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Kefalonia: your one-stop guide

Ionian islands ● Kefalonia ● 17 October 2018
 
Kefalonia belongs to the Ionian Islands, and it is one of the most beautiful islands in Greece. It is characterized by verdant nature, exotic beaches with white sand surrounded by pine and cedar trees as well as well-preserved towns and villages that have kept their authentic character and attract hundreds of people with their Italian-style architecture. Kefalonia has everything you need to spend amazing summer vacation in Greece. You can go there by aeroplane from Athens or with a charter flight from several towns in Europe. It is also connected by boat from Patras or Kyllini port, which are located around 2-3 hours drive from Athens.

Most beautiful cities

Fiskardo, on the northern side of Kefalonia, is a picturesque settlement with small neoclassical houses, cobblestone paths and an atmosphere you can't forget. Seaside bars, traditional Greek taverns, luxury hotels and elegant shops create the perfect scenery to relax and enjoy the beauty. Fiskardo has also one of the most famous taverns with fresh fish in Greece, Tasia, which locals say that the actor Tom Hanks loves, when he comes to Fiskardo with his private yacht.
Fiskardo

On the eastern side of Kefalonia, is situated the capital of the island, Argostoli Kefalonia. Argostoli is the main centre of the island, offering the visitor numerous opportunities for food, shopping and entertainment. The paved seaside promenade with the coastal bars and taverns is a must in this city, which is modern and gets crowded during summer. Very beautiful is also the Botanical Garden of Argostoli as well as the lighthouse, which is a trademark of Kefalonia.

Lixouri Kefalonia is the second largest town of the island, 30 km west of Argostoli, with which it is connected also by ferry. We highly recommend you to choose the ferry if you want to go from one town to the other, as driving in Kefalonia is difficult due to the narrow roads inside the mountains. Lixouri is famous for its rich cultural tradition and hosts one of the oldest philharmonic schools in Greece. Neoclassical houses, old churches and monasteries as well as paved streets create the elegant architecture of Lixouri, you should definitely visit.

Assos is a small village in a close distance to Fiskardo, on the northern side of the island. It is built amphitheatrically on a beautiful cliff with lush greenery and impresses the visitor with the colorful houses by the sea that strongly remind of Italy. On the front of the village, you can swim in its tiny and gorgeous beach with the emerald sea waters and the thick sand.
Assos

Skala is the most touristic place in Kefalonia with large scale tourism, numerous restaurants and luxury hotels with all-inclusive packages. If you like this kind of tourism, where you have everything you may need within walking distance, then Skala is your place to be. It also has a big shopping center like being in a very large city. The beach on the front of the island is very beautiful and organised. If you want to get away from the crowds, then take the road that connects Skala with Argostoli and discover lovely villages, such as Markopoulo and Katokelios as well as tiny private beaches, where you may see a caretta-caretta turtle swimming.

Sami is a small harbour with a friendly beach on the front. The most attractive thing with this village is that it is the place where the crew of Captain's Corelli Mandolin stayed, when the film was shot on the island. Nicolas Cage stayed in a villa above Sami. There is also a cafe with the name of the film, in which the legend says that all waiters look like Nicolas Cage!


Historical sites

Kefalonia offers the visitor a variety of sites to discover. Rare natural phenomena, ancient monuments and a significant museum are only some of the things to see on the island. Thus, we recommend you to spend more than a week for your holidays, because Kefalonia is a large island with long distances, and it is better to have time to explore it.

Caves

Melissani Cave is located in a close distance to Sami. Through an underground path, you can make a tour by boat to this cave, where exhibits from the 4th and 3th century B.C. were found. What is truly impressive with this cave, is that there is a lake surrounded by a forest in the chamber! Drogarati Cave, also near Sami, is a rare stalagmitic cavern 150 million years old. The sun reflected on the deep blue waters making them look like turquoise jewels is a picture you will never forget!

Monastery of Saint Gerasimos

Saint Gerasimos is the patron saint of the island, and local people believe that he had miraculous skills. In his monastery, which is located close to Valsamata village in the centre of Kefalonia, he lived as a monk and his relics are kept. You will admire the inside of the church, which is really impressive with its old Byzantine icons that are one of a kind.

