The small, picturesque coastal village of Fiskardo is located near the northernmost point of the Greek island of Kefalonia (Cephalonia), which was called Kefallinia is antiquity. The village is on the island’s east coast on the strait that separates Kefalonia and Ithaca. Indeed, the backdrop of the view from Fiskardo is formed by the highlands of Ithaca, which is less than 4 km away.
Where Fiskardo now stands, in antiquity there was a harbor town called Panormos. The name in means “protected harbor,” so the town was one of many coastal sites in the ancient Greek world with that name. (For example, Herodotus mentions a Panormos in his Histories (1:157), but that Panormos was located near Miletus on the west coast of Asia Minor.) The Romans called it Panormus, and it is Roman ruins that one will find there today.
The most ancient place to be seen in the town today is the seaside Roman cemetery, which was in use from the 2nd to the 4th century CE. Discovered in 1993, a total of 47 burials were found there, which were interred in 2 tile graves, 3 jar burials, 4 cist graves, 5 monumental tombs, and 6 sarcophagi. The burials appear to be family graves and often included grave goods such as jewelry, coins, mirrors, and lamps.
A bit less ancient is what is left of a 6th-century basilica which can be found on the side of a hiking trail which makes a circuit around the interior of the wooded outcropping just to the northeast of the village. There is also a well-preserved Venetian lighthouse along the same trail.
You can climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy some nice views of the strait separating Kefalonia and Ithaca, as well as the coastlines of both islands.
Tips for the Visitor
Fiskardo is a popular day-trip destination for tourists staying elsewhere in Kefalonia, and there are regular buses connecting the town to the island’s capital of Argostoli on the west coast as well as the harbor town of Sami on the east coast of the island. There are also ferries which connect Fiskardo to Vasiliki, a port on the southern coast of Lefkada, which is another major island just north of Kefalonia.
The Roman cemetery is located 50 meters northeast of the north end of Zavalata Beach, and entrance to the site is free. The site is fenced off and the gate is usually closed, but if it is unlocked you can simply unlatch the gate and enter. There are signboards inside to provide detailed information about the site, but there is no information posted as to whether or not the gate is ever locked.