Travel Guide to Kefalonia: Top Tips for Traveling to Kefalonia
1. Why Traveling to Kefalonia?
Are you planning a trip to Kefalonia? Then you should know a little more about this wonderful Greek island. It is the largest island in Greece and it is a perfect choice for travelers who want to enjoy beaches and nature.
With this guide, you will be able to discover all the treasures that Kefalonia has to offer and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Photo of Kefalonia by Mac McDade on Unsplash
2. General information about Kefalonia
Kefalonia (also called Kefalonia) is an island located in the Ionian Sea, west of mainland Greece. Its capital is Argostoli and is built on a hill about 1,600 meters above sea level. This island has an area of 786 km2 and a population of approximately 36,000 inhabitants.
The coast of Kefalonia is characterized by limestone cliffs, bays and short stretches of white sand. For this reason, many beaches are only accessible on foot. There are many attractions on this island and that is why you will never get bored. Whether you want to spend a relaxing time or be more adventurous, Kefalonia has it all!
In short, it is strategically located in the middle of other Ionian islands, so you can easily move to different places by ferry from there.
3. Location of Kefalonia
Below, we show you where the island of Kefalonia is located.
Map of Kefalonia on Google Maps.
4. What to Do in Kefalonia
In the following lines we are going to recommend you the main places of interest in Kefalonia.
In the case of this island, the ideal would be to rent a car to visit the main attractions comfortably. Another very good option is to hire excursions that will take you to the most important sites.
Walking around Argostoli, the Capital of Kefalonia
This city is one of the most important of the Ionian Islands. It overlooks the Koutavos lagoon and is relevant for its geographical location. Many of its buildings come from the Venetian tradition, most of which were destroyed during an earthquake in 1953. Among them, resisted the Kosmetatos Residence and the Bosset Bridge, the longest stone bridge in Europe.
It also has a huge building in the form of a tower, called the clock tower, an archaeological museum and many churches, including the church of St. Nicholas, the only Catholic church on the island. Among its streets you can discover all the variety of restaurants and regional products for sale.
Drogarati Cave and Lake Melissani
Two must-see attractions if you are on the island of Kefalonia, both of which are natural and can be navigated as tourist attractions. It is said that Lake Melissani was home to the nymphs of Kefalonia, while Drogarati was home to them.
In the latter case, it is a cave with stalactite and stalagmite formations dating back about 150 million years. In both attractions you must pay to tour its spaces on top of a boat and with a guide.
Discover the Castle of Argios Georgios
Also called the castle of St. George, is located about 7 kilometers from the capital of Kefalonia and dates from the twelfth year. It is a construction made by the Byzantine Empire.
Normally it can take about 2 hours to tour it completely. Its opening hours are from 08:30 to 16 hours and it is more crowded during midday. Important! It is closed to the public on Tuesdays.
Explore Ainos National Park
This park (which you should call Enos) is the highest point on the island, at 1628 meters’ elevation. The driving route to get there is beautiful, although it is the only way to get there and back. Within the park there are several trails to walk and, in good weather, you can see much of the island in a panoramic view.
Take a Photo at the Lighthouse of San Teodoro
Located in the capital, Argostoli, it is an imposing lighthouse of white color, in whose center a golden light is lit to guide the boats.
Its construction is of Greco-Latin architecture and is located at the end of a rocky walkway, surrounded by the sea.
It is less crowded in the morning, although it is open to the public 24 hours a day. It serves as a panoramic point to observe the splendor of the entire island.
Visit the Kipureon Monastery
It is located on the Paliki peninsula, 15 kilometers from Lixouri village, on top of a mountain 90 meters above sea level.
It was founded in the seventeenth century and its name means the monastery of gardens, due to the number of gardens in the monastery, which were once cultivated by thousands of monks. Today, only one monk is housed in this location.
