Discover charming Argostoli, flowing up from the turquoise bay along the sides of white limestone hills with its colorful fishing boats, vibrant open-air market and relaxing atmosphere. Visit the archaeological museum and explore the rich artifacts of the Mycenean culture. See the Venetian-built St. Georges Castle dating from the 16th Century in the nearby village of Kastro. Stroll through Vallianos Square in Argostoli browsing the stalls and shops to take home popular gifts and keepsakes including thyme honey, fine gold and silver jewelry, leather goods, and the excellent locally produced Robola Taoussi (white wine).

Port: Argostoli (Cephalonia)
Experience

Argostoli (Cephalonia)

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  • Cephalonia Highlights

    Commence a scenic island drive through olive groves, vineyards and thick cypress glades. Your coach will then climb Mt Ainos and pass the city of Sami, where Captain Corelli's Mandolin was filmed.

    After approximately one hour, you will arrive at Melissani Lake, an underground lake fed by subterranean channels with water running to the opposite side of the island. You'll enter the lake by small boat, paddled in so it hardly disturbs the surface of the water, which is a brackish mix of saltwater from the Ionian Sea and freshwater that originated back in Argostoli and then flowed across the island. The stalactites hanging from the ceiling here are estimated to be at least 20,000 years old and the shafts of light that come in from 100 feet above where parts of the ceiling collapsed decades ago, creates a magical atmosphere.

    Continuing on, you will have a photo stop at Myrtos Beach. Nestled at the foot of steep limestone cliffs, this strip of pristine beach with its brilliant blue waters, has consistently been voted as one of Greece's top 10 beaches.

    Your final stop is at Fiskardo village, considered the the most picturesque village on the island, was the only settlement that was not devastated by the 1953 earthquake. You'll have nearly an hour of free time here to stroll past the waterfront tavernas, cafés and shops before it's time to rejoin your coach and return to Argostoli.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 1 hour of moderate walking, plus any additional walking at the guests' discretion during the photo stop and free time. Surfaces inside the cave are natural, uneven and can be slippery. Participants must be able to enter and exit the small boats at Melissani Lake with limited assistance. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not considered suitable for those with mobility concerns. Comfortable clothing, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and flat walking shoes are recommended. No heels please. Temperatures in the cave can be cool so a light sweater or jacket is also suggested.

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  • St. Andrew's Monastery & Robola Winery

    See how Argostoli has flourished since the 1953 earthquake by visiting a largely spared monastery, an esteemed winery and a village that has been almost completely rebuilt.

    Your tour commences with a brief drive inland to the St. Andrews Monastery, which was founded in the 16th century. It's one of the few buildings around the capital of Argostoli to survive the earthquake of 1953. Ironically, the earthquake had one positive effect; it cracked the monastery's walls and ceiling, exposing ancient frescoes that are now considered the island's greatest artistic treasures. Still, their significance is often eclipsed by a bizarre relic housed at the monastery that is alleged to be the sole of St. Andrew's right foot.

    Next, you'll tour the nearby Robola winery, which produces a rare variety of wines using white Robola grapes that have thrived on the island since the time of Homer. Some of the winery's most famous vintages include the iconic white Robola of Kefalonia, a delicate Melambus and a dry, ruby-colored Linos. All of the wines have a distinct taste that reflects Argostoli's mild climate and predominately limestone soil.

    Continuing on, you'll visit Kourkoumelata village, much of which was rebuilt after the earthquake. Financed largely by a local family of Greek shipping magnates, the reconstruction included homes, government buildings and a new cultural center. Despite its relative newness, Kourkoumelata has retained its lovely rural charm. Following some free time here to stroll about and admire the sweeping views of the sea, you'll rejoin your coach and travel back to Argostoli, making a brief photo stop at the Castle of St. George en route.

    Please note: This tour includes over 1 hour of moderate walking plus any additional walking at the guests' discretion during free time in Kourkoumelata. There will be uneven and natural surfaces to negotiate as well as some steps. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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  • Melissani & Drogarati Cave

    Behold the natural attractions of Cephalonia, including those beneath the surface, such as the Drogarati Cave and subterranean Melissani Lake.

    Departing from the pier, you'll drive toward the eastern shore of Cephalonia, the largest Ionian island. Arriving at the Drogarati Cave, you'll descend a flight of stairs into a large cavern which is lighted for dramatic effect. Stalactites hang from the ceiling like jagged curtains, and ancient stalagmites reach up from the rocky floor. The colors are predominately red, orange, yellow and white, from the iron content in the rock and the layers of chalk and limestone.

    Although estimated to be 100 million years old, the cave wasn't discovered until about 300 years ago when a violent earthquake opened an entrance. Inside the cave's Chamber of Exaltation, the acoustics are considered near perfect, and concert events are often held in its voluminous interior. Even the famed opera soprano, Maria Callas, sang here.

    Continuing on, you will travel in a northerly direction, passing the town of Sami en route to the renowned Melissani Lake. This underground phenomenon looks absolutely magical in the shafts of light that come from 100 feet above, where parts of the ceiling collapsed decades ago. You'll enter the lake by small boat, paddled in so it hardly disturbs the surface of the water, which is a brackish mix of saltwater from the Ionian Sea and freshwater that originated back in Argostoli and then flowed across the island. The stalactites hanging from the ceiling here are estimated to be at least 20,000 years old.

    Afterwards, you'll return to Argostoli via a picturesque coastal route that offers spectacular views across the strait to the island of Ithaca, and further along, Myrtos and its dramatic, sheer white cliffs.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 1 hour of moderate walking; however, surfaces inside the caves are natural, uneven and can be slippery. There is also a flight of steps to negotiate at Drogarati Cave. Participants must be able to enter and exit the small boats at Melissani Lake with limited assistance. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not considered suitable for those with mobility concerns. Comfortable clothing, hat and flat walking shoes are recommended. No heels please. Temperatures in the caves can be cool so a light sweater or jacket is also suggested.

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  • Melissani, Meze & Ouzo

    Travel by small boat across the serene, blue-green waters of an underground lake, and then savor traditional Greek meze at a waterfront restaurant.

    Depart from the pier and enjoy a lovely ride across Cephalonia, an island long known for its unusual geological formations. In particular, there's Melissani Lake, an underground body of water that was created thousands of years ago. You'll enter the lake by small boat, paddled in so it hardly disturbs the surface of the water, which is a brackish mix of saltwater from the Ionia Sea and freshwater that originated back in Argostoli and then flowed across the island.

    The jagged walls of the underground lake rise steeply, causing every sound to echo eerily. Stalactites hang from the ceiling, parts of which collapsed decades ago. The only light comes from 100 feet above, imbuing the cavern-like interior with a soft glow that's absolutely magical. Also known as the Cave of Nymphs, Melissani Lake was named for Melissanthi, a nymph from Greek mythology who drowned herself because the God Pan didn't reciprocate her love.

    After touring the underground lake, you'll drive to a delightful waterfront restaurant in the village of Sami for traditional meze, a selection of small dishes that may include kalamari, cheese pie and meatballs. Of course, there's also ouzo, the classic licorice-flavored Greek liqueur. It can be served straight or mixed with water, which will turn the ouzo cloudy white. Afterwards, you'll transfer back to the pier in Argostoli.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 1 hour of moderate walking; however, surfaces inside the cave are natural, uneven and can be slippery. Participants must be able to enter and exit the small boats at Melissani Lake with limited assistance. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not considered suitable for those with mobility concerns. Comfortable clothing, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and flat walking shoes are recommended. No heels please. Temperatures in the cave can be cool so a light sweater or jacket is also suggested.

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