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Argostoli in Kefalonia
Kefalonia's largest town is Argostoli (9,750 inhabitants) and it is the island's administrative, economic and cultural centre. The town is long and narrow and is set on the western side of the Gulf of Argostoli, which is Greece's fourth-largest natural harbour.
A 900 meter long stone bridge leads from Argostoli to the other side of the bay. The bridge - known as Drapano Bridge - is one of the few construction works in Argostoli that survived the earthquake. (The whole town was rebuilt after 1953.)
Drapanos bridge in Argostoli.
An obelisk in memory of the man (De Bosset) who initiated the construction of the bridge stands in the middle of the bridge. Motor vehicles are not allowed on the bridge, but bicycles are allowed. Unfortunately the bridge has fallen in disrepair in recent years, but repairs have been made.
The Drapano Bridge is good to have as a landmark when to orient oneself in the town. The most interesting neighbourhoods are north of the bridge, south of the bridge lies the bus station and the "swamp" of Koutavis Lagoon.
Continuing south one will eventually arrive in Skala. If we instead go north along the busy street we will soon get to an area with tavernas, fast food places, shops and a fish and vegetable market.
Platea Vallianou in Argostoli.
Here is a lot of hustle and bustle, pedestrians crowd together with buses, scooters, trucks and cars. Everyone seems to pass here. The tavernas lies strategically at the waterfront most offer a similar menu and are fronted by a more or less pushy barker. But the location is so good that one are more than happy to sit down.
A long promenade begins north of the fish and vegetable market. The promenade is lined with palm trees on one side and fishing and sailing boats on the other side, cleverly enough on the side where the water is. :-)
The waterfront in Argostoli.
The promenade is usually full of strolling villagers and curious tourists during the evenings. If we continue along the water we come to a large building where the port police hang out, and finally we get to where the ferries to Lixouri runs from.
Thereafter the street continues towards Katavothres and the lighthouse further out on the peninsula. Along the way you pass the Sea Kayaking Kefalonia, several large hotels and the marina of Argostoli.
To get into the town's tangle of streets and alleys, you can choose any of the side streets that begins at the waterfront. If you choose one of the streets that begins at the market you will get to Argostoli's lively pedestrian street of Odos Lithostroto where souvenir shops, fashion and jewellery shops, tavernas, bars, cafes, churches and banks crowd together.
The pedestrian street Odos Lihostroto with the bell tower.
Odos Lithostroto is stone-paved and beautiful, especially in the evening when the street is lit and bustling with street life. At the end of the pedestrian street (walking south) lies a nice square (Platea Kambanas), in one corner of the square stands a lovely bell tower which houses a cafe where, besides drinking coffee, one can study old pictures from Argostoli.
To get to another interesting area, follow the pedestrian street to the north until it ends, turn left up Georgio Vergoti Avenue which is a busy street that leads (walk right) to Platea Vallianou - the largest square in Argostoli.
If the waterfront promenade is Argostoli's aorta and the pedestrian Odos Lithostroto its heart, then Platea Vallianou is its lung. On the huge square are dozens of tavernas, cafes and bars. The square revive in the evenings when villagers meets over a cup of coffee, a drink, a meal, or just to meet to hear the latest gossip.
An early evening in Argostoli.
ACCOMMODATION IN ARGOSTOLI
Please go to Argostoli one evening if you stay in Lassi, (it takes between 20-30 minutes to walk from Argostoli to Lassi), or in another place nearby. It is always exciting to experience a Greek town, the difference from home is big, the living room moves out to the street in Greek towns and everyone is welcome.
Of course it is even better if you are staying a few nights in Argostoli, it is a very nice town and a good base for exploring the rest of the island.