Welcome to my travel guide on the best things to do in Kefalonia. My name is Natalia and I am from Poland. I have a masters degree in tourism. In 2008, I moved to Greece for six months on a student exchange program. It was my first time in Greece and I fell in love with this beautiful country.
Later in life I started travelling to the Greek Islands for holidays. I tried to visit at least twice a year because Greece just gives me this immense joy. In 2019, I moved to Kefalonia with my husband and our Greek dog. Before that, we lived on the island of Zakynthos where we adopted our dog.
Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands. There are no words to describe the island because it’s just too beautiful. My husband and I used to work for a travel agency here. I was responsible for the main office while my husband worked as a tour guide. We immediately connected with the island’s atmosphere.
It was in Kefalonia that I started my Instagram account @greecebynati to share the beauty of this island. During the summer holidays we work all day long – sometimes more than 16 hours per day! Working in tourism is actually quite hard. Unfortunately, you don’t have much time for relaxing.
Before and after the summer season in Kefalonia we travelled a lot and explored the island. Discovering and photographing new places is one of my favourite things to do on the island – and of course sunbathing!
Why Kefalonia Should be on your Bucket List
There is no doubt that Kefalonia is a stunningly beautiful island. The island is large enough to make people excited to go exploring. As it’s the largest of the Ionian Islands, Kefalonia has this tendency to inspire visitors to get lost.
I would like to declare that I am a lover of all the Ionian Islands – especially Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Lefkada and Ithaca. This island group is situated in the Ionian Sea and is unique because of its natural beauty. These islands are lush and picturesque, and are still somewhat untouched by tourism.
Kefalonia offers a great selection of beaches with amazing blue water. It’s one of those islands that are ideal for nature-lovers. The locals are generous and always make you feel welcome. One thing you might learn on your visit is that the Hollywood movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was filmed here.
This film features the famous Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz. As soon as someone watches the movie they start packing their bags and booking tickets to the island! It showcases the serene beauty of this Greek island and highlights the fact that there are often no crowds or hordes of tourists.
What is truly amazing about Kefalonia is that even in July and August (peak summer) the island is never full of tourists. This means you will be able to enjoy the nature and mix with local people in peace and serenity.
Favourite Place in Kefalonia: Assos Village
I love all of Kefalonia and each place is special to me. However, one place I can recommend is Assos Village. Less than a hundred inhabitants live here which means that the village has retained much of its original charm. Assos is known for being one of the most gorgeous traditional villages in Greece.
Assos is colourful and has a beautiful waterfront area with two small beaches. It’s located in a peaceful bay in Kefalonia. I would call Assos a highly “Instagrammable” place because you can take amazing pictures of the houses and stunning bay. The village is also home to a historic castle.
10 Best Things To Do in Kefalonia
1. Watch a Spectacular Sunset at Myrtos Beach
Myrtos Beach is the most breathtaking beach in Kefalonia. The beach is surrounded by beautiful scenery and has become famous around the world for its tall rocky cliffs and epic grassy hills. It’s regarded as not just one of the best beaches in Greece, but in the entire world.
The waters of Myrtos Beach can become wavy at times. If you’re spending the day here with young children, you’ll want to take some extra care. It’s also quite a deep beach close to the shore. Nevertheless, Myrtos is still a fantastic place to go swimming and watch a spectacular Greek sunset.
The beautiful blue and turquoise waters contrast sharply with the bright white marble pebbles of the beach – all between limestone cliffs. This creates an incredible scene for photography. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin with Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz was partially filmed on this beach.
2. Discover the Incredible Melissani Lake Cave
The Melissani Lake Cave is a major tourist attraction. People come from all over the world to the island of Kefalonia just to see the Melissani Cave. It’s easily one of the most beautiful caves in the entire world. This cave was formed when water entered inside it many centuries ago.
In Ancient Greek mythology, the Melissani Cave was referred to as the Cave of the Nymphs. You can take a fantastic guided boat tour through the underground lake and learn the history of the cave on your journey.
The most breathtaking views from within the cave are where massive holes appear above you. Sunshine then peers through the holes on sunny days and shines down on the bluest water you will ever see! It really is a marvellous experience and one of the highlights of any trip to Kefalonia.
3. Relax at the Gorgeous Little Assos Village
Assos Village is my favourite place in Kefalonia. It’s a picturesque coastal village where you can totally immerse yourself in a relaxed atmosphere. I love the colourful architecture of Assos. It feels like you’re in a fairytale.
The village is unique, peaceful and charming. There are two small beaches where you can go sunbathing and swimming. You can also enjoy the delicious local food on offer at the tavernas, browse a few boutique shops and of course take in the lovely scenery. What else do you need to relax?
4. Explore the Charming Fishing Village of Fiskardo
Fiskardo is a beautiful fishing village and port in Kefalonia. Here you can wander through the streets, go shopping, eat in fantastic tavernas and delight in the local cafes. This village also attracts many nature lovers.
The hills nearby have trails where you can go exploring and you can also take in the views of nearby Ithaca. Fiskardo has a nice marina home to private boats such as luxury yachts and fishing boats. If you’re thinking of visiting Ithaca or Lefkada then this is the perfect place to base yourself.
5. Swim and Sunbathe at Petani Beach
Petani Beach is one of the best beaches in Kefalonia. The beach sits at the bottom of a steep road and offers lovely sand, white pebbles and crystal-clear waters. Surrounding the beach are green cliffs and mountains which add to the beauty of this destination. Petani is a popular spot for sunsets.
