Kefalonia, Fiscardo and the beauty of the northern coast
Words of Adam Jacot de Boinod The island of Kefalonia will be familiar to some for the wonderful novel "The Mandolin of Captain Corelli" by Louis de Bernières, directed on film by Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz. From pine trees, cypress trees and olive groves to secluded coves and white sandy beaches, the island in […]

Words of Adam Jacot de Boinod

The island of Kefalonia will be familiar to some for the wonderful novel "The Mandolin of Captain Corelli" by Louis de Bernières, directed on film by Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz. From pine trees, cypress trees and olive groves to secluded coves and white sandy beaches, the island in the Ionian Sea has an assortment of quaint fishing villages and attractive restaurants, which showcase the cultural traditions of this welcoming Greek island. .

I reached my destination, a cosmopolitan fishing village in the north called Fiscardo which faces Ithaca, the home of Odysseus, and is a boater's paradise. There are no nightclubs here, it is a place of relaxation and rest.

This charming port is the only village on the island that was not damaged by the catastrophic earthquake of 1953. Bougainvillea adorns the obvious and satisfying Venetian colors and architecture, and although there are less than fifty inhabitants off season, it is a working village with busy locals. sweep and water the sidewalks. The locals are warm and engaging, allowing tourists to walk to their shops and restaurants on their own without hassle or glamor.

Hotel

Image Credit: Emma Ball

I stayed at Almyra Hotel. Almyra means 'the feel of the salt water of the sea' and opened in 2002 as a family business. The furnishings in the spacious living room are modern and chic and there is a healthy range of coffee table books on Greece, the Ionian Sea, Kefalonia, and photographs of fishermen from Fiscardo. Fortunately in Almyra visitors are spared the usual garish paintings, after all, the view says it all - overlooking its pool, the sea beyond and Ithaca further afield, not to mention the magnificent dawn, sunset and sea starry nights.

The hotel is the perfect boutique size; intimate, well-designed and ideal for its core couple clientele, although they usually bring their children in August. 80% of returning customers are British, so it's no surprise that the three flags next to the aisle promote not only Greece and the European Union, but the Union Jack as well. There is a minibus shuttle to transport and pick up harbor guests who also wish to have come from other routes to different beaches and coves and share their adventurous finds with each other.

Food

Image Credit: Tassia.gr

Foodies will be spoiled for choice when it comes to dining in the region. The hotel restaurant menu, with its modest number of indoor and outdoor tables, is a combination of British and Greek tastes. As a starter, I had roasted potatoes with garlic, oregano, mustard and lemon followed by octopus cooked in red wine and sundried tomatoes served with chickpeas.

Mirella's, a roadside restaurant between the hotel and Emblisi Beach, holds authentic white-wood tables adorned with potted plants and offers truly picturesque views of the sea beyond. Here I chose a Caesar salad, as well as a honey feta and a filo pastry, followed by a chicken fillet with mushroom and pepper cream. It is very reasonable and genuine price.

One evening at Fiscardo, I ate at Panormos, a terrace restaurant with a trendy and cool atmosphere. The menu is trendy and modern with “super green” dishes chosen to suit the palate of healthy types. I chose the delicious, generously portioned super food salad made with crisp lettuce, pomegranate pearls, pine nuts, white and red quinoa, wild rice, grilled goat cheese, and lemon vinaigrette. As another starter, I had spicy shrimp, chili oil, vongole shellfish and feta cheese. Then came the sea bass fillet with lemon and thyme sauce followed by the "magic muffin", an orange chocolate soufflé with bitter chocolate ice cream.

Another night I had dinner at one of the restaurants by the water called Roulas. It has its distinctive floral pattern with soothing white neutral colors as a backdrop. The pretty elephant's breath, warm, medium gray exterior is extremely stylish, as are the white chairs, tables, shutters and windows with their delicate Greek lace. There was even a little shop to lure me inside next to the kitchen where the magic happens.

Right next door, and for another night of partying, I went to the restaurant Tassia. It is linked to the Almyra hotel and the wonderful menu offers a wide variety of meats and seafood. I chose the delicious taramasalata de Tassia, a Meloza salad with lettuce, arugula, cherry tomatoes, almonds and honey sauce , olive oil and balsamic vinegar. My grilled fresh tuna fillet which was fabulously succulent was followed by Tassia's dessert with yogurt, pineapple jelly, baked pineapple and crème fraîche.

Make

With its crystal clear waters and secluded coves, Fiscardo is the perfect place for relaxation and adventure

All close to Fiscardo are the coves of Dafnoudis and Kimilia, but my favorite was Alaties, and I recommend going early to reserve your spot. It is a hidden gem in turquoise water, in front of the charming church of Antipata Erisou, then a few hamlets, through Magganos with its delicious restaurant called Picnic, to this divine little cove with the bluest of water and the whitest of rock outcrops.

For a wonderful day trip I highly recommend a boat trip with Ionian discoveries. Owner Fabio takes people to snorkel and one place is Boieru Cave in Foki Bay (meaning Seal Bay) in the glorious setting of calm turquoise water and above a small deep and dark evergreen forest, very reminiscent of Scandinavia and Canada. Throughout the day he had shown me gray and white herons, a school of baby gray mules, turtles, cormorants, octopus and starfish. He and Vassilis love to share their knowledge while they have everything to me. explained about the octopus and its indisputable, albeit underestimated, intelligence and memory.

Like all other Brits, I have to go back. When but soon!

Factbox

I had the support of Heathrow Express and reached Gatwick Airport via Southern railway as well as Holiday Extras, the market leader in UK airport parking, hotels, lounges and transfers, and Holiday Extras aim to find you a hotel and parking package that is cheaper than airport parking on cheaper on its own (over two stays of one week). To book the Hilton at London Gatwick Airport, visit HolidayExtras.com or call 0800 316 5678.


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Fall ( September – November ) : temperatures cool down gradually, although September is usually still very pleasant. Expect crisp fall leaves and some sunnier days, but plan for wet weather too. Fall carries many of the same benefits as spring, but with slightly less predictable weather.

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