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Argostoli, Greece (5/31/19)


Another new port and one we knew nothing about. When I saw it listed on the itinerary I didn't know it was on an island, I'd assumed it was on the southwestern coast of Greece. Argostoli is on the island of Kefalonia/Cephalonia (previously known as Kefallinia/Cephallinia), the largest of the seven Ionian Islands. You can (kind of) see where they are located in the picture below. The island of Kefalonia has a weird shape with the longest part being about 50 miles long and 35 miles wide. At 304 sq. miles, it is large by Greek standards. Like Corfu you will not be able to see it all on our day in port. The island had a population of 35,801 in the 2011 census, only a third as many people as Corfu. The capital city of Argostoli had 10,663 inhabitants in 2011, with no newer estimates found.

The population was at it's peak in 1896 with just over 70,000 inhabitants, with a slow decline until 1953 when a series of four earthquakes hit the island. The earthquakes caused major destruction, with virtually every house on the island destroyed. This prompted a faster decline with many people fleeing the island for Patras or Athens, on the mainland of Greece. Some immigrated to America and Australia, following relatives who had left the island decades before. In the same time, people from poorer areas of Greece such as Epirus and Thrace came to the island. These events left the island with half the population of the 1896 peak.

As you can see in the pictures below, the island is very mountainous. The island's highest point is Mount Ainos, with an elevation of 5,341 feet. The top of Mount Ainos is covered with fir trees and is a national park, the only one situated on a Greek Island. On the west-northwest of the island are the Paliki mountains, where the town of Lixouri is found, with other mountains including Geraneia (4,432 ft.) and Agia Dynati (3,711 ft.) The island is sitting on a major fault, which caused the earthquakes of 1953. I believe that the turbulence of this area is why there is little mention of historical sites like in the other parts of Greece. Archeologist have found evidence of ancient civilizations, but the only edifice still standing is St. George Castle, built more than 1,600 years ago.

NOTE: If you have trouble finding information on this island, be aware that it can be referred to many ways - Kefalonia or Cephalonia, while some references use previously known names of Kefallinia or Cephallinia.

Cruise ships visiting Kefalonia usually dock at the pier in Argostoli. With limited berths available some ships use tenders to transport passengers to the harbor. The pier is only a short distance from the town center so visitors can walk into Argostoli. Currently we are the only ship scheduled in port.

EXPLORE THE PORT:

NOTE: This port is relatively new to cruise ships, thus there is not as much information available from the sites I use.

Argostoli Cruise Port Page - Cruise Critic port page for Argostoli

Argostoli Attractions & Activities - Tripadvisor's Things to do in Argostoli, with a ranked list of attractions and activities.

Frommer's Kefalonia/Argostoli - a well respected travel guide, has their take on Kefalonia/Argostoli, with lots of links to explore.

Lonely Planet's Argostoli - Lonely Planet's list of things to do in Argostoli.

Viator's Cephalonia Tour Offerings - Viator is a consolidator, meaning that they source tour companies and resell them. What is nice is that you can pay in USD with your credit card before you leave home. I've used them in a few places and was very pleased. If you can find the company they are using to book directly, you can save a bit.

The best of Argostoli in one day - Lot of things to see on a day on your own by LifeThink.travel.

Visit Greece | Kefalonia - A great overview of the island with great pictures.

Beautiful Kefalonia - A 3.5 min, hi-def professional video tour of the island and city from an aerial view. It has music, but no narration.

More to come...

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