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As long as it takes to eat a slice of watermelon

You’ll only need to close your eyes and the colours from your holidays in Kefalonia will come flashing back: The azure blue of the Ionian Sea, the emerald green of the pine trees and the golden sand of the beaches. But what about the feeling that remains in your heart? Well, it takes just one look at all the things to do in Kefalonia and you’ll know the answer. Here are what your memories of Kefalonia will look like.

 

Being awestruck by Myrtos

The star of so many Instagram posts and magazine covers, Myrtos beach is Kefalonia at its most striking. Viewing it from above, you are presented with a setting of limestone cliffs, pine trees, a luxurious beach and a blanket of Ionian blue.

Discover the wild beauty of Myrtos beach

Myrtos beach

It’s wild beauty on a grand scale, especially if you stay till sunset. You’d think there was no way to make the experience more epic – until you see the paragliders. An easy choice as No.1 in our list of best things to do on your holidays in Kefalonia.

Witnessing the ethereal light of Melissani Cave

Quite possibly Kefalonia’s second-most impressive Insta-spot, especially around midday when a mesmerising shaft of light comes straight through the round opening of the once-covered cave. Inside is a brackish lake, fed by both the sea and underground sources, allowing you to explore both chambers of the cave in a rowing boat.

Take a boat trip into the Melissani Cave

Melissani cave, Kefalonia

 And these aren’t the only caves on Kefalonia. Around 60m below ground, the Drogaratis Cave (near the Melissani Cave) is believed to be around 150 million years old. Its echoey chamber has been used to stage orchestral concerts.

Strolling around colourful Assos village

Another favourite of travel features, the village of Assos is every bit as pretty as it appears in photographs. The hillside creates a natural amphitheatre for the colourful homes, interlinked by narrow paths. And at the top are the ruins of a Venetian Castle, from which you can experience a magical sunset. But the lasting charm of Assos is found by the gorgeous waterfront. 

Picture-perfect, cosmopolitan Fiskardo

Strolling along the waterfront, with its sailings boats bobbing in the bay like a scene out of a watercolour, will be enough to fall head over heels in love with Fiskardo … a fate becoming visitors to the little fishing village for centuries. The full picture is revealed by a wider landscape of pine-tree greens and Ionian Sea blues and there are pretty little beaches in nearby bays (Emplisi and Foki). But take your time to choose your seafood taverna first. And while you’re in the north, Fiskardo is a perfect addition to your day in Assos – a two-for-one in planning your things to do in Kefalonia. 

Beaches for relaxing or getting active

There are more than 80 beaches in Kefalonia and it says everything about the island’s hospitality that more than half are fully organised (although there are plenty of secluded swimming spots, too). Just 3km from Argostoli (the island’s capital), Makris Gialos ticks every box (golden sand, water sports and facilities) and around Lixouri are the beaches of Xi (famous for its white rock formations and red-brown sand), Petani (more cliff-side splendour) and Fteri. To the south are the white-sanded Lourdas and long, sandy and clear-watered Skala, both popular for their excellent facilities, including water sports, day cruises, scuba diving and boat rentals. And on the east coast is beautiful Antisamos (famous as a setting in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and perfect for relaxing or water sports).

Argostoli’s deep love of life

A naturally deep bay, the fun-loving capital of Kefalonia bustles with life day and night – and yet it still possesses an intimate side, with sea turtles often spotted swimming in the port in the early morning. Many of the cafes, bars and restaurants are gathered around the main square (Vallianos) and you’ll find shops (many selling local products) along the pedestrianised Lithostroto and waterfront. And the excellent port facilities make it a popular stop for cruise ships from all around the world. Make sure to visit the Church of St Spyridon and Drapano Bridge, with its characteristic obelisk. A few of kilometres out of town is the Lighthouse of Theodore, a great sunset spot. 

The customs and events of Lixouri

The second-largest settlement in Kefalonia, Lixouri lies across the bay from Argostoli (boats connect the two throughout the day). It was one of the principal cities of the island in both antiquity and Venetian times and was rebuilt after an earthquake in 1953. It is known for its events, particularly the Varkarola custom (which it shares with Assos) when boats lit up with candles carry musicians and singers into the bay to perform. The show ends with a fireworks display. 

Lixouri was one of the principal cities of the island in both antiquity and Venetian times

Exploring Mt Ainos National Park

Mt Ainos

With all those beaches and seaside activities amongst the things to do in Kefgalonia, it would be easy to overlook the mountainous interior, but this is exactly where you should head if you’re a nature-lover. The thick forests contain numerous well-signposted paths, especially in the Mt Ainos National Park, perfect for hiking or mountain biking. The peak rises to 1,600m but you only need to explore the lower slopes to get the experience, especially during springtime when the wildflowers are out. Look out for the population of semi-wild horses in the national park.

A feast for the senses

Time to discover the food and wine of Kefalonia. There are three things you need to know – pies, meat and wild greens, with some dishes combining all three. The meat pies of Kefalonia are legendary. Amongst the cheeses, the local feta stands out and a favourite sweet are mandoles, made with roasted almonds. But if there’s one taste you’ll be taking home, it’s the Robola wine, made from a native white grape that is perfectly adapted to the slopes on which it grows. A visit to a Robola winery is a must. 

White cheese and bread with tomatoes on a stone table

Excursions into the Ionian Sea

You’ll immediately understand from all the sailing boats and catamarans, that Kefalonia is a sailing paradise. Not only does it boast the longest coastline in the Ionian, with dozens of little coves and bays, but it has no fewer than eight anchorages for visiting yachts and little ports found all around the island. To the north and south, the islands of Lefkada and Zakynthos are wonderful excursions and who could resist a day trip to charming Ithaca, Odysseus’ green-and-blue isle, just next door? There are also excellent connections with the mainland, with ferries reaching the Peloponnese (Kyllini, in the prefecture of Ilia) in just 1hr30min and Central Greece (Astakos in the prefecture of Aitoloakarnania) from the port of Sami, in eastern Kefalonia. 

Take a boat trip to Ithaca

Take a boat trip to Ithaca

Top things to do in Kefalonia

There is so much to enjoy in all the things to do on your holidays in Kefalonia, both in the summer months and beyond. Kefalonia’s beaches, caves, villages, food, boat trips, national park and jovial locals are there for you, whenever you choose to visit. 

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