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Kefalonia island news and views

Kefalonia is a popular Greek holiday island located in the Ionian chain of islands off the west coast of mainland Greece. Kefalonia lies south of Corfu and north of Zante to the south. It is a large hilly island with a string of south coast beaches, some of the most picturesque coves and some spectacular caves. Offshore is the idyllic island of Ithaca, a favourite target of day trippers.

Azimut ferry Joy
New ferry links for the Ionian

The Ionian islands look set to get a new ferry to link some of the biggest holiday hotspots in Greece. The Ionian chain includes the very popular holiday islands of Corfu, Kefalonia, Lefkas and Zante. Although they attract thousands of UK visitors each year, ferry links between the islands have always been notoriously poor. Now a ferry route to link all the Ionian islands for the first time looks ready to set sail on May 1 and run right through the summer season until the end of October. Shipping Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis announced the new ferry service at the Regional Development Conference of the Ionian islands. The new sea ferry services will be run by Azimut Joy Cruises with a 30-metre ship that will carry up to 260 passengers. The Minister said: "The linking of the Ionian islands will be a new reality that will put an end to the isolation between islands belonging to the same region". The new ferry will link Corfu with Paxi, Lefkada, Ithaca, Kefalonia and Zakynthos with sailings every day except Sunday. Each week the ferry with travel from Corfu, in the north, to Zante (Zakynthos), in the south, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and back again (Zante to Corfu) on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The full journey will take about eight hours, leaving Corfu at 8 am and arriving in Zakynthos about 4 pm. Details of sailing time can be found on the right. It's only in Greek at the moment but those with a basic knowledge of the Greek alphabet will be able to decipher the islands of ΚΕΡΚ"Ρ' ΚΕΡΚΥΡA (CORFU), ΠAΞΟΙ (PAXOS), ΛΕΥΚADA (LEFKADA), ΙΘAΚH (ITHAKA), ΚΕΦAΛΟΝΙA (KEFALONIA) and ZAΚΥΝΘΟS (ZAKYNTHOS) or something similar. Although plenty of ferries call at these islands they are usually heading east-west on routes between the mainlands of Italy and Greece. There are a few local inter-island ferries but these usually just day cruises, have poor connections and irregular sailing times. This is the first ferry to run the whole length of the Ionian islands.  With three passenger and car ferries plus two flying dolphins, Joy Lines, a subsidiary of Joy Cruises, has been operating since 2005 running day cruises and tours from Corfu to Albania. The launch of this new Ionian ferry service could trigger a wave of island hopping tourists who can now sail from island to island.  As the closest Greek islands to the UK, the Ionian islands can be reached in flight times of three hours or so. The Ionian group lies off the west coast of mainland Greece and the are notably greener than other islands thanks to heavy winter rains. Good sandy beaches and shallow seas help to make most islands in the Ionian chain very popular with families. Corfu, Kefalonia, Lefkas and Zante are the best known but the smaller islands of Paxos and Ithaka are also well worth a visit.

