Fiskardo Cottages

Fiskardo, Kefalonia, Greece Book from £114.29

Reviewed by Jane Foster
Two beautifully restored cottages for self-catering, set in terraced gardens with a pool, in a quiet hamlet of northern Kefalonia (sleeping 2-6)
On a west-facing hillside above Kefalonia’s rugged northern coast, the tiny hamlet of Markandonata gets stunning sunset views across fields and woodland onto the deep blue Ionian Sea. Set in pretty Mediterranean planted grounds with a pool, these charming whitewashed cottages have been lovingly restored by British owner Marcus Love - a costume designer for cinema - to combine traditional local style with tasteful antique furniture and full modern comforts.

Ideal for a romantic escape, or for families wanting a peaceful rural holiday retreat, one cottage sleeps 4-6, the other 2-4. They are set a discreet distance apart from one another, and the silence is blissful. Close by are excellent unspoilt beaches: 2 are within walking distance, and Myrtos, frequently cited as one of the most beautiful in Greece, is a 30-minute drive away. Sail, snorkel, scuba dive or just unwind. If hiking's more your thing, head for the hills and walk amongst dramatic mountain scenery. Return home for G&Ts on your private terrace then cook or walk to excellent local tavernas.

Highs

    • Gloriously peaceful location, with the upmarket fishing village of Fiskardo just a 5-minute drive or 30-minute walk away
    • The loving restoration. Marcus oversaw the tasteful exterior and interior makeover, and the result is an understated but stylish blend of old and new
    • Slick modern kitchens mean self-catering is a pleasure
    • A great extended family rental, with parents and children in Lime, and grandparents in Fig
    • Tavernas, shops and beaches are within walking distance so you don't have to drive everywhere, although you'll probably want a hire car for sightseeing and occasional food shopping

Lows

  • Note the strict booking and cancellation policy
  • The pool is shared, though plans are afoot to build an additional one
  • Mobile phone reception is poor
  • Lime Cottage sleeps 4-6 but only has one bathroom. Both cottages have a shower but no bathtub

Best time to go

The best time to visit Kefalonia is May-June or Sept-Oct, when the weather is sunny, the sea warm enough to swim, and local tourist facilities open without being too crowded. The island gets very busy and hot in peak season (July-Aug), but it’s also fun, with lots going on.

Our top tips

Besides fantastic beaches, the island offers fine hiking. Pack a good pair of walking boots and a copy of Walk & Eat Kefalonia, which gives 10 walks (each with a map) plus recommendations for places to eat on the way and some local recipes. It also outlines excursions to Argostoli and Ithaca.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • = Makes the grade
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Self-catering Cottages (sleeping 2-6)
  • 2
  • Self-catering
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 1 Nov 2015 - 31 Mar 2016
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room:

Rooms

Lime Cottage is the larger of the two. You enter into an open-plan kitchen and living room, with white-and-grey flecked marble floors and a whitewashed wooden pitched ceiling. A cool, light and airy space, it combines modern cooking facilities with a boxy white sofa, armchair and flat-screen TV. There are 2 big white metal fisherman’s lamps, as well as spotlights, and an old-fashioned wood-burning stove, making it atmospheric after dark.

Lime's master bedroom has exposed stone walls with a wooden floor, a white wrought-iron double bed and French doors opening onto a small balcony with views across the fields towards the sea. The other bedroom is rather basic though nice, with one exposed stone wall and 2 single beds, making it ideal for a family with 2 children. There's also a white wooden mezzanine level above the living room with a sofabed, meaning that Lime can in theory sleep 6, though I think it would be a little crowded. All guests share a white-and-grey marble bathroom with a big walk-in rain shower.

Charming Fig Cottage sleeps 2 and is ideal for a romantic escape. You get an open-plan kitchen and living area - again with marble floors and a whitewashed wooden pitched ceiling - which opens onto a lovely stone terrace with sea views. From the kitchen, marble steps lead up to the sleeping area with its wrought-iron double bed (so you might not want to cook pungent dinners before bedtime!), and a shower bathroom. There's also a double sofabed in the lounge if you're travelling with a child or 2, though this might make it a bit of a squeeze. Note that there are a couple fewer mod cons than in Lime (no CD player or central heating).

Features include:

  • Terrace
  • Satellite tv
  • Dvd player
  • Ipod dock
  • Fan
  • Cots Available
  • Terrace
  • Full kitchen
  • Fridge
  • Oven
  • Microwave
  • Hob stove
  • Coffee tea making
  • Barbeque
  • Toaster
  • Washing machine
  • Iron
  • Hairdryer
  • Ironing board
  • Sunloungers
  • Beach umbrella

Eating

In Lime Cottage, the open-plan kitchen is fully equipped with a cooker, big fridge/freezer with an ice maker (so you can even make cocktails!), kettle, toaster, microwave and oven, espresso machine and dishwasher, plus a wealth of pots and pans, crockery and glasses. There's a table in the kitchen, but you'll probably want to dine alfresco - Lime has a lovely outdoor eating space with a long wooden table, two wicker armchairs, and bench seating with cushions. It’s a fine spot for breakfast, with the sea merging into the sky in the distance, and you also get sublime sunsets.

In Fig Cottage there's a similar but smaller open-plan kitchen, with slightly less fancy equipment (no dishwasher, sandwich toaster, ice maker or coffee machine), and a 2-ring hob. The living space opens onto a small stone terrace with sea views and a table and benches for eating out. There are plans to build a private barbecue area for each cottage, but meantime there's a shared barbecue you can use.

For food shopping, there’s a mini-market in the village (a 5-minute walk uphill), 2 small grocery stores in Magganos (a 10-15-minute walk), plus 2 well-stocked supermarkets in Fiskardo (5 minutes by car or a 30-minute walk). A shopping service is also available if requested at least a week in advance of your stay.

Restaurant wise, the nearest place to eat out is To Petrino in the village - they serve a selection of Greek mezze plus barbecued meat and fish dishes at outdoor tables, or indoors by an open fire. In Magganos there’s a decent taverna called Ionio, which does good local food and occasional live music. In Fiskardo, highly recommended are Vasso’s and Tassia’s, both overlooking the harbour and serving good (though not cheap) fresh seafood.

Features include:

  • Shopping service
  • Full kitchen
  • Fridge
  • Oven
  • Microwave
  • Hob stove
  • Coffee tea making
  • Toaster
  • Walk to restaurants
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Swim and sunbathe at local beaches - the nearest is Dafnoudi, a 20-minute walk across fields and along a woodland path. Near Fiskardo you’ll find the pretty pebble beach of Emblisi (a 30-minute walk), while Kefalonia’s most stunning beach, Myrtos, set below dramatic cliffs that plummet down to the coast, lies 20km away

  • Walk along a track past olive groves and cypresses to the restored church of Ag Giannnis (St John), with fine views out to sea

  • Explore the pretty fishing village of Fiskardo (a 5-minute drive or 30-minute walk), with its pastel-coloured houses and tavernas rimming a busy little harbour

  • Try scuba diving with the Fiskardo Dive Centre - they run a ‘Discover Diving’ course for complete beginners, and arrange dives to underwater caves and shipwrecks for those with experience

  • Drive to the village of Assos (10km), a cluster of old cottages, plus several tavernas, built on an isthmus between the seaward cliffs and a small island with a Venetian fortress

  • Visit the Robola Wine Co-operative in the Omala Valley, near Argostoli. They offer a short tour of the cellars plus tasting of their highly regarded dry white robola, and you can buy bottles to take home

  • Explore the island’s caves, close to Sami: Drogarati has a big chamber filled with stalactites, while Melissani is home to an underground salt-water lake

  • Take an excursion by traditional wooden caique (fishing boat) to Ithaca with Ionian Discoveries. They are run by Jamie Stirling, a marine biologist, who will introduce you to local marine life, including dolphins, the rare monk seal and octopus

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Kids activities nearby
  • Boat trips
  • Hiking
  • History religious
  • Kayaking
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Snorkeling
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife
  • Wine tasting
  • Shopping
  • Caving

Kids

Families are welcome and kids will enjoy the pool and gardens, though teenagers could get a little frustrated by the isolated location. The cottages are in a tranquil setting yet are conveniently close to tavernas, shops and beaches.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Lime Cottage sleeps 4 in a double and twin room and either can take a baby cot; there's a double sofabed on the mezzanine above the living room which could sleep an extra 1-2 people, though it would be a squeeze.
Fig only has one double bedroom but this can take a baby cot, and the cottage also has a double sofabed in the lounge for older children. There is one baby cot available on request

Baby equipment:


  • Baby cot
  • High chair
  • Baby bathtub

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:


  • Swimming pool located a little walk away from the cottages through the gardens
  • Patio for playing safely outside both Fig and Lime

Kids Activities nearby:


  • Family snorkelling trips in Fiskardo
  • Beaches
  • Play parks in local villages

Families Should Know:

Parents should be aware that there are terraces, steps and drops around the property and the pool is unfenced

Distances:

  • Airport: 90 minutes
  • Hospital: 45 minutes
  • Shops: 10 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
8/
Service
8/
Value
9/
Overall

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