One of the most beautiful islands of the Ionian is Kefalonia. The island combines the absolute green of the trees with the blue-turquoise of the sea. In Kefalonia you will find the most beautiful beaches, with the clearest waters. Also the green of the island, will offer you the tranquility you are searching for on your vacation. The island is so big it gives you the opportunity to choose between the most remote and quiet beaches to the most organized beach bar. From the tranquility of the beautiful villages to the most cosmopolitan fishing villages, the cultural history together with the romantic chants with the mandolin and the guitars will make you fall in love with this island.
Table of Contents
- Kefalonia is the 6th largest island of Greece in size and the largest of the Eptanisa conglomeration.
- It is said that it is the most likely homeland of Odysseus as opposed to Ithaca.
- Kefalonia took its name from Kefalos, who in ancient times was the king of the island.
- The capital of the island is Argostoli, with larger towns Lixouri, Sami, Fiskardo and Poros.
- It has many influences from its various conquerors, mainly from the Venetians.
- On some beaches in Kefalonia, loggerhead turtles choose to lay their eggs. Also, the rare monk seals swim between Kefalonia and Ithaca.
- The mountain range of Ainos stretches across the island, with the highest peak being Mega Soros at an altitude 1628 meters, and it is the only national park found on a Greek island. On the mountain range, the rare black fir grows, with its black leaves giving a special shade to the mountain.
- In 1953 the island was hit by major catastrophic earthquakes that caused the leveling of several settlements throughout the island.
How to Get there
Ferry boat: The most frequent itineraries to / from Kefalonia start from the port of Kyllini. Daily trips take place, back and forth, to the port of Poros in the southeast of Kefalonia and the journey takes 2 hours. From Kyllini there are also itineraries to Argostoli, the capital of the island, for specific days of the week.
From the port of Astakos in Etoloakarnania, there are itineraries to the port of Sami and the journey takes about 3.5 hours.
Available itineraries and prices see here.
Air transport: The airport of the island is located just outside Argostoli and there are flights from the airport El. Venizelos which take you there in 1 hour. The airlines that operate regular services are Aegean Airlines, Olympic Air, Sky Express S.A. and more.
Car: Given the size of the island and the distances, the best option for travelling around the island is by road. The road network in Kefalonia is mapped and it will be easy for you to find what you need using the navigation applications. However, on many parts of the island, the roads are narrow, with sharp turns and need a lot of attention. Some remote beaches,in particular, can only be accessed by gravel roads with a very narrow reverse upon departure.
Check car rental prices here.
KTEL: For those who visit the island without their own means of transport, you can use the KTEL buses of the island. The main station is located in Argostoli, but there are also stations in Sami, Lixouri and Poros. Bus routes cover most of the island and there are several stops on each route. Itineraries are frequent and summer is even more frequent. For more information, please contact the following telephone numbers: Central Bus Station of Argostoli: 2671022281, 2671022276, KTEL Station of Sami: 2674022024, KTEL Station of Poros: 2674072284, KTEL Station of Lixouri: 2671093200.
Taxi: For more autonomy, you can travel by taxi on the island. You will find many taxi ranks in all cities. There is also a Radiotaxi association, as well as other private companies that expediate the transportation of visitors with their own cars.
Boat: As an alternative to the road network, you can move from Argostoli to Lixouri, the two largest cities of the island, by ferry boat. The road is 34 km, while by sea the journey takes about half an hour, thus facilitating the movement from one place to another.
Car / motorbike rental: An alternative for those who do not want to bring their means of transport to the island, is to rent. You will easily find a place to rent the car or motorbike of your choice and the prices vary depending on your preferences.
Best Beaches in Kefalonia
This is the most famous beach (world-renowned) of the island and the most photographed. It is ranked among the best beaches not only in Greece, but also internationally and has received many awards, including the “Blue Medal”. This is a huge beach with very fine white pebbles. The waters are a deep blue-green and magnificently clear. It is surrounded by cliffs and wild rocks with lush vegetation.
In Myrtos you’ll find sets of sunbeds and umbrellas and a canteen, where you can have your coffee and snack. There are no trees that offer natural shade, so we suggest you get the bare essentials. Access by car is easy and there is space for parking.
The special feature of Myrtos is its sunset, which will be unforgettable. The location of the beach on the west of the island and the fact that it faces west, allows you to see the sun sinking into the sea. Unfortunately we did not manage to experience the sunset of Myrtos as we visited the beach early in the morning, where absolute calm and serenity prevailed.
Bonus Tip: As you descend down the winding path to the beach you will marvel at the beautiful scenery. The surroundings are so unique you will want to stop and take many photos.