deep blue yacht
Sailing the Greek Islands

There are many ways of seeing the illustrious Greek islands, but no way is better that touring the rich waters of the Mediterranean by boat and pulling into the port of any island that takes your fancy. While there are other methods of travel, by ferry, plane or car, that all have their own merits, nothing comes close to the advantages of your very own sailing boat. Freedom: Every other form of transport is limited when it comes to the Greek islands. A car, for example, might be able to get you around the quickest, but it can only travel around islands that have a car ferry system. However, aboard your own personal seafaring vessel, with the warm Med breeze in your hair, you decide where to go. This is the main benefit of charting your own boat, it creates an absolute and rare sense of freedom. Why limit yourself to just a few of these beautiful islands, when there are thousands to explore? Activities: With the freedom comes a greater range of activities available to you. One of the best activities you can get the most out of when sailing is snorkeling. Able to go anywhere in the deep blue Med you want, you can travel to all the best reef and wildlife spots, the Cyclades islands for example, to explore the underwater realm like few others can. Another firm favourite aspect of travelling in Greece is visiting beaches. Out on the boat you are able to find some of the most beautiful, secluded, beaches in the entire world. Away from the public, it feels like it's your own private paradise. One of the biggest reasons people visit the beautiful islands of Greece is its cultural and architectural history. Sailing about these islands allows you to visit any and all places of significance to you. Meaning you won't miss out on any of the wondrous ancient Greek ruins they have to offer. Finally, one of the most exciting activities you can take part in while commanding your own vessel, is simply exploring. There are many mysterious and uninhabited islands in the waters surrounding Greece, filled with breathtaking scenery and awe inspiring views. Walking through island wilderness, untouched by any man, is an experience you have to try. In a world where people hide in every nook and cranny, a quiet and natural paradise out of mans reach is simply magnificent. A word of caution though, some islands are protected because of their significant biodiversity or ecological importance. Before you moor up and go exploring, make sure you are permitted to access the island. Best Of Both Worlds: Being immersed in a private world is an experience like no other, getting away from the world and simply enjoying the wonders it has to offer. But, sometimes you want to go into the hustle and bustle of the main island towns. Maybe to do a bit of shopping, enjoy the local nightlife or find a nice restaurant to eat at. With so many bays and ports you can throw anchor in, you can not only enjoy all the bliss and rarities from your boat, but also the lively, tourist, hotspots. Author Cliff Blaylock, a resident of the Greek Islands, is an expert in travelling the Mediterranean by boat. Having left the UK to start his private charter business, Bill and his team have over 20 years experience treating customers to all the wonders the islands have to offer. If you like the sound of a privately chartered trip, but don't know how to sail, then check out Cliff's privately run and professionally crewed, yacht chartering service

map kefalonia quake
More quakes for Kefalonia

After suffering widespread earthquake damage last year, Kefalonia suffers more seismic rumblings under the Ionian Sea Earthquake rumbles continue to shake the holiday island of Kefalonia months after a series of quakes hit the island in January causing widespread damage. Scientists report a strong 5.1 magnitude tremor under the Ionian Sea just west of the island at the weekend following a 4.7 magnitude quake recorded on the previous Friday. There have been no reports of injuries or damage but the incident will have reawakened memories of the series of tremors that rocked the island earlier this year. A major 5.9 earthquake in January this year was one of many that shook the island for nearly a month, bringing down houses, causing landslides and blocking roads. In February this year, just days after Kefalonia holiday hotel owners reassured tourists that hotel were safe despite more than 250 tremors over a number of weeks, the island was hit by another major earthquake. Measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale the tremor struck Kefalonia just before dawn sending panicked residents across the island running out into the streets. More than a dozen people were injured and damage reported to several buildings. Aftershocks as large as 5.2 were recorded and, at the height of the incidents, a state of emergency was declared. Some parts of Kefalonia were without electricity for several days and rescue efforts were hampered as several roads were blocked by landslides. Hundreds were evacuated from damaged or dangerous home and house in emergency shelters and on ferry boats docked in the harbour at the capital of Argostoli. Nearly every building in the town of Lixouri was reported to have suffered some minor damage, and many buildings, including schools suffered from collapsed walls and roofs. One unusual side effect of the seismic activity was the creation of several new beaches as parts of the island were raised around 20 centimetres. The remote north-west Pali peninsula suffered the worst and it is here that searches have revealed beaches where none existed before including one that extended several thousands of square metres. Fortunately the island recovered quickly from the worst effects and the 2014 summer holiday season was not affected as hotel owners reported a rise in visitor numbers despite fears that potential visitors would change their holiday plans. European ministers also earmarked €3.7 million towards clean-up costs on the island and much work has been done to restore damaged roads and buildings. But the latest tremors may do little to reassure visitors planning a holiday in Kefalonia in 2015. The whole Ionian region is no stranger to strong earthquakes. The area is particularly prone to tremors and both Kefalonia and nearby Zante were devastated by a 7.2 quake in 1953 that razed many buildings across both islands. Known as the Great 1953 Ionian Earthquake it struck the southern Ionian Islands in August 1953 after a month when more than 113 tremors were recorded in the region between Kefalonia and Zakynthos. Earthquakes still regularly shake the islands of Zante and Kefalonia and there have been several, notably in 2003, 2005 and 2006. It is not the only tremor reported in Greece over the past few weeks. A 4.8-magnitude earthquake also shook the cities of Patras, Aegion and Nafpaktos in the northern Peloponnese on Friday evening, according to Athens Geodynamic Institute. The tremor occurred at a depth of 5 kilometres and its epicentre was located in the western Corinthian Gulf. A 5.2 magnitude earthquake also struck Western Greece in the last week of October with its epicentre 20 kilometres from the mainland town of Arta , to the north-east of Kefalonia. No damage or injuries were reported.