5. Activities in Kefalonia
If you are wondering what to do in Kefalonia, in addition to the attractions we have already mentioned, we can name some other activities for you to consider that you can do alone, with family or friends:
- visit other nearby islands (one of the most famous excursions in the area is to go to Ithaca, the island of the poet Homer) 2.
- Nautical activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving or windsurfing.
- Trekking to Ainos Oros, one of the highest points of the island.
6. Villages of Kefalonia
One of the most interesting things to do on the island of Kefalonia, besides tasting its typical dishes and visiting its beaches, is to visit its villages, which are characterized by their landscape between mountains and their unparalleled views.
Assos: This is the most colorful village of Kefalonia. Its buildings and landscapes hide behind its architectural style a lot of history and mixture of cultures. It also has nice beaches, colorful houses and a Venetian castle, the Behramkale Castle, which originally functioned as a Greek acropolis and then as a fortress.
Farsa: It is a village in the middle of the mountain, less accessible and with a particular beauty for this reason.
Lixouri: The second largest village on the island, but very quiet. Most of the houses were rebuilt after the great earthquake of 1953. Among its tourist spots, we recommend the Kipoureon Monastery, from whose location you can enjoy incredible views of the rest of the island.
Fiskardo: This town, which survived the earthquake of 1953, has a Roman cemetery among its attractions, which was only discovered a few years ago.
7. Beaches of Kefalonia
As is the case in other Germanic islands, some of the beaches of Kefalonia are not easily accessible by ferry. However, some of them are. Here we recommend some of the most beautiful beaches of Kefalonia that are easily accessible.
Agia Eleni Beach
Although it is a beach quite crowded by tourists, it is still a quiet destination to relax. It has calm and crystal clear waters, which makes it an ideal place to spend with family members of all ages.
One detail is that it can only be accessed by boat or walking. It does not have too many umbrellas for rent, so you should bring your own equipment or try to arrive early to reserve one.
It is a very quiet beach of Cephalea, recommended to go in case you are looking for a day of complete relaxation. It is located in the north of the island.
Also called "Petanoi", it is another one of the most crowded beaches by tourists when visiting Kefalonia. It is located northwest of the municipality of Paliki and the nearest village is Lixouri. It has a circular shape and is surrounded by mountains.
According to travelers, this is perhaps the most famous beach in Kefalonia and even the most beautiful in Greece! If you spend a day there, you can both get to know it and swim in its turquoise waters, with a spectacular view of the surrounding nature.
Porto Skala Beach
A few meters from the village of Skala, this is one of the jewels of Kefalonia. It has a small nudist section, very nice actually and almost empty compared to other locations.
This beach has an ideal center for snorkeling and dazzles by the combination of blue shades in the landscape. It also has an apart resort where you can choose to eat, rest or stay for a romantic evening.
This beach is striking for its orange sand, extremely wet, which thousands of travelers use as mud for body treatments, which undoubtedly stands out from other beaches. Another must-see feature of this area is its pinkish sunsets.
8. What to Eat in Kefalonia
Besides all the beautiful places to visit in Kefalonia, you cannot miss the great gastronomic experience that the island offers. Of the foods you should take into account during your trip to Kefalonia, we mention the regional feta cheese, honey and olive oil.
Another detail that you should not miss is to try the local wine, famous throughout Greece. In the case of Kefalonia, we recommend that you drink the Robola variety, made from white grapes, which serves as an accompaniment to traditional dishes such as strapatsada (scrambled vegetables and feta) and tsigaridia (rice and vegetable stew).
Another typical food of Kefalonia is krepatopia, a meat pie from the region of Mount Ainos, flavored with the traditional wild herbs of the region.
Sweets are also highly characteristic of this region. The locals are proud of the fruits they manage to grow in Kefalonia, a mountainous land. You cannot miss their caramelized almonds, called mandoles, with a sweet and unique taste in the world.
Some desserts that contain the sweets of Kefalonia are the baklava and galaktoboureko (pastries with filo dough), the karydopita (a delicious walnut cake) or even the typical quince jam such as pastokydono.
