Kefalonia highlights: tips on the best sights and things to do in Kefalonia!

You can read about Kefalonia highlights, sights, and things to do in this blog! Full of tips for a wonderful holiday to this Greek island!Myrtos Beach Kefalonia


Kefalonia in Greece

The beautiful island of Kefalonia, located in western Greece, is part of the Ionian Islands. It is a green island, full of mountains and nature. Nice and quiet and with not too much tourism, unlike the popular holiday island of Zakynthos. In Kefalonia you will find more local people who live here all year round, which makes for a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.

How much time do you need for Kefalonia:

Kefalonia is not small, bigger than for example Zakynthos. Due to the shape of the island and the mountains, it often takes a while to get from one place of interest to another. We therefore recommend that you stay on the island for at least five days. This way you have time to visit the sights below, but also to relax on different beaches. Scroll down to get tips on hotels in Kefalonia.Paralia Petani Beach Kefalonia Greece

Combining Kefalonia with Zakynthos

Tip: combine Kefalonia with neighboring island Zakynthos. Both islands are very different and therefore you will have a diverse holiday! We spent a total of one week on Zakynthos followed by one week on Kefalonia. We also flew back from Kefalonia with Transavia so that was handy. Click here for the ticket options.

Looking for travel inspiration about Zakynthos?

Shipreck Beach Navagio Zakynthos Greece 2


Ferry between Kefalonia and Zakynthos

There are several ferries between Kefalonia and Zakynthos. However, little information can be found online about these ferries. Here are the options we found.

1. Daily (and cheapest) Ionian ferry

In the summer there is a daily ferry from Pessada (near the airport on Kefalonia) to Agios Nikolaos (in the north of Zakynthos). And vice versa. This is with the company Ionion Lines and the costs are 10 euros per person. You can also take this ferry by car, but we do not know what the costs are. We bought our tickets at Chionis Tours in Zakynthos town. If you do not take a car with you on the ferry, it is also possible to go to the harbor on spec and buy tickets there.

Advantage of this ferry: cheap and two ferries depart daily. You can bring a car. You are close to the airport of Kefalonia and can be picked up by your car rental company (costs are around 20 euros). The ferry only takes 1.5 hours.

Disadvantage of this ferry: Agios Nikolaos is not centrally located on Zakynthos. From here you have to take a taxi (about 50 euros) to Zakynthos town or the airport to get a rental car.Coastline of Zakynthos Greece

2. Luxury Azimut Ferry:

In the summer there is also a luxury boat from Sami (in the east of Kefalonia) to Zakynthos town three times a week. And vice versa. This is with the company Azimut. The costs are around 15 euros per person. However, you can’t go here with a car. It is a smaller boat. You can buy tickets at Isala Travel or Marketou Travel.

Advantage of this ferry: you will be dropped off directly in Zakynthos town. That is a nice central location on Zakynthos. If you stay in Sami on Kefalonia, you will be directly at your destination. The boat is a bit more luxurious.

Disadvantage of this ferry: Sami on Kefalonia is not close to the airport or car rental companies. A taxi to the airport is very expensive (100 euros). The boat only goes 3 times a week and the ride takes longer (2.5 hours). It is also not possible to bring a car. Reservations are necessary as space is limited.Kefalonia Greece 9

Conclusion: the best between Zakynthos and Kefalonia

The choice of which ferry is best for your trip between Zakynthos and Kefalonia depends on your itinerary (Zakynthos to Kefalonia or the other way), where you stay, whether you bring a car and on which day you want to travel.

Kefalonia tip: rent a car!

Kefalonia is a large island with limited public transport. To easily visit sights and beaches, we recommend renting a car. We always rent cars ourselves via SunnyCars. The advantage is that they act as an intermediary and are there for you 24/7 if something goes wrong. You are always well insured and you do not have to deal with unexpected costs afterwards.

Click here to see if there are any cars available when you visit Kefalonia!


Highlights in Kefalonia: which 7 things should you do?

What are the highlights and the best things to do on Kefalonia! Below we list 7 highlights and activities that you should not miss in Kefalonia! See also on the Kefalonia map below what the location of these places is!

Map Best beaches of Kefalonia Greece visit Greek Islands

1. Discover the most beautiful coves and beautiful beaches of Kefalonia

There is absolutely no shortage of wonderful beaches and nice bays in Kefalonia! With the white limestone cliffs on the west coast, relaxed family beaches on the south coast and clear blue pebble beaches on the west coast, there is something for everyone.

If you have limited time, be sure to visit the following three beaches on Kefalonia:

  • Myrtos Beach: Kefalonia’s most famous beach is truly phenomenal, especially from above. Definitely visit.
  • Antisamos beach: This pebble beach on a green bay is not only beautiful, but also a very relaxed place. Especially when you rent a cot at Acron Beach Club.
  • Agia Kiriaki Beach: Away from all the tourists, this lovely beach is very well located. It is very quiet here, the sea is beautifully blue and only locals come here. A true paradise!

Kefalonia highlight tip: Read our blog about the best beaches of Kefalonia here soon!

