Resort Guide to Argostoli Kefalonia
Argostoli is the beating heart of Kefalonia, a town that has managed to embrace modern life whilst holding on to its centuries old traditional character. Argostli has been the island’s capital since 1757 and is also capital of the whole Ithaca prefecture. The town is laid out in the traditional Greek way, designed amphitheatrically so that it looks out over the stunning Koustavos lagoon, a lagoon that glistens blue-green every morning and is often packed with everything from tiny fishing boats to vast private yachts. The town has an abundance of wonderful architecture worth exploring, from expansive and bustling town squares to charming picture postcard churches and endless rows of neoclassical buildings, (although most of the original architecture was destroyed first by German bombs and then by the earthquake in 1953). Argostoli is also surrounded on all sides by lush green forests covering imposing mountains and is connected to the rest of the island by the large Drapano stone bridge that crosses the lagoon.
For tourists and visitors this combination of the old Argostoli remains and the new layout of the town in wide, spacious streets and squares lined with gorgeous thick palm trees and dotted with benches (all filled with old, lively and characterful locals) makes for a charming place to visit. Additionally, Argostoli is a working port that supports not just the occasional cruise liner, but also local sightseeing tours, small ferries and fishing boats that go out early every morning and then sell their fish on the seafront. Indeed, take a stroll by the sea early in the morning and you will get to witness the wonderful melodic bartering going on between the local hoteliers and tavern owners and the fish sellers at the fish market. This is the joy of Argostoli, a hive of traditional local businesses and local traditions, mixed with the constant throng of tourists enjoying the local attractions and sights.
If you do fancy a day or two of sightseeing, Argostoli has plenty to offer. Up on Roku Vergoti street there is the fascinating Museum of Archaeology containing a wonderful collection of excavated Mycenaean relics that were found all over Kefalonia. Next to that is the Historical and Cultural Museum that displays the various relics left by the many occupiers of Kefalonia (including the British) and their tools, weapons, furniture and traditional dress. Other attractions include the Napier Garden, the Korgialenios Library and the monuments to revolutionaries on Rizospaston Street. For fine views head up to the Kampanas Square and the renovated belfry tower that offers the best spot to take in the lagoon and the town below. A bit further out there are places such as Farao Hill, also offering fine views of the town and the magical Katavothres caves found near to the Aghioi Theodoroi lighthouse. The lighthouse itself sits at the edge of the Lassi Peninsula and offers visitors some spectacular sunsets. All of this can be reached via the Giro of Lassi, a winding road that leads from Argostoli to Lassi.
For shopping, head to the retail district on Lithostroto street, a long and busy street offering every kind of tradesman, artisan and local produce as well as numerous bakeries, eateries, gift shops, clothes shops, boutiques, hairdressers, supermarkets and book shops. There are all the usual necessities such as banks and buses, taxis and car hire and down in the harbor you can get ferries to nearby Lixouri every half hour and which take around twenty minutes journey time.
The best bit about Argostoli though are the balmy early evenings when you can stroll from tavern to restaurant to tavern before browsing the late markets and engaging with the local traders. Whether you wander around the bustling Valianos Square or the coastal public market, or whether you head to the Saturday market before dining at one of the well-known restaurants nearby – the Anonymos, Kalafatis and Diana Taverna all have great reputations – make sure you do it with a glass of the local Robolo wine in your hand.
If you are interested have an older – less informative page on Argostoli that you can read here.