Kefalonia, Greece: Makis Studios, Skala 1992

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Kefalonia is a large island in the Ionian.  Skala (or Skala Potamia) is at the southern tip of Kefalonia, facing south-east.  The development is on either side of the main street, which runs fairly steeply up the hill from the beach.  Skala means "below", so the development is "below the village of Potamia".

There are plenty of tavernas in Skala.  There is one at the bottom end of the main street on the beach, and this is an ideal spot to retreat to during the day to escape from the sun, or to eat in at night overlooking the sea.  Surprisingly, this was the only taverna on the beach - most of the others were on the main street, and therefore had no sea view.  They were all clean and friendly, with the right Greek atmosphere of bouzouki music and sizzling souvlaki on the grill.  Plenty of cocktail bars too.

The main resort beach is sand, but with lots of pebbles mixed in with it.  By the end of the main street, it was understandably popular.  We tended to walk along the beach to the right (ie the southwest).  We found that if you walk about half a mile past some rocks there are a few stretches without pebbles - more pleasant to sit on.  You're also further away from the village, and behind the beach is a sandstone cliff about 10m high, with few tracks leading down - this means fewer people to share the beach with.  There were no bars or tavernas there, so you'll need to take things to eat and drink if you're staying all day.  Remember that the beaches do change over time - a good storm could change the character of the beach completely.  When we were there, someone was building a bar half-way along to this sandier area - somewhere to stop on the way back for a refreshing drink after roasting on the beach all day.  By now they might even have finished it...

If you are really feeling energetic, keep on walking for another mile or so, and you'll clamber over some rocks, turn a corner - and find yourself at one end of the absolutely amazing Turtle Beach (Potomakia Beach).  When we went there, this was a completely deserted stretch of fine golden sand at least a kilometer long.  The access road is at the far end, so even if people do drive to it, they'll be a long way away.  People are discouraged from going there because Loggerhead turtles lay eggs at the back of the beach.  However, we didn't dig holes in the sand, and we were away before it got dark, so we didn't even see a turtle, let alone disturb one.

There are lots of studios and rooms to be had in Skala.  The Makis Studios were just off to the left of the main street at the top of the hill - a bit of a slog up from the beach.  The studios are set in a garden, which was well tended and watered.  Our studio was fine - compact, but bearable since you don't spend too much time there.  Just inside the door to the left was a small kitchen area.  Then there was the double bed (or rather two singles pushed together).  Off to the right was the bathroom, with a small shower.  A wardrobe provided clothes storage.  The balcony was a lovely area to sit and eat breakfast, looking out over a small grassy, shrubby valley at the back of the studios.  We regularly heard nightingales singing in this valley.

Excitement!  There was a mild earth tremor while we were there - just enough to rattle the glasses in the kitchen cupboards.  Kefalonia is in an earthquake zone, and this sort of thing happens regularly - we've experienced three such tremors in half-a-dozen holidays in the Ionian.

We hired a car for a few days and drove all over the island.  There are spectacular views from the coast roads, and some other beaches to explore.  Assos was pretty.  We drove to the far north of the island to the picturesque fishing village of Fiskardo.  We also took a ferry from Port Sami to the nearby fabled island of Ithaca, and visited the ancient village of Stavros, said to be the home of Odysseus.

Photos of Kefalonia.

We really enjoyed our stay in Skala, and would recommend it.

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