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Garbis Villas «

Garbis Villas

Price From $70

Cephalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands, with an area of 288 square miles and about 45 miles of beaches and coastline, making it a prime destination for package tours. Many of the island’s hotels dedicate their rooms to big groups, but the Garbis Villas are the exception. George and Irene Garbis built these four seaside maisonettes—one for each of their children—in 1998, and a sense of family permeates the entire complex, down to the photos of the late George Garbis in the small shrine out front. Inside each room is a detailed booklet written by two Garbis brothers. It gives the history of the island and insider takes on key sites, including the underground lake of Melissani, once home to a cult of the god Pan, and the Drogarati Cave, a limestone chamber so large it hosted a Maria Callas concert. They even offer tips for negotiating vegetarian meals in the traditional restaurants (“explain that eating meat is like going against your religion”). The apartments straddle the line between cozy and utilitarian, with kitchenettes, tiled floors, soft couches, and decor that mixes generic accents (framed pictures of sunsets) with the family’s treasures (an antique icon of the Virgin Mary). Best of all, on any given morning, you can find Irene greeting guests until 11 a.m., tossing the lucky ones fresh apricots from the garden.

Details Doubles from $70, breakfast not included.

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