Kefalonia is the biggest of the Eptanesse island complex in the Ionian Sea. It’s an island renowned not only for its sapphire waters and greenery but also for its great history. It’s the place which Homer’s Odyssey called home (yes, that was Kefalonia, not Ithaca as many believe). Even though the island was devastated by a major earthquake in 1953 it has been reborn from its ashes and has become a major tourist attraction.
Kefalonia is an island full of mysteries worth exploring. You’ll see the seawater disappearing in Argostoli and reappearing many kilometers away, goats with golden teeth and loggerhead turtles. Wild horses and monk seals complete the scenery of this paradise on earth.
The island is an ideal destination for family vacations: Visit unspoiled and pristine beaches, lush green forests and lake-caves during the day. Then at night, you choose among many entertainment options in the main cities.
How to Get to Kefalonia
The island has one international airport (Code: EFL), located between Lassi and Minies, just 8km south of the capital Argostoli. There are daily domestic flights from Athens, with a total duration of around 45 minutes. During the summer season, there are also plenty of charter flights such as Thomson Airways available (mainly from the UK).
If you’re already in Greece and in a mood to explore more, you can also reach Kefalonia by ferry. The island is connected by boat with Patras, Killini and with the islands of Astakos, Ithaca, Zakynthos, and Lefkada. From Athens, you can travel by bus or car to Patras (around 2.5 hours) or to Killini (around 3.5 hours). From Patras, you can arrive at the port of Sami after 3.5 hours, while from the port of Kyllini, you will arrive at the port of Poros after 1.5 hours. Finally, from Astakos in Aitoloakarnania, there is a ferry to Sami with a 2.5 hours duration.
Top Resorts in Kefalonia
Fiskardo – Located in the north part of the island, it is the most cosmopolitan area of Kefalonia. The area is famous for its red-tiled preserved houses with small balconies. This is one of the few places that were not devastated by the big earthquake in 1953. Fiskardo is also ideal for day trips to the neighboring islands of Lefkada and Ithaca
Karavomilos – It is a scenic small village, with the traditional water mill at the end of the beach as its trademark. Near Karavomilos you can find the lagoon cave Mellisanthi. A must-see for every visitor of the island.
Katelios – Located in the south part of Kefalonia, it gives its name in one of the best (and most popular) beaches. The beach is fully organized and has golden sand with shallow and clear water. The area is famous for the taverns serving fresh seafood.
Lassi – Very close to the island’s capital, Argostoli, you can find the Lassi peninsula. It is well organized and provides a great nightlife. In Lassi, not only you can relax on the fully organized beaches, but you can also admire the sunset from the Agioi Theodoroi lighthouse and visit the famous “Katavothres”.
Lixouri – It is the second-largest city of the island and a very popular tourist destination. Lixouri has several accommodation options and great beaches surrounding it, like Kounopetra, Platia Ammos and Vatsa. The city has also a great affinity in arts: the second oldest Greek Philharmonic Orchestra was founded there. Lourdas – Lourdas (or Lourdata) is a village on the south side. It has many small & peaceful accommodation options. The Homonym Beach (Lourdas) is one of the best of Kefalonia with crystal clear waters and sports tournaments organized during the summer months.
Skala – It is located in the south part of Kefalonia and is a new village. The old one was destroyed during the 1953 earthquake. Skala is famous for its sandy beaches, thus many hotels have been developed in the area to serve the tourists. It offers a relaxed and peaceful environment, combined with some great archaeological sites, like the Apollo temple.
Svoronata – One of the biggest and most interesting villages of southern Kefalonia. There you can enjoy some well-preserved 19th-century architecture and great beaches, like Ammes, Minies, and Avythos. The area is quite developed so can be a good spot for your accommodation.
Agia Efimia – It lies on the northeast coast of Kefalonia and is a fishing village with a picturesque harbor. The small white church in the harbor gave its name to the village.
Lake cave of Melissani – This is a unique geological phenomenon, with a lake 20 meters below the sea surface. The entrance of the cave was formed naturally after a section of the roof collapsed. 20,000 year-old stalactites adorn most of the cave. It is an absolute must-see when in Kefalonia. Tour boat trips are organized on a daily basis.
Cave of Drogarati – Another spectacular cave for visitors to admire, the cave of Drogarati was discovered 300 years ago after an earthquake when a part of it collapsed, forming the current entrance. It is considered one of the best caves in Greece and dating back over 100 million years. It is the only Greek cave where concerts have been performed, because of the size and the excellent acoustics of the main hall.
Myrtos beach – The absolute trademark of Kefalonia, with an unmatched landscape. Green rocks end on a huge beach with white pebbles. The turquoise water is a result of the big depth of the sea, only a few steps from the beach. You’ll find everything you may need at Myrtos beach as it is fully organized with a canteen, umbrellas and sunbeds. Do stay to watch the magnificent sunset, it is really captivating.
Katavothres – One of the most visited sights of Kefalonia, Katavothres is close to Argostoli and there you’ll see the seawater disappearing. The “where does the water go” remained a mystery until some scientists in 1963 colored the water, which they eventually found that it crosses a 14km distance underground of the island, ending up in Melissani cave. The watermill in Katavothres is also a good spot to relax and take some photos.
Argostoli Archaeological Museum – Archaeological finds in Kefalonia go back to 40,000 BP. This museum is regarded as one of the most important museums in Greece with exhibits of the Mycenaean era (1,500-1,100 BC).
When to Visit
Kefalonia owes its lust green landscapes partly to the big rainfall on the island. That means that the best season to visit the island is during the summer months, which are dry and you’ll be able to enjoy the beaches. For a less crowded vacation, avoid July and August and plan your visit for June or September.