Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian Islands, is a captivating destination with its turquoise waters, picturesque villages, mysterious caves, and emerald-green mountains.
This enchanting Greek island has long been a popular holiday spot, and it’s easy to see why.
With a perfect combination of natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, Kefalonia promises an unforgettable experience for every visitor.
One of the island’s highlights is its stunning beaches, such as the iconic Myrtos, known for its electric blue waters.
In addition to the breathtaking coastline, Kefalonia is home to a delightful blend of traditional architecture and modern amenities. Visitors can explore charming villages, indulge in delicious local cuisine, or embark on an adventure through lush nature trails and dramatic landscapes.
Whether it’s hiking up to the highest point of the mountains for panoramic views, discovering hidden gem beaches, or simply soaking in the warm hospitality of the locals, Kefalonia has something for everyone.
As you journey through this remarkable island, you’ll understand why it has earned a reputation as one of the most beautiful destinations in Greece.
Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian islands, is a magical destination featuring beautiful landscapes, stunning beaches, and picturesque villages. This guide will cover some of the top attractions, beaches and coastal areas, as well as natural wonders that you should explore during your visit to Kefalonia.
- Argostoli: The capital and main town of Kefalonia, Argostoli is a bustling harbour filled with shops, restaurants and cafes. Stroll along the waterfront promenade and enjoy the view of the lighthouse of Saint Theodore.
- Fiskardo: Known for its colourful Venetian-style houses, Fiskardo is a picturesque fishing village located in the north of Kefalonia. It’s an ideal spot to enjoy a leisurely lunch by the harbour.
- Melissani Cave: A unique geological phenomenon, Melissani Cave offers a stunning boat trip through its crystal-clear waters, surrounded by impressive rock formations.
- Castle of Saint George: Perched on a hill near the village of Peratata, this Venetian castle provides breathtaking panoramic views of the island.
Beaches and Coastal Areas
Kefalonia is home to some of the most gorgeous beaches in Greece. Here are some of the must-visit locations:
- Myrtos Beach: This iconic beach, with its white pebbles, turquoise waters and dramatic cliffs, is often ranked as one of the most beautiful in the world.
- Antisamos Beach: Enclosed by lush green hills, Antisamos Beach offers excellent water sports opportunities, beach bars and sunbeds for relaxation.
- Assos: A quaint seaside village with a charming harbour, Assos is the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy the mesmerising blue waters.
- Lourdas Beach: This sandy beach, lined with palm trees and backed by a lush green mountain, is ideal for families and watersports enthusiasts.
Kefalonia’s diverse landscape offers various natural wonders worth exploring:
- Mount Ainos National Park: The only national park situated on a Greek island, Mount Ainos offers a great opportunity for hiking through its beautiful black pine trees and Greek Fir.
- Drogarati Cave: A true natural masterpiece, Drogarati Cave is famous for its impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations. The cave’s fantastic acoustics make it a popular venue for musical performances.
- Koutavos Lagoon: A tranquil natural habitat for various bird species, Koutavos Lagoon is an excellent spot for birdwatching and taking in the serene atmosphere.
By visiting these amazing attractions, beaches and natural wonders, you’ll truly experience the magic of Kefalonia.
Getting Around the Island
Visiting Kefalonia presents various options for getting around the island. In this section, we’ll discuss car rental, public transportation, and bike and scooter rental options.
Renting a car is one of the most popular ways to explore Kefalonia due to its large size and the freedom it provides. It allows you to visit all the beautiful sites and secluded beaches. Some of the features to expect when renting a car include:
- A range of car types, from compact to luxury models
- Prices may vary based on car size and rental duration
- Insurance options available
- Pre-booking is recommended to ensure availability
Tip: Compare prices from multiple rental agencies to find the best deal.
Kefalonia offers public transportation through buses, which can be an affordable option for those on a budget. Although not as flexible as car rentals, it still allows you to visit major sights and towns on the island. Here are some key points about public transportation in Kefalonia:
- Buses connect major towns and tourist destinations
- Timetables vary depending on the season
- Frequency is limited, usually running once or twice a day
- Tickets can be purchased on the bus or at local bus stations
- Trip duration may be longer than driving due to stops
Reminder: Check the bus timetable in advance to ensure smooth travel.
Bike and Scooter Rental
For a more adventurous and eco-friendly way to explore Kefalonia, consider renting a bike or scooter. They are perfect for short trips and can easily navigate the island’s narrow streets. Some useful information about bike and scooter rentals:
- Numerous rental agencies are available on the island
- Helmets are provided for safety
- Prices vary depending on vehicle type and rental period
- A valid driving license is required
- Be prepared for hilly terrain, especially when biking
Important: Make sure to follow all road safety rules and always wear a helmet when riding a bike or scooter.
Kefalonia is a beautiful Greek island with a wide variety of accommodation options to suit every traveller’s needs. In this section, we will explore the various types of accommodations available, including hotels and resorts, villas and apartments, and budget options.
Hotels and Resorts
Kefalonia offers various hotels and resorts for visitors looking for a luxurious experience. Some popular all-inclusive resorts in the island are:
- Hotel Cephalonia Palace near Lixouri, best for family facilities
- Hotel San Giorgio and Apostolata Island Resort & Spa in Skala
For those seeking a hotel with a stunning infinity pool, consider Petani Bay Hotel.