kefalonia earthquake
EU cash aid for Kefalonia

Kefalonia to get euro cash help towards the clean-up costs of winter earthquake. Cash help could be on the way for the Ionian holiday island of Kefalonia hit earlier this year by a 5.8 earthquake and a series of severe aftershocks. European ministers have earmarked €3.7 million from the European Union Solidarity Fund towards clean-up costs following the series of earth tremors that struck the island in January this year. The earthquake struck on 26 January to the north-east of the island capital of Argostoli and tremors were felt on the neighbouring Ionian Islands of Zante and Corfu and on the Greek mainland. Dozens of aftershocks shook buildings for several weeks after the iniital shocks with significant damage to buildings and to island roads. Around 100 houses were so badly damaged that they had to be demolished and thousands of islanders were forced to move into temporary accommodation. Many Kefalonian islanders slept in tents and other emergency shelters. Ferry ships and cruise liners anchored in Argostoli harbour were also used for temporary emergency accommodation. Schools across the island were closed until mid-February and there was significant impact on the local infrastructure. Landslides and fallen rocks made many of the island roads impassable. Some aftershocks were so severe they had panic-stricken islanders running into the streets. The seismic shocks reawakened memories of the devastating 7.2 magnitude quake that struck Kefalonia in 1953 killing hundreds of people. The cash support package for Kefalonia is part of aid worth nearly €47 million that is also earmarked for Sardinia, Slovenia and Croatia in the wake of a string of natural disasters. "These amounts are specific and targeted to help address the immediate and direct impact of natural disasters," said EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn in a press statement. The support still has to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council but it is unlikely to be opposed. The cash will go towards covering the emergency costs incurred by the public authorities on Kefalonia as a result of the disaster. The grant will help to restore vital infrastructure and services, reimburse the emergency and rescue services, and help to cover some of the clean-up costs. Fortunately the island was able to recover from the worst effects in good time for the summer holiday season and has this year reported a rise in visitor numbers despite fears that potential visitors would change their holiday plans in light of the island tremors.

kefalonia myrtos
New beaches for Kefalonia

Earthquakes create new sands along the shore. Kefalonia is enjoying a surprise boom in beaches with new stretches of golden sand appearing along the island's long indented coastline. And several existing beaches have grow in size with more sands for Greek island holiday visitors to Kefalonia to enjoy. Experts say it's the result of the series of earthquakes that rocked Kefalonia earlier this year. Geologists report some parts of the island have been raised up by as much as 20cm allowing huge stretches of sand to emerge from the sea. A group of seismologists from Athens University has been investigating the island to determine the effects of the series of strong earth tremors that rocked the island at the end of January this year. A state of emergency was declared on Kefalonia when dozens of aftershocks followed the initial quake which reached 5.9 on the Richter Scale with the epicentre located just a few kilometres off the coast near the capital city at Argostoli. The remote north-west Pali peninsula suffered the heaviest of the tremors and it is in this region that detailed searches have revealed new beaches where none existed before including one that extends to several thousands of square metres. The team of geologists say the entire peninsula has been raised several centimetres as a result of the shocks and other recent earthquake activity. The scientists arrived on Kefalonia in May to carry out detailed research on the Pali peninsula and they set up special instruments to measure changes in ground levels. As well as the appearance of new beaches they also found that the water level in the wetlands around Livadi, north of the port of Lixouri, has risen appreciably. This area is one of the most important wetland habitats in Greece with more than 100 rivers and creeks creating shelter for many types of flora and fauna. The quake was also responsible for a strange phenomenon on one of Kefalonia's best known beach at Myrtos, pictured above, which is also located in the north-west of the island. A huge rift, measured at more than 60 metres long released large amounts of sand and soil into the sea to create a huge mud bank in the bay. This has not been the first strong earthquake to strike the Greek island of Kefalonia. A 7.2 magnitude quake in 1953, struck three days after a 6.4 tremor, leaving many dead and injured and most of the island's buildings reduced to rubble. Kefalonia houses built since 1953 have adhered to strict anti-seismic regulations and this is considered the main reason why relatively little damage was caused in the earthquake earlier this year.

