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Travel Guide to Omala (Central)

At the heart of the island lies the impressive valley community of Omala, which has a very different landscape to the rest of Kefalonia. Hundreds of vineyards are cultivated here and at 700m above sea level, the shadow of mount Ainos provides the perfect condition for the grapes to grow and produce Kefalonia’s famous Robola wine, amongst other varieties. The views are wonderful throughout the valley, dramatic mountain slopes, and an unusual round-about with a magnificent huge oak tree stands at the middle of a long straight road which leads to the Monastery of Agios Gerasimos. Omala is the smallest community in Kefalonia and the only one without a shoreline, it covers 46.7 square kilometers and has a little more than 1000 residents. It is very pleasant to drive around the traditional and picturesque villages of Valsamata and Fragata, Michata and Panochori in the Omala Valley. In this area you can find the Robola Cooperative Winery which has been in operation since 1987. The winery is a contemporary, but small-scale, wine factory where you can take a tour and sample the wines. There are also a few private wineries in the area. You can take an organised tour of several wineries with the experts Kefalonia Wine Tour. Each year, during August, two big celebrations (Panigyri) take place in the area dedicated to the production of Robola wine, organized by Omala’s local associations. At these Panigyri you can enjoy local traditional dances and music, while tasting goat stew and sampling free Robola wine! The extremely important Festival of Grape Harvest and Moustalevria, takes place in August at Agia Paraskevi church in Troianata - if you can visit it is a wonderful celebration in which to participate. Saint (Agios) Gerasimos Monastery celebrates the Patron Saint of Kefalonia, and proudly stands here with a history spanning more than 500 years. Hundreds of Pilgrims from all over Greece gather here twice yearly (on the 20th October and 16th of August) to celebrate the saint and pay homage to his relics. If you like nature and hiking you can combine your visit with a walk around the abandoned, yet atmospheric, pre earthquake villages that are still standing on the slopes of Ainos and/or take an enjoyable walk to one of the trails that lead to Mount Ainos offering amazing views. If the exersion and the cool breeze stimulate your appetite, you can dine in one of the regional tavernas that serve local meat and wine. For those wanting to use the center of the island for their accommodation, I would suggest a villa located here; luxurious 4 bedroom villa Piedra, at the village of Troianata. Here you can just come to relax, bring your family, or host a special occasion such as a wedding. The villa sleeps 9 guests with private chapel, swimming pool, playground and gym.