We all love Kefalonia because of its beautiful beaches, the stunning landscapes and the friendly people. But apart from that, Kefalonia has some features that make it even more special.
Here is a list with 10 facts you (probably) did not know about Kefalonia. With this knowledge you can prove to everyone that you are a real Kefalonian expert on your next holiday:
- Village names end with -ata and surnames with -atos
You might have realised a certain similarity in the names of most villages in Kefalonia. Well, that is the majority end in -ata, like Havdata, Monopolata, Peratata or Lourdata. But also surnames have something in common, that is most of them end with -atos, for example Evangelatos, Haritatos or Galiatsatos. So, if you meet a Greek next time and his name has the suffix -atos, you can directly ask him if he´s from Kefalonia! Chances are he is !!
- Local dialect uses italian words
As Kefalonia had been occupied by the Venetians for a long time, Italian words have found their way into the local language. Unfortunately this charming dialect is slowly dying out, but you can still come across a local (a Kefaloniti) using Italian expressions while talking in Greek.
- Lord Byron
The famous British poet George Gordon Byron, better known as Lord Byron, had a deep connection with Kefalonia. After arriving on the island in 1824 he immediately fell in love with the inspiring surroundings of the island and wrote some of his most famous poems here: “If I am a poet I owe this to the air of Greece”.
- Turtle spotting in Argostoli harbour
Kefalonia is home to a very special endangered species: the sea turtles. They can be spotted in the early morning hours next to the fishing boats on the waterfront of the capital. Their sightings are always a big joy for children and adults. But did you know? A local group of volunteers know most of the turtles so well that they have given them names, recognising them immediately. So if you are going to visit the turtles, next time, look out for the friendly volunteers from Wildlife Sense to brief you.
- Argostoli has the longest pedestrian stone bridge crossing sea water in the world.
Next to the harbour you will find another special sight in Argostoli: the famous De Bosset bridge. Built in 1813 and named after the engineer Charles de Bosset, the bridge has a total length of almost 690 metres making it the longest stone bridge crossing sea water in the world. Not long ago, cars were allowed on the bridge, often causing some confusion as the bridge was not wide enough for two lanes. Nowadays, you can take a nice walk over the bridge and enjoy the sight of Argostoli town.
- If you meet a Greek somewhere in the world – he’s probably from Kefalonia
There is a saying in Greece that if you meet another Greek somewhere in the world, chances are that he is from Kefalonia. Well, there is certainly some truth behind it as Kefalonia has plenty of sailors and captains who have travelled the world. But that’s not the only reason. A lot of Kefalonians left the island after the big earthquake in 1953 and settled around the world, mostly in the U.S. and Australia.
- Kefalonians are known to be somewhat ‘bonkers’.
Another reaction you might experience when you meet other Greeks talking about Kefalonians is that they are regarded as a bit “bonkers”. Reason being is that Kefalonians are very proud people who love their island unconditionally and show their love with a lot of passion and humour.
- The carnival in Kefalonia is one of the biggest in Greece
If you bes the only lieve that Rio de Janeiro iplace to celebrate carnivals then you are mistaken. You should definitely consider visiting Kefalonia during carnival season in spring. The celebrations in the streets of Argostoli, Sami and especially in Lixouri, are on another level with locals dressed in colourful costumes, music playing non stop making Kefalonia one of the biggest hotspots for carnivals in Greece.
- Locals from Lixouri call their town “Little Paris”
Talking about Lixouri: Did you know that the second biggest city of Kefalonia has the nickname “Piccolo Parisi”- little Paris (another proof for Italian words in Kefalonian Greek). That is because Lixouri is divided by a river, like Paris is divided by the Seine.
- There is a humoresque feud between Argostoli and Lixouri
Another interesting fact about Lixouri: There is a humoresque feud going on for centuries between Lixouri and the capital Argostoli. As both cities face each other, this little feud is explained in many stories and anecdotes from both sides. Maybe the most obvious can be seen in Lixouri, where the inhabitants have placed the statue of Andreas Laskaratos in a very thoughtful direction: The famous poet is showing his back towards Argostoli.