Cheeses and yogurts, especially those made by local families, are something else you should not miss if you are interested in learning new recipes and gastronomy of the area. Among them, the different local factories that use goat's milk for their production stand out.
Most of the cheeses in Kefalonia are called feta, a cheese made from a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk, although you can also find other equally delicious varieties such as kefalotiri and gravieta, hard cheeses that are usually used with pasta.
9. Kefalonia Festivals
The traditions of Kefalonia are very touching and involve a certain atmosphere of magic, since the island is full of multiple legends and stories.
One romantic legend is linked to Lake Melissani, which is named after a nymph. The story goes that she wept so much over an unrequited love with the god Pan that her tears formed the lake.
At this attraction, archaeologists discovered an ancient clay sculpture of the god Pan and the nymphs. Today, locals and visitors alike believe that if couples in love visit the lake and join hands underwater, as a ritual, they will stay together forever.
In addition, on the island of Kefalonia a feast dedicated to the Virgin Mary of Markopoulo is celebrated every August 6-15. Her church, in fact, is located on the island and welcomes during that period thousands of snakes, who are called "the snakes of the Virgin Mary".
A similar phenomenon is celebrated on the Feast of the Assumption of the Mother of God, the Feast of the Annunciation, where locals bring white lilies to the temple, which are left to dry for five months.
On August 15, the island also hosts the Robola Wine Festival, one of the biggest celebrations in Kefalonia, where you can be part of an experience of music, dance and tasting of traditional Greek food and drink, specifically from the Ionian island area. You will see many locals wearing native clothes and, mainly, cultural diversity and laughter. You can learn more about the festival at this link.
Finally, if you are interested in this kind of cultural festivities, we recommend you to visit Kefalonia in the last week before Easter. During this time, the streets of every town on the island are filled with children painting clay jars on Maundy Thursday, which they break the following Saturday in search of a rich harvest during the new planting season.
10. Travel to Kefalonia: Conclusion
This travel guide to Kefalonia has been created to help travelers plan their trip and make the most of their time on the island. You can read other similar ones in our travel guides section!
In short, traveling to Kefalonia is a unique experience that offers a perfect combination of stunning beaches, breathtaking natural landscapes and a rich culture and history. What are you waiting for to visit?
The best way to get to the center of Kefalonia from the airport is by cab or private transfer. It will take you about 35 minutes to get to the center. In turn, the bus takes a little over an hour and has a frequency of departures every half hour.
The requirements to travel to Kefalonia are: to have a valid 90-day passport or a tourist visa; not to appear in the "no admission" lists of the European Union; to prove to have the economic means to pay for the stay; to have a return ticket to the country of origin.
The best time to visit Kefalonia is between March and December. This will ensure that you can enjoy your trip in good weather. January and February are the coldest months in the area.
The official currency in Kefalonia, as in Greece and the rest of Europe, is the Euro.
We recommend you to stay in this Ionian island for 7 to 8 days if you want to tour it quietly and enjoy most of the experiences it has to offer. However, you can stay 4-5 days to see some of the main attractions.
Ideally, you should book your Kefalonia accommodation at least 6 months in advance to find good locations at not so expensive prices. You can contact Greca and get more information about accommodations in Kefalonia.
The best areas to stay in Kefalonia and that work as a strategic point for your trip are the center of Argostoli (southwest), Sami (east of the island), Skala (southwest) and Assos (north).
The island of Kefalonia offers different proposals of stay, activities, gastronomy, although all of them are mostly quite luxurious experiences. We recommend that you consider spending around €250 per person in one day, including accommodation, food, drinks, transfers and shopping.
Travel to Kefalonia is extremely safe. We recommend that you pay some attention to your belongings in public places. However, the risk of theft is almost very low.
To book your trip to Kefalonia, you can contact one of Greca's sales representatives or contact us through our official website by filling out the form for your location and date of interest.