Fteri Beach Kefalonia Greece

Myrtos Beach Kefalonia 3 1


2. Explore Melissani Cave Lake

A nice thing to do in Kefalonia is to visit the cave lake of Melissani (Melissani Cave Lake). As the name suggests, this clear blue lake is located in the middle of a cave. Through a hole in the ceiling of the lake, the sun’s rays come straight on the water and you can look into the depths. And this lake is quite deep at 20-30 meters. This gives a cool effect!

For a long time it was not known how the water reached the lake. Until it was discovered that on the other side of the island, seawater drained away and entered this lake via an underground river.

Kefalonia highlight tip: visit the cave lake of Melissani around noon. Then the sun is directly above the hole and this gives the most beautiful effect!

You can take a trip on the lake by boat (price for boat & entrance is 7 euros). This is very touristy, but we still found it fun and definitely worth it!

Melissani Cave Lake, located not far from the nice harbor village of Agia Effimia, is easy to combine with the ghost town of Old Vlachata (see tip 3) and close to the wonderful beach Antisamos! So plenty of fun things nearby.Melissani Lake Cave Greece Kefalonia


3. Wander around the ghost town of Old Vlachata

You won’t find this tip anywhere in the tourist guides, a real hidden gem on Kefalonia: visit the old ghost town of Old Vlachata. This completely dilapidated village was hit by a devastating earthquake in 1953. And where most villages on Kefalonia have been rebuilt, this village is just deserted and you can still find everything as it was on the day of the earthquake. Houses whose walls and stairs are still half standing, wells from which trees grow and even attributes such as shoes, belts or horseshoes can be seen here.

Strangely enough, the atmosphere is quite serene. We only encountered two other tourists. We walked around this ghost town that was somewhat like Pompeii (but without the neat excavations). Very special to walk around here and see how people lived in 1953. Click here for the location of Old Vlachata. This place is not touristy at all, there is no entrance fee, but also no maintenance.Old Vlachage Sami Kefalonia 1

Old Vlachage Sami Kefalonia 3


4. Visit one of the beautiful old towns and villages on Kefalonia

Kefalonia has some beautiful old towns and villages which are really worth a visit. Below an overview:

Argostoli:

This is the capital of Kefalonia and definitely worth a visit. You will find many restaurants and nice shops here. The boulevard is also beautiful, including the Bosset bridge, the longest pedestrian bridge over the sea. Finally, you can spot wild turtles from Argostoli (see also point 7) and from here you can easily take the (car) ferry to the Paliki peninsula.Kefalonia Greece 7

Agia Effimia:

This is a small village in the northeast of Kefalonia. You will find a beautiful harbour, nice houses and a few cozy restaurants. Agia Effimia would also be our recommendation in terms of base for Kefalonia because (even though it doesn’t seem like it on the map) it is very central to all sights and beaches.

Fiskardo:

the famous village of Fiskardo shows the jet set side of Kefalonia! Fiskardo is built around a large pleasure harbor where many luxury yachts and sailing ships are moored. You can immediately see that in the restaurants and the shops (and also in the corresponding prices)! Dishes are more exuberant, people stroll along the boulevard and small boats sail between the yachts and the shore. In addition, Fiskardo is also really beautiful and picturesque, with typical Greek houses and olive trees. Nice to walk around in the morning or afternoon.

Fiskardo Kefalonia GreeceFiskardo Kefalonia Greece 3

Asos:

This is perhaps the most famous village of Kefalonia. The colored houses are located on a beautiful bay and partly on the slope. The village is very photogenic and really beautiful especially at sunset, but there is not much else to do. So visit Asos purely for a short stop and combine it with, for example, a beach nearby.Kefalonia Greece 5

Asos Kefalonia

Kefalonia highlight tip: read here soon our blog with the best restaurants in Kefalonia!


5. Hike in Kefalonia to Ainos, the highest mountain on the island

Unlike Zakynthos, Kefalonia has some real mountains! You can see hills everywhere on the island (and even beautiful cliffs in the west), but there are also mountains in the middle of the island. The highest, at 1,628 meters, is Mount Ainos. This is located in the Ainos National Park. From the top of this mountain you can see all of Kefalonia, part of Zakynthos and even mainland Greece on a clear day.

There is a hiking trail to the top of Mount Ainos and this trail leads you to the top of Mount Ainos via an easy hike of about an hour. The last part is rocky, so not for people with walking difficulties.Mount Ainos Oros Kefalonia Greece 1 Mount Ainos Oros Kefalonia Greece

We found it difficult to find good information about the hike and early in the morning (because of the heat) we drove up as far as we could by car. Finally we came to a small clearing where we could park the car (click here for location) and from where we started walking east on a wide path. At a certain moment there was a sign pointing the way to the top and we walked up via a narrow winding forest path. The view was great, even if it was a bit hazy, so we couldn’t see very far.

At the top you will also find a book where you can write your name, a nice idea to record that you have been at the top.

