The Kefalonia Loop and Mountain of the Gods!

On the Road – Distance 100km / 62 mi | Elevation 2,247 metres / 7,373 feet

Please watch my Relive video here:

An amazing day on the bike. On our arrival yesterday we had a glimpse of the waters the island is surrounded by, today we got the full tour! A 10% limb up and down from our hotel on cobbles or broken concrete makes fro a challenging departure!

We climbed across the island, back towards Myrtos Beach. Hugging the cliff line, we rode with some of the most amazing views you will see on the bike. We were 1000’s of feet above the beaches and Ionian Sea, cycling on perfect roads as we headed south ducking in and out traversing these rugged hills.

We headed to Agristoli, Kefalonia’s capital. As we rolled over the pedestrian bridge into town we looked for turtles that are common here but I didn’t see any…

After coffee here we headed inland, needing to bridge across again to the northern coast. It is here we had a big decision to make!….who wants to attempt Mt Ainos, 24 km @ 9% and pitches as high as 15%. Dubbed The Mountain of the Gods, see more below. Five of us said let’s do it, I was definitely the slowest but did Gittrdun! and felt great with my accomplishment!

Of course what goes up must come down…the ride to the summit of Mt Ainos was an out and back( Ootnbak in Canadian), so 24 km descent at 9%. When we finished this and before heading to the hotel we stopped and had a tour of an underground river in a cave…stalagmites, clear water to depths of 60 ft.

And if that wasn’t enough, we shuttled to Myrtos beach to go for a swim in the Ionian Sea….no sand here but small round bright white pebbles making for a clean beach, no messy sand between your toes! It is 2 km @8.5% down from the main road!, we rode by it earlier in the day and looked down.

Mount Ainos

Kefalonia can be distinguished from a great distance as it is dominated by Ainos, the massive, ‘Black Mountain’, lost in history.

The highest mountain in the Ionian, Enos takes its name from the black pine (Abies Cephalonica) that once covered it completely and grows nowhere else. It has been a national park since 1962, known for its wealth of wild flowers. It’s also home to a special breed of pony, Equus cabalus. It is also a UNESCO protected International Dark Sky Park.

Somewhere to the east and a little lower than the summit that touched the heavens, a sanctuary was built where sacrifices to Zeus were offered. It was the perfect place for it as the word “aenos” (αίνος) itself means “praise”, “glorification”, that is praise to the great father of Gods and heroes. 

One of the ultimate monumental backdrops….Mount Ainos, dedicated to Zeus, second only to Mount Olympus for the king of the Olympian Gods. The last human (according to mythology!) to attempt climbing a god’s mountain was Bellerophon, the son of Eurynome and Poseidon, who tried to reach the top on a different stead! One day, after casually killing a fire-breathing Chimera, he decided to fly the winged horse Pegasus up to Mount Ainos (claimed by Mount Olympus too)! Zeus was furious at his actions and sent a vicious fly (yes just a vicious fly!) to bite Pegasus. The fly did as required, causing the horse to throw its rider from its back, sending Bellerophon tumbling back to Earth and he was killed! Lucky we will be on bicycles!

Little bit of trivia: the town of Sami on Kefalonia, a town used as a location extensively for the filming of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.  

Tomorrow we head to the Big O’s kingdom, the island of Ithaca!

Life is good on Kefalonia

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