Villas and Apartments
For travellers who prefer more private and spacious accommodation, Kefalonia has a range of villas and apartments to rent. These options often come with fully equipped kitchens and private outdoor spaces, allowing you to enjoy a more personalised experience during your stay. To find the perfect villa or apartment, consider searching online platforms like Airbnb or booking through reputable travel agencies that offer local accommodation options.
Argostoli, the capital city of Kefalonia, offers budget-friendly accommodation for travellers looking to save money without sacrificing comfort. Some of the best value hotels in Argostoli include:
- Aenos Hotel (££)
- Kefalonia Grand (£)
- Mouikis Hotel
In addition to hotels, you can also find affordable hostels and guest houses on the island, making it possible for travellers with even the tightest budgets to enjoy a memorable stay in Kefalonia.
Remember to book your accommodations in advance, especially during the peak season, to secure the best deals and to avoid disappointment.
Local Cuisine and Dining
Traditional Greek Dishes
Kefalonia is famous for its rich and distinct local cuisine. Many of the island’s dishes feature fresh and high-quality ingredients, including locally-produced olive oil. Rooster in tomato sauce is a classic dish that embraces both meat and flavourful tomato preparation. To enjoy a sweet treat in Kefalonia, look for local syrupy sweets like baklava, galaktoboureko (filo-covered milk pie), or karydopita (walnut pie). You might also come across quince-based sweets such as pastokydono or comfeto that pairs well with a Greek coffee.
Being an island in the Ionian Sea, Kefalonia boasts a wealth of seafood delicacies. Fresh fish are caught daily, making their way onto the plates of locals and visitors alike. You can expect to find a variety of seafood dishes, including grilled octopus, shrimp-saganaki, and marinated anchovies. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to savour the island’s local Alati All Day Bar & Restaurant, where you can sample a range of Mediterranean and Greek seafood dishes.
Kefalonia is also known for its local wineries and the production of quality wines. The island’s unique terrain and microclimate contribute to the distinct taste profiles of Kefalonian wines. Robola is a popular indigenous white grape variety that yields crisp and refreshing wines, perfect to complement the local cuisine. Make sure to visit local wineries during your stay to learn more about the island’s wine production and enjoy wine tastings.
Travel Tips and Etiquette
Kefalonia has a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The best time to visit is between May and October when the weather is warm and sunny. June to August are the busiest months with the highest temperatures, so if you prefer fewer crowds and cooler weather, consider visiting in May, September, or October.
Health and Safety
While Kefalonia is generally a safe destination, it’s essential to follow some basic health and safety precautions:
- Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen, especially during the hot summer months.
- Always wear appropriate footwear for activities such as hiking or exploring archaeological sites.
- Watch out for uneven or slippery surfaces, particularly at beaches and coastal areas.
- Beware of strong currents and swim close to the shore at beaches.
- Carry a basic first-aid kit, including insect repellent and medication for stomach upsets.
- Be aware of any local customs or etiquette to respect the local culture.
Money and Currency
The currency in Kefalonia is the Euro (€). Here are some useful tips for managing money while visiting the island:
- Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, but it’s always good to carry some cash, especially in smaller towns and villages.
- ATMs can be found in larger towns, but note that in remote areas, they might be unavailable.
- Currency exchange services are available at banks, hotels, and travel agencies, but it’s recommended to exchange money before arriving as rates can be less favourable.
- Tipping is common in Kefalonia: leave a 5-10% tip at restaurants and round up the fare for taxi drivers. However, it’s not expected at bars or cafes.
- Keep an eye on your budget, as prices for accommodation, activities, and dining can vary greatly depending on the season and location.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best way to get to Kefalonia?
Kefalonia is well-connected by air and sea, with its airport, Kefalonia International Airport (EFL), offering connections to various European cities during the summer months. Regular ferries also operate between Kefalonia and mainland Greece, as well as neighbouring Ionian islands like Ithaca and Zakynthos.
What are the best places to visit in Kefalonia?
Kefalonia offers a variety of attractions to suit all tastes. Some top sights include the picturesque Melissani Cave, the famous Myrtos Beach with its dazzling turquoise waters, the ancient village of Fiskardo, and the majestic Mount Ainos, which offers stunning panoramic views on clear days.
What’s the suggested length of stay on Kefalonia?
The suggested length of stay in Kefalonia depends on your travel preferences and itinerary. For a comprehensive experience of the island’s sights and attractions, we recommend spending at least 7-10 days.
What are some of the most popular things to do in Kefalonia?
Kefalonia boasts a range of activities to suit all interests. Explore the emerald-green mountains and azure waters by hiking, diving or snorkelling, or simply relax on one of the island’s many beautiful beaches. Discover the island’s fascinating history by visiting its archaeological sites, museums and ancient villages. And don’t forget to immerse yourself in Kefalonia’s rich culinary scene by sampling local dishes, wines and delicacies.
What’s the best way to get around Kefalonia?
Travel around Kefalonia is best achieved through a combination of car rental, taxi and public transportation. Car rentals are widely available and perfect for exploring the island at your own pace while taking in stunning coastal views. Taxis are also plentiful, but can be more expensive than renting a car. Public transport is available in the form of buses, connecting major towns on the island. We recommend checking bus schedules for the most up-to-date information.
When is the best time to visit Kefalonia?
The best time to visit Kefalonia is between May and October, when the weather is warm and sunny, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C. Peak tourist season is during July and August, but if you prefer fewer crowds and more affordable accommodation, consider visiting in May, June, September or October.
Born and raised on the sun-drenched island of Crete, Sofia Mavromatis is a seasoned traveler and writer with a deep-rooted love for Greece’s vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and rich history.