Kefalonia

Holidays in the Ionian’s largest and most diverse island
Tandem paragliding flight over Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia Victor Malyushev
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Captain Corelli’s paradise lost: beautiful beaches, delightful ports, a national park and locals always game for a laugh

In the Ionian Sea, between other exotic islands, stands grand Kefalonia. Much photographed, much talked about, much loved, by Greeks and foreigners alike. Not just because of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, the 2001 film that attracted so much attention, but also because of its sheer beauty, its stately towns and many other impressive attractions.

Argostoli, Lixouri, Fiskardo, Assos, Lake Melissani... here the names alone are something to conjure with! This, the  largest of the Ionian islands, with its sparkling azure waters, dazzling beaches and deep emerald green mountains, has been a popular holiday spot for decades. The inhabitants of Kefalonia have a reputation for being the wittiest Greeks – always ready with a joke, a smile and a helping hand. Their laid-back attitude toward life is infectious and within hours of your arrival, you’ll feel as carefree as they do.

Things to do in Kefalonia

Argostoli, the fun-loving capital

Set alongside a deep bay, Argostoli has a funky charm that grows on you as you sit in the lively main square with the locals, the majority of whom  are night owls. Rummage in the market,  stroll down its handsome flagstone streets and sip the famous Robola wine in its welcoming cafes and bars.

Explore a bit and you’ll find monuments left over from the 19th century British Protectorate period. And for an in-depth introduction to island culture from the 15th to the 20th century, pay a visit to the outstanding Corgialenios Historical and Cultural Museum, one of the finest in Greece, and to the extensive Corgialenios library. The capital of Kefalonia will add a cultural flair to your holidays.

Mt. Enos: the ‘Black Mountain’

The highest mountain in the Ionian, Enos takes its name from the black pine (Abies Cephalonica) that once covered it completely and grows nowhere else. It has been a national park since 1962, known for its wealth of wild flowers. It’s also home to a special breed of pony, Equus cabalus.

World-famous beaches

You’ve probably seen these beaches before on posters and postcards or in scenes from films, because they’re among the most gorgeous in the Mediterranean. Their waters cover the entire range of blues and greens, lapping against pure white sand or smooth round pebbles.

Myrtos, perhaps the most spectacular, lies at the bottom of towering limestone cliffs. But don’t miss Petani and Skala. Or Poros, where the forest is reflected in the sea, intensifying the colour. Makry Gialos, whose turquoise waters rock to the music of beach bars, gives a cosmopolitan touch. And Xi, where pale green waves meet fine red sand, offers an unforgettable change of pace. The beaches of Kefalonia are waiting to be discovered.

Assos: perfection in miniature

Many people think this tiny port is the prettiest settlement on the island. You’ll catch your first glimpse of it from above. Built on a narrow strip of land, its few houses hug the shore, keeping their traditional Venetian-era character amidst a host of tall plane, poplar, palm and olive trees. The 16th century Venetian castle presiding over the whole scene is too invites you to climb up to take a closer look.

Fiskardo, sailors’ haven

Another enchanting miniature, the picturesque port of Fiskardo is hardly a secret to sailors and celebrity yacht owners. But landlubbers love it too for its charming 18th century buildings, which give it a feeling of timelessness that transcends the cheerful hubbub in its popular fish restaurants and boutiques.

Hidden gems of Kefalonia

Levitating in the depths of a cave

The 50 shades of turquoise in the underground Lake Melissani are mesmerising. Get into the boat for a tour and you’ll think you’re floating somewhere in space. With sunlight filtering in from above, the cavern reminds you of a cathedral. And when  your boatman bursts into song, the first lilting notes of an Italianate cantata echoing around the walls, you’ll realize that this is a truly heavenly experience.

The ‘mysterious’ Sea Mills at Fanari, near Argostoli

Once upon a time, the seawater disappeared into ‘swallow holes’, rocky crevasses  at such a rate that it was used to power two flour mills. No one knew where it went until scientists put  a dye in the water that ended up in Lake Melissani on the other side of the island. Kefalonia is full of such strange geological phenomena.

A paradise for sea activities

Kefalonia is the perfect island to explore by boat, with endless private beaches and bays of exceptional beauty, such as Myrto and Makri Gialos. Visit coves that embrace the rare beauty of all the thing to do in Kefalonia, perfectly encapsulate the aesthetic of this Ionian idyll. For lovers of action and activities, Kefalonia offers all sorts of water sports at all the large organised beaches, as well as sea kayaking and scuba diving in impressive locations full of surprises such as little caves teeming with underwater life.

Local products of Kefalonia-white white, cheese, bread and tomatoes on stone table

Experience the best of Kefalonia

A naturally deep harbour, Vathi oozes quaintness and charm

A boat trip from Kefalonia to Ithaca

A taste of the tranquillity and authenticity of Odysseus’ isle will whet your appetite for so much more
Meganisi-An island of just three villages and a population of around 1000

Exploring the magical world beyond Nydri on Lefkada

Unmissable beaches, island legends, traditional fishing villages and a sea cave that once sheltered a WW2 submarine are just part of the world that opens...
Through a 36m tall opening, the shafts of daylight that come streaming in from above bounce off the water and light up the chamber with ethereal blues

Boating in the Melissani Cave

Nothing prepares you for the ethereal blues and mystical aura of the Melissani Cave in Kefalonia
Amazing blue waters of Myrtos beach in Kefalonia

The wild beauty of Kefalonia’s Myrtos beach

A geological masterpiece, Myrtos Beach has been sculpted by nature to create the most dramatic backdrop to your holidays in Kefalonia
  • World-famous Myrtos beach
  • Levitating in the depths of Melissani cave
  • The ‘mysterious’ Sea Mills at Fanari
  • Fiskardo, sailors’ haven
  • Assos: perfection in miniature
  • Mt. Enos: the ‘Black Mountain’
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