My experience of the Ionian Islands before this trip was limited to Paxos – an island I had thus far considered to ‘feel’ different from many other Greek islands I’d visited. Kefalonia was to be my first trip to Greece in a couple of years – and as soon as I arrived I knew it was going to be the kind of island I was looking for.After picking up a hire car at Kefalonia airport, we started the long trek up and over the ominous, looming mountains that dominate the island’s landscape. They’re an impressive sight, and the knowledge that we were driving to the other, unseen side provided a hint of excitement. We had no knowledge of what we were driving to and what we’d find when we got there – there was no reason not to dream of blue lagoons and long white sand beaches with no-one on them – and in fairness this was by and large what greeted us on the other side.
What we found when we got to our base for the week, Fiskardo, was a lot more variety than expected. Descending the hills to the coves and harbours that surround the village, we came across any number of hand-scribbled signs to beaches – tantalisingly pointing down unspoilt lanes and tracks to the sea. This was a sign of good things to come.
In Fiskardo itself, there were enough people there in June for the place to fizz and buzz with holiday excitement. Drinks, food and ouzo followed liberally from the many tavernas and bars you’d expect in a place like this. The glorious backdrop and soundtrack of the sea lapping against the hulls of fishing boats and holiday yachts alike created an idyllic scene.
There was a strange dichotomy in Fiskardo between the unspoilt nature of the environment and the sheer amount of people that were attracted to it. Tourists were everywhere, but in a strangely comforting way – you had a knowledge and understanding that everyone was there for the love of Greece and a love of the same thing as you. Indeed, Fiskardo is a place for people who appreciate all the best bits about Greece.
What’s more, the beaches around Fiskardo are a huge reason to head to this area. The isolated and simply stunning Dafnoudi, down a forest track, is a must visit – as is the relatively accessible Emblisi beach, with a car park and a deep pebbly shelf in the sea typical of this area and making it perfect for swimming. Although you get the impression these places would be busy in August, there is no doubt in June you’d find plenty of space to while away a day.
On the second to last day we hired a boat, and I’d thoroughly recommend this to ensure you see the best of all the little coves and inlets around Fiskardo. With turquoise sea, jumping off a boat into the deep is fascinating when you can see all the way to the bottom. Absolutely stunning.
Fiskardo has everything you’d want a Greek fishing village to have to be able to recommend it. Tranquil, yet busy in the evening. Beautiful, but rugged enough to feel real. Isolated, but with good accessibility to great beaches, places to eat and areas to explore. One thing’s for sure, I’ll definitely be heading back.
Article by Jacob Little