Another fantastic beach of Kefalonia, many even compare it with Myrtos. It is a beach with turquoise crystal clear waters, fine pebbles and green vegetation. Arriving at the beach, from the downhill winding road, you will find parking space, as well as taverns and a coffee bar. The beach has been awarded a blue flag and there are sunbeds and umbrellas (7 € per set) and a shower. There is also enough free space for those who do not want such comforts and simply wish to enjoy this beach in its most natural state.
Apart from the facilities of the beach, the landscape that you’ll see and the unique natural environment will enchant you. At both ends of the beach there rise two cliffs and on the left side there are large rocks in the sea, adding a special touch to the beauty.
The special feature in Petani is the water gushing out of the springs that descend from the mountain top and end up in the sea. As a result, there are changes in the temperature of the water and its colours, when the salty and the fresh water meet.
A special beach in the southern part of Kefalonia. The bay from above looks like the letter “X” (hence the name). What attracts visitors is its sandy beach that has a deep tile color and the clay composition of the sand. Here one can enjoy natural spa treatment, since this sand cleanses and tightens the skin.
The beach is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas. It has a coffee bar and a tavern. You will also find water sports such as jet skiing, water skiing, parachuting etc.
A beach so beautiful, but at the same time so dangerous. The road to the beach after a point turns into a narrow gravel path. To reach the beach you need to make a descent of 400 steps, part of which have been destroyed by landslides. Access is therefore easier by boat.
However, the view of the beach in combination with the clear blue waters will astound you. Of course the beach is disorganized, thus giving it a pristine beauty and tranquility.
PERSONAL FACT: We visited Platia Ammos the first day we arrived in Kefalonia. Since the view was awesome, Stratos wanted to fly his drone, but it got stuck in flight and the signal was lost. In the end we were lucky, because the home point had locked and as soon as the battery ran out it started to return to its original point on its own, so we were lucky not to have lost it !!
A both long and wide, pebble beach with crystal clear waters. For some it is the most cosmopolitan beach as it has 4 beach bars with lots of sunbeds and umbrellas and ample parking. Here you will also find water sports and jet skiing.
But apart from these comforts, this pebble beach has enough space for those who do not want its organized part. There are several trees on the right side of the beach that will offer you natural shade and tranquility. Ithaca can be seen from Antisamo at a very close distance.
Another detail about Antisamos is that it was the setting for some of the most important scenes of the Hollywood production “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, shot in Kefalonia in the summer of 2000.
One of the largest beaches of Kefalonia, the beach of Skala extends to a length of more than five kilometers, in the homonymous village, on the southeast point of the island. The beach is sandy with coarse, white sand and the waters are crystal clear and blue.
The homonymous seaside village has many large hotel units, cafes and restaurants. The beach is busy as it is preferred by those who live here, but it is so big that it will never get crowded. Umbrellas and sunbeds are available in many organized locations, but there is plenty of space for those who prefer to enjoy the beach in its pristine state.
It is a small cove with a sandy beach and is ideal for young children. It is one of the most traditional anchorages of Kefalonia. The beach has shallow waters and red sand, like Xi and you will also find clay remains, which will allow you to enjoy a natural spa. It got its name from a strange geological phenomenon, a large rock in the moving sea. With the naked eye there is a slow but unstoppable movement, while whoever stands up feels the pulsating current.
A small, beautiful and quiet beach. The parking lot is very small and from there you go down a few steps to a short path through the trees. The beach is sandy, with some pebbly spots and its waters reflect the green nature around the beach. You will find shade on some rocks at certain times of the day, and because it is not organized we suggest you take towels, water and snacks with you.
To reach Dafnoudi, you will need to walk a path of about 600 meters, a beautiful path in the green. Arriving at the beach you will see its crystal clear waters and you will find shade in one of the trees that surround it. If you are lucky you will see the monachus seals, which are fond of the cave formed at the edge of the beach to rest or even give birth to their young.
A closed bay with turquoise waters, white pebbles and trees that reach the sea. Around the beach there are rocks with a flat surface where you can spread your towel and enjoy your sunbathing. Before you reach the beach, you will find the Rotsis bakery, where you can have your coffee and breakfast and enjoy it on the beach. There is a large parking lot and the beach is disorganized, umbrellas and sunbeds are not available and you have to bring along everything you need. Also in Emblysi you will see signs of a hiking trail to Kimilia beach (30 ′, 1.4 km)
It is a small heavenly beach on the northwestern tip of Kefalonia. To reach Kimilia, you will need to walk a path for about 15 minutes;a route so beautiful in green nature full of cypress and olive trees. The landscape is so impressive, as the waters are turquoise and crystal clear and the trees reach all the way to the sea, offering shade. You will also see signs for pedestrian paths to the surrounding beaches.