Ancient Sami

Ancient Sami was a powerful city in the antiquity, which was inhabited since the Palaeolithic times (2 million years B.C.). This city fought in Trojan war, and Homer mentioned it in Heliad and Odyssey. In this historical site, you can admire the imposing walls, Roman houses and tombs from several periods.

Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum in Argostoli houses a rich collection of ancient items from the prehistoric until the Roman times. Very interesting are the exhibits from the Mycenaean period, such as coins, tools, sculptures and ceramics.

Where to swim

Organised or secluded, famous or off the beaten path, the beaches of Kefalonia are gorgeous bays, and most of them have been awarded with Blue Flag for the cleanliness of their waters. Swimming and sunbathing there is an unforgettable experience.

Myrtos is one of the most popular beaches in the Mediterranean Sea. It is a long coast with white sand and turquoise waters surrounded by steep cliffs. It is partly organised, but in the summer, it gets very crowded. The best way to visit it is to stay in Fiskardo and explore this amazing beach a weekday and not during the weekends. However, even if you visit Myrtos in August, you will find a place to lie, as the beach is long and large enough for hundreds of people.
Myrtos
 
Located 10 km from Lixouri, Xi Beach is an impressive shore with reddish brown sand and white cliffs. It is organised, family-friendly, with a beach bar and water sports facilities. What will impress you there is the colour of the sand, which is like a golden jewel.
Xi Beach
 
Within walking distance from the port of Sami, Antisamos has white pebbles, lush vegetation and the crystal blue waters of the Ionian Sea. This beach provided the beautiful romantic setting of the international film shot in Kefalonia, Captain Corelli's Mandolin. If you have watched this film, you would definitely have been impressed by the landscape of this amazing beach. It is organised with sunbeds and umbrellas, and it truly reminds of a scenery in Hollywood!
Antisamos
 
Near to the fishing village of Skala, this beach is the longest in Kefalonia, with 3 kilometers of golden sand and clear waters. Fully organised, with all comforts you may need and water sports facilities, Skala Beach has kept its unique character, and it is a perfect spot for swimming with your family.
 
Petani has taken its name from the ancient Greek word, which means abundant waters. It is located on the western side of Kefalonia, and it has emerald waters that deepen gradually, so it is ideal for children. Petani Beach is also the perfect spot for romantics and couples since it is famous for its stunning sunsets.

Just 4 km south of Argostoli, Makris Gialos is a fully organised bay in the popular tourist resort of Lassi. It provides water sports centres, diving club, and it is family-friendly. Because it is a long beach, as its name indicates (Makris Gialos = long beach), you can also find there secluded parts for peace and privacy.
 
If you are a fan of adventure, Platia Ammos can provide you with amazing moments. A few years ago, it was accessible only by boat, and now, it can be reached through climbing down 280 steps. However, its astonishing natural beauty makes this untouched cove a spot that you should definitely visit in Kefalonia in order to be in contact with its verdant nature and relax. 
 

Off-the-beaten-path

As Kefalonia is a large island, although it is touristic with all the facilities you may need,  it also provides you with several places to go off-the-beaten-track. If you feel like an explorer and want to go in unspoiled places to search for the authentic side of Greece, we have some recommendations for you!

A stunning route in Kefalonia is from Lixouri to Rifi in the west through the village of Parisata, which has only 12 permanent residents, as well as from Gerogombos, a cape with a lighthouse, to Kipoureon Monastery, which is built on the top of a hill, and you have to cross an imposing lunar landscape to get there. On the northern side of the island, the route from Fiskardo to Divarata and Pylaros through Kalon Mountain has a magnificent view of Kefalonia's mountaintops.

Generally, Fiskardo is the best-preserved village in Kefalonia and one of the nicest little harbours in Greece. Some taverns by the sea offer fresh fish, but the most special thing with Fiskardo is that it is surrounded by small coves full of tamarisk trees until the coastline. The route around Fiskardo is a perfect opportunity to walk or take the car and see unforgettable pictures that look like a painting.

An off-the-beaten-path beach is Agia Eleni, which is located just along the coast from Petani and has blue waters, white pebbles and hardly any tourists. Alaties below Manganos near Fiskardo is a small bay with stunning sea waters. There, you can have private moments and relax away from the mass tourism even in the high season.


If you loved the island after reading this article, and you want to book your accommodation for next summer, do it now and find great deals for hotels in Kefalonia.


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