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Kefalonia Historical Sights

One of the things that makes Kefalonia so beautiful is the mix of stunning landscapes and views with the prevalence of ancient ruins, remains, houses, religious spots, lighthouses and castles. The end result of all of the numerous earthquakes and wars that have hit the island over the years is that the island is a treasure trove for history buffs.

Firstly in Argostoli there is the brilliant Museum of Archaeology that features an extensive and fascinating collection of Mycenean, Roman and Hellenistic relics and treasures that have been found all over the island. Particular highlights include a sculpted disc and plaque that was found in the Melissani Caves (and was thought to be a symbol of a cult dedicated to the god Pan) as well as a 3rd Century Roman head made out of bronze. Next to that there is also the Korgialenos Cultural and Historical Museum that sets out the various artefacts, symbols, weapons and uniforms / dresses of the peoples that have occupied Kefalonia over the centuries. The library was opened by Eleni Kosmetatou in 1966 and contains the amazing collection she put together. There is an incredible display highlighting all aspects of 19th century life on the island that includes near perfectly preserved costumes and lacework, tools and household utensils. Another great exhibit is the folkloric room which highlights all the myths, stories and legends of the island

Another museum that is worth visiting to get an idea of a different kind of history of the island is the Natural History Museum in Davagata. This is only small, but they have managed to make it incredibly interesting and to fit quite a lot in. It details the history of the islands in terms of the flora and fauna found there and outlines the geological timeline.

Other historical highlights on Kefalonia include:

In Fiskardo there is a massive polygonal stonework at the base of the mountains at Pyrgos which was believed to be a Mycenaean stronghold. There is also a unique set of ruins out on the headland of a former Byzantine Church which are particularly beautiful (and unique because they survived the earthquake) and in the south of the harbor another Byzantine church (and monastery) with some beautiful icons inside.

In Lourdas there is the 13th Century Monastery of Sissia that was supposedly founded by St Francis of Assisi and which was home to a large number of talented and intellectual monks and painters such as Tsangorola and Gerasimos Kokkinos.

In Skala there is an entire ruined village up in the hills as well as a third century Roman Villa containing beautifully preserved mosaics and just out of town you will find the ruins of an old Temple of Apollo that have been dated back to 600BC.

Assos is wonderful for lovers of history as it feels like a place from a different era. Dotted all around the village are the well-preserved ruins of the Venetian architecture that was destroyed in the earthquake and sitting above the village is a fantastic looking Venetian fortress. Again, the fortress has seen better days and is now in ruin, but going up there gives a good perspective on the size of the original fort (built in 1584) and offers spectacular views over the island.

There are hundreds of other sites all over the island, from the Bridge of Drapano to the Lighthouse of Agioi Theodori and from the Paleo-Christian Bailica ruins to the Apollonas Doric Sanctuary to the classical Sami village. In Poros there is even an archaeological site of a former mass grave that is believed to be the grave of Odysseyus. So much gold and jewellery has been excavated from the site (now in the Archaeological Museum in Argostoli) that it was almost certainly a burial site for a king and it is now thought that Poros might be the original site of Odysseus’ Ithaki, as described in Homer.