Argostoli (Kefalonia)

Argostoli: The Lighthouse of St. Theodore

Argostoli: The Lighthouse of St. Theodore

Argostoli, the once drab capital of Kefalonia, has become quite a chic destination in recent years. At the south end of the bay is a salt water lagoon. This is a popular feeding ground for loggerhead turtles. Look out for them swimming in the bay as you enter and leave.

As you enter the bay, the rebuilt Doric style lighthouse of St Theodore (also called the Fanari lighthouse) can be seen at the end of the peninsula. It’s a good place to watch the sun set and there are several good beaches in the vicinity.

Nearby, the Katavothres swallow holes are a strange geological feature, where seawater disappears under the island. It emerges, two weeks and 15km later in the Melissani caves near Sami, on the east side of the island. The flow was used to drive a couple of water mills, one of which can still be seen.

If the walk to Katavothres is too much (it’s about 3km from town), take a stroll around the lagoon. This is now a designated bird sanctuary.

Your walk will doubtless take you across the De Brosset or Drapano bridge, which divides the lagoon from the bay. This was built in 1813, during the British rule. About half way along is the Kolona obelisk, installed by the local Parliament in thanks to the British for building the bridge. The gratitude wasn’t long lasting as the plaques recording it disappeared from the monument as soon as the British left!

Argostoli: The sea front

Argostoli: The sea front

If even the lagoon is too far for you, Argostoli is a pleasant place to hang out, with the best shopping opportunities on the island. These are centred on the pedestrianised Lithostroto (cobbled) Street.

The town square is lined with cafes, bars and restaurants. There’s an impressive bell tower just off the square which you can climb up. Culture vultures can visit the Archaeological Museum or the Historical and Folklore Museum, but don’t expect too much of the architecture: What the World War 2 bombs didn’t get, the 1953 earthquake finished off.

Had the marina been built that long ago, it might provide some excuse for it’s condition. Sadly, many years after construction started, there’s still no sign of it being finished though it is usable. However, being sited on the east side of the bay opposite the town, it’s a bit out of town. So most charter yachts head for the town quay. There’s often a swell but it usually dies down later in the day.

If you need to provision, there are good fruit, veg and fish markets on the sea front. In town you’ll find several mini markets and there’s a large supermarket in the south end of town. There are plenty of banks and ATM’s and all the other facilities you’d associate with a fair sized town.

With its location putting it out of reach of most of the flotilla holiday yachts, Argostoli is a good bet for your bareboat or skippered yacht charter.

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