Xi astonishing red sand
Photo: Janet Chittock
Xi or Ksi beach on Kefalonia is one of the best known resorts on the lesser known Pali peninsula of the island. Xi (often pronounced by the English 'zee') is a long, flat beach of sand and shingle noted for its red colour and for the grey alluvial deposits that make up much of the landscape around the Pali peninsula. Shallow waters help make Xi a popular beach for families with children.
Much of Xi beach is dominated by the Cephalonia Palace Hotel. The hotel, although large, is not completely unattractive and is surrounded by pleasant gardens. As well as the hotel there are plenty of apartments dotted around the flat area behind the beach.
Xi resort also has several shops, tavernas and bars. It's pretty much at a dead end road so there is little in the way of traffic. Xi. It is very long at around four kilometres and relatively quiet.
Xi has the advantage of being well away from the usual tourist trail. It has a pleasant un-commercial atmosphere and attracts a more sophisticated tourist.
The downside is you are quite cut off from the rest of the island and its a long drive to get anywhere. With a car you have to drive around the long Pali peninsula or you have to take the ferry across the bay to Argostoli.
From Xi beach you can also take a boat to Vardiani island which only 500 metres offshore.
Where Xi beach ends, the beach of Mega Lakkos begins and, turning back towards Mantzavinata the road goes to Kounopetra next to Akrotiri and the fishing village of Vatsa Bay.
The area around Xi beach is very flat so walking and cycling are no problem and the area to the north west at Krokidata is very attractive.
Kefalonia is not just a holiday island of sea and sand, it also has some very impressive monasteries that are not only in delightful settings but also house some important relics.
The word 'stunning' is often overused in the world of travel writing. Very few vistas can be described as truly stunning, but the fortress at Assos is certainly a contender.
The Castle of St George or Agios Giorgios is one of the best known and most visited historic sites on the Greek holiday island of Kefalonia with panoramic views in all directions.
At Melissani Lake cave in Kefalonia light streams through an open roof to a shimmering blue lake of almost ethereal beauty. Melissani Lake is an astonishing sight at any time.