Who can fail to admire the stunning landscapes which are the backdrop for the Hollywood hit movie "Captain Corelli's Mandolin? " Who hasn’t wished to dive into the blue waters, as Pelagia and Mantras did in the beginning of the film? The island of Kefalonia itself is the undisputed protagonist of the globally popular film, and justly holds a permanent spot in the top five most popular Greek islands. The largest island of the Ionian Sea, it is a true jewel of wild, unspoiled beauty. Kefalonia attracts many different kinds of visitors year after year, and leaves no one unsatisfied. Endless sandy beaches with crystal clear waters, for those seeking relaxation. Towering cliffs, reminiscent of the steep coasts of Scotland for the aficionado photographer. For romantics, and for fans of mythology, an enchanting underground lake that has nothing to envy from the Plitvice in Croatia. And last but not least, a trip to the center of the earth in a cave with stalagmites and stalactites for bookworms and budding scientists. And what is most exciting? All these wonders of nature, that you might travel the world over to find individually, are gathered in an area of just 781 square kilometers. Island of contrasts, Kefalonia uniquely combines the turquoise waters of the Ionian and the dark fir trees of the mountain Ainos. One moment you're hiking and virtually the next out for scuba diving. The flora and fauna are enviable: 1013 species of plants, wild horses, monachus monachus seals, caretta caretta turtles and regional birds appear before the most fortunate nature-lovers. Apart from its natural beauty, the island has other aspects to show. Monasteries in isolated cliffs, relics of saints, miraculous icons and supernatural phenomena reveal the religious and spiritual side of the island. Excavations over the centuries reveal a rich and long history. Traces of the ancient, brilliant and legendary Tetrapolis (Pali, Krani, Sami and Proni) can be discerned in the numerous Mycenaean-era tombs and huge fortifications. Mosaics of Roman villas indicate that the island was a favorite destination for Roman nobles during the years of their dominance. The long Venetian rule has no doubt left the most signs on the island. The two castles on the island, the characteristic Ionian-style architecture, the traditional costumes and even the distinctive dialect bearing influences of neighboring Italy. Kefalonians knew many conquerors: Romans, Normans, Venetians, Turks, French, Russians and English. During the Revolution of 1821, the island offered valuable assistance to the rebels, while the high level of education it had fostered was instrumental in setting up the new Greek State. In the dark years of the Second World War, it was the site of coexistence, and later conflict, between the formerly allied Italians and Germans. A seminal point in the island’s history was 12 August 1953. A series of deadly earthquakes struck the island, destroying countless villages and prompting a large portion of the population to emigrate. With the assistance of international powers, Kefalonia managed to recover and rebuild, creating what we admire today. This is Kefalonia, with its fascinating yet troubled history; the proud Mt. Ainos, the crystal waters, invite visitors to discover for themselves. It is sure to be unforgettable.
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Would you like to combine skiing in the morning and then go swimming in the afternoon, all in one region? Click to choose your interests and see in which part of Greece you enjoy them. Combinations are endless!