Kefalonia tip: in the summer leave really early in the day to make the hike to Mount Ainos. The mountain is not that high and it quickly gets very hot at the top.Mount Ainos Oros Kefalonia Greece 2


6. Do a wine tasting in Kefalonia

Kefalonia is a real wine island, with its own microclimate, a lot of lime in the soil and an indigenous grape variety: the Robola. Especially on the slopes of the highest mountain (Ainos) of the island there are many vineyards. Robola wine is a dry white wine with a fruity aftertaste. At least, that’s what Ries tells me… during our tasting at winery Sclavos Wines, I’m not allowed to drink wine since I’m pregnant when we visit Kefalonia.

Sclavos Wines

And even without drinking any wine, I really like this tasting. We sit under the grape vines overlooking a small vineyard. In the distance we can just see the contours of the mountain Ainos, where the grapes of this winery are also grown. The man who helps us is enthusiastic and tells a lot about the six different wines that Ries tastes. According to him, Kefalonia is the place where wine was first made thousands of years ago. From this small Greek island, the delicious drink has slowly conquered the rest of the world if we are to believe it. According to Ries, the wines themselves are very tasty. Two different white wines, a normal rosé and two red wines. As icing on the cake, Ries can also taste the new natural wine of the house. It almost looks orange and tastes very fresh.

Sclavos Wines is located on the Paliki peninsula. You can reach it by taking the ferry from Argostoli to Lixouri and then driving another 5 minutes north. For more information about Sclavos Wines, click here.

Kefalonia tip: from other travelers we also heard good stories about a vineyard where the wine is aged in the sea. This makes for spectacular wine bottles full of shells and a very special wine. Click here for more information about this vineyard.


7. Spot turtles in the harbor of Argistolli

One of the most surprising things about Kefalonia we found is how easy it is to spot wild turtles here! You can also spot turtles on Zakynthos, but then it is necessary to go out to sea. In Kefalonia you can easily spot turtles in the harbor, especially in the capital Argistolli. These are the famous Caretta Caretta turtles.

Yes, the turtles are very visible from the boulevard or from the Bosset walkway. With a bit of luck you can even spot a turtle from the ferry between Argistolli and Lixouri. They come to the fishing boats that dump fish in the harbor, hoping to catch a few fish. We saw, without much effort, a turtle three times.


Extra Kefalonia highlight tip: still have time and energy left? Then consider a day trip to the nearby neighboring island of Ithaka. We have not done this ourselves, but we have heard good stories! For example, book this sailing trip to admire all the beauty of Ithaca.


Nice hotels in Cephalonia

Well this is another thing… how do you find a nice hotel on Kefalonia. The island is quite large so one of the most important things is probably your location. On the map many things seem close together, but make no mistake. Because of the mountains and hills it sometimes takes quite a long time to drive from one place to another. And some locations are much more central than you might think.

Paliki: quiet but not central

We were on the Paliki peninsula ourselves. It was wonderfully quiet here. But it did have the disadvantage that it was still quite a long drive to most sights and beaches. We stayed here in hotel Phaedra Suites for 80 euros per night. It was a nice hotel with an amazing pool overlooking the sea and mountains. However, we would like to be more central next time.Phaedra suites

Agia Effimia or Sami: central and cozy! 

If we had had to choose again, we would have stayed in Agia Effimia or near Sami. Here you are much more central, relatively close to most sights and a number of fine beaches. You also have nice restaurants nearby. Below are two hotels that we recommend here:

Kandia’s view

Kandias View Kefalonia

This lovely villa is located just outside the center of Agia Effimia and has a beautiful view over the sea. The price seems relatively high, but there is room for 8 people. From €220 per night

Click here

Waterside Apartments

Waterside apartments
The fine apartments of Waterside Apartments are modernly furnished, with a good bed. There is a beautiful communal garden and you are centrally located in Agia Effimia. From €70 per night.

Click here

Near Makris Gialos beach: close to Argostelli and many families

Are you going to Kefalonia with your family and are you not planning to visit too many sights? But do you want many facilities, hotels and restaurants nearby? Then we recommend the area south of Argostelli. This is the area around Makris Gialos Beach. Here it is full of nice beaches, you are close to the airport and Argostelli town and you are surrounded by other families. Below are two hotels that we recommend here:

KV villas €€

KV villas

The two KV villas provide ultimate tranquility with a great view. Each villa has its own pool and lots of privacy. The villas are modernly furnished and suitable for 1-4 people. Only bookable as a package holiday through Eliza Was Here.

Click here

White rocks hotel €€

White Rocks hotel kefalonia
This luxury resort is amazing. The rooms are spacious and modernly furnished. Close to Makris Gialos beach, but there is also a private beach and a nice swimming pool. Some rooms even have a private infinity pool. From €160 per night incl. breakfast.

Click here

Definitely not: Skala, the drinking and party place of Kefalonia

If we can advise you against one thing, it is to stay in the area of Skala. It’s all about drinking, going out and partying here. The Chersonisos of Kefalonia.


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1 Comment

  1. by Isabel on 8 September 2022  14:09 Reply

    So much useful and detailed information! Melissani Cave Lake looks insane and the beaches pretty amazing! Thanks for sharing!

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