White pebbles, green nature around with olives and cypresses and beautiful turquoise waters. Another beautiful beach of Kefalonia that will enchant you. The beach is not organized, but you will enjoy tranquility under the shade of the trees. Be careful with parking! Do not go all the way down if there are many parked cars, because there is no room to back out.
A sandy beach with fine, white sand and clear blue waters, ideal for swimming. Access is by a narrow gravel road. It is organized, with sunbeds and umbrellas, but also a small canteen that offers you the essentials.
Bonus Tip: Stay until late in the afternoon and enjoy the magical sunset, where the sky is painted in the most beautiful colours and offers you an unforgettable landscape.
Access to Koutsoupia beach is by sea with a boat as it is located a short distance from Sami and Antisamo. There is a hiking route (Antisamos – Poros) which is quite a long distance, but the route is easy and you will definitely be rewarded by the landscape. The beach has white sand with fine pebbles, and deep crystal clear waters. The green nature around, includes mainly cypress, oak and stump trees. (From where it derived its name).
An exotic beach, just one kilometer from Poros, just before Skala. To reach the beach you will follow a small path and you will see the rocks that will lead you to this magical beach. It is a small creek, with turquoise waters and white pebbles. But the feature that makes it magical, is the cave at the edge of the beach, where anyone who sits will enjoy its shade and tranquility.
Watch our video from Kefalonia below:
What to Do in Kefalonia
This is a rare geological phenomenon in the world, which is worth visiting. During an earthquake, part of the cave’s roof fell in and this lagoon was created, 20 meters below sea level. What makes the lagoon impressive is the crystal clear water, reminiscent of a magical scene, as the sun rays come through the open part of the roof.
The length of the cave is 160 meters and the depth of the water reaches 10 to 40 meters. It was discovered in 1951 and geologists confirmed that the water is mixed underground with seawater from the tunnels of Argostoli.
Today, the lagoon cave of Melissani can be visited (daily 9.00-17.00), through the artificial underground tunnel that leads inside. There, there are small boats with experienced and cheerful boatmen who will guide you along the entire length of the lake.
Inside the cave you will see stalactites which are 20,000 years old, and there is an islet in the middle of the lake, on which were found objects of worship for the god Pan. Objects were also found that certified the presence of female figures, the well-known Nymphs.
There are two myths that say that the lake cave of Melissani was named after him. The first refers to the Nymph Melissani who committed suicide in the lake because the god Pan did not respond to her love. The other version refers to the shepherdess Melissanthi who fell into the lake in her attempt to catch one of her sheep.
This is one of the most remarkable caves from a geological point of view. Inside you will see stalactites and stalagmites more than one hundred million years old. The main part of the cave is very large with dimensions of 65 × 45 meters and a height of about 20 meters and has excellent acoustics. Its temperature is constant at 18 degrees Celsius and its depth is about 95 meters. It was discovered about 300 years ago, when a strong earthquake hit a part of it, which is today’s entrance. It can be visited all year round and, in fact, in the past, several events were organized in the 900 sq.m. hall at its entrance, with a capacity of 500 people (!).
The picturesque Fiskardo is world famous for the countless boats that fill the harbour and the colourful houses that surround it. It is one of the few settlements that have been preserved and were not leveled by the earthquake of 1953. Between the green nature and the blue sea, built up on the hill are the houses and mansions with tiled roofs, painted in different colors, completing a beautiful scenery. On the cosmopolitan seaside promenade you will find sophisticated shops, cafes, bars and taverns. A walk in the narrow, cobbled alleys between the houses with the yards full of flowers, will make you feel like you have gone back in time.
Another picturesque settlement on the northwestern part of the island, near the beach of Myrtos. Assos is connected to the rest of the island by a narrow strip of land, on which part of the settlement has been built today. It is built amphitheatrically around the homonymous peninsula, between the rich vegetation and the turquoise waters, thus creating a picturesque image. Do not forget to go up to the castle of Assos and admire the view. This castle was built in the 15th century to protect the inhabitants from pirates and was used as a prison, but today you will find only its ruins.
The capital and largest city of Kefalonia. Some of the attractions you will see in Argostoli are the main pedestrian street called Lithostroto, Rizospaston Avenue, the statue of the poet Nikos Kavvadias and the municipal theater “Kefalos”. Although the entire settlement was destroyed after the earthquake of 1953, the architecture of the houses is reminiscent of Venetian mansions, thus giving it its picturesqueness.
