Ever since reading Captain Corelli’s Mandolin as a teenager I’ve been wanting to visit the Greek island of Cephallonia (Kefalonia). The book deals with so many manifestations of love (all of which are trampled over by the film, I might add), but it seems that the beauty of the island transfixes many of the characters and it certainly enchanted me.
The westernmost of the Ionian Islands, which sit between mainland Greece and Italy, it’s easy to see how this beautiful island could have found itself embroiled in World War II. Even with this violent backdrop, Corelli, Pelagia and most of all Dr Iannis manage to tell us how lovely it is living on beautiful Cephallonia. Whilst it might be foolish to go searching for Corelli’s mandolin there are plenty of other reasons to head here for a holiday.
Cephallonia is a very mountainous island, giving plenty of opportunities to walk, enjoy the forests that cover the summits and see the stunning coastline from above. You might even be tempted to head into the undergrowth to look for snails but you hopefully won’t be hungry enough to be forced to eat them!
Cephallonia is well-known as a home to loggerhead turtles, a rare and endangered species. They make their nests of Kaminia Beach on the east of the southern section of the island.
by dan taylor
The Drogarati Caves are believed to have been damaged by the real German soldiers that also appear in the fictional tale, but are still a beautiful spot, although now with fewer stalagmites and stalactites than previously. Melissani Cave is a gorgeous spot featuring a semi-underground lake that’s filled with bright blue water.
The beauty of the shoreline here is staggering and there are plenty of small coves to seek out if you want. Myrtos Beach ranks as one of the loveliest but is often busy so head to Xi if you’d rather have a little slice of this paradise to yourself.
Most visitors here head to the resort of Lassi, which is near Argostoli, but head off the beaten track and explore some of the smaller villages if you want to see more of Pelagia’s Cephallonia. In fact, nearby Farsa was apparently the inspiration for the novel, so it’s bound to be a great place to start your tour.
top image by dan taylor