Zakynthos and Kefalonia A Tale of Two Neighborhoods
The close neighbors of Zakynthos and Kefalonia do, at first glance, share a great deal: history, geographical proximity and cultural influence. However, to listen to islanders talking you would think they were as different as chalk and cheese.
The Zakynthians, according to themselves, are friendly, warm and outgoing, while Kefalonians are aloof, reserved and suspicious. The Kefalonians, for their part, claim to be proud, independent and hospitable. For all these are stereotypes, imbued with a degree of local rivalry, there is a certain truth to all of the claims.
Even at the level of the landscape, Kefalonia is more forbidding and mountainous than green, lush Zakynthos. As for the claim that the Zakynthians are more approachable than their neighbours, it is true that the large wave of emigration and subquent return of richer emigres has left a much more socially and geographically fractured society on Kefalonia than on Zakynthos.
Both Islands, However, are beautiful and it is likely a visitor will find as much to admire in the wild, rugged west coast of Kefalonia as in the cosy lowlands of the Central Plain on Zakynthos. Also strong on both islands is a long, vibrant cultural history, seen in their churches, painting and music.