A stunning island situated off the western coast of the Greek mainland, Kefalonia holidays encompass everything that invades your fantasies of a Greek island escape, from unfettered beaches and tasty food to smiling locals and immense culture and history. Located more or less parallel to Athens, Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands and is a popular holidaying destination for both locals and foreigners alike given its immense range of attractions and appeal.
Countless resorts stretch along the expanse of the island’s coastline, offering calm and clear waters, soft sands, top amenities and entertainment, and plenty of eateries and bars in which to spend your evenings in Greece. The island shot to fame after serving as the backdrop for much of the hit Hollywood film Captain Corelli's Mandolin, capitalising on Kefalonia’s diverse and dramatic landscapes to create an idyllic setting for the big screen. If it’s beach scenes and unbeatable vistas you’re after, many can’t look beyond Skala during your holiday in Kefalonia. The beach here is backed by fragrant pine trees and the views are as picturesque as they come, while top infrastructure will make your stay as comfortable and luxurious as you desire.
Most popular hotels in Kefalonia
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Greek
- Time Zone: GMT +2
- Average flight time: 3h 10m
When to go
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When you're not busy luxuriating on gorgeous beaches and soaking up all that glorious sunshine, those seeking a window into the history and culture of Greece will find that there are many opportunities on offer across the island. Within the island’s capital, Argostoli, there are plenty of heritage buildings and cultural activities to explore in addition to some great eateries where you can enjoy divine local cuisine; an ideal combination for history buffs and culture vultures. Another great place to drop in on during your holidays to Kefalonia is the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli, providing a wonderful insight into the heritage and progression of the island’s history. The museum has a large collection of artefacts dating back to prehistoric times as well as from the Roman era, including ancient jewellery and pottery on display, as well as beautiful mosaics and tombstones.
Another big attraction in Kefalonia is the Drogorati Caves. Discovered 300 years ago and descending to around 60 metres, these impressive caves are a must-see if you fancy delving somewhere slightly out of your comfort zone during your time on the island. Located near to the village of Chaliotata, these caves possess an astonishing array of stalagmites and stalactites to discover, featuring breath-taking formations and chambers, providing a great alternative way of entertaining travellers on holidays in Kefalonia.
Wine and Dine
Kefalonia is a great place to enjoy traditional Greek food with an Ionian flavour. While on a Greek island holiday, one of the main things to do in Kefalonia is to try some of the freshly caught fish at a psarotaverna, a restaurant catering to seafood. You can find a great selection of tavernas throughout the island, such as Psistaria which specialises in chargrilled food. Enjoy a quiet meal in one of the restaurants in Lassi, where you will have gorgeous views of the beach as the sun sets! Greeks have been cultivating grapes and turning them into delicious wine for over 5,000 years, and this Ionian island is no exception; make sure to visit some of its wineries and pick up a bottle or two.
Visit the second largest town, Lixouri, set in a stunning elongated bay, with beaches of red sand and calm waters ideal for young ones. There are plenty of places just off shore to explore with a snorkel, and a waterproof camera will make your family holiday that much more memorable. Petani Beach in Lixouri also has fun aquatic sports for older children. Makris Gialos Beach in Lassi is close to the airport and provides a great last-minute afternoon at the beach before heading home; plus, there is a beachside café and bar for the parents to relax in. Skala Beach and Kaminia Beach are great spots if you’re looking to relax away from the crowds; they have clear, shallow waters are perfect for paddling and splashing around with the younger children. If the weather permits, you may even be able to see across to the Peloponnese or Zante!
Action and Adventure
If it’s water sports you’re after, then head to Makris Gialos Beach where you’ll find a great selection of water sports on offer like kayaking and snorkelling. For something as relaxing as it is exciting, take a cruise to the neighbouring islands or explore the seas with a glass bottom boat trip. To explore Kefalonia in a different sort of fashion, the underground Drogorati Caves near Sami or the Melissani Cave are great places to start. Horse riding is popular in Kefalonia and is a great way to soak up the beautiful scenery; trot through the mountain trails and see some of the ancient sites. Hiking and canyoning are also to sports widely enjoyed on the island and some of the best things to do in Kefalonia.
Life's a Beach
If it’s an active, exciting or relaxing beach retreat you’re in search of, you’ll be blessed when setting foot on this engrossing island. The weather will be the first treat, hitting a sizzling 30C in the summer months, promising that you get your tan coming along nicely as you spread out on the soft sands with nothing but a good book for company. Among the countless beach resorts available to those embarking on Kefalonia holidays, it is Myrtos Beach that grabs the headlines. This breath-taking white-pebble beach lapped by cobalt and turquoise waters is considered one of the most beautiful of all of Greece's many beaches, defined by its backdrop of sheer cliffs and green mountainous inclines.
Antisamos Beach is Sami is excellent for snorkelling and just laying out and reading a good holiday book. Assos is a small harbour village south of Fiskardo with stunning views and two charming tavernas for the small-town Greek charm that is essential in every Greek island holiday. For a romantic day on the beach, try Platia Ammos Beach in Lixouri for a secluded cove with stunning sunsets and frequently named the most beautiful beach in all of Kefalonia.
Party people head to Lassi! Anywhere with the same name as a cocktail is a great night guarantee, and this infamous beach resort is no exception. the main street is bursting with bars and restaurants there is no shortage of island entertainment here. A couple of bars are located right on the golden shores of Lassi’s two beaches, giving you the perfect excuse to dance in the sand till dawn. Just down the road, the capital Argostoli is where the locals go to party, while nearby Fiscardo is another great option for up and coming bars and clubs.
Those looking for a slightly more laidback approach to starlit entertainment can enjoy Kefalonia’s vibrant ocean-front tavernas and restaurants which see visitors whiling away the hours over plates of divine food with a bottle or two of wine. Dotted all over the island it almost doesn’t matter which part of Kefalonia you settle on for an evening, whether it's the charming Lourdas or the quaint Fiskardo, the local tavernas will give you a taste of that authentically Greek, evening hospitality.
If a romantic getaway looks like turquoise waters lapping at white sand, clear blue skies day after day, and peace and tranquility wherever you are, then Kefalonia is where you want to be. With a postcard-worthy coastline lined with the bluest of bays, and endless cafes and restaurants waiting to treat you and your loved one to a candlelit dinner, it really doesn’t take much to see why a holiday in Kefalonia is a bit of a no-brainer when it comes to a couples holiday. All you have to do is book a break in a spacious hotel offering unrivalled views of the ocean, and you can see for yourselves.
This Ionian island was the setting for the famous story of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and the historical sites and scenery featured in the film are popular Kefalonia attractions. Based on a true story about the role of Kefalonia during World War II, the film used the village of Sami and Myrtos Beach as its main settings. Visit Fiskardo, a pretty village with many historical Venetian buildings, and the old capital of Kefalonia, the imposing Venetian castle in Argostoli. The latter is surrounded by old Byzantine churches, and after you have finished exploring, there are great views to enjoy from the top. Moni Agiou Gerasmou, dedicated the St. Gerasmios, the island’s patron saint, is a monastery a short way’s away from Argostoli and a stunning sight in itself. Argostoli is also home to the island’s Archaeological Museum and Korgialenio History and Folklore Museum, and discovering Greece’s pre-earthquake and Mycenaean past and culture is just one of the many necessary things to do in Kefalonia. Get to know modern Kefalonia in a pre-earthquake building, accompanied by a splendid botanical garden.