kefalonia earthquake
More shocks for Kefalonia

6.1 strong earthquake hits the island of Kefalonia just before dawn. Just days after hotel owners on Kefalonia reassured tourists that hotel were safe despite more than 250 tremors, the island was hit by another major earthquake. A strong quake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale struck Kefalonia just before dawn today (Monday February 3) sending panicked residents across the island running out into the streets. Greek radio so far reports damage at the port of Lixouri, Kefalonia's second largest town, with damage to buildings and minor injuries. Authorities have no clear picture of the situation in outlying villages on the island's mountainous Pali peninsula. The Athens Geodynamic Institute registered the quake, which struck just after 5 a.m. local time with a magnitude of 5.7 and an epicentre 12 kilometres north-west of the island's capital of Argostoli while the U.S. Geological Survey registered the shock at 6.1. Earthquakes have been rattling Kefalonia constantly for more than a week following a 5.9-magnitude tremor that struck on January 26, damaging homes and injuring seven people. Thousands of Kefalonia residents have abandoned their homes to live with relatives or in temporary accommodation provided by ships moored in Argostoli harbour. The seismic shocks have reawakened memories of the devastating 7.2 magnitude quake that struck Kefalonia and Zante in 1953, one of a series of three that killed hundreds of people and destroyed nearly all the buildings on both islands. The latest quakes have been felt right across western Greece and as far away as the Greek capital, Athens, nearly 300km to the west. Kefalonia's mayor has urged people to leave their houses if they show any signs of damage. Power and water supplies have been cut and islanders have also had to cope with bad weather, heavy rains and low temperatures.

kefalonia earthquake 2014
Hotels pledge on quake

Kefalonia is ready to welcome holiday visitors. Hotel owners on the holiday island of Kefalonia have rushed to insist there is no danger for tourists after the island was hit by several large earthquakes. An official statement of support from the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers says the vast majority of the hotel units on the island of Kefalonia are in a good condition with no reported problems. Hoteliers insist that Kefalonia is ready to welcome holiday visitors this year and can accommodate both Greek and foreign visitors when the holiday season gets under way. A quake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale shook the island on Sunday, January 26 followed by more than 250 aftershocks that caused major problems to the infrastructure of the island. Kefalonia's largest hospital at Lixouri was evacuated, roads were blocked by landslides, homes abandoned and there are also concerns about two schools. Many homes have been badly damaged and in Argostoli one in four buildings has been declared unfit for use. The village of Atheras was also evacuated on Monday for fear of landslides. Residents unable to return to their damaged homes have been offered temporary accommodation on three ships that have docked in the main harbour at Argostoli. The Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers says it is keeping an open line of communication with the Kefalonia and Ithaca Hotel Association which is constantly updating the situation of the island. Meanwhile, one of the many problems that the residents of Kefalonia have to deal with, is the problems in water networks in many areas of the island. In Lixouri as well as in other areas the use of water for drinking or cooking is prohibited. Another earthquake was recorded on mainland Greece in the area of Patras with a magnitude of 4.2 on the Richter scale and tremors were felt in Patras, Nafpaktos, Aigio and other coastal regions This latest earthquake seems to be linked to the earthquakes on Kefalonia. It follows a winter of earthquakes in the Greek Islands with four tremors recorded in Thessaloniki and more off the coast of Crete in the southern Aegean.

