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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)



Kefalonia Holidays 2016/2017

Though it's the largest of the Ionian Islands, Kefalonia enjoys a lack of crowds. Visitors come for the island's understated beauty and quiet beaches, as well as inland natural wonders such as lakes and caves. You can sample Kefalonia's unique cuisine and traditions, including the August snake festival.

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Unspoilt natural beauty

Those familiar with Kefalonia will most likely have struck upon its name either due to the book Captain Corelli's Mandolin or the subsequent film that were both based here. Indeed, prior to the movie's release in 2001, very few visitors troubled the island's shores at all.

Even now, Kefalonia still doesn't receive anything like the number of tourists visiting nearby Corfu. The island is a pleasing middle ground between undiscovered natural charm and tourist infrastructure, with restaurants and hotels meeting demand.

Kefalonia is more popular with couples and families than singles or party-goers. The plethora of beaches which encircle this pretty island offer ample opportunity to hit the sand. 11 of them are Blue Flag accredited, while the turquoise waters are perfect for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving.

Inland, a variety of different natural attractions keep visitors coming back for more. And to round it off, the island has its own brand of Ionian cooking, complete with enough bars and clubs to keep holidaymakers going into the early hours.

Where to stay in Kefalonia

LassiView on Map

A longstanding holiday destination just outside of the capital of Kefalonia, Lassi is a resort that knows exactly what tourists want out of their holiday.

Days are spent on one of four nearby beaches and the evenings are spent embracing Lassi's cool bar scene. If you're in search of activity and excitement then you can try one of many water sports on the coastline.

Argostoli is just 3km away and the capital is full of shops, restaurants and tavernas to enjoy.

LixouriView on Map

Lixouri is a unique resort in Kefalonia that sits solitary on a peninsula but just a short ferry ride away from the capital and mainland part of the island.

Lixouri is fortunate enough to be surrounded by a long coastline of phenomenal beaches that are all easy to reach via short drives. The town itself is an upbeat community that is famous for being home to one of Greece's best orchestras.

After you've tried out a new water sport on one of the many beaches you can sight-see along the coastline with a lighthouse and monastery on display.

LourdasView on Map

Get away from it all in this untouched gem of a resort. Lourdas offers relaxation at its finest in a small beach village that is surrounded by miles of beautiful terrain.

The 2km beach of Lourdas is where most visitors will choose to spend their time as it's a perfect rejuvenation spot to ease stress. Across the waves you'll see paddle boats and kayaks cruising by. Not far from the resort you can grab the opportunity to climb Mount Ainos.

Between here and the nearby town of Trapezaki you'll find a good selection of quaint souvenir shops and some terrific tavernas.

SkalaView on Map

This versatile beach resort that has been converted from a sleepy fishing village into a fun holiday hotspot found in the south east of Kefalonia.

The resort's beach proudly waves a European Blue Flag and the space is also full of water sport opportunities and day trips out onto the waves.

By night there is a lively nightlife to enjoy in the bars and tavernas of Skala with a good number of venues found down the main street. You'll also find a good selection of shops with plenty of souvenir opportunities too.

SvoronataView on Map

One of the island's quietest resorts offers the best collection of beaches in Kefalonia. Svoronata is a peaceful destination for a stress-free getaway and the settings couldn't be any better.

The resort claims three awesome beaches with the most popular, Ai Helis Beach, being found after a steep walk down the scenic headlands. The popular area looks great and is well serviced by the nearby snack bars too.

Svoronata enjoys an ideal placement on the island at just 2km away from the airport and within 10km of the capital and Lassi.


Quick Tips

  • Greek Orthadox
  • Euro
  • Greek
  • Approx 36,000
  • GMT +2

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. 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.