Aghia Efimia is a picturesque traditional harbour village and capital of the Pilaros region of Kefalonia. There has been a harbour at this site for centuries, however most of the local residents lived in the hills. Villages such as Drakopoulata, Dendrinata and Makrata provided some protection against the pirate raids that plagued Kefalonia. The village is centred around the harbour, lined by various tavernas serving fresh fish dishes and a selection bars and shops. The harbourside is a lovely place to relax and watch the world go by. Beautiful views of the island of Ithaca and the wonderful sunsets is one of the reasons most of the action is situated along the quay. If you are interested in diving there is a diving school located here, and small boats are available for hire at the quay.
A good place to be based for exploring the rest of the island as it’s quite centrally located with most places being easily within reach, if you choose to have a hire vehicle which really is the best way of having the flexibility to stay and go and you please.
This quaint picturesque town which is has become popular with the yachting flotillas that appear religiously throughout the summer. It’s easy to see why, with a long harbour and quay side cafes and bars and numerous little restaurants all snuggled into the foot of the surrounding mountains. Fiscardo located just north is now becoming very expensive hence the rising popularity of Aghia Efimia. As well as a mini market and gift shops there are also a few good late night music bars to frequent the evening in, however that’s about it, people take it slow here and nightlife is really all about a good meal in a local taverna with a stroll around the quay.
You need to venture out and wander around some of the cobbled back streets to really get a feel for this pretty village. The villagers take a lot of pride in their flowers, which Aghia Efimia has now become famous for. The most amazing colours and aromas will dazzle you. The Bougainvillea and Morning Glory almost seem to take over the buildings, gardens and pots in which they grow and the warm evening air fills with lovely herb smells.
Various old villages and ruins are dotted throughout the hillsides, abandoned after successive earthquakes, these are worth a visit as they are quite atmospheric and eerie, and provides an insight past village life. Goats around this area appear to have silver or gold coloured teeth but this is due to the mica content in the ground and vegetation they eat.
If a beach based holiday is your idea then perhaps this village is not for you as it only has a typical small town beach on the front.
The village takes its’ name from the church St Efimia, this is the local church located near the quay and dedicated to St Nikolas. When the evening service on 10th July has ended, there is usually a barbecue and dancing to celebrate the feast day which is the following day. Historical interests include a mosaic floor which was discovered it had either been part of a Roman villa or had been the original floor in the Church of Aghia Efimia. On May Day there is a flower and book show followed by festivities on the beach. In 1953 this village was destroyed by the Ionian Earthquakes, very few original buildings survived, with the help of the French it was rebuilt and resembles a small provincial town with a harbour. Before the 1953 earthquakes this small town was one of Kefalonia’s most important centres of trade. There were stately homes and mansions, one still stands on the waters edge.
Before then most people lived in the hills behind the village and came down to the area of Aghia Efimia after the earthquake. They left the ruined hillside villages abandoned. The local residents once made their income from farming, in particular feta production, and from fishing. Most of the local residents work in the tourist industry very few actually fish for a living. Today the village is dependent on tourism and as Aghia Efimia grows in popularity, more accommodation is needed, this leads to more development within the area. Presently the village is charming despite some development taking place on the edge of the village. British legend John Hurt chose to stay here during the filming of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.