Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian islands and is famous for its understated beauty, natural wonders and quiet beaches. It only recently was put into the limelight as a top tourist destination thanks to the book Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and the subsequent film that were both based here.
Now, this island is a thriving holiday hotspot, with a whole host of fun activities and outdoor attractions to explore. If you’re planning a trip to Kefalonia any time soon here are our top places to visit during your holiday.
Discover the natural beauty
The scenery of this island is immense, with lush green vegetation that clings to the mountains and rugged cliffs. Kefalonia really is picture-perfect, with quaint villages located between the cliffs and numerous beaches and natural wonders. Melissani Lake is an underground body of water that was discovered in the 1950s and is a huge highlight when visiting the island. Take a gondola ride through the radiant blue waters and peer up through the hole in the cavernous ceiling to get a jaw-dropping view.
Chill out on one of the stunning beaches
There are a plethora of beaches in Kefalonia, all waiting to be discovered, and if you have a whole week on this island you’ll have plenty of time to visit them. 11 of these coastlines are Blue Flag accredited, and the green-blue waters are ideal for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving.
Myrthos is the most popular beach and a must see on your one-week trip. This kilometre-long stretch of unblemished sand is backed with an impressive cliff face. In the summer you can also grab a drink at the small cantina open, only in the high season. This beach has won numerous awards for beauty and hygiene and is one not to be missed.
Delve into the rich history
In 1953 a catastrophic Ionian earthquake destroyed most of the island, apart from the northern town of Fiskardo. This earthquake made a huge impact on the architecture, and today you can venture through the ruins to understand some of the island’s history.
At Assos you can see the mark left by the Venetians through the city’s crumbling castle. Also, the 16th-century Monastery of Saint Andreas holds an impressive selection of religious works of art. While the catastrophic earthquake unveiled long-forgotten frescoes beneath the monastery’s walls.
Sample Ionian cooking
Greek food has always been one of the world’s most beloved cuisines, thanks to its healthy roots and Mediterranean flavours. The Ionian Isles have a very distinct method of cookery, which is heavily influenced by Austrian and Italian cuisine.
Kefalonia’s dishes include simple recipes using fresh ingredients and herbs and spices. If you’re staying for a week you’ll have lots of time to sample all the favourites, including the kreatopita meat pie. This pie usually uses three different kinds of meat and is a staple across the island. Make sure to also raise a glass of ouzo before you leave.
Meet the turtles
The sandy beaches of Kefalonia are home to the adorable loggerhead turtles. These reptiles make their nests in the sand and lay their eggs when the tide is out. The warm sand and peaceful surroundings make it an ideal spot to lay their eggs. During your week stay you can visit the loggerhead turtle sanctuaries across the island and the special nurseries set up specifically for these baby turtles.
Descend into the caves
A week’s visit to Kefalonia wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of the island’s most distinct features – its caves. These caverns are almost fairytale like, giving you a forgotten kingdom sort of vibe. Hellenic relics and statuettes have been unearthed from deep inside.
The Drogarati Cave near Sami has stalagmites and stalactites around 150 million years old and was only discovered after the earthquake swept through the island. This cave is around a 40-minute drive from the capital Argostoli and makes for an eye-opening day out.
Enjoy one of Kefalonia’s summer festivals
If your week’s stay is over the summer months you’ll be just in time to celebrate one of Kefalonia’s festivals. The feast of the Assumption of Mary happens in August during a national bank holiday, so every town and village joins in with the celebrations.
But, of course, Kefalonia’s most well-known party is the snake festival in the town of Markopoulo. During this festival, a sea of small non-venomous snakes slithers towards the town’s chapel where a feast awaits. This symbolic event starts off a week of celebrations including dancing, singing and feasting across the island.
Mingle with the rich and famous
To experience the high life on your one-week travels to Kefalonia, visit the northern town of Fiskardo. The Venetian architecture in this town has proved a beacon for the rich and famous, giving the town the nickname of the St. Tropez of Greece. The opulent marina is where you’ll be able to spot all the celebs and those who’s pocketbook is just a tad bit heavier than our own. In fact, Chelsea FC’s owner Roman Abramovich has been known to park his yacht in this harbour.
Hit the dancefloor
Although Kefalonia isn’t known as a party island it still has its own brand of nightlife. The vibe in Kefalonia is laid-back and casual, and you’ll find numerous karaoke joints, cocktail bars and local pubs. Many of Kefalonia’s top nightlife spots are located on the beach, including Zanza Bar in Poros. This bar serves over 40 different cocktails and plays pop music all night long.
If you want to hit the dancefloor during your week’s holiday you can visit Bass Club Cafe in Argostoli. When the sun goes down this cafe transforms into a popular club, with live bands and DJs mixing the hottest tracks.
Panorama Village, Lassi
Lassi, Kefalonia, Greek Islands, Greece
Antonia Studios, Lourdas
Lourdas, Kefalonia, Greek Islands, Greece
Appollonion Resort and Spa, Lixouri
Apollonion Resort and Spa
Lixouri, Kefalonia, Greek Islands, Greece
Kefalonia is so much more than just a beach holiday destination, and on a one-week trip to the island you’ll be able to see all the best bits this gorgeous hotspot has to offer. Are you travelling to this Ionian island sometime soon? Let us know what you’re looking forward to most in the comments below.