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If you’re seeking a sample of tranquil Greek island life, then Kefalonia is the perfect place to visit. Kefalonia is one of the Ionian Islands in Greece, often referred to by its Italian name Cefalonia or even Kefallinia – the name of the entire area and the airport which services it. It’s a location that is famed for being the setting of ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’, but thankfully the island has not sold out to movie merchandising and has kept its quaint and charming personality in abundance.
Being an island you’re never far away from the gorgeous waters of both the Ionian and Mediterranean seas. A mixture of pebbled and sandy beaches await you and are often accompanied by picturesque fishing villages, where the catch of the day can be bought and cooked in Grecian style. Myrtos Beach to the north of the island is considered by some to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
The four peninsulas of the island host a number of large mountains, creating some outstanding scenery to explore and conceal a number of beautiful caverns and caves that stretch under the entire island. The position of Kefalonia makes it easy to hop over to other Islands that are in the vicinity and sample as many of these beautiful locations as possible.
A great but not-too-taxing activity when the weather is hot is to take the famous glass-bottomed boat tour out onto the bay from Argostoli harbour and try spotting loggerhead turtles and other marine life, such as octopus.
If you happen to be on the island on 15 August, the celebration of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary, the most bizarre of the numerous local festivals, don't be surprised if you see dozens of harmless snakes appear at the church of Markopoulo on the lower slopes of Mount Enos, near Skala.
As the name of the shop suggests, Olive Wood sells locally crafted olive-wood items in all shapes and sizes, from worry beads to huge salad bowls, but they also have a variety of other souvenirs, some from Asia (4 Lithostroto, Argostoli, olivewood.eu).
If you are staying in Argostoli or one of the main resorts, it is well worth hiring a vehicle and visiting the Lixouri peninsula. Apart from the working port town of Lixouri itself, the fabulous west-coast beach of Petani is one of the island's finest.