earthquake villa ruin
Earthquake hits Kefalonia

More than two dozen aftershocks reported. A state of emergency has been declared on the holiday island of Kefalonia after more than two dozen seriously large aftershocks followed a major earthquake tremor at the weekend. Scientists reported an initial quake of 5.9 on the Richter Scale with the epicentre located just a couple of kilometres off the coast of the island capital at Argostoli. Some of the aftershocks measured 5.2 on the Richter scale causing damage to some buildings although no serious injuries were reported. Some parts of Kefalonia are still without electricity and roads have been blocked by landslides. Those with damaged homes have been warned to leave and find shelter elsewhere. A passenger ferry with the capacity to host 700 passengers docked at the island to provide temporary homes to victims. The Greek government has sent two ships to the island to offer temporary shelter for more than 2,000 of the island's inhabitants who are believed to be unable to return to their homes. The strong quake shook the island at around 4pm on Sunday afternoon and was felt as far away as Athens, Albania and even southern Italy. Scientist are concerned at the shallow depth of the quake, measured at only 17km below sea level. Shallow quakes of this size can cause considerable damage. Islanders have been warned to expect more aftershocks and to be prepared to leave their homes if necessary. There have been more than two dozen aftershocks registered mainly in the sea about 25km north-west of the first quake. According to the latest updates nearly every building in the town of Lixouri has suffered some minor damage, and many, including schools, have suffered more serious damage, such as collapsed walls and roofs. Reports of minor damage have come in from across the island, as well as the neighbouring island of Zante which lies about 50km to the south of Kefalonia. Flights have been cancelled at the Kefalonia International Airport, near Argostoli, until the damage has been assessed. Kefalonia is no stranger to strong earthquakes. The Ionian Sea is particularly prone to tremors and both Kefalonia and nearby Zante were devastated by a 7.2 quake in 1953 that razed many buildings across both islands. Known as the Great 1953 Ionian Earthquake it struck the southern Ionian Islands in August 1953 after a month when more than 113 tremors were recorded in the region between Kefalonia and Zakynthos. Earthquakes still regularly shake the islands of Zante and Kefalonia and there were several in 2003, 2005 and 2006.

strintzis ferries
Ithaca ferry plea

Fears over loss of vital ferry link. Residents on the holiday island of Ithaca are pleading for help to restore a vital ferry service to Kefalonia and the mainland. Ferry services from the mainland port of Patras to Ithaca, via the port of Sami on Kefalonia, have been put on hold as the ferry "Seven Islands" undergoes a refit and is unlikely to be restored until next year and maybe not at all. But the move by ferry firm Strintzis Ferries has left Ithaca island without vital supplies and services as links with both ports at Sami and Patras are broken and are unlikely to be restored until the new year The Ionian Ferries.12(Ionian Ferries) company has offered an alternative service but the boat will not use the ports at either Sami on Kefalonia or Patras on the mainland. Ithaca authorities say the alternative is unacceptable as established ferry links are lost. A letter to island authorities on neighbouring Kefalonia warns: "Ithacans will be denied the opportunity to go through Sami Argostoli, and should go through the port of Poros, which is about an hour's drive from Argostoli." "Ithaca is essentially severed from Patras which is very frequent destination for medical emergencies and for company obligations. It will bring a significant financial burden for residents of Ithaca at a time when the economic crisis and decline in income makes them unable to meet their basic needs." In recent years Ithaca islanders have complained at the steady decline in ferry schedules, large increases in ticket prices and the failure of the Greek government to respond to calls from both residents of Ithaca and ferry operators to serve the interests and needs of local citizens. Ithaca islanders have proposed the creation of a publicly controlled ferry service with residents in control of routes, fares, licenses, and shipbuilding but with no success so far. They have urged the Greek government yet again to restore full ferry services to both Sami and Patras. A letter to authorities on Kefalonia calling for their support says: "Due to the many and varied problems created – servicing problems in health or administrative matters, serious problems in the supply of goods etc., we ask for your support in our struggle for immediate shipping reconnecting with Patras which is a lifeline for Ithaca." "The port of Patras, as a main trading port in western Greece, has served fully and was always helping our island in the commercial development and tourist character of Homer's Ithaca."

