The jewel in Kefalonia’s crown, the peaceful, pastel-coloured village of Fiskardo still retains much of the pretty original Venetian architecture which once covered the island. Set in a natural harbour carved out of white rock lapped by transparent turquoise waters and surrounded by evergreen wooded hills, Fiskardo provides a quiet haven for fishermen in the winter, and becomes an elegant but laid back mecca for chic couples and families, sailboats and smart super yachts, in the summer.
The village dates back at least until Roman times with the excavated remains of a Roman cemetary, complete with stone sarcophagi, looking out across the water in a small, quiet bay beyond the harbour, visable adjacent to the taverna bearing the village’s original name, Panormos. Other finds were also unearthed nearby prior to building works. Renamed after Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia and Calabria who was stationed and died on the island in the 11th century, the name has been corrupted over the centuries to, Fiskardo.
There is a wealth of choice if you wish to dine or drink out. Restaurants and bars line the waterfront in Fiskardo, spilling out into the squares, and traditional tavernas and kafeneions sprinkle the surrounding villages. Go Greek and meet friends for a coffee and chat in the morning; pick up some pitas (Greek pies) for a picnic from one of the two bakeries; sit in the shade for a long, lazy lunch; refresh your afternoon with an ice-cream; sit with a chilled beer by the harbourside; or sip a cocktail watching the world go by as evening falls; and then dress for diner and dine on luxurious lobster, or grab a savoury souvlakia on the go.
If you fancy indulging in a little retail therapy there is a great selection from interesting souvenir shops, to a wonderful array of beautiful boutiques selling stylish clothes and accessories, jewellry and housewares handmade by talented artists, to good quality traditional Greek food products from the island and beyond.
Look out for the designer shop, ‘Le Souk’. You might recognise the same eclectic, elegant, Italian good taste!
Need that little extra to help you relax? The neighbouring 5* Emelisse Art Hotel benefits from an Elemis Spa whose treatments include a wide range of pampering from manicures and pedicures, to full-body hot stone aromatheraphy massages. Peruse their website, or call the hotel reception who will transfer you for bookings.
There is a barber’s and hairdresser on the road above the ferry port in Fiskardo, as well as a couple of local beauticians available for villa visits.
The craggy coastline is peppered with stunning white pebble beaches with translucent turquoise waters. Il Borgo is lucky to benefit from a secluded cove just 150m from the property, or you can wander along the coastal path to the remains of the Venetian lighthouse and bathe from the rocks below. However there are other beautiful beaches within the vicinity:
Empylisi Beach – one of the largest and most popular beaches in the area, Emplysi beach is an approximate 500m walk from the Casas, through the grounds of the 5* Emelisse Art Hotel. This beautiful bay with its sheltered waters, has stunning, sweeping 180¡ views out, past the sailboats, across to the islands of Lefkada, Meganisi, Arkoudi and Ithaka, with the mountains of the mainland beyond. Benefitting from a simple cantina selling drinks and snacks in high season, both ends of the beach merge into large expanses of flat rock were you can find a patch of peace and privacy if need be.
Fiskardo Town Beach – if you fancy cooling off after a long lunch in the village but don’t wish to venture far, visit the small town beach beside the remains of the Roman cemetary. The remains of an ancient washhouse can be seen behind the beach, and shade is proviced by the odd olive tree.
Foki Bay – just an easy 10 min walk along the east coast road out of Fiskardo, brings you to a sheltered creek with small, deep, olive tree-shaded beach at the back, overlooked by a family-run taverna beside the road. The pine-covered hillsides are more reminiscent of Scandinavia than Greece. A small collection of fishing boats is moored on the other side of the creek opposite a large cave, and sailboats anchor quietly here in high summer.
Kimilia – a small, secret bay accessible either on foot or by boat, Kimilia Beach is stunning. Either wander 30 mins through the woods on the path from Emplysi Beach, or park opposite the pottery on the main road 2 mins out of the village, and walk 20 mins down the track to a clearing and then follow the yellow spray-painted markers through the trees and down to the beach. A smaller bay and areas of flat rock surround the beach if it’s busy, and there is a little natural shade depending on the position of the sun.
Dafnoudi Beach – a beautiful secluded bay facing north to the island of Lefkada, with a third of the beach in a vaulted cave. Either walk 20 mins down from the tavernas in the centre of the village of Antipata, or drive 2 mins down past the remains of a small hamlet, and on almost until the end of the road. A small gate of the right is signposted down an old streambed. Follow this a further 10 mins walk down to the sea. Unfortunately there is no shade on this beach, so it would be advisable to take a parasol.
Alaties – a small but popular beach on the west coast a 12 min drive from Fiskardo, Alaties is surrounded by a dramatic rocky outcrop pocked with salt pools. Scrape off the sun-dried salt from the smaller ones, or languish in the warm, therapeutic waters of the larger ones which are reputedly excellent for lumbago, arthiritis, and take years off your skin! Above the concrete steps leading down to the beach, is a popular but relaxed beach-bar-come-Italian-restaurant, ‘Aqua’. Dine on fresh fish and salads, or sip cocktails as you watch the sun sinking into the sea on the horizon.
Agia Jerusalem – a half moon bay facing south west towards the white cliffs of the Lixouri Peninsula, a 12 min drive from Fiskardo. Agia Jerusalem is the only beach in the north to have sunbeds and parasols for hire in high season. Popular with families, the water warms quickly at this sheltered beach and, beyond a collection of fishing boats, lies a quieter, little-used second half-moon beach. A traditional, family-run taverna is set in the grassy lawns behind the beach where you can eat a long, languid lunch or dinner under the vines or on the tables under the shade of a large fig tree.