"Roof fall in, roof fall in. Argostoli, Sami, Argostoli, Sami. Roof fall in." The oarsmes don't really seem to have a grasp of the English language, but it was certainly entertaining. Try and go when there are no coach parties, otherwise you'll end up in a crowded boat, it's much better when you have a bit of space to move around the boat.
The steps down to a up from the cave are really easy, unless you're fat and unfit (and it looked like there were quite a few people fitting that bill when we went). What do you expect, it's a cave! This must have been a truly amazing sight before all the paths were put in, the middle scooped out and the stalagmites chopped off. Even though, it's a pretty awe inspiring sight, especially when there’s hardly anyone in it. Try and go when there are no coach parties, as I would imagine it would be atrocious with loads of people in it.
Stopped off here on our way to Assos and Fiskardo as we’d heard it was supposed to be amazing, what a disappointment! While the colour of the sea was nice and the beach wasn’t too bad, it just failed to live up to all the hype. The toilets were pretty grotty as well. Worth stopping off to have a look at from the road to Assos though, although you wont get a photo of an empty beach due to the bar, lounger’s, umbrellas, volleyball court etc.
Assos is a lovely little village, although like everywhere in Kefalonia, try and get there when there are no coach parties, otherwise getting to the car park and be interesting. The walk up to the ruins of the castle is quite long and if you’re fat and unfit make sure you take plenty of water. The views from the castle are quite nice and if you like ruins you’ll not be too disappointed (although the castle of St George is better maintained and nicer in my opinion). One work of caution, the public loos near the car park are truly disgusting, buy a drink in a restaurant and use theirs instead.
Drove through Lassi a couple of times and went to the beach one afternoon after being in Argostoli. I couldn’t think of a worse place to stay or go to the beach if I tried. I prefer the quieter resorts and less crowded beaches, so Lassi is totally not my kind of place. The beach was small and crowded; hate to think what it’s like in August (we went at the end of September).
We were staying at the Afrato Village, which is quite a walk from this beach. I was a bit disappointed by it as it's not the prettiest beach and did look a bit run down. The sea was clear, although there wasn't too much to see apart from sand. It shelves quickly at the waters edge but even then it’s not deep, it then levels out and even about 30 meters of shore, you can easily dive to the bottom. Personally I though Trapezaki beach was nicer, although talking to the locals, the beaches in-between Lourdas and Lassi are the best.
We’ve never used Kosmar before and it depends on where we go if we’ll use them again. I know it’s not their fault that Air2000 cancelled our return flight, but we lost a day because we were then put on an earlier flight. We were supposed to fly out at 21.10, but ended up going home at 12.10, which mean we got picked up at 07.40 from our accommodation. This all impacted on the rest of the holiday as it meant we had to pack the night before and get up early on the Sunday, so we could stay out late on the Saturday night. So just be aware that if you go near the end of the season, there is a high probability of your flight being cancelled if it’s a late one. Other than that, Kosmar seemed to be okay.
Fiskardo is totally and utterly over rated, I was really disappointed after the drive to discover that it’s basically a tourist trap. Most of the buildings had a fresh coat of paint on them and looked brand new and what old buildings there was, al seemed to be in a state of disrepair. The waterfront is one long chain of identikit restaurants all offering food at twice the prices of the rest of the island. A Greek Salad which cost under 4€ at the beach was over 7€ here, totally disgraceful. If I ever go back to Kefalonia, I wont be going back to Fiskardo.
We stayed at the Afrato Village, which is down a side road on the way to Trapezaki. It’ s a lovely quiet location, really peaceful with wonderful views and sunsets. Lourdas itself is a bit of a strange place, being very spread out with no discernable centre. If you’re after a quiet peaceful holiday this is a good choice, if you’re after bustling nightlife with clubs and pubs then you’ll be very disappointed.
The tavernas were mainly identikit places with no character or charm. As with most restaurants, your mileage may vary, we may have just been in on an off day, but over all the food was pretty uninspiring and getting chips with everything got pretty annoying after the second day. Going to Greece I wanted to eat Grecian food, not what I can get from the place round the corner back home.
The Casa de Blue was awful, my prawns were over cooked and burnt while my partners prawn salad, was basically a large prawn cocktail with a jar of that sauce on top. We had to ask for the bill multiple times and even then it still took the best part of 30 minutes to arrive. Spiros’, Diana’s and the Tricolore were all pretty much of a much ness, bland and uninteresting food. The Crystal Palace was okay enough that we went twice, the squid was excellent. The Discovery on the way up the hill was excellent, even though it’s lacking in character. The discovery aubergine was really fantastic and my fish was done to perfection.
If you’re a veggie or a Vegan, then you’ll definitely want to check out Alexias Cosmopolitan Cuisine on the way down to the beach. This small restaurant was fantastic, the service was good and the food was superb. Overal it was the second best place we went to. The best had to be the Lourdas Diamond; just a stone’s throw further up the hill. Bags of character, interesting owner, great food; it was the place my partner and I enjoyed the most.
As for nightlife the Astra bar was quite nice, with good service. Although we preferred the Famous Pub, just down the hill as it had more character. It also had two very friend little kittens which provided hours of entertainment (although you shouldn’t feed kittens salted peanuts!).
The walks between places weren’t too troublesome, although if you’re fat and unfit, old or infirm, you may want to think twice about going here. There did seem to be some sort of minibus service between various parts of the village, but it wasn’t very well signposted and didn’t seem to follow a particularly set route, it also finished in the early evening, so was no good for going out at night.
We were staying in Lourdas, but went to Trapezaki beach, as it was nicer in our opinion. When you go down the hill to the car park, I felt the beach on the right was much nicer than the one on the other side of the small harbour. Amble sun beds and umbrellas and a bar with chilled out dance music on the beach and a taverna a minutes walk round the corner. If you’re into snorkelling, then there is plenty to see under the water if you’re prepared to swim a bit. Definitely better than Lourdas beach.
At the end of September and into October the season is winding down, especially in Lourdas. Lots of the restaurants are empty, which can mean you get very attentive service. I would have though going any later than this and you run the risk of a lot of place having closed down for the winter; especially in Lourdas, I would expect Lassi and Argostoli to still be going all year round.
Lourdas doesn’t have a cash machine, which was a bit troublesome; luckily we’d hired a car so we were able to get more money out in Argostoli when the traveller’s cheques ran out. There is evidently a branch of a bank in a hotel somewhere, but they charge quite a lot of commission. I ended up changing a bit of money in the “Ford” Pefanis rent a car place that houses the Kosmar office. I was quite impressed by their rate, so much so that if I had needed to change anything else, I would have gone back there to do it.
The castle is well maintained, although there were maybe a few to obvious restorations. Great views for taking photographs and lots of interesting nooks and crannies to stick your head into. Unlike the UK, there are a few places where a stray child could fal off the battlements, so parents should be watchful. Definitely worth a visit.