The island of Kefalonia, also known as Cephallenia, is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece, covering an area of 350 sq. miles. It is also the larger of the two islands forming the Kefalonia and Ithaka Prefecture, and contains eight out of nine of the prefecture’s municipalities. (Ithaca is on a separate island.)
Sailing around Kefalonia can surely take a lot of time, but with our sailing yachts, you can take advantage of each and every place you wish to explore on this beautiful island, with absolute safety and comfort.
Sailing Holidays in Kefalonia
The largest island of the Ionian Islands, Kefalonia (Greek: Κεφαλονιά) is adorned with bare limestone mountains, the highest peak, Mount Ainos, rising to and altitude of 1618 m.
The gorgeous “green” island of Kefalonia is separated from the rocky island of Ithaca by ta 2 nm wide channel and is almost cut into two by the long Gulf of Molos on its east side, making Argostoli one of the safest in the Mediterranean, while the isthmus is only 600 m wide. Lixouri, located on the peninsula opposite, also has a good marina. One place that can attract all kinds of sailor is Fiskardo, a fishing village-turned-international yachting center, on the northernmost tip of the island. Another meeting point for the sailing crowd as a safe anchorage is Agia Efimia, to the east. The Kefalonia coastline generally forms many bays and capes. The coasts are mainly rocky and steep from the side of the Ionian, while they have milder formations from the east side.
History of Kefalonia
We can easily say that Kefalonia is an essential part of the ancient Greek mythology and archeology. The explanation of the name of “Cephallenia”, reinforces its cultural connections with Athens and associates the island with the mythological figure of Cephalus, who helped Amphitryon of Mycenae in a war against the Taphians and Teleboans. He was rewarded with the island of “Sáme”, which thereafter came to be known as Cephallenia. Cephalonia has also been suggested as the Homeric Ithaca, the home of Odysseus, according to recent studies. The island is also referenced in relation to the goddess Britomartis, the goddess of mountains and hunting, as the location where she is said to have ‘received divine honours from the inhabitants under the name of Laphria (ancient religious festival)’.
Regarding the more recent history behind this island, from 1799 to 1807, Cephalonia was part of the Septinsular Republic, nominally under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire, but protected by Russia. By the Tilsit Treaty in 1807, the Ionian Islands were ceded back to France, which remained in control until 1809, and in September of that year it was taken over by the British. In 1864, Cephalonia, together with all the other Ionian Islands, became a full member of the Greek state. In World War II, the island was occupied by Axis powers, and peace returned to Greece and the island in 1949.
Ports and Local Amenities
The port of Kefalonia might not be a proper base for yacht charters, however it is nearby to the main base of Lefkas, from where you can start your sailing holidays (Lefkas port, Preveza or Nidri).
There are five harbours and ports in the prefecture. There are four main harbours on the island: Sami, a major port with links to Patras and Ithaca; Poros, in the south, which has ferry routes to Kyllini; Argostoli, in the west, which is the largest port, for local boats and ferries to Zakynthos and regularly to Lixouri and Fiscardo, in the north, which has links to Lefkas and Ithaca. There is room for about 100 small boats in Argostoli, where the port stretches 1 kilometre around the bay, while Lixouri is situated 4 km across the bay from Argostoli, on the Lixouri peninsula.
The entrance to Fiscardo bay is difficult to locate, but we believe that its beautiful buildings will surely help in locating it. Despite its cosmopolitan profile, it keeps the island’s architectural tradition unaffected, by preserving for example its old mansions, as it was the only area of Kefalonia that was not hit by the devastating earthquake of 1953.
The Large stone lighthouse as well as the smaller Venetian lighthouse, which are clearly visible, make excellent shelters in all conditions, although the anchorage just below Fiscardo town has the bad reputation of bad holding and being less protected.
Argostoli port is located in Argostoli bay and is frequented by the ferry between Lixouri and Argostoli, where you can berth stern-to or bows-to (near the ferry quay). If you prefer to anchor, there is a cove on the east side of the entrance of the inlet, which we would not highly recommend as shelter.
Argostoli, which is also the capital of Kefalonia, is surrounded by hills, both low and rich in vegetation, and is located in the middle of the bay which is a natural harbor – one of the safest in the Mediterranean. There you will find many sights, museums, public services and banks, and transportations towards other places in Kefalonia.
On the other side of the ferry quay we find Lixouri, the second biggest city of Kefalonia, and one of the most famous tourist destinations. Nearby you can discover many beautiful beaches such as Platia Ammos, located on the road to the village of Kamiranata, and Megas Lakkos, located to the south, exceeding 5km in length.