The finish of our ‘The Odyssey‘ bike tour has up on Kefalonia island in the Ionian Sea. We spend 3 nights in Agia Effimia, a quiet fishing village, mid north on the island. This is a beautiful island to relax after a month on the road from Istanbul. It isn’t as touristy as so many Greek islands – you have genuine traditional villages, spectacular beaches and tons of history – perfect for an Odyssey as well as a post Odyssey relax!
Agia Effimia is lovely and our favourite. It also works brilliantly for us cycling off the ferry at Samos and giving us speedy access to Odysseus’ Ithaka, but we recommend heading to a different village to sea and experiencing a different part of the island. The most populated and busy areas are on the south coast especially towards Argostoli, the capital. The airport is south too is just east of Argostoli.
Where to stay?
For a busy, lively, practical, modern but nice greek city (much of the Venetian architecture was destroyed by an earthquake) Argostoli is a great option. You have everything here and it is a fun town. For a quiet, traditional, picturesque village Assos is hard to beat with its Venetian castle with great views and beautiful village feel. Another great option is cosmopolitan Fiskardo right up the north it is lovely town. Skala is more tourist focused but has great beaches and facilities.
Definitely hire a car, driving is easy and the roads are quiet and there is tons to explore. Our tops things to do:
- Find your own beach. This is a genuine beach paradise. The beaches are white round pebbles and the water a spectacular aqua. These are some of the best beaches anywhere in the Mediterranean. Even Australians will be hugely impressed. You will easily find tiny beaches everywhere to claim as your own. There are the famous big ones which are also worth a visit (we will drop in on Myrtos, often named the best beach in the world, but your own private patch is often so much better! On this topic, try this walk: https://www.strava.com/activities/7228356019 which will take you down to Fteri Beach, genuinely spectacular and no one there besides people who arrive by boat. It is a rough track 30 mins down and a little hard to find so use our strava route! Antisamos beach is good for fish too!
- Melissani Cave. Odysseus has been here (possibly, we will chat on this on tour!) but besides that it is beautiful. I almost didnt go in, tons of tourists which was off-putting and a real structure to churn people through. But it was worth it, it is pretty impressive!
- Assos and Fiskardo – mentioned above, if you don’t stay there, worth a visit. They both also have rugged, spectacular riding around them – lots of climbing, switchbacks, views, some remote good cafes – try Rosies Cafe when out on bike – great fresh cakes and so perfectly placed at one of the highest points!
- Drink Robola wine! It is only made here so you should! Visit the vineyards Haritatos or Sclavos.
- Vlachata village – Abandoned after the 1953 earthquake, it lies in ruins – great atmosphere to wander through.
- Mount Aenos – If you don’t ride up it with us, it is worth a drive. The views are spectacular.
- Bridge to Argostoli – worth a wander with or without us – Turtles everywhere!