1 day in Cephalonia
The largest island of the archipelago of the Ionian islands and at the same time least known to tourists. Still quite virgin place but the first signs of massive tourism are on the horizon. We visited Cephalonia within the 1 day trip during our stay on Zante. That was our second trip with the Polish travel agency Zante Magic Tours. These are not the places we visited on our own, but with the guide. Why we didn’t go alone? We read on blogs that logistically it is quite complicated trip. First of all, the ferry schedule is limited – it returns early from the island. Secondly, without car, it will not work, which generates quite a lot of costs. Taking into account the money and the small amount of time, we decided to buy an organized trip. We know that we saw only a small piece of the island, but we are still glad that we could see it. We don’t say goodbye to the Cephalonia forever. There is definitely more to discover, while I invite you to foretaste what Cephalonia offers! 🙂
Several organizational matters. 🙂
As I mentioned at the beginning, we went on a 1-day trip. I don’t have to convince you that it is really not that long, considering how big is Cephalonia compared to Zante? Still, we decided to see a little piece of Cephalonia. I’m still hot sure if I will have a chance to come back here! 🙂 That is why we decided to take this trip. We had a great guide – Basia, who has been lived in Athens for years and speaks even Greek. In addition to the fantastic dose of humor, we also got a lot of information about Cephalonia and Greece. Once again we got a great tour guide from Zante Magic Tours (thank you). 🙂 We paid 45 euros + 10 euro for cave entrance.
In addition to the Zante Magic Tours there are other agencies that organize trips to Kefalonia. Personally, I saw a TUI bus, but there are a few other operators.
The only bad thing about this trip was quite early meeting (at least for people who lived in Argassi) because we had to skip a breakfest. At the end of the trip we had once again bad luck because we almost skipped our dinner! But that was only small inconvenience. 😛
Our ride started in the small port of Agios Nikolaos and we were heading to the equally tiny Pessada. The journey takes about 1 hour. and 10 min. From the same village leave boats to the Blue Grotto, so those who haven’t seen the Treasure yet can now have the opportunity. 🙂 In spite of this, we also recommend a small boat which sails closer to these amazing rock formations.
After this short ferry journey, we packed up to the coach and went to the conquest of the island. Here is our plan for today: St. Gerasimos Monastery, Drogarati Cave, Melissani Lake, Agia Efimia Port, Myrthos Beach, Myrthos view point, and Argostoli (capital).
St. Gerasimos Monastery
Our first stop was the Monastery of St. Gerasimos, namely religious center of Cephalonia. The whole complex consists of several new buildings (since the former was completely destroyed during the tragic earthquake of 1953). We focused mainly on the small church in which rests St. Gerasimos. The exterior of the church looks very inconspicuous, but inside it is a real gem. Be sure to wear approriate clothes, because the nuns with exposed arms and legs won’t let you in … Going back to the interior of the church, it contains two colors: turquoise and gold. Each piece of wall is exactly covered with paintings and chandeliers complete the charm of this place. In the silver sarcophagus rests the body of Gerasimos. During our stay the coffin was closed, but if you are lucky you can see his body in open coffin. 🙂
Gerasimos came from an aristocratic family and he became a priest in early years. Before he went to Cephalonia he traveled a lot, but in the end he decided to stay on this island. Three years after his death, durinfg the transfer of the remains, it was discovered that his body wasn’t decaying. This was considered as a miracle and Gerasimos was canonized in the seventeenth century.
In addition to the small church where the remains of Gerasimos are buried, there is a large Orthodox church. Unfortunately, we didn’t even enterfor a moment. Too bad, because probably 5 more minutes wouldn’t save us? 🙁
Then we headed to the gorgeous Drogarati cave. This time we burned calories on several hundred stairs. Of course, you have to pay 4 euros (group ticket) or 5 euros if you are not a group. At the bottom, we had lower temperatures and an amazing view. Thousands of stalactites and stalagmites create a magnificent image of the interior of the earth. The special path in the cave protects us from slipping and at the same time marks the route through the cave. We took some photos, we admired the amazing mother nature and re-packed into the coach again.
