At a glance
Kefalonia’s natural charms (and turbulent past) have provided inspiration to wordsmiths from Lord Byron to Louis de Bernieres. The great Philhellene Byron stayed on the island for 4 months during the Greek War of Independence; his sojourn is marked by a plaque at his favourite vantage point, inscribed with his quote: “If I am a poet, I owe it to the air of Greece.”
Some 170 years later, de Bernieres set his novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin on the island, catapulting it to fame with the arrival of Hollywood stars to create a silver-screen version. You certainly don’t have to be a romantic poet or bestselling author to appreciate the aesthetic allure of this rugged Ionian isle: the jaw-dropping perfection of Myrtos beach, unfailingly rated among the world’s most beautiful; the luminous allure of underground Melissani lake; the paintbox-hued houses gathered around the waterfront at Fiskardo (the only village to escape the island’s massive earthquake in 1953); the picture-perfect promontory of Assos with its Venetian castle; and the wild ponies on fir-covered Mount Aenos, at an altitude of 1,628m, the highest in the Ionian archipelago.