Kalamos island is the second largest island in the Televoid cluster of islands. It is located in the southeast of Lefkada, between western Etoloakarnania and Meganisi. Most of it is mostly mountainous. It has an altitude of 745 meters. Its area is 20 square kilometers.
The first signs of habitation of the island date back to the Neolithic era. It is certain that Kalamos was also inhabited in the Mycenaean and Classical periods. The name of the inhabitants of the island came from the children of Poseidon and Ippothói, Tafíos and Televóas. The Televoes or otherwise Tafioi, also used the neighboring island of Meganisi as a base, which in epic poems of Homer was called Tafios. The ancient tribe of Televóes, according to Homer, were islanders famous for their rowing skills and engaged in piracy. Thanks to their skills at sea, they robbed foreign ships and traded slaves, who they took from their raids.
In ancient times, the island was called Karnós and Homer mentions that it participated by sending ships in the Trojan campaign together with Odysseus. Since the Hellenistic years, the strait between Kálamos and Mýtikas had significant military importance and was initially supervised by a small fort (Xylokastro) built at the top of the island, together with a system of towers in the surrounding area, from which only ruins survive today. The control of the strait was better organized when in the late Roman years a strong castle was built lower, between the settlements of Kalamos and Episkopi. Only parts of its high stone walls with the beautiful arches from the inside, which become loopholes on the outside, are preserved. Piracy was a permanent problem in the region, especially in times of loss of state control, such as during the fall of the Byzantine Empire.
During the Turkish occupation, Kalamos came under the rule of the Venetians, the Russians and the French. In the years of the revolution, it was used as a shelter for the heroes of the revolution. The island became the base of Lambros Katsonis, who was in charge of a fleet of 22 ships, anchored in the port of Kalamos. Theodoros Kolokotronis went to Kalamos to fight the French. From there he transported the men to Meganisi, from where they finally drove out the French and the island fell to the British. At that time it hosted many Greeks and the population of the inhabitants reached 120,000 while today it has only 300. The island also hosted Karaiskakis’s mother and his wife. It is said that his wife died in Kalamos from a serious illness. Karaiskakis did not manage to see her alive to say goodbye, as he was in Athens at the time fighting the Turkish lord Kioutachis.
There are four settlements on the island, Kalamos, Episkopi, which took its name probably from its geographical location because it controls the sea passage between the islands and Acarnania, Kastro and Kefali, ruined and uninhabited today. The road that starts from Kalamos goes up through a pine forest and leads to Episkopi, the second small settlement of the island. Those who want to cross the pine forest of the island, it is good to know that the journey is about an hour and a half. On the road, twenty minutes before Episkopí, lies the ruined castle which the locals call Kastromonastiro, as well as the church of Agios Georgios. The lush forest that covers the island is one of its most important attractions. In addition to pines, there are olives, almond trees, cypresses and goldenwoods, a special tree whose taller branches end in formations that look like white and red wooden flowers.
From here Mytikas in Aitoloakarnania is only ten minutes by boat. The most famous beaches of Kalamos, which are accessed mainly from the sea, are Myrtia and Asprogyali, at the end of a steep, dirt slope that ends in white pebbles, with the pines almost touching the sea, and further south Agriapidia, where there are several olive trees, but also three windmills that gathered all the harvest, Pefki and Kefali with its old settlement, an abandoned settlement with old olive mills, stone threshing floors, dilapidated houses and half-ruined windmills. The small beach of Agios Konstantinos, drowned in pines, is also interesting. The small stone church with the tiles that adorns it is dedicated to the unknown to the non-inhabitants the Ionian Saint Donatos.
The mooring of the yachts takes place in the port of Kalamos, in Porto Leone and in the port of Episkopi. Porto Leone (O. Gerolimnionas) is a small picturesque cove that was named after the Venetians who mapped the area. Near Porto Leone is an old bridge built centuries ago. It is believed that Kalamos may be the island of Odysseus because the description of the route from the port of the elder Forkynos (port of the elder – Gerolimnionas) to the city of Ithaca has many similarities.
Near the southwestern part of the island lies the Formikoula rocky islet, which is visited by Monachus monachus seals. It is a rocky small uninhabited island in the Ionian, which rumors from time to time want to be “for sale”. There is a lighthouse on the islet.