Fanari lighthouse on Kefalonia
Praise for Kefalonia's ports

Locals pay homage to the island's harbours. As the Greek island of Kefalonia celebrates one of its best years ever in terms of the number of holiday visitors, locals pay homage to the island's harbours. Latest figures show a huge 20% rise in arrivals at Kefalonia airport and a 10% rise in numbers landing from cruise ships and ferries at Kefalonia island ports. The surge in holiday visitors has prompted the island newspaper to pen a homage to the ports of Kefalonia with a paean of praise for the island's port facilities. The article praises the well organized small and large ports found all around the island and the port authorities too for promoting goodwill among holiday arrivals. Indeed, Kefalonia has a large number of good ports to choose from with harbours dotted all around the island's long coastline. And the report spares no amount of praise for "Hostess Captain, Kefalonia recommends the Ports with pride, starting from the capital of the new breakwater hurry to reach the cruise ship that gently touch and invites passengers to hear legends and stories from local mariners." Like I said, no praise spared. The main port is in the capital of Argostoli, set in a huge sheltered bay and a setting that some say is unrivalled in the Greek Islands with the historic Bridge De Bosset, at 700 metres the largest stone bridge in Europe, snaking out over the bay. Across the Bay of Argostoli is the port city of Lixouri, of a rival as the capital of Kefalonia, but which many still regard as the capital of island culture and intellect and the birthplace of many prominent people in the fields of science and technology. On the other side of Kefalonia is the port of Sami which provides ferry links to the island of Ithaca and is the site of the underground lake at Melissanis, one of Kefalonia's top tourist attractions. The port of Fiskardo, on the north-west tip of the island, took its name from the Norman conqueror Roberto il Guiscardo, who besieged the island in 1085. This is almost the only village on Kefalonia to survive the devastating earthquake of 1953. The east coast port of Poros is the site of many important archaeological remains, including a vaulted Mycenaean tomb while the small harbour at Pessada in the south-west is also linked to legendary figures like the apostle Paul who is said to have landed here. Kefalonia island officials are particularly pleased at deals done this year with low cost airlines and with ferry companies that have helped to open up new international travel markets and helped the island recover from last year's poor tourism numbers in the wake of Greece's financial problems.

Demi Moore chose a Greek Island holiday
Stars opt for Greek holidays

Celebrities on Greek Island holidays. A clutch of A-list celebrities is spending the summer on holiday in the Greek Islands this year. It appears that the stream of movie stars and rich-list celebrities choosing the Greek islands for a relaxing holiday grows longer each year. Top-name stars like John Travolta, Robert DeNiro, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have already graced the Greek island beaches and tavernas this year. Now Hollywood actress Demi Moore has been spotted on the Aegean island of Mykonos having dinner at a well-known Mykonos restaurant. Eye-witnesses were amazed to see has slipped international media attention to enjoy her Greek Island visit without harassment. One of the world's richest entrepreneurs, Russian business tycoon Roman Abramovic, spent several days on the island of Kefalonia. Islanders say there was little evidence of security as he enjoyed a bicycle ride. A Fiscardo taverna owner said she was amazed when Abramovic, billionaire owner of Chelsea football team, walked in saying he was very hungry and to cook whatever she liked. Only recently, Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli spent her summer holidays on the Greek island of Mykonos. She relayed her excitement on her Twitter post where she has nearly 300,000 followers. It was the second year running she chose Mykonos and she uploaded photos of her walking by the beach on a black bikini for her fans and followers. Refaeli came to Greece to take a professional photo shoot and has now made the islands a regular holiday port of call. Leonardo Di Caprio's former girlfriend appears to love Mykonos. Among the photos she uploaded were landscape and scenic shots of the Greek island. Mykonos has been the holiday choice for many celebs including Johnny Depp, Melanie Griffith, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, Shakira and George Michael, Within the past few years, a number of celebrities have snapped up homes in the Greek Islands. They are the latest in a long line of Hollywood stars known to have purchased land on the beautiful islands of Greece Actor Tom Hanks and his Greek wife Rita Wilson have a six-acre summer house on the tiny island of Antiparos and visit almost every year. Sean Connery is thought to have his own Greek home at Portocheli, near the Saronis island of Hydra Pop Queen Madonna has been looking for a new homes on the Ionian island of Kefalonia while Nicole Kidman has been house hunting in Spetses and Bruce Willis is rumoured to have bought land on the island of Corfu. Rowan Atkinson, famous as 'Mr Bean', owns a house on the island of Andros

