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Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands off the west coast of Greece. 90 kilometres from top to bottom, it is a stunning (and winning) combination of soaring rugged mountains that slope all the way to gorgeous beaches and picturesque villages that overlook coast and valley. With three other islands surrounding Kefalonia, the views given its own coastline as well are breathtaking. Vegetation comprises of a huge and surprising array of trees - some you would expect from an island in the vicinity of the Med and some you'd more likely find in Norway such as the black fir. Amongst the swathes of olive tree groves and sunburnt yellowing grass sit white villas with their terracotta roofs, every single one with a fantastic view of the shimmering true blue ocean and the hazy outline of islands distant. No one is stuck for a view in Kefalonia.
Roads were either ear popping mountain passes or chiselled into the rock to follow the sea. To the north of the capital Argostoli lies Myrtos Bay, an icon in beach terms. Just to the north lies the peninsular island of Assos.
Continuing north to the top of the island brings you to Fiscardo, the main yachting hangout and resident quaint-as-hell town on the island.
We stayed at Lourdas, a resort around 7km north of the airport and situated around a 2km walk from the stretch of beaches at the foot of the mountain. It was a big hill, a car was essential unless you are in training for some kind of gruelling physical challenge in the future. The area is famed for its gardens, and deservedly so. eg Tenderly manicured fruit and veg gardens reach literally down to the beach. The resort is still not developed so restaurant owners grow their produce right next door on their land.
Some pics from Lourdas:
Green chillies and lemon trees
Gardens at the beach, resorts on the hillside and the mountains behind.
Lucky House 13. If we go back, we are renting this thing.
Because this beach is a footstep away:
For beaches and swimming, I haven't been blown away like this since the islands of Thailand first smacked me in the mouth, for scenery I haven't been so dazed since seeing the Great Ocean Road in Australia. It's quite something, this island.
And what did we do? A lot of mincing and poncing around (on my part), drove, ate, drank, swam, the usual. This holiday was a little different as we had 'the pickle' in tow, and what a superstar she was. It isn't hard to meet people when you have this little monster slung over your shoulder. I spent hours, no, days coming up with this analogy so hear me out : taking a baby on holiday is like having babies in general. Bloody hard work but worth it.