Monday, May 30, 2016

Kefalonia, Greece: Vatsa Bay in Paliki Peninsula

The island of Kefalonia is a sizable piece of island, and even though we have stayed for 2 weeks, we were far from having seen everything. The Paliki peninsula for example is one of the places that we would have wanted to discover earlier and spend more time with. We’ve only been here 1 day.

From Argostoli, the capital of Kefalonia, Dutchman and I took the ferry to Lixouri, the second largest city in the island and the main city in the Paliki peninsula. The ferry service goes often during the summer months and it transports motorcycles and cars as well, which is handy for us as we are bringing our rental scooter with us.

We spent the most of our afternoon at Xi Beach aka the Red Beach because of its red-orange sand colour. Dutchman and I were slightly miffed for not having discovered this beach early in the holiday. But what can we do when Kefalonia is such a huge island? We don’t want to be rushing to different places and resort into ticking-the-bucket-list kind of holiday. We want to take our time, savour every moment and be spontaneous as well when needed.

After the relaxing beach afternoon at Xi we proceeded to the south, to the direction of Vatsa Bay to have a look.

A week ago in the holiday, we met an older English couple at the Myrtos Beach viewpoint in Erisos and we struck a little conversation with them about the island. They were staying in Fiskardo and have been coming to Kefalonia for many years. However for this year, and for the first time, they have decided to rent a car and explore a bit.

I tell you, many people do not get out of their resort or the village their resort is located during their entire 1 or 2 week holiday. Amazing huh?

The woman told me further about an article she read in a travel magazine back home. The story was about a cloistered bay in the Paliki peninsula that has its own resident bar and restaurant located right on the beach. She continued to say that the beach bar has only sand on the floor and that the Greek owner, Spyros cooks up delicious local treats for his guests. Because they have been going to Kefalonia for years already and have not set foot down south, they embarked on a day road trip to check out the place. She said that the Spiaggia Taverna (also called as Vatsa Club and Spyros Taverna) was exactly as how the travel magazine described it.

So this somehow got us interested. We arrived in Vatsa Bay early in the evening. There were very few people left in the bay as many must have left and gone back to their hotel rooms or apartments. Just to set things straight though. In Europe we have longer days in the summer. In Greece sunset is after 21:00 while in the Netherlands, it is 23:00 hours.

Dutchman loved Vatsa Bay and regretted a bit that we didn’t come earlier to enjoy the place. I would have wanted to have a little snack here at the Spiagga Taverna while I dig my feet in the sand and watch the waves gently roll up the shore. It’s a secluded place with a dramatic bay setting which makes the whole bayou quite special. Grateful though that the English couple gave us this tip.

But then again we can’t deny the fact that we also enjoyed very much our chill out time at Xi Beach. Let’s just say that we can’t have everything in life.

Here we are, on the road to Vatsa Bay.

Follow Spyros Taverna, it is the Spiaggia Taverna on Vatsa Bay.

Vatsa Bay on the map. The driving direction from Lixouri to the bay. If you zoom out you will see the distance (by water) between Lixouri and Argostoli.

Vatsa Bay during low tide.

Spiaggia Taverna aka Vatsa Club aka Spyros Taverna - they are all the same. A real beach taverna I reckon.

The floating pull-the-bridge thing in order to get to the other side.

The last few guests left at the bay.

Spiaggia/Spyros is the only taverna on Vatsa Bay.

If you do not wish the usual crowds at beaches in Paliki, then Vatsa Bay is a good option.

Another beach beside Vatsa Bay.

We are off to Lixouri, the main city of Paliki peninsula.

Travel Period: July 2015
Destination: Paliki (Kefalonia – Ionian Islands), Greece

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Ithaca Island, Greece: Kioni Village and Harbour

Last year Dutchman and I sailed to a small island paradise called Ithaca which is located beside Kefalonia Island where we were based for our summer holiday.

The boat cruise we booked had 2 main stops:

  • Vathy, the capital of the island
  • Kioni, a small picturesque harbour village in the north

Here in Kioni Dutchman and I had our dinner on the bay harbour, at the Mythos Taverna. It was one of our unforgettable dinners in this holiday, simply because of the romantic setting and gorgeous views, as well as the fact that it took a boat ride to get here and dine on the beach shore. This kind of dinner is something I really look forward to during our summer holidays. I live for this.

Here is the location of Kioni on the Greek map:

Our boat left from Skala in Kefalonia and sailed to Ithaca (Ithaki) Island, first stopping at Vathy and then to Kioni.

This summer, which is already next month we are going to Lefkada, the bigger island north of Ithaca. If you know me, my summer holiday mantra is this – one or two Greek island/s at a time every summer =)

For the time remaining we have in Kioni before sailing back to Skala, Kefalonia, I managed to walk around in the centre of the village and the harbour. Checking out the shops, the other tavernas and cool opportunites to photograph. If you walk to the other side of the islet you will be able to relish the beautiful views of the outdoor cafe terrace and restaurant scene on the bay, as well as the pristine boats anchored on the harbour.

Set theatrically on a horseshoe harbour bay with a verdant green background, I cannot deny the fact that Kioni is a lovely village that will easily please a summer holidaymaker's senses. Places like Kioni makes us go back, time and again, to the Greek Islands.

Dutchman and I were very pleased and satisfied to have visited Ithaca. Hope you enjoy the pictures!

There is a big yacht scene here in Kioni, Ithaca.

Dutchman and I would like to try the yacht/boat holiday one day. We already know that it is not going to be our favourite way of holidaying. You just do not have enough space. 

Kioni has a healthy cafe and restaurant scene. 

Do you remember Homer's Odyssey and his encounter with the one-eyed cyclops? Yes, this seems to be the name of the shop.

The Mythos Taverna on the shore where we had our dinner.

Kioni is bustling with activity when the sun starts to set down.

A balcony, no matter how small it is, is very important. It is one of the many joys one can experience during summer holidays.

Typically Greek Islands, you will see these delightful small fishing boats loitering the shores of the islands.

A very pretty shop and cafe which is attached to the wall and road.

The priest of the village taking a walk and a local guy from one of the restaurant harvesting some fish (crabs I believe).

The view of the harbour from the hilly part.

These boats look like sisters =)

The busy Kioni harbour.

A beautiful red-orange hibiscus flower.

It is early evening now and the restaurants and cafes have become very busy.

 Eating outdoors is one of the best experiences during summer holidays.

Travel Period: July 2015
Destination: Kioni, Ithaca (Kefalonia – Ionian Islands), Greece

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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