PMGY volunteer in Greece participants are based in Kefalonia, which is an island in the Ionian Sea west of the mainland. Our project field stations are based on two of the islands most popular towns in Argostoli and Lixouri. Kefalonia is famous for its green mountains, breathtaking beaches and crystal clear waters. Carrying a rich history in cultural tradition, it is the biggest of all of the Ionian Islands. Famous for its sea turtles, cuisine, traditional villages, pristine beaches and vibrant nightlife, the island really does have something for everyone.
The conservation program runs daily from the start to the end of the sea turtle nesting season. As a result, participants volunteer six days per week to help with all the fieldwork activities required. You will have one day free to relax or travel further afield. In your free time, it is worth exploring the beauty of the island and the quaint towns that exist within it. As our volunteers will testify, the wider travel opportunities are extremely important to the whole experience and it is something we certainly recommend. Our local team is able to suggest activities, day trips and transportation but please note this is usually an independent experience outside of the core program.
Not only is Argostoli a field station base, it is also one of the most popular towns and capital of the island. Indeed it is the loggerhead turtles that prove the biggest attraction for tourists and locals who flock to the Koutavos lagoon to catch a glimpse of them. In addition to an active harbour, there are many shops, restaurants and cafes to keep you entertained. The waterfront is a long promenade that runs adjacent to the main street and provides picturesque views of Argostoli and its surrounding areas.
Located 35km west of Argostoli, a short ferry ride will take you to Kefalonia’s second-largest community in Lixouri. The town is home to 3000 inhabitants many of whom are engaged with agriculture and tourism. Our second field station location, the beautiful town of Lixouri lies around the blue bay of Argostoli. Its main square is filled with old-fashioned cafes and really comes alive in the evenings. Petani Beach, Vatsa Bay and Gero Gombos Lighthouse are just some of the points of interest to be found in the Lixouri area.
Kefalonia’s prettiest village lies on the northeastern tip of the island. A 1953 earthquake caused great damage to the island, but somehow Fiskardo retained its 18th-century Venetian-style architecture. A picturesque harbour village, Fiscardo is famous for its seafood and popular with sailing crews. The journey from Argostoli to Fiscardo is filled with amazing views of Kefalonia’s rugged western coast as well as some of Greece’s most beautiful beaches.
Located on the central east coast of Kefalonia, Sami is a region charcterised by lush green mountains, rugged coastline, beautiful beaches and bustling traditional villages. In addition, ancient and historical sites including the Drogarati Cave, Karavomylos Lake and Antisamos Beach make it a must for the more adventurous travellers.The regions ancient monastery with its culinary festival to the Bronze Age fortress provide a historical side of Sami to be explored.
Backed by steep limestone cliffs, Myrtos Beach is recognised as one of the most photographed beaches in all of Greece. Located in the region of Pylaros in the north-west of Kefalonia, the coastal beach is made up of clear white sand and turquoise water stretching 700 metres long. The view from the road above is spectacular with many viewpoints for tourists to enjoy. Take a break from the sand and sea and explore the nearby village of Divarata.
Home to an underground lake, Melissani Cave is definitely worth a visit. Located north of Sami, the lake became open to the public in 1963. Previously, the 40 metre wide underwater lake was once worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. Swimming inside the cave is not possible, but you can enjoy a 15 minute boat ride around the lake. Enter the cave and climb aboard a rowing boat with an oarsman to guide you round. Sunlight will enter through the hole in the roof of the cave and create amazing shades of blue-coloured light on the cave walls.
With an elevation of 1,628 metres, Mount Ainos is the tallest mountain to be found on the island of Kefalonia. Covered with Greek fir and black pine, most of the mountain range is categorised as a National Park. More specifically, Mount Ainos is the only classified National Park on the island. There are plenty of great trails to embark on for the inner hiker inside you. On a clear day, the views from the top are incredible. You will be able to view other islands on the Ionian Sea in the distance.