Kefalonia is one of the best places in Greece for photographers. Many of you already know the island from the photos of the majestic Myrtos beach and from the Captain Corelli’s Mandolin movie. Or from photos of the surreal milky blue color of the sea and the quaint Melissani Cave which can be entered by boat only.
But the beauty of Kefalonia cannot be expressed with photos and videos - if you want to fully immerse in the island atmosphere you must drive on the curvy mountainous roads with hypnotizing sea views, stroll in the seaside villages and discover the taste of the local cuisine and wine from the local wine variety called Robola.
General information about Kefalonia
Kefalonia is the largest island of the Ionian group. It is mountainous and traveling takes a lot of time because there is no coastal road to connect the seaside settlements and beaches. The shape of the island is very irregular, with plenty of peninsulas, small bays and beaches.
Like Zakynthos, Kefalonia was destroyed by a severe earthquake in 1953 but everything was reconstructed and today the island population is over 30 000 residents. The capital, Argostoli, is the largest town and one third of the population lives there.
Where to stay in Kefalonia?
The island size and terrain do not predispose to easy travels and it would be best if you can split your stay in two different locations. The place of accommodation you choose should be complied with the type of holiday you prefer. The beaches in the north and east part of Kefalonia are mainly pebbled, including Myrtos beach. Popular resorts here are Fiscardo, Assos, Agia Effimia and Sami.
The sandy beaches are located in the south, near Argostoli, Lassi, Platis Gialos, Svoronata and Lourdata. The resorts in this area are more lively and noisy in summer. The peninsula of Paliki has sandy beaches as well, though not very typical. Lixouri is the most popular village in Paliki and it is connected to Argostoli via regular ferryboats.
Which are the best beaches of Kefalonia?
Kefalonia has a great variety of beaches and some of them are ranked among the best in Greece and the Mediterranean. The world-known Myrtos is not the only one which strikes with its extraordinary landscape - the west coast of the island is rich in similar beaches like Petani, Agia Kiriaki, Platia Ammos, Fteri and Aspros Gialos (the latter two accessible by boat). But all west beaches have one disadvantage - there are often wind and waves, and they are not suitable for kids and people who cannot swim.
The most kids friendly sandy beaches are on the south coast. Such are Avithos, Paliostafida, Kalamia, Makris Gialos and Trapezaki. Nice beaches with fine sand can be found in Peliki peninsula, too, and they have bonus intriguing red or dark-orange color of the sand - Kounopetra, Xi and Megas Lakkos.
If you are looking for transparent water for snorkeling, then the beaches of Emplisi, Foki, Dafnoudi and Antisamos are what you need you. They all have smooth white pebbles and calm sea without waves. Spartia and Amandakis are another locations where you can enjoy swimming in blue water and where the sand is replaced by rocks.
What to do in Kefalonia?
There are not many historical sites in Kefalonia left after the earthquake but the beaches and beautiful landscapes will fill enough of your time. Other interesting places to visit and things to do in the island include:
- Assos and Fiscardo, the two most scenic villages of Kefalonia
- The Venetian Castle of Assos
- The town of Argostoli with Bell Square (Platia Kampanas), Vallianou Square and De Bosset Bridge
- Melissani Cave Lake
- The castle of Agios Georgios near Peratata
- Drogarati Cave
- Saint Theodore Lighthouse near Argostoli (especially at sunset)
- Monastery of Kipoureon, Paliki Peninsula
- One-day trip to the neighbor island of Ithaca
What to eat in Kefalonia?
The most special dish of Kefalonia is the kefalonitiki kreatopita (Kefalonian meat pie). It is a phyllo pie with a filling of three types of meat, tomato paste, herbs and spices. The meat types in the recipe may vary in different tavernas but the final result is always a crispy pie with rich flavor. Another thing you will often see in menus is riganada, the local version of bruschetta - toasted slices of bread with chopped tomatoes, olive oil and oregano.
Kefalonia was its own wine called Robola, a local grape variety.
How to get to Kefalonia?
Kefalonia has one international airport and a few main ports - Sami, Fiscardo, Poros and Pessada. The ferry lines from and to mainland Greece operate all year round and these are:
- Sami - Astakos (via Ithaca)
- Poros - Kyllini (Peloponnese)
In the summer Kefalonia also has sea connections with the islands of Lefkada and Zakynthos:
- Vassiliki (Lefkada) - Fiscardo (Kefalonia)
- Poros (Kefalonia) - Agios Nikolaos (Zakynthos)
The passenger ferry Lefkada Palace which operates only in summer connects the Ionian islands of Corfu, Paxos, Lefkada, Kefalonia and Zakynthos.