Elios-Pronni in the south east of Kefalonia is a great area and a perfect base for your holiday. The protection offered by Mount Ainos from the prevailing winds, means that the whole region – and Skala in particular – has some of the best weather and sunniest days anywhere on the island during the summer months. Just like everywhere else, you will find excellent hospitality in this part of Kefalonia; a very warm welcome awaits!
Katelios is a small fishing village set in a scenic valley of green trees and grey rocky outcrops. It is not a very large place, but there is plenty of opportunity for a peaceful, relaxing holiday here.
The main sea front is a terrace of beach front tavernas which offer a daytime service on the small sandy beach and sumptuous meals by night. You can stay here and swim in the warm shallow water, explore the coast on a small motor boat, or experience a traditional Greek fishing vessel on one of the daily fishing tours which leaves from the small harbour at the end of village.
If you want to get out and explore more of the island from Katelios, you will need to hire a car; the local bus service only passes through twice a day during the summer going to and from Argostoli.
Skala in the far south east of the island is another popular resort village and its name in Greek literally translates as ‘staircase’ or ‘ladder’. It takes its name from the dwellings of the old village in the hills above, sadly destroyed by the massive earthquakes in 1953. They were positioned on the hillside and could be seen to resemble a staircase. The journey up there is steep but the views are stunning and well worth the trek is you are able, however, we wouldn’t advise this hike in the height of summer – hire a car, take a taxi or join an organised tour. There is a taverna set high in the hills in old Skala called Kelari where you can buy refreshments from 11.30am and food is served from midday.
Modern day Skala is built much lower down the same hill from the village that gave it its name and is, as a consequence, predominantly built on a slope. There is a long flat sea front and a beach that runs parallel for about 2.8 km (1¾ miles) however, not all of it is sandy and the sea depth increases quite quickly in places. Water based activities are available on the beachfront.
On the main street of the village and along the sea front there is a good selection of tavernas, bars, shops, jewellers and car hire establishments. Like much of the island, Skala is not considered to be a rowdy resort but it really comes to life during the summer months.
On the edge of the village is the remains of a Roman villa and about 3km up the coast towards Poros are some the Archaic temple ruins. Next to these ruins is the tiny church of St George.
On the coast road between Skala and Poros there is a night club called Spileo, it is only open for around 6 weeks during July & August. If you fancy a boogie, the doors open around 1am and close at 5 ish.
Just outside of Skala below the village of Ratzakli there are two popular sandy beaches, Mounda beach & Kaminia beach. Although there are two names given to this beach front, it is actually one long stretch of sandy beach as they merge into one another. The warm, shallow, crystal blue sea here make these beaches very popular with families but because of it’s length you will easily find a quiet spot should you want some peace and privacy. There are a couple of tavernas and cafe bars in the area and sunbeds with parasols are available to hire. The road down is quite steep and about 1 km in length; if you head there from Skala you will see the sign post pointing left for ‘Mounda Beach’ just before the village of Ratzakli. If you are heading there from Katelios, the sign post is on your right just before the village and is for ‘Kaminia Beach’.
The port village of Poros is situated some 12km by road north of Skala. There are some truly unique places to eat and drink here – there are tavernas high up on the hill with views over the port and across to Ithaka and even a café bar on the port in a cave. There’s a nice walk along the seafront of Poros to the Blue Flag awarded Ragia beach – the beach is stony and the gradient of the seabed is steep and drops off quickly, but the water here is fresh and clear. Up through the gorge out of the west side of Poros towards Tzanata, is a well-preserved Mycenaean era (1350BC) Tholos Tomb which was excavated between 1992-1994; the dating of this tomb suggests a link with Homer’s Ithaka and the hero Odysseus.
The Holy Snakes of the Virgin Mary
The myth surrounding these small grey and black snakes, which have a cross on their heads and cross shaped tongues comes from the year 1705, when the monastery in the village of Markopoulo was attacked by pirates. The nuns who inhabited the monastery at the time prayed to the Virgin Mary for protection. Their prayers were answered when snakes appeared and scared off the raiders who never returned again.
Every year between the 5th and 15th August the holy snakes appear at the church of Panagia of Langouvarda on the site of a monastery, established as a nunnery and dedicated to Our Lady of Langouvarda.
It has been documented by the locals that the snakes did not appear during World War II and the devastating earthquake of 1953; they now believe that if they fail to appear before 15th August that something bad will happen.
The Feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary takes place on August 15th.
There is a snake festival in the village of Markopoulo on August 14th & 15th and it is a popular event with Greeks from all over the world descending on Kefalonia to celebrate this remarkable phenomenon. Definitely worth a visit if you’re holidaying on the island during this time.