Kefalonia or Cephalonia is the largest of the Ionian islands in western Greece. The capital of Kephalonia is Argostoli. Most of the island was destroyed in the 1953 earthquake with only Fiskardo in the north being undamaged.
Due to most of the islands towns and villages being rebuilt after the earthquake some people would say that Kefalonia doesn’t have the same “authentic” Greek feel to it that some of the other islands do. It also doesn’t have ancient sites to visit and explore like some of the other islands do.
That said, Kefalonia is regularly in the top 10 lists for best Greek island for a reason, it has crystal clear waters, lots of vegetation which isn’t always the case on other Greek islands and plenty of natural beauty spots to visit from the stunning Myrtos beach to the awesome Melissani Lake Cave.
Kefalonia was the setting for the movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin so if you’ve watched that film and thought how beautiful the island looked then this is the place for you. Most of the filming took place in Sami with the camp site of the Italians based on the beach of Antisamos bay.
Best Time to visit
The best time to visit is early or late in the season, the mass crowds arrive around the middle of June and it stays busy until the end of August, June to August is also the hottest time of year and temperatures can get in to the 30s which can be too hot for some so if that’s you we’d advise visiting early or late, or both!
Below are the most popular Kefalonia resorts, click the headings to find out more about each one. If you need more information then why not ask a question in our forums.
You wont find any clubs or lively bars in Aghia Efimia but if relaxing all day and enjoying a nice evening meal in a welcoming traditional Greek feeling restaurant is your thing then this is the place for you.
The hotels in Argostoli are generally quite small and do not have swimming pools. Parking and driving around the town can be a bit tricky as well so if you’re getting a hire car then maybe try to find somewhere on the outskirts. It is fairly easy to walk to Argostoli from Lassi, especially the northern end of Lassi so that is another alternative to actually being in the centre of town.
There is a beach just a couple of minutes walk from the harbour but it is only small, the nearest beach is probably Foki, to find out more about Foki take a look at the beaches section.
Lassi is well situated for exploring the island, you can easily get to Skala, Sami, Lixouri and even Myrtos beach in about an hour by car, Fiskardo is about an hour and a half and is probably the longest journey from Lassi but worth a trip.
Lixouri is a large resort that has a lot to offer but is not as bustling as Argostoli making it a good alternative. It’s not ideal if you want to travel the island as you either have to get the ferry or take the long drive round the coast before heading for one of the other areas of the island. The beach in Lixouri is a good size but not perhaps the nicest on the island, luckily you’re not far from the golden sandy beach of Xi on the southern tip of the Palliki peninsula.
The main downside of Poros is that although it has it’s own beach it is often crowded as it’s not that big, it is also mainly shingle so not to everyone’s tastes, the nearest major beaches are Antisammos or Skala along the coast, alternatively you can head round the mountains to the beaches of Katelios or Mounda. There are several other more secluded beaches in the area but you’ll have to explore on your own to find them.
Sami is probably best suited to those wanting a quiet relaxing holiday who maybe want to take a couple of boat trips, Antisamos beach is the nearest to Sami, it is a white pebble beach that is easily walk able from the town.
Skala is a bit out of the way if you plan to explore the island but with everything you need on the door it’s great if you don’t plan on going anywhere else. Skala has often been criticised for not offering the traditional Greek feel that some people are after but if you don’t care about that then it’s a good place to be.
Svoronata can act as a good base to explore the island as you’re in a good spot to get onto the main roads towards Skala, Argosotoli or to head north to Sami, Myrtos or Fiskardo, you are also really close to the Castle of Saint George.
Recently a lot of people have been finding that it’s closed more than it is open so probably worth trying to find out the opening hours before taking the treacherous drive up there, especially if you’re coming from one of the resorts further afield.
There is an obelisk part way along the bridge that was the Kefalonian Parliament’s symbol of gratitude to Great Britain.
The caves are approximately 60m deep and are full of stalagmites and stalactites formed over millions of years in limestone, the caves are known to have very good acoustics and on occasion have hosted concerts with up to 500 people attending.
The Drogarati Caves are open throughout the summer and sometimes in the off season as well.
The tour is done by boat that is rowed by a local, he first takes you round the open air cave and then down a small channel where he has to pull the boat through using a rope that’s attached to the cave wall. The second section is a large cavern that has numerous big stalactites and stalagmites.
In 1962 the Greek government declared the Aenos forest a national park and therefore protected it by law.
The lighthouse was originally built in 1828 but was destroyed in the earthquake of 1953, the current structure was rebuilt in 1960.
Like a lot of the older buildings on Kefalonia the Church was ruined by the earthquake in 1953, and rebuilt by local residents. The body of St Gerasimos is kept in a small chapel in the garden and anyone can view the Saint.
The list of beaches below will give you an idea of what the beaches are like on Kefalonia, there are many more secluded and lesser known beaches on the island but these are the main ones. Click each heading to get more information.
Antisamos is a Pebble beach that has loungers out the front of the two tavernas, some would say the loungers are a little too tightly packed but that does mean that there is plenty of unspoilt space away from the tavernas if you bring your own chairs. The beach can get busy so arrive early in high season.
Koroni has been known as a turtle nesting beach but recently the nests are at risk from the clay that washes down from the cliffs to the rear of the beach every time it rains. The beach itself has a single row of sun loungers with umbrellas and no taverna or water sports.
Lepeda is accessible by a short, steep, well-made road that leads down to the beach, be sure to follow it all the way down and past the shop to get to the car park. On the beach you’ll find a single shop serving drinks and sun loungers with umbrellas available for hire. There is often a volleyball net up as well but no water sports.
Makris Gialos is popular with families as the waters are shallow and therefore good for young children. Due to it’s popularity it can get very busy in high season.
It is advised to get to Myrtos early as parking can be tricky and if you’re late you’ll end up having to park up the road and walk down (as well as back up), you also have to be careful in the water as the current can be strong as well as being windy at times as well.
The Nightlife in the rest of Kefalonia revolves mainly around bars rather than clubs, Kefalonia is most popular with couples and families so if your plan is to go for a nice meal, relax by the harbour or beach, stroll round the streets and maybe have a few cocktails or some local wine before bed then this is definitely the place for you. Go to Argostoli and sit at one the restaurants around the squares and soak up the atmosphere, take a walk up the Lassi ‘strip’ and stop off for a pint of Mythos on the way. This is a slow paced island and should be enjoyed that way.
The Flight time from London to Kefalonia is about three and a half hours without stops, there are usually direct flights from other airports in the UK as well and these will be about the same flight times give or take 10 minutes.
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