Kefalonia is a green island and offers several hiking trails. The island is covered by mountains, mainly from Ainos, creating the diversity and the natural landscape that impresses hikers. The starting points of the routes vary depending on the difficulty and the location that each hiker wants to visit. Some of the routes are Sami – Antisamos Beach, Razata – Cyclops Walls that leads to a panoramic view of Argostoli, Gradou Waterfalls (yes Kefalonia also has waterfalls!), And many more trails that will impress you.
In Kefalonia you will find many diving centers that will give you the opportunity to explore the seabed of the island. There are several interesting points. First, it is worth exploring the wreck of the British ship Perseus, on the south side of the island. This particular shipwreck raises excitement about how it has remained intact to this day. Also, due to the earthquakes, special natural formations have formed below the sea surface. The underwater caves in Fiskardo and the wonderful seabed in Agia Efimia, Skala, Argostoli and Paliki stand out in the underwater area of the island and host many divers every year.
More information for scuba diving check here.
We suggest you rent a boat or boat to discover the small inaccessible beaches, so beautiful and pure. From Poros, Fiskardo, Argostoli but also from various other ports of the island you will find boat owners that will offer you rental services. Prices start from € 80 plus the petrol tank from € 35. This experience is worth it for those who want to explore the hidden beaches of the island and enjoy the tranquility they offer. The most important thing is that you can drive them yourself, after a short training.
One day trip to neighbouring islands
For those who want to visit another island, Ithaca and Zakynthos are the closest islands. Ithaca in particular is very close to Kefalonia. The journey is about 30 to 50 minutes, depending on the port of departure from Kefalonia and arrival in Ithaca respectively.
Food and beverage
For such a large island as Kefalonia, obviously the choices in food and drink are innumerable. Indicatively, we mention below some shops that we visited.
Palia Plaka: A family shop in Argostoli with a picturesque balcony overlooking the sea. The staff is helpful and the cooked food (cannelloni chicken, spinach lasagna with feta cheese, meat pie) is delicious.
Astra cocktail bar: A beautiful and quiet shop with a wide variety of cocktails in Lourdata. Quite economical with a beautiful yard.
Sesto: Towards Koroni beach, there is a wonderful bar with a beautiful view. You can enjoy your coffee, your drink and the great food. It has a parking space and on Saturdays we suggest you book your table in advance.
Octopus: A small family shop in Poros ideal for appetizers, good wine and a pleasant environment on the seafront.
Zenza: A quiet shop on the seafront of Poros, with a very wide variety of cocktails. At times they have Happy Hour for cocktails.
Patsouras Tavern: A family-owned, traditional tavern in the area of Argostoli. It has good service, quality food and reasonable prices.
Tassia: A well-known shop to holidaymakers who return to Fiskardo every summer. There is a variety of dishes and fresh seafood delicacies. Be sure to try her cheese cake.
En Kefallinia: A vegetarian choice for the respective lovers of this type of cuisine. It is located in the village of Lakithra on an organic farm. The raw materials come directly from the farm, while there is also free range meat and seafood for those who want their animal protein too.
For our stay we preferred Agnanti Studios located in the area of Lourdata. A family business that counts more than 15 years of operation and has good reviews and people who prefer them a second time. They have a total of 8 rooms which are renovated and clean. The facilities include a kitchenette, refrigerator, cooking utensils (kettle, toaster, coffee maker, etc.). Hot water is available throughout the day and free Wi-Fi is available. For those who have their own means of transport, there is a parking space available, free of charge.
A BBQ space is also available. Every visitor can use it and bake there. In addition, the owners organize BBQ nights to which all customers are invited, thus creating a very friendly atmosphere.
Finally, regarding the location of the accommodation, based on Lourdata you can organize your daily excursions in the surrounding areas and beaches.
Useful Sites & apps
Air Bnb: With over one million properties all around the world, and always increasing, ideal for a low budget stay even in expensive areas. Furthermore, because you stay in people’s villas, houses or flats you are made to feel more at home by the host of each destination and the homely surroundings.
Booking.com: With a plethora of choices, traveller grades, and a lot of offers for those who have booked many destinations, promo codes for you and your friends, discounts and many other benefits. Start booking to discover all the available options and offers. Check available rooms and prices here.
Ferryscanner: For ferry tickets to all of Greece as well as destinations like Italy and Turkey. Immediate service and cooperation with the largest services in Greece.
Discover Cars: For car rentals at the lowest prices, servicing in over 150 countries and with the best deals and support in over 12 different languages for your own leisure.