Cephalonia is the sixth largest island of Greece, occupying an area of 786 sq. km. It is the largest island of all the Ionian islands and the second in population with 36,527 inhabitants (population census of 2001). The capital of the prefecture of Cephalonia and Ithaca is Argostoli, since 1757. The annexation of the Ionian Islands in Greece took place on 21 May 1864. The island suffered severe damage from the earthquake of 1953 when it was almost destroyed but it was later rebuilt by its residents and as a result today Cephalonia has known rapid tourism development.
Cephalonia is called the “island of oddity” because of the many unusual phenomena recorded on the island. The coastline, 254 km long, it reveals a rich horizontal division. Strips of land protrude into the sea, forming the peninsulas of Paliki in the west and Erisou in the north, while the sea forms wide bays and coves. The main ports are Sami, opposite of Ithaca, and Argostoli, in the west, which in the ancient years it was a natural naval base of strategic importance. The bays of Myrtos and Athera in the north, and of Lourda and Kateleio in the south, stand for the beautiful beaches that attract many visitors every year. The geological phenomena of the island are Katavothres and the caves of Drogorati and Melissani.
The name Cephalonia, as named by Herodotus, came from Cephalonians, people of Western Greece. The turbulent history of the island, however, brought large variations in population followed by intense internal migration to the urban centers.
Regarding the sights, the most important is the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli, the Maritime and Environmental Museum of Fiskardo, with information about the island's history, marine life and natural beauty, the Natural History Museum of Cephalonia and Ithaca in Davgata, the Ecclesiastical Museum Monastery of St. Andrew Milapidias where ecclesiastical relics, icons, hagiographies and mural paintings are exposed and the Monastery of Saint Gerasimos (or Monastery of New Jerusalem). Also, the wines produced at the island are a great tradition: the most famous variety is Robola, while the Cephalonian cuisine includes the known dishes of the Ionian Islands such as pastitsada and aliada.