Time for one of the biggest attractions of Cephalonia – Melissani Lake. This forgotten place was discovered again after the earthquake of 1953, when part of the cave collapsed revealing the lake. As it turned out, the place was already known by the ancients. I don’t know why it was forgotten. Now again is a popular tourist attraction. The sun’s rays make the water look amazingly turquoise. The lake is very clean but feather birds can make the opposite impression. Interestingly, the water here is always cold and mixed with sweet and salt sea water. With a little luck you can see eels. 😉 We swam on small boat. It’s was a real pleasure to be on this lake! 🙂 The attraction will cost you 6 euros (in the group, and single tickets cost 7 euros).
Time for a lunch in Agia Efimia
Although we haven’t seen much many spots so far, time was running fast. We started notice, that we are getting slowly hungry. We stoped at the tiny harbor of Agia Efimia. On the way we passed beautiful but very intimate beaches. Crystal clear water was covering beautiful white stones. Views were just outstanding. But our stomach were empty, so it was a perfect time for a lunch. We had three taverns to choose from, but our guide Basia recommended us Perasma. Even on Trip Advisor this tavern has good reviews. The staff knew that we are in a hurry so they served food for 50 people hurry. Despite the high price (15 euros) I tempted to grilled octopus. How much I failed. For 15 euros I got only ONE TENTACLE!! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Besides, it wasn’t even tasty – the tentacle was very hard. Personally, I think my dad is able to make a much better octopus from grocery for 30 PLN (30 PLN for the whole octopus, not only one tentacle). 😀 I don’t recommend this dish there.
After an unsuccessful lunch, I took just few pics of Agia Efimia before departure.
Cephalonia and its largest pearl – Myrthos beach
After lunch time to relax! Finally my favorite part of the trip – Myrthos beach. One of the most beautiful beach in whole Greece and quite hard accessible. The road to the beach is very narrow and winding. Our coach stopped on the small hill. From this place it sill looks like the beach is covered by white sand. When we came closer we discovered that unfortunately it’s a rocky beach. But at least we had a crystal clear water, which encourages to swimming. But the bottom of the sea reminds us how dangerous this place is. There are many stones that separeted from cliffs and rolled straight to the water. The entrance to the sea quickly falls down, also non-swimmer be careful!
Too bad we only had 40 minutes here. I would love to stay longer!
We also stopped in a nearby view point, where we could admire the panoramic view of the surrounding area and the Myrthos beach. 🙂
At the end of the tour, literally for 40 minutes we visited the capital of the island – Argostoli. The city is inhabited by almost 10,000 people. This is 1/4 of the island population. Although Cephalonia (780 km2) is almost twice the size of Zakynthos (405 km2) it is much less populated. It all comes down to the earthquake of 1953, when the island was completely destroyed. After this earthquake Cephalonia was left by 20 thousand. people!!
De Bosset bridge
There are not too many monuments in the Argostoli. The only monument with longer history is the stone bridge that connects the two banks. It was built in 1813 by the Swiss engineer De Bosset, hence the unusual name of this bridge (from the name of the Swiss builder). Due to the fact that we only had 40 minutes, we didn’t have time to reach the bridge. Too bad, because there is also a charming little church, which is definitely worth seeing!
Careta Careta! 🙂
When we walked on the promenade we saw Careta Careta turtles. We tried to take a picture of them, but they were too fast. Besides, walking along the promenade you will surely notice a serious problem of the people of Argostoli. Yes, the sea level is almost equal to the level of the city. A small wave and the water is pouring onto the promenade. I wonder if they are flooding during storms. Apparently the city authorities are looking for a solution of the problem.
Thank yoy for reading our Cephalonia content. I hope you enjoyed. Imagine that we were in the harbour 10 min. before the departure and it was planned to be there only 10 min earlier. 😀
Meanwhile, watch our video from Zante and Cephalonia! 😀
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