Kefalonia holidays

Kefalonia holidays are perfect for that relaxing getaway you’ve been craving. Stunning landscapes, secluded beaches, and charming towns: they’re all part and parcel of the dreamy experience you can expect. The coastline is dotted with little resort towns and sandy beaches (Skala is a firm favourite), as well as the idyllic fishing village of Fiskardo. Spend your days basking in the hot sun or paddle in the sea to your heart’s content - it’s what holidays to Kefalonia are made for!

So, where is Kefalonia? It’s located just off the west coast of mainland Greece, in the Ionian Sea. Take a look at this part of the Med and you’ll see Kefalonia’s actually the largest of the Ionian Islands  - even bigger than Corfu, Zante and Lefkas, its famous sisters.

It still feels small and easy to explore, though, with plenty of adventures on your doorstep. Discover Kefalonia (or Cephalonia) on foot as you hike through the verdant hillsides. Follow winding roads on a drive past pretty vineyards to hidden beaches. Take a boat trip onto the underground Melissani Lake. Or rent a sea kayak and make your way around the postcard-perfect coastline.

With so much spectacular scenery to take in, it’s no wonder this beautiful island was chosen as the setting for the Hollywood blockbuster Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

Things to do

For a brilliant day out, take a trip to Myrtos Bay. One of the most picturesque beaches in Greece, it’s a mile-long arc of dazzling white pebble stones and striking limestone cliffs. A truly unspoilt spot, it’s a great place to go if you want to get away from it all.

The island is indeed a beach lover’s paradise, but Kefalonia holidays have much to offer beyond the shorelines. It’s a land of natural beauty wherever you go, from the highest peaks to underground lakes and caves steeped in Greek mythology. Head to Drogarati Cave for an otherworldly experience, or discover some of Greece’s most incredible mountain caves over at Mount Ainos. If you’re feeling energetic, you could also climb to the top, and look out for an abundance of wildlife and exotic birds along the way.

But that’s not all. You’ll find plenty more to keep you busy on holiday in Kefalonia, including all kinds of cultural and archaeological sites. Don’t forget to sample some authentic Greek cuisine - you’ll find lots of lovely local tavernas and restaurants serving up fresh seafood.

Kefalonia’s chalk-white beaches

Surrounded by bottle-green pine forests and calm turquoise water, the white beaches on Kefalonia’s coastline are among the most beautiful across all of the Ionian Islands. Perfect for relaxing, swimming, snorkelling or diving, there are plenty of reasons to take a holiday to one of its beach resorts.

Characterised by tranquil waters and an impressive natural backdrop, Antisamos Beach is a particular favourite among visitors. This sublime location is neatly organised with sunbeds and umbrellas where you can settle down and enjoy a cocktail or delve into a good book. Situated just a few kilometres from the Port of Sami, it offers unbeatable views and a glorious atmosphere.

Or spend a relaxing afternoon down at Makris Gialos Beach, one of the most popular in Kefalonia. Here you can sample a range of exciting watersports or simply lie back on the soft sands and watch the world go by. Get stuck into some delicious food from one of the many bars scattered around the edge of the beach - some even deliver straight to your sunbed, for the ultimate in chilled-out lunches.

For a truly memorable experience, take a stroll along Kaminia Beach, where you may be lucky enough to see the endangered loggerhead turtles that nest here in the summer. Whether you fancy a dip in the shallow waters or a picnic on the golden sands, it’s an ideal choice for young families and couples alike.

Rich culture in Argostoli

Kefalonia’s island capital, Argostoli, is also its cultural centre. So, this is the place to experience colourful festivals, parades and outdoor performances, whatever time of year you’re on holiday. Among the highlights of the summer calendar is the annual International Music Festival, where you can hear everything from the local kantades serenades to performers from around the world. This bayside town is also home to a fascinating archaeological museum, with ancient artefacts from the Trojan Wars, and another focused on folklore. That’s where you should head to find out more about Kefalonia’s Venetian era, its 1953 earthquake and all sorts in between.

Meanwhile, the town square is bursting with charming tavernas, open-air cafés, and quaint hotels, making for a great atmosphere in summer, when the weather in Kefalonia encourages everyone outside. It’s just the spot to sample a glass of the famous Robola wine, produced in the island’s wineries, while you’re people-watching!

Skala resort town

Take a trip to the southeast of the island and lively Skala Town. Whether you prefer a laid-back bar for an after-dinner ouzo or two, or are looking for cocktails and nightclubs, Skala’s a popular destination for couples of all ages. Ready for some sightseeing? This former fishing village is brimming with Greek charm and surrounded by beautiful scenery. There are plenty of hiking trails nearby that lead into the mountains, as well as ancient Roman ruins - including a 3rd-century villa.

The three-kilometre beach is a haven for watersports enthusiasts. And you can always grab a sun lounger if you’re taking things at a slower pace or need a base for playing with the kids. Either way, you’ll be ready for a hearty dinner at the end of the day. Choose from the tavernas and restaurants lining the seafront for a taste of traditional Greek cuisine. Mezze’s an easy family favourite with lots of different dishes for everyone to try. Or how about pairing stuffed peppers with succulent souvlaki kebabs?

Places to stay

Just three kilometres from the island’s lively capital town Argostoli, you’ll find the holiday resort of Lassi, known for its clifftop hotels and incredible sea views. Take your pick from the sandy, untouched beaches nearby for a touch of romance, or just head straight to Lassi’s own Blue Flag beach.

The peaceful fishing village of Katelios remains a nature lover’s favourite. It’s ringed by the turquoise-coloured sea on one side and a green hiking trail on the other. You’ll be captivated by the old water mills and natural springs. If you’re planning an escape with your other half, it’s a fantastic choice for couples who love to explore - and also for groups of friends and solo travellers.

And if you’re a sucker for an amazing sunset, you’re going to want to book a stay in Sami. Make your way to the pretty lighthouse for a spectacle that’s made this harbourside town a winning choice for holidays to Kefalonia. The orange-coloured horizon and swimming dolphins steal the show here, right before the sun dips into the waters off the west coast. What a way to end a wonderful day!

More travel guides

Take a look at our guides to popular destinations in Kefalonia, including Katelios | Lassi | Sami | Skala

 

Map of Kefalonia

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26 ℃

Kefalonia’s Mediterranean climate makes it a favourite year-round destination.

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3.5 hours

Kefalonia International Airport (LGKF / EFL).

Kefalonia is best for...

Beach lovers: With its pure-white sand and pebbles, azure waters and lush forest, Myrtos Bay is one of Greece’s most spectacular beaches.

Couples: Watch the sun go down from a waterfront restaurant in Lassi and sample some fresh Greek cuisine, while sipping a glass (or two) of local Robola