Assos (Greek: Άσσος)
Assos is also called the Honeymoon village, since Charles and Diana made a stop here with their yacht when newly wed). Overlooking the village and sitting proudly like a crown stands the remains of a Venetian fortress high upon the imposing hill A track leads from the village up to the fortress . The castle of Assos had major military importance. Along with the castle of St. George, these were the two most important strongholds of the Venetian army, built in the late 15th century to protect inhabitants from pirate raids. Assos was once the capital of the north side of the island. The location of the village to the rest of the island provided problems in creating a large urban center in Assos. Centuries later the administrative center was moved to Argostoli. Assos Castle and St George castle, (which was the capital of the island) were left to deteriorate. Many many years later for quite some time the castle of Assos was used by the modern Greek state as a prison.
The village has a “lost in time” feeling to it. Almost as if once you are wrapped in the atmosphere of the village you simply forget the rest of the world exists. Probably one of the prettiest places on the island and would go head to head with Fiscardo in a “chocolate box” contest, although Assos has a more rustic and rural feel than Fiscardo.
There is a small village square referred to as Paris this is due to the rebuilding of Assos which was severely damaged in the 1953 earthquake using French funds. A war memorial, an old cannon and an anchor take their respected position in the square. There are no large hotels dominating the village with holiday accommodation being in the main rooms to rent and a few villas. The village has managed to retain its charm and authentic character. You will find very few tourist shops, no fast food eateries or English pubs. A handful of shaded tavernas and restaurants are dotted throughout the village and on the small quay offering freshly caught seafood. Assos has a small horse shoe shaped harbour where little rowing boats and fishing boats bob up and down and you may even catch a glimpse of a luxury yacht or two.
A beautiful scenic village where the atmospheric and sleepy harbour is lined with eyecatching bougainvillea-clad neo-classical houses, this is a place where where old and new mix, where pretty coloured houses stand out from the ruined buildings. Narrow alleys reveal colourful houses with a multitude of blooms, lovely paths and old churches.The pretty coral pink church in Assos is Agios Giorgios originally dating back to 1871 with its picturesque cammpanile is a short walk from the village square.
Madonna of the Sand is a small church which can be found in a lane in Assos. The church was once on the beach and although not on the beach now it,has not moved – in fact the beach used to stretch much further back from its present position before the 1953 earthquake. The church has had to be partially rebuilt after the devastating quake. The pretty coloured houses dotted around nestling into the craggy hillside all have wonderful views of the bay. Assos does have a small pebbly beach where you can sunbathe and the waters are clear and shallow.
Dolphins and on rare occasions even turtles, can sometimes be seen in the surrounding water, so a pair of binoculars are recommended. This is the place to come and while away the day and do nothing, except sample the local wine, try the fresh fish, relax and just absorb up the tranquility and peacefulness that is Assos.
Not many places have such a dramatic setting as Assos, sadly as with the rest of the villages and towns in Kefalonia the 1953 earthquake took its toll leaving most of the buildings damaged. The Venetian architecture still remains, if only in a ruined state. It serves as a ghostly reminder of days gone by. There is no guarantee that these ruins are safe structurally so heed caution when exploring.
A small car park is available at the entrance to the village on the left. It is not very large and can fill quickly in the high season.
While Assos may be a fantastic relaxing base car hire is a must if you wish to see other locations around the island, Assos tends to feel a little remote.
Myrtos beach is just around the bay and can be reached via the cliff top road, here you will have great views of the surrounding area and of Assos itself, so camera at the ready!
The islands capital Argostoli is approximately 45 minutes away by motor vehicle, and the international airport an hour away.