Argostoli harbour on Kefalonia
Kefalonia cruise boost

Greek holiday cruise boost for Kefalonia. Kefalonia is hoping to cash in on Greek Island holiday cruises next year after a major upgrade of facilities at the main port of Argostoli. Kefalonia tourist officials say more than 100 cruise liners are scheduled to tie up in Argostoli in 2012, nearly double last year's total. The Greek island holiday cruise liners are set to bring more than 250,000 tourists to Kefalonia over the 2012 summer holiday season. Kefalonians are particularly pleased at a deal struck with the Italian Costa Cruise line which will bring an estimated 80 cruise ship to Kefalonia this year, carrying around 200,000 passengers. It is thought the first Costa Cruise liner will arrive on March 21 and the last will leave Kefalonia on November 21, bringing a much needed boost to the Kefalonia tourism economy. Meanwhile, a row has broken out over a Friendship Monument erected in Argostoli harbour to welcome Russian visitors to the island. Questions are being asked about the cost of the monument when records show that only 27 Russian tourists arrived through the port in 2011. Some locals are sarcastically suggesting that Kefalonia airport should now be renamed after the Russian leader Vladmir Putin. Argostoli is the capital of Kefalonia and the island's main working port. It is located on the east cost of Kefalonia within a large natural harbour. Argostoli has developed into one of the busiest ports in the Greek islands in recent and this has helped the Kefalonia economy to prosper. A 2001 census recorded a population of 12,589 in the Argostoli district with 9,037 living in the town itself.

Waterfront at Fiskardo, Kefalonia
Night out in Kefalonia

A night out in Kefalonia. When you think of Kefalonia, there are three things that should come to mind: drink, dance and party. If that doesn't sound like a good time to you, then perhaps the Kefalonia nightlife will be a bit over your head. However, if this sounds like it might lead to the best time of your life, then it would be a good idea to consider a holiday to Kefalonia. Let's take a look at the best bars, clubs and restaurants in Kefalonia. We'll start with bars. Captain's Bar is one of the more popular establishments. This isn't an active or high-energy environment, but it is a great place to start out. It's a place that allows you to settle in and get a feel for the lay of the land. Captain's Bar is located right on the Skala beachfront. Therefore, you're going to have great views and feel very at ease. The music is usually soothing and there are more than 40 different types of drinks available. If you want an actual beachfront bar, go to Stevento. They offer great service, drinks in iced glasses and the best sunsets in the Greek Islands. This is also a great place to go to meet locals. For on-trend music, go to Zanza. They play a wide variety of tunes and often have experienced DJs spinning. It's also a café in the morning. For the most unique bar experience, go to Zebra. You can find live music upstairs and a crazy party with a dancing zebra downstairs. The zebra is someone in costume, of course. As far as nightclubs go, there are a number of places where you can party the night away. Bass is the most popular club in Kefalonia – mainly because it's so close to Central Square. The party doesn't get going here until midnight so keep that in mind while on your Kefalonia holiday. Cinema is another popular option and is close to many shops on Lithostrob Street. This used to be an actual cinema and the antique projector and many seats remain. This makes for a historic environment, which makes Cinema unlike any other club in the islands. Cinema also opens earlier than most other nightclubs so it's a great place to start. Kastro has been around since 1995 and mixes an old mine with lush greenery. The pine trees and live bands make this a more laidback atmosphere. As far as restaurants go, start with Ellis, which is on the Fiskardo seafront. They serve a range of different dishes, but seafood is their specialty. Regardless of what you order, you will be able to enjoy views of the Ionian Sea. Andromeda is a Greek restaurant that offers outdoor dining near Lourdas Bay. It's a beautiful atmosphere and everyone raves about the food. For peace and quiet, sea views, an extensive wine list and the best moussaka around, dine at Old Times. With the information above, you should be able to enjoy the best Kefalonia nightlife on offer. Try to mix the bars, nightclubs and restaurants to get the full Kefalonia experience.