6. Visit Argostoli and De Bosset Bridge
Argostoli is the capital of Kefalonia and is home to the largest stone bridge on sea called De Bosset Bridge. This is an excellent place to visit for a couple of days. Other attractions of the capital include the main square Platia Vallianou, Museum of Archaeology and Lithostrotos Street.
Some of the best hotels and restaurants of Kefalonia can be found in Argostoli. You can arrive at this town by catching a ferry from Lixouri which takes you right to the waterfront of Argostoli. These ferries run all day and take only twenty minutes. It costs around €2.80 per person (each way).
7. Spend a Day at the Heavenly Vouti Beach
Vouti Beach is a stunning beach with amazing views. You can really feel the nature of this beautiful destination. The water is crystal-clear and close to the beach is a small beach bar where you can eat delicious Greek salad or sip on a Freddo Cappuccino. Spend the day here relaxing in paradise!
8. Snorkel at the Shimmering Antisamos Beach
This is one of the loveliest beaches of Kefalonia. Locals and travellers alike love spending time here. The beach is surrounded by green scenery and is well organised with beach bars, nice music, sunbeds and umbrellas for sunbathers. You can also go snorkelling and enjoy the water sports on offer.
9. Spot Seals at the Stunning Foki Beach
Foki Beach is located close to Fiskardo village which makes for a great addition to this region of Kefalonia. Olive tree forests surround the beach and offer natural shade from the sun. The name “foki” is a Greek term meaning “seals” as many seals visit this beach at certain times of the year.
10. Chill at the Bar of Makris Gialos Beach
Markis Gialos Beach is one of the most popular totally sandy beaches of Kefalonia. Amazing green landscapes balance perfectly with the turquoise waters of the sea. The well-known beach bar of Costa Costa offers a diverse range of drinks, food, sunbeds, umbrellas and swimwear shops.
Immersing in the Rich Culture of Kefalonia
Kefalonians are super friendly, honest, welcoming and happy. They are constantly smiling which is awesome to see. When they welcome you with words like “kalimera” (good morning) you instantly feel their warmth.
I have made friends with a few locals and they’re always happy to help me. This Ionian Island has a rich cultural heritage too. Kefalonia has a traditional and conservative culture. Family is the most important part of life.
Best Dishes, Wines and Restaurants of Kefalonia
The food in Kefalonia is a major highlight. Mediterranean cuisine is healthy and fresh. Be sure to taste the local special – “kreatopita” (a Greek style meat pie). It’s rich in taste and is one of the most beloved dishes of Kefalonia. Different meats, Greek cheeses and spices go into the pie.
Then there is the wine of Kefalonia. Outstanding vintages are sourced from the robola grape. The wet winters and dry summers are ideal for robola cultivation. Wine lovers may want to stop off at one of the robola vineyards on the island and try the local wines. Robola is white and dry wine.
I can recommend the restaurant called “Vinaries” in Argostoli. Here you can order delicious seafood by the sea. Another great place is “En Kefallinia Organic Farm Restaurant” in Lakithra (7 km from Argostoli). I love the owners Georgia and Michalis who are a lovely couple with big hearts.
Then there is the typical Greek taverna of “The Fisherman’s Hut” in Zola. They serve only the freshest fish and the menu depends on the catch of the day. The tavern also serves a fantastic house wine paired with awesome fresh bread. Lastly, check out Nefeli-Anait in Assos.
Where to Stay on your Visit to Kefalonia
Kefalonia is quiet and serene. This is the perfect island to avoid crowds and large hotels. The best places to stay tend to be apartments and boutique villas with views. There are only a few big hotels on the island.
I always recommend staying at Lassi. It’s an ideal spot to base yourself to explore the island. Lassi is located about 20 minutes from the airport and only three minutes drive from Argostoli, the capital. The town has superb apartments which you can rent through booking.com or airbnb.com.
Skala is another fantastic spot to base yourself. Plenty of nice hotels, apartments can be found online. You can discover lovely sandy beaches, many tavernas, restaurants, cafes, shops, etc. Due to their shallow turquoise waters, the beaches of Skala are perfect for snorkelling.
I would also recommend Lourdata due to its picturesque setting and tranquil atmosphere. Here you can find convenient apartments, villas and hotels. Lourdas Beach in Lourdata is known for its clear, azure blue waters.
Two specific boutique hotels I recommend for your stay are “F Zeen Boutique Hotel” in Lourdata and “Emelisse Nature Resort” in Fiskardo.
Favourite Memory from my Travels in Kefalonia
One of my favourite memories in Kefalonia was when we took a trip to Mount Ainos. This is the highest mountain on the island, standing at 1,628 metres. During our hike we bumped into a herd of unique wild horses which were running free. These horses are used to living in the wild.
They have chosen to live at such heights because the only source of water in the region is situated at 1,300 metres above sea level. A monastery called “Monastery of the Life Giving Source” is where the water is located. It was magical to experience such wild landscapes and see wild horses.
What you Need to Know Before you Go
Kefalonia is all about changing your daily routine. Everything is “siga siga” which means “slowly slowly”. Just relax and enjoy your time. The most important thing to bring is a positive mood, a smile and happiness.
Enjoy your time marvelling at the sea, discover the mountains of Ainos, go swimming at the beautiful beaches surrounded by forested hills and of course try a lot of the local food in the traditional Greek taverns.
Have a lovely stay in Kefalonia. Thanks for reading. I hope you are now inspired to visit this enticing island. See you there! Geia sas!