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Greek Island Holidays

Cultural centre of Kefalonia

Argostoli Kefalonia

Photo: WikiMedia

The place for festivals, parades and museums.

Argostoli is the main town, cultural centre and island capital of Kefalonia with some 14,000 people living there. It's on the east coast with a deep natural harbour and surrounded by pine carpeted hills. Although the setting of Argostoli is spectacular, the town itself is endless swathes of cement and uninspiring architecture. Once full of handsome Venetian buildings, it never quite recovered from an earthquake in 1953.

Argostoli has a very large main square laid out with flagstones and lined with tavernas and hotels. There is little atmosphere during the day but in summer nights children gather to play as parents sit in open air cafes.

This is also the place for festivals, parades and outdoor performances. At one end of the square is a statue to the philanthropist Panigis Vallianou who paid for both the square and the local hospital.

Just off the square is Napier's gardens, a green oasis in a tide of cement. Napier was a British governor of Kefalonia and the Argostoli gardens have been recently renovated.

Also off the square is the traffic-free Lithostroto, the main shopping street with a wide range of shops and cafes. Note that everything closes for afternoon siesta.

Other sights of note in Argostoli are the Archaeological Museum, which has artifacts from the Trojan Wars, and the Folklore Museum.

The long promenade along Argostoli harbour is laid with a modern mosaic design and fringed with palm trees with a vegetable market at one end encircled by small cafes. Argostoli port has regular ferries to Lixouri and larger car ferries to Patras on the mainland.

Although parking is easy Argostoli has a confusing one-way system so taking a car can be a problem. Near to Argostoli is the Drapano Bridge, a 900 metre stone causeway built across the Koutavos lagoon by the British in 1813, remodeled in 1842, and now traffic-free. It's a great place to go turtle spotting.

There is a small beach near the Argostoli marina on the Fanari road to Lassi. It is shingle and stone and has a small taverna. Other coves line the shore all the way round the Argostoli headland to Lassi and this is an attractive coastal walk too.

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