We needed to get in a couple of walks before taking on Mount Ainos, and decided that this one around Fiskardo from the excellent Kefalonia Walk & Eat book by Brian and Eileen Anderson looked like a step up from our previous one at Ag Gerasimos and Old Valsamata, which you can read about here.
First of all we had to get to Fiskardo, and so the rental car was proving very worthwhile. We drove from Lassi to Argostoli and then followed the coast road through Farsa, Agon, Divarata, passing above the Venetian castle at Assos, then through Vasilikades before eventually reaching Fiskardo. The drive had taken over an hour and had been a tough one, requiring total concentration at all times. Kefalonia is a lovely island, but it is not necessarily easy to get around as there seems to be only a minimal bus service and using taxis all the time can be costly. However, and maybe it was because we were here towards the end of the season, finding somewhere to park was never a problem, so using the car was very convenient and today we parked on the road overlooking the port of Fiskardo.
We walked down to the ferry quay and as we began the walk we enjoyed the sight of the ferry being called back to shore, seemingly to pick up one passenger who had not quite made it to the boat on time. Our start took us along the road by the shore and away from the village, into the pine woods and a trail which had both wooden signs and yellow dots waymarking it, with the dots on rocks and trees, and in far too high a quantity than are required to follow such a straightforward route.
This led us to the old Venetian lighthouse, up from which was the new lighthouse, and from there we continued to follow the obvious path up away from the sea and soon reached the ruins of an early Christian basilica. I do enjoy ruins and these were excellent, giving a great idea of the building which would have stood here. We kept ahead through the ruins and came out into open ground. The dots which were so abundant on the clear path in the forest had now largely disappeared as we faced the open ground, but it was still pretty clear which direction we needed to go, heading away from the coast while mostly walking straight ahead on the most accessible route we could see until we passed a round storage tank on our right and came to a track which took us uphill to the left, past a ruined windmill before we joined the main road and turned right.
Very soon after that we turned right again, following a road down towards Emblissi Beach, which is a beautiful white-stone beach.
We stopped here to enjoy the view out to sea and for an ice cream, and I took a look around for the next path on our route. This is where our problems started. The route in the guide book would appear to have been closed off and the area it goes over has become private ground. There was a metal fence in place at a path on the far side of the beach, and trying a track a little further inland also led to the metal fence. There was a track at the back of the beach which led to a fenced-off utility building and we follow a path which went behind that, to find a gate in the metal fence which was only fastened with a bit of string. We decided to go through and see where it took us. We were supposed to “rise gently through a forest of strawberry trees and holm oaks on a fairy-tale path” but although we were managing to follow a track this forest was now overgrown and the only fairy-tale I could think of was Hansel & Gretel. We pushed on through the undergrowth on a trail which I suspect was far harder going than the real route and after a while came out at a track which we should have encountered for the first time a little later on our route. However, it was signposted to the right to Kymillia Beach, so we followed it along a forest path down through the trees and came out at the far end of the beach.
This is not where we should have come out to find the beach, but at least we were here and it had been more than worth it because it is a stunning, secluded beach with only a few people on it when we got there. I took a look around and found a gulley at the other end of the beach which may have been the entrance on to the beach from the real route. We sat for a while before moving on, with the hope that we had left all navigational issues behind us.
We took the uphill path at the far end of the beach which we had come down, and turned left almost immediately, to take us back on the woodland path we had followed to bring us here. We met the track we had already encountered, and turned right. The horse compound mentioned in the guide is no longer there, and more to the point the path signposted to Dafnoudi also appears to have gone because we walked up and down for some time without finding it. We could see precisely where we were on the map in the guidebook but that path was simply not here on the ground. It does look as though this area is being redeveloped and so this section of the walk may have been taken from us. We followed the track up to the main road, turned right and followed the road to Andipata, out in the open under the hot sun, and thankfully very soon coming to the recommended To Pefko taverna where we enjoyed a delicious lunch. We would certainly recommend the taverna ourselves now !
We left along the road, continuing to head away from Fiskardo, passing the church on our left and immediately turning left on to the road to Psilithrias. We meandered along the quiet country road under the afternoon sun until we came to the old church of Ag Spiridon high up above us. We did not walk up to it and instead took the stony track to the right which took us into the woods and a lovely little walk through them.
We missed the Throne of the Queen of Fiskardo as we walked past it because it is so far set back in the trees, but having come to the Kastro Club on our right I turned back to find it, before quickly rejoining Debbie a little further along the track just before we reached the main road. We crossed that and followed the lane which brought us back to the harbour at Fiskardo and the end of a trying, frustrating but ultimately very enjoyable walk in the sun.
We walked for 7.2 miles in total.
You can see more photos from the walk here.