A former teacher and charity worker from the North East of England, I love people and places and like to try out new experiences wherever possible. Capturing that 'perfect pic' is all part of the pleasure. Access issues are a particular interest.
Published October 1st 2014
A Taste of Greece's Laid-back Nightlife on Kefalonia
If you're looking for a party capital with thumping music and swathes of people behaving badly, then this isn't the place for you. Bearing in mind, however, that I'm now pushing sixty, therefore I wouldn't necessarily seek out the aforementioned places of which I'm sure there are many around the Med and elsewhere.
It's great if you want a holiday full of sun, sea, sand and cocktails – then the notion of having one or two holiday hotspots for hyper-active holidaymakers who want to dance 'til dawn makes sense. In effect it has generally become a part of government policy in Mediterranean countries in recent decades – the reverse side of the coin is that this then leaves the more peaceful spots for everyone else to enjoy, including the locals.
Before you switch off and call me a party pooper, I must tell you that there are more lively places with a sprinkling of night clubs and top-class guest DJs for party orientated holidaymakers among us who wish to visit Kefalonia, the main resorts being Skala and Lassi, but generally speaking, the main entertainment seems to end around midnight.
That doesn't necessarily mean you'll be bored. Try soaking up the local atmosphere and you'll find it every bit as absorbing.
We stayed at the Palatino Hotel in Lixouri, which is just across the bay from Argostoli, the island's capital. Our hotel was only about a 15 minute walk downhill to the square, (which of course means it's uphill on the way back - but if I can do it just about anyone can).
Looking over Lixouri towards Argostoli Bay from our hotel balcony
Across the road to the main square there are beautiful views across the bay towards Argostoli, with majestic red mountains rising up from the sea and the ferry across to the capital, which runs every half hour during the day and costs only 5 Euros per person, is two minutes away.
Lixouri sits on the Gulf of Argostoli, which leads in from the ionian Sea and opens out into the bay. Along the shoreline in Lixouri there's a chain of traditional tavernas with tables close to the water's edge, where you can just drink in the view and watch it change as the sunset catches the red tinted hills or see the twinkling lights of Argostoli as you look across the water.
With traditional Greek hospitality you never feel hurried, taking the time to enjoy the day is a way of life round here.
What I love about Lixouri is that it is a 'real town', which means that it has a town square where local people, young and old, come out in the evening to meet each other and pass the time together. Everyone from grannies to schoolchildren and little ones still in their pushchairs come out to gather in the square, creating that lovely friendly Mediterranean atmosphere that draws you in and makes you feel welcome.
The whole area is pedestrianised and children are allowed to play football, ride their bikes or toy scooters or simply play little games together while the adults partake of the traditional food and wine on offer in a myriad of local restaurants, or perhaps sip an espresso coffee while the perfected art of chin-wagging takes place under a balmy summer sky - which we northern Europeans find so irresistible.
Occasionally, wandering musicians will play or music from a Greek radio station can be heard from a nearby restaurant, adding to the ambience as you delve into some of the local delicacies such as moussaka. stifado, souvaki and, of course, Kefalonian meat pie.