Stunning landscapes, secluded beaches, and charming towns: it’s all part and parcel of holidays to Kefalonia. This beautiful island is located off mainland Greece, and it’s the biggest of the Ionian Islands. The coastline is dotted with gorgeous fishing villages and sandy beaches (Skala is a firm favourite), which are ideal for relaxing. For the more adventurous, you’ll find lots of pine tree-covered hills and pretty vineyards waiting to be explored. With so much spectacular scenery to take in, it’s no wonder this place was chosen as the setting for the Hollywood blockbuster Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
Kefalonia’s Mediterranean climate makes it a favourite year-round destination.
3.5 hours from the UK, Kefalonia International Airport (LGKF / EFL).
Just 3km from the island’s lively capital town Argostoli, you’ll find the purpose-built resort of Lassi. Take your pick from the sandy, untouched beaches nearby or just head straight to Lassi’s Blue Flag beach. The peaceful fishing village of Katelios remains a nature-lover’s favourite: it’s ringed by the turquoise-coloured sea on one side and a green hiking trail on the other, complete with old water mills and natural springs. Sunset in harbour-side Sami gathers couples and families together at its pretty lighthouse. The orange-coloured horizon and swimming dolphins steal the show here, right before the sun dips into the waters off Kefalonia’s west coast.
It’s true that the island is a beach lover’s paradise, but it has so much to offer beyond the shorelines. Holidays to Kefalonia will take you to a land of natural beauty, featuring underground lakes and caves steeped in Greek mythology; head to Cave Drogarati’s for an otherworldly experience, or discover some of Greece’s most incredible mountain caves over at Mount Ainos. If you’re feeling energetic, you could also climb to the top, and look out for an abundance of wildlife and exotic birds along the way.
It’s not every day that you get to explore caves, but you’ll be spoiled for choice here. Cave Drogarati in Sami is one of Greece’s oldest and biggest caves; it’s roofed by million-year-old, light-reflecting stalactites, and measures over 90m deep. It has to be seen to be believed.
Just 2km away is the underground lake cave of Melissani, which is one of Kefalonia’s most famous attractions. Hop aboard one of the colourful lake boats (which run from May to October) for a tour around the cave’s sunlit, open-roof chamber. Your guide will tell you all about the folktales inspired by Melissani’s luminous waters.
If you’re eager to explore the island’s natural beauty, why not attempt to conquer the mighty Mount Ainos? Measuring over 1,600m, it’s the tallest mountain on the Ionian Islands, and poses a challenge to even seasoned hikers. Ainos is also veiled by the colourful Kefalonia National Park, which is home to wild white ponies and rare plant and wildlife. It takes around three to four hours to reach the summit, and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views over neighbouring Zante when you do. Don’t miss the remains of a temple on the way up; it was dedicated to ‘Ainosius’ Zeus, the mythological god who is said to protect the mountain.
Backed by bottle-green pine forests and tranquil turquoise waters, the chalk-white sands dotted along the island’s coastline are among the most beautiful anywhere on the Ionian Islands. Whether you want to top up your to tan, swim in the sea, or try your hand at water sports, beach resorts like Lissi and Skala have something for everyone. If you want to hide away from the crowds, you can always head for the quiet fishing village of Katelios. And Kaminia (otherwise known as Turtle Beach) is within walking distance; rare loggerhead turtles come to nest here, and you’ll get to see one if you’re lucky enough.
KEFALONIA HOLIDAY RESORTS
HOLIDAYS IN KEFALONIA
Safety and Security
For up to date advice on travelling to Kefalonia, please visit Safety and security - Greece travel advice
Kefalonia is best for…
Beach lovers: With its pure-white sand and pebbles, azure waters and lush forest, Myrtos Bay is one of Greece’s most spectacular beaches.
Couples:Watch the sun go down from a waterfront restaurant in Lassi and sample some fresh Greek cuisine, while sipping on a glass (or two) of local Robola wine.
Explorers: Go for a hike in the hills near Katelios, or go island hopping to Lefkas, Meganissi and Paanikolis; there’s a wealth of stunning scenery to explore here.
Language: The language spoken is Greek.
Currency: The currency used is Euro (€).
Local time: Kefalonia is 2 hours ahead of GMT/UK time.
Fly to: Kefalonia International Airport with transfers of up to 2 hours to the main resorts.
Flight time from UK: The flight time to Kefalonia is 3.5 hours.
Tourist information:For more tourist information about your Kefalonia holidays, visit www.visitgreece.gr/en/greek_islands/ionian_islands/kefalonia.
Visa and health: Before your holiday, head to www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece for visa and health recommendations and advice.
Weather and climate
Summer is the best time to explore the island’s stunning beaches. Temperatures regularly hit 30°C in July and August, when the sea is also at its warmest. It’s also worth bearing in mind that this is the busiest time of year. As we move through the autumn, the island starts to cool down slightly (and the crowds start to disappear), but the sea is still warm enough to swim in throughout October. Kefalonia’s lush, green scenery is all thanks to significant rainfall in winter, but temperatures very rarely drop below 9°C during this season. If you’re keen on hiking or caving, it’s a good idea to book your holiday for spring; you’ll be spoilt with a dry, mild climate and an average of eight hours of sunshine a day.
By car:It’s the way to explore the island’s 237km-long coastline, so why not pick up a hire car at the airport? That way you’ll have the freedom to explore at your own pace.
By motor-cruiser:Head out to sea on one of these small motor boats; they’ll get you around to some of the island’s secret spots and untouched beaches.
By boat: From Vatsa Bay on the southern tip, you can take a traditional fishing trip to see what you can catch; or book a daily boat safari from Lixouri harbour.
15 August:Did you know that 15 August is Greece’s biggest religious holiday? Kefalonians gather in tavernas and squares across the island to eat, drink and dance. Head to Markopoulo to see the ‘sacred’ baby snakes that appear around the village church every year.
Wine Festival: Pencil in the third weekend of August to celebrate the island’s famous Robola wine. It gets its own festival, which is held in the village of Fragata, and attracts thousands of visitors every year. How does free Robola, local delicacies and live music sound?
International Music Festival: Head to the island capital of Argostoli for the International Music Festival, held across many music venues at the end of August.