Staying in Kefalonia's capital and largest city, Argostoli, allows you to go off on daily excursions to beaches and mountains, yet return to the comforts of a city. It has the island's most diverse offering of hotels and restaurants, and it feels urban. For those who find that Argostoli doesn't offer enough in the way of old-world charm or diversions, we point out some of the other possibilities on Kefalonia.

Argostoli's appeal does not depend on any archaeological, historical, architectural, or artistic particulars. It's a city for observers -- travelers who are content strolling or sitting and observing the passing scene: ships along the waterfront, locals shopping in the market, children playing in the squares. Head to Vallianou (Central) Square ★ or the waterfront to find a cafe where you can nurse a coffee or ice cream. Premier Cafe, on the former, and Hotel Olga, on the latter, are as nice as any.

The best nearby beaches are just south of the city in Lassi, which now has numerous hotels, pensions, cafes, and restaurants much loved by package groups.

The Home of Odysseus? -- Odysseus, the hero of Homer's epic, came from the island of Ithaka. Over the centuries, a few scholars debated which island this was -- some even arguing that, in any case, it was all a fiction -- but in general, it came to be accepted that Odysseus's island was the same as the one we know today by that name. In 2005, however, several Englishmen announced that they had established that the true Ithaka of Homer's Odysseus is the Paliki peninsula, which hangs down along the northwestern coast of Kefalonia. As to the objection that Homer's Ithaka was an island, they claimed that Paliki had been an island but that seismic forces had since joined it to Kefalonia. As of this writing, there is little archaeological evidence to support this claim -- and no remains to visit. But for those who relish Homer, it might be worth the few hours it would take to drive over to Paliki and check out the land. (There is also a frequent ferry that cuts down the travel time; but when you disembark, you would need to get wheels to explore the peninsula.) In any case, you might consider packing a paperback translation of the Odyssey.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.