Cephalonia is the largest island in the Ionian Sea, famous for its gorgeous beaches, crumbling castles, secluded monasteries and warm Greek hospitality. Throughout the course of history, Cephalonia has exchanged hands many times—from the Normans to the Venetians to the Ottoman Turks, and it has survived occupations by German and Italian soldiers during WWII. These influences from other European countries have shaped the island's culture, and are especially evident in the spelling variations of place names. Several museums and memorials around town pay tribute to both Cephalonia’s classical and recent history, and are worth a visit.
Argostóli is Cephalonia’s port town, on the bay of Livadi. It was rebuilt after a devastating 1953 earthquake. The architecture, although new, remains traditionally Greek. Lithostroto is the main drag—a pedestrian-only street lined with specialty shops and tourist kiosks offering souvenirs and the island's famous cheese pastries. During the warm months, musicians come to play traditional music by guitar and mandolin in Vallianos Square (Plateia Valianou) while down beside the waterfront promenade, local fishermen haul in their daily catch.