Recline on one of the most famous beaches in Europe
Antisamos beach has caught the eye of beach-lovers worldwide after it was used as the backdrop to the 2001 film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Visitors to the island can grab a snapshot of the famous location, or simply lie back and soak up the rays in this sun-kissed idyll.
Due to the impressive number of beaches from which to choose, there are also places to escape and top up your tan in solitude. You can check out the natural skin-enhancing properties of the clay found on Xi, or see the loggerhead turtles which pay yearly visits to Kaminia. Meanwhile, the north-western oasis of Atheras Beach is the perfect place to dig out your snorkel and check out life beneath the waves. One thing’s for sure, in Kefalonia there’s a stretch of sand with your name on it.
Gorge yourself on Ionian cuisine
The Ionian Isles have their own particular method of cookery, distinct from the more traditional Greek styles found on the mainland and in other parts of the archipelago. Heavily influenced by Austrian and Italian – and particularly Venetian – styles, the cuisine uses simple recipes fortified with fresh ingredients and choice herbs and spices. A visit to Kefalonia without trying its kreatopita meat pie would be a crying shame.
For those with a more international palate, different types of restaurant are emerging across the island, including Chinese, Mexican, Italian, American and British. There are also more than enough late-night drinking dens to keep you entertained after dark.
A land of forgotten lakes and caves
The perimeter of Kefalonia might dazzle with its stunning selection of beaches, but its interior is every bit as impressive – and there’s plenty to do. Take Melissani Lake, for example. This underground body of water was only discovered when the cavernous roof stretching above it caved in. Nowadays, you can take a gondola ride right across its placid waters and gaze in awe through the cavity above.
The Drogarati Caves are another awe-inspiring attraction. They contain an abundance of stalactites and stalagmites formed over thousands of years, providing a fascinating look into the rocky history of the island.
Live the high life
The northern town of Fiskardo is the only part of the island left unblemished by the catastrophic Ionian earthquake of 1953. In the following half century, the preserved Venetian architecture has proved a beacon for the rich and famous around the globe, earning the town the nickname of the ‘St. Tropez of Greece‘. Wander among the opulent marina and you’ll soon see why.
Meanwhile, if you visit Kefalonia in summer, there’s a good chance you’ll get to witness one of the island’s historic festivals. The feast of the Assumption of Mary happens in August and you can head to the town of Markopoulo to witness the snake festival. On the 14th of the month, a sea of small, non-venomous snakes slithers towards the local chapel, where a banquet greets their arrival. This symbolic event kicks off a week of dancing, singing and feasting across the island.