Kefalonia bridge collapse
Kefalonia bridge collapse

Kefalonia tourist bridge collapses. Many visitors on a holiday in Kefalonia last summer will have strolled along the British-built bridge that lies across the Argostoli lagoon. The bridge has become a major Kefalonia holiday attraction. But, after many promises and several false starts on renovating the bridge, it was closed this week after part of it collapsed into the lagoon at Argostoli. Workmen have now sealed off the Kefalonia tourist attraction following the latest setback and accusations fly over who is responsible for allowing the popular Kefalonia bridge to fall into such a sorry state. The Kefalonia bridge has been closed to traffic for many years over safety fears but it was still open to pedestrians. After six years of political wrangling, the go-ahead was finally given for bridge restoration work to begin. The Argostoli bridge is variously called the De Bosset, the Drepano or the Devosetou bridge and it's a major Argostoli holiday attraction. The bridge Is a great place for fishing as well as an ideal venue for a romantic evening walk, with panoramic views of Argostoli. The British Army built the bridge in 1811-1813. It was first constructed of wood but the bridge carried so much traffic it was quickly rebuilt in stone. It is the longest stone bridge to be built over the sea with a length of about 900 metres. The Kefalonia bridge was named after a Swiss engineer Philip Charles-De Bosset, who was an officer in the English army. A marble obelisk was erected in the middle of the bridge to commemorate its British builders. Across the bridge from Argostoli lie English and Italian cemeteries as well as the Greek cemetery of the Monastery of Drapanos. The bridge was renovated between 1822 and in 1830 but suffered some bomb damage in World War Two. The earthquake of 1953 also caused sections of the bridge to sink and cracks to appear. Nevertheless the bridge survived as a Kefalonia holiday attraction and in 1970 it was declared national monument. But little has been done since then to preserve the Kefalonia bridge and it has gradually fallen into disrepair.

Kefalonia muslims at prayer
Open air prayers on Kefalonia

Open air prayers on Kefalonia. A strange sight for anyone on a late holiday break in Kefalonia would be a large group of muslims at prayer in the middle of an open field. But Pakistanis living in Kefalonia were forced out in the open when Kefalonia municipal authorities refused a request to provide a place to pray at the annual religious bairam festival recently. There are about 150 Pakistani immigrants living and working on the holiday island of Kefalonia. Pakistanis have been granted rooms in which to celebrate the religious bairam festival in places like Athens and Thessaloniki, so they thought it was just a formality for them to be given a civic room on Kefalonia. But when Kefalonia local authorities said 'no' they were forced to hold the prayer ceremony in an open field. The bairam was one of two religious bairam festivals celebrated by each year muslims. The lesser bairam is celebrated at the end of ramadan, at roughly the same time as the christian easter festival; this was the greater bairam, also called the 'feast of the sacrifices' which is celebrated 70 days later. Pakistanis on Kefalonia are annoyed at the rejection as they are all legal residents of Kefalonia, have houses, pay island taxes and can vote in local elections. The outdoor prayer meeting on Kefalonia was followed by a celebration and sharing characteristic highly coloured rice-sweets.

Kefalonia fish farm
Kefalonia fish farm protest

Locals want fidh farm plans put on hold. Plans to increase the number of fish farms on Kefalonia and Ithaca have come under fierce attack from islanders. They accuse regional officials of bulldozing through plans to allow vast fish farms to be built off the coasts of the holiday islands of Kefalonia and Ithaca. Kefalonians fear the islands could be turned into vast fish farms and holiday tourists could go elsewhere. Areas earmarked for fish farms lie off the Kefalonia coast to the south-east between Skala, Poros and Sami; in the bay opposite Argostoli harbour north of Lixouri and off the southern coast of Ithaca. The Regional Council is considering plans to allow offshore seas to be used for fish farming. But locals want the plans put on hold until there have been a full scientific, environmental and economic impact studies made. Locals fear tourists will turn away from Kefalonia as the natural beauty is lost. They fear beaches will be polluted by fish farm sediment and warn that fish farm expansion does not have the consent of the community. The Kefalonia Association of Tourist Accommodation has denounced the decision as "unacceptable and nasty power to decide for others our own fate without us." The Pronnoi Trade Association is also fighting the scheme. A spokesman said: "This decision removes any prospect of the tourism development between Poros and Sami, the most promising area in all the Ionian Islands". Anger is growing over apparent lack of consultation. The regional council is accused of trying to push through the scheme without local backing. Tourist leaders on Kefalonian are worried that, if the current schemes get the go ahead, it could open the floodgates for more fish farms.

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