Taking advantage of our Nectar points (Avios air miles) we flew to Kefalonia from Heathrow with British Airways using their ‘Club Europe’ option. For this, you get to use the dedicated lounge with its free food and drink. Sounds good, but you have to order these via an app and that was faulty. First world problems.
Enough moaning. Thank God the Maitre’d on the flight drew the curtain to separate us from the oiks in steerage; there was an unpleasant smell coming from back there, below deck. Apparently, the proles refuse to use the toilets, preferring to urinate etc. where they sat on their upturned beer crates. I had shepherd’s pie for lunch washed down with few glasses of fizz to help me ignore the grunting plebs. Note to self; I don’t drink enough champagne.
Kefalonia’s airport is situated in the capital, Argostoli, and we got a taxi from there to Assos. We had chosen this spot because it was supposedly very quiet and very pretty. In fact, it was almost silent, stunningly beautiful, and the perfect place to chill. Our apartments were called ‘Beautiful View’ because, well, they gave a beautiful view over Assos. However, to get that view, the place has to be situated high up the hillside, so the price you pay for that is a rather steep stroll home from the centre of the village. It was a smashing spot though. One evening we got some bread, cheese, olives and wine from a local shop and just sat on our (extensive) balcony with the picnic.
The village is not much than four tavernas and a few shops, the focal point of the various dwellings and small hotels that make up Assos. The fact that it was the end of the season, and covid had further reduced tourist numbers, gave the place a sleepy vibe. The video (see link below) isn’t long, there’s not a lot to see; but it’s all gorgeous! The tavernas were fine, we went twice to Nefeli Anait, and a bar called Three Monkeys was cool (they did food too but we never ate there).
Architecturally, the town is scarred by the earthquake of 1953, which crumpled many towns in Kefalonia. The signs are evident all over Assos. It robbed the place of most of its Venetian buildings, though the fractured ruins are still standing. I guess they repaired what they could, and built new houses when they had to. The splintered shells and facades remain, however, and speak of what had once been. If you dwell on these skeletons of the past, they give a melancholy fell to the present perhaps. I found them quite moving.
Summer was almost over. The wind was getting up in the evenings and there was a feeling that the town was getting ready to hibernate in readiness for next season. There weren’t many tourists so, no waiting for tables, queuing up etc.
In the recent past, I imagine Assos was a small fishing port and there is a short quayside. It’s a great spot for yachting cruises, though there are not many berths. Historically, the port was important to the Venetian Republic, and they built an impressive castle on the isthmus which juts out from the mainland. It’s a must do walk as, again, the views from the top are truly grand. Go in the morning as it can get jolly hot, it a climb of 170m on a well maintained, wide path that snakes back and forth up the hillside. Take some water because there’re only ruins at the top. To be honest, not much more than the castle wall remains. But, if you like walls, it’s a damn good one.
Down below you get a great view of the little beach and harbour. Some folk have recommended this beach for snorkelling. I can only assume they’ve never snorkelled anywhere else. I suppose it’s pleasant enough, if it’s not windy, but there’s nothing to see. The beach is a mixture of pebbles and sand, and there are enough sunbeds. In the height of the season, Assos’ charm lures coach parties from other parts of the island on day trips. It probably gets very busy in those months, and I reckon those crowds would destroy its mellow appeal.
Should I go?
It depends what you want. If you want somewhere quiet, laid back and picturesque, then Assos ticks those boxes. At least it does outside the main season. Once the coach trips have departed, I suspect it regains its cosy charm.
There’s not a lot of activities beyond walking, eating, drinking and soaking up the atmosphere. It’s a place for ‘being’ not ‘doing’. I really liked it.
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