Agia Efimia, Kefalonia, Greece .... before the 1953 earthquakes this seaside village was one of the island's more important centres of trade, with stately homes, like the Venetian mansion still standing on it's prominent position on the right-hand edge of the village overlooking the harbour. Agia Efimia was totally rebuilt with assistance from the French, and today it is a picturesque village with a vibrant and friendly local community.
Agia Efimia has a bustling harbour where flotillas and some larger vessels moor up during the summer months. The town boasts a fine selection of restaurants and tavernas, coffee shops, cafes and snack bars, as well as bakeries, supermarkets, a post office and a number of small shops.
The village benefits from a main beach consisting of small pebbles and sand. There are also other smaller beaches and coves dotted around the coastline of the village. A number have steps leading down making them easily accessible. Whilst not over commercialised, this friendly village offers plenty of amenities whilst remaining traditionally Greek - it's where the Greek people come on holiday in August.
Motor boat hire is available from the harbour - boats can be hired by the day or week. For those not wishing to take charge of a boat there are regular daily cruises operating during the week which can be booked at the harbour. The cruises visit Ithaca, Meganisi, Lefkada (Lefkas) and Scorpios islands. Details of timetables and prices are available in the village.
Car hire is recommended for exploring the rest of the island (there isn't a regular bus service). Astro-holidays can make the car hire arrangements for you with the local, reliable car hire supplier in the village. Guests who have booked their accommodation with Astro-holidays benefit from a discount of 10 Euros per week on car hire booked through Astro-holidays. Alternatively, if you prefer two wheels, motorbike hire can be arranged in the village from Roadrunners who also rent quads.
The village of Agia Efimia is named after Saint Efimia and the village holds a Festival in Saint Efimia's honour each year on 11th July.
Saint Efimia's icon is taken from the Church on the evening of July 11th and carried to the harbour to be blessed. Local Priests and a marching band follow, accompanied by many of the villagers. After the blessing there are festivities around the harbour with singing and dancing followed by a firework display which goes on until late into the evening. There is also a large and busy market at the back of the village selling just about everything over the Festival period
May Day sees another Festival in the village. The celebrations are held in the village by the harbour where there is a flower show with stalls selling flowers, plants and shrubs. Many of the islanders visit Agia Efimia on May Day to join in the celebrations which include singing and Greek dancing with many local people and school children taking part. It's a real family day out.
Efimia lived during the times of the Emperor Diocletian. The family were religious and Efimia grew into a woman with strong beliefs. When the pagan ruler of Asia Minor, Priskus, ordered the inhabitants to attend a feast for God Ares, Efimia refused to go as she didn't wish to celebrate the pagan symbols. She was jailed! Her enemies tried to convince her to adopt paganism but Efimia kept refusing and eventually she was tortured and suffered a violent death. The Greek Orthodox Church declared her a Saint and the Nameday of 'Efimia' is celebrated on September 16th.
Whilst there are plenty of beaches and coves in Agia Efimia (many of which are ideal for snorkelling), the world famous Myrtos Beach is only a short drive away. No visit to Kefalonia is complete without a visit to Myrtos which is probably the most photographed beach on the island. For visitors staying in Agia Efimia it is only a few minutes away by car.
Myrtos Beach is renowned as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and during 2003/2004 was awarded first prize in an international competition. It has also earned the Blue Flag of the E.U. for the excellent manner in which it is organised. During the summer months the Municipality of Pylaros provide a regular bus service to and from Myrtos Beach from Agia Efimia - the journey is interesting as it goes through a number of the smaller villages and hamlets en route to Myrtos. Timetables are posted outside the Tourist Information office and the bus leaves from the harbour area.
Agia Efimia is centrally placed on the island and as such makes an excellent base from where to explore further afield. If you hire a car to explore other areas, you will find it no more than about an hour's drive to any other point on the island you may wish to visit.