Kefalonia island, Mirtos beach

A Couple of Greek Islands for Book Lovers

Greece has long been a place where dreamy novels and memoirs of those lucky to have visited before flights became so readily accessible are set. Of the few books set here, a couple are particularly well known. Not only are they loved as stories but have been good for Greece economically, as tourism to the islands they describe grew and grew after their publication.

The first is an old classic, Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals. The book is Durrell’s personal memoir of his mother and siblings being uprooted and dragged off to Corfu to live. At that time, Corfu was not a big tourist destination. The family were not greeted by a whole community of Brits. A very rosy picture of the island is painted in the book (at one point they even live in a pink house). It is an idyllic view of a place experienced through the eyes of a child who loved animals. There is a strong sense of place and the food too is drawn attention to with particular reference to the olive groves. Sadly, while not Durrell’s intention at all, the popularity of the book helped boost tourism to a point that the Corfu of today is not at all the same as that in the book. Areas of the island have seen overdevelopment and some beaches are too crowded. The best way to explore the island now is to side-step the crowds and visit areas of it that are not on the package holiday list of resorts. The way to do this is to book the trip independently, keeping the flights and hotel bookings separate in the process. The north and east coasts are the most developed, so stick to other areas if you want to find some of what was.

Another book that has more recently seen thousands flocking to the island of Kefalonia, is Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. The book was also made into a movie that was actually shot on the island, further promoting it to tourists. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is a love story set in the Second World War. A naïve young Greek woman lives with her doctor father on the beautiful island and everything is peaceful until, because of Nazi occupation, some Italian military land on the island. The description in the book speaks of long white beaches and perfect sea in a vivid and inviting manner.

Kefalonia island, Mirtos beach
Kefalonia island, Mirtos beach

While Corfu is the second largest of the Ionian islands, Kefalonia is the largest. Perhaps it’s the size of the island that has kept it from being quite as targeted by tourism as Corfu, or perhaps it’s that Corfu has been the centre of attention for so many more years. Either way it is easy to find unspoiled beach and tranquility here. Myrtos is the most famous and some claim, most beautiful of the beaches; Argostoli is perhaps the least crowded. One rule to go by is that although the idea of vast white sandy beaches is good, small often equals less tainted.

Greece Vacation Ideas:

Hop Around the Greek Islands for Sun and Adventure – UltimateGetaways
Greece – A Honeymoon Destination for Lovers of Beaches and Culture – ExoticHoneymoonDestinations
Things To Do in Corfu, Greece – BeachTraveller
Find Cheap Apartments in Halkidki – BestBudgetHotelReviews
Five top activities to do on the Greek Islands – 100PlacestoTravel
Top Greek Attractions – TheAdventureTravel
A Greek Island Cruise – BestBudgetCruiseLine
Off The Beaten Path in Greece – TravelDestinationGuide
Walking in Crete and Samaria Gorge – TravelDope
Finding the right holiday rentals in Greece – RentForYourVacation
The Southern Dodecanese Islands – Tilos – WaltDisneyCruise
The Southern Dodecanese Islands – Kasos – WHIHotels
Dive the Greek Islands – SantoriniResort
Ideas for a Romantic Vacation in Mainland Greece – BeachfrontVacationVillas
Traveling to Rhodes Island Greece – BeachVacationsHoliday
Greek Party Islands Explored – SingleTripAdvisor
Greece and the Movies – BookingAccommodation
The Greek Islands- History’s Stepping Stones – FamilyVacationsHQ
My Love Affair With Kefalonia – LuxuryResortGuide