Argostoli the capital of Kefalonia where a large proportion of the island's inhabitants live today. It is situated on a peninsular, it is a busy working port with ferries, private yachts and freight ships coming and going all year round, a ferry connection to Lixouri operates several times a day. The town of Argostoli became the capital of Kefalonia in 1757, taking over the title from the nearby St. Georgios Fortress. The British settled in Kefalonia in 1809, and their rule played an important part in the island’s development.

The dominant sight of the town is the 650 metre causeway, the Drapano bridge which straddles the natural west-coast harbor. It was constructed by the English in 1813, in order to join Argostoli with the opposite coast of the Koutavos Lagoon. The elegant arched bridge is quite a feat of engineering, with no cement to hold its stones together. On its middle bend, just off to the side is a small obelisk, dedicated to Charles de Bosset who authorised building of the bridge. The construction is based on several stone arrows, 4 meters from each other and placed along the bridge. British rule in Kefalonia ended in 1864 following the union of the Ionian islands with the rest of Greece.

I found driving along the bridge quite an experience, it is very narrow and some parts of the stone walls are missing, there is nothing to stop you from driving over the edge, the crossing is even more difficult as local fishermen stand on the bridge with their fishing rods casting out, having to avoid them and keeping an eye on oncoming traffic certainly kept me very alert!

Unfortunately this experience will not longer be possible as over the last few years due to its fragile condition and problems with cars passing on such a narrow bridge, vehicles are no longer permitted to use the bridge. However, pedestrians are still allowed to cross and it is a very pleasant walk in the evenings to the other side of the lagoon.

Venetian buildings used to stand in the town, but they were destroyed along with the entire town of Argostoli and almost all the other towns and villages on the island in the devastating earthquake of 1953. Although damaged the Drapano Bridge did survive, however, after the earthquake its stone arches sunk lower. Originally boatmen were able to row under the bridge between the arches that now just skim the surface of the lagoon.

The town was rebuilt with the help of the Greek government, unfortunately no efforts were made to keep the traditional "venetian" style buildings, instead simple Ionian architectural appeared. The architecture is, however, compensated by an attractive waterfront which features a colourful fruit market and wonderful views across the lagoon, St. Georgios Castle and Mount Aenos can also be seen in the distance.

Argostoli has some very fine tavernas and restaurants, the evening is the best time to visit. If you look hard enough you will be able to find tavernas in and around Argostoli and the rest of the island that still have traditional Greek dancing. The town does seem to have a different atmosphere at night, especially with the main square Valianou coming alive, but with a very relaxed feel to it.

The waterfront at night with hundreds of lights reflected on the calm Koutavos Lagoon really is wonderful to see!


2019 update: The earthquakes that shook the Island in 2014 also damaged the Argostoli harbour area with cracks and buckled concrete appearing all along the boat moorings. It had been five years since I had witnessed the damage here. So, I was very pleased to see that all the concrete along the harbour has been removed and is being replaced by new paving (still to be completed). Although while I was there it appeared to me that it was being done quite rapidly without delay. The Drapano bridge has also been completely repaved and the damaged walls to the bridge repaired or replaced, street lighting has also been installed all along the bridge. Many major changes have been made to Plateia Valianou (Vallianos Square) in the centre of the town. It has been completely refurbished and repaved along with the street leading to the square being pedestrianised with new restaurants and bars lining the street and square.


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