a boat, hydro bike or pedal boat from Argostoli Lagoon Activities team to explore this unique environment!
On this side of the town you can find the Botanical Gardens and the Environmental Center of Mount Ainos where you can familiarise yourself with the local flora fauna and environmental issues. Then you can cross the beautiful De Bosset (Drapano) bridge to get a wide angle view of the city and the port. Almost halfway along the Drapano Bridge stands a stone column (obelisk) built by the British to commemorate their stay.
Argostoli Town Center
estimated walk time approx 2h*
Walking along the coastal road towards the center of the city you can pass the fish and fruit market to get to the black and white cobbled coastal road with palm trees (see below), where you can stop at one of the benches to watch the local residents and visitors going about their daily business. Here the fishermen moor their boats to sell fresh fish. Very often you will get the chance to see the turtles coming to eat fish from the boats.
The road passes from the Nautical School, the small ferry quay where boats connect to the town of Lixouri every half an hour (this is an alternative way to get to Lixouri avoiding the round driving tour) and a little further the cruise ship moorings.
At this point I suggest you turn left up one of the vertical streets to get to the city center. The main attractions and shopping areas are limited on the first 2 parallel streets from the coastal road and the small vertical street crossing them. The first one called Siteboron Str has various shops but the main shopping street is the second called Lithostroto (paved street) where you can find a selection of souvenir, jewellery and clothing shops.
On the south side of this street one can find Kabana (Bell) Square with the historic Clock Tower that has been re-constructed after the earthquake of 1953. When the French came to Kefalonia they burned the Libro D’oro (the golden book of noblemen) and planted the tree of freedom signing the end of the Venetian occupation and the birth of the radical movement. Today you can enjoy a coffee at Libreto cafe bar and pop into Down the Rabbit Hole to buy handmade jewellery. On the other side of Lithostroto towards the main squares, you can find the Catholic church on the left, and next to it a small exhibition for the Aqui Mirarchi. Just off the road at 14, Korgialenios str is the Museum of Radio and Telecommunication. Οn the vertical road you can visit Gulbahar, to buy spices, herbs and infusions. Βack at the lithostroto you will find Saint Spyridon church with a variety of coffee shops to enjoy while the kids play around, and just before the end of the paved road you will find Voskopoula pastry shop with traditional products made with special love and care. At the end there is a square with the Court Building and Kefalos Municipal theatre that holds performances, screenings and exhibitions throughout the year. If you take the street from the side of the left theatre you will find Corgalenios Library and Museum of Folklore History , where you can explore all facets of urban and rural life (i.e. dress code, costumes, household furnishings and fittings, family and social life, entertainment, folk and popular art, etc), as well as ecclesiastic art and the worship rituals of Kefalonians. Just next to the Museum you can see a traditional building that has not been destroyed by the earthquake.
On the main road again at the extension of the Lithostroto towards the main square, you will pass the Archeological museum (temporarily closed), the Municipality building on your right and then Focas Cosmetatos Foundation with personal collections and publications as well as a great collection of photos from before the earthquake of 1953.
Now you are at the main square of the town called Vallianos Square (you can see the statue here), one of the greater benefactors of Kefalonia. Here some of the main events of the year, like the Carnival, concerts, christmas village etc take place. The square has a number of open air cafes where one can relax while the kids can play around. The road with the palm trees has a big selection of restaurants and bars and ends up at the Municipal Swimming pool and on your right you will find the Tourist Information Center.
Katavothres, Fanari, Lassi, Livathos (north side)
estimated walk time to Katavothres is approx 15min, to Fanari extra 15min*- driving option of all north tour approx 2h
From the Tourist Information Center you can begin another tour by taking the beautiful Fanari coastal road, either on foot or by car. On the way you will see the ruins of Thalassomilos, then visit the water wheel and the strange geological phenomenon of Katavothres, (there is a restaurant-cafe-nightclub here) and then head off to Saint Theodore lighthouse or Fanari. Following the road you can stop to get a photo at the Memorial of Acqui Division, on the way there are a few small sandy coves towards Lassi that you can cool down for a while and then explore the area, the suburbs of Argostoli. Take your car to look around the villages of Livathos and stop at Kourkoumelata village, re-built by Vergotis brothers, to preserve the traditional architecture and offer to inhabitants a lot of facilities. Here you can visit the Vergotis foundation promoting Ionian heritage. Stop here for a coffee at Marina cafe.
*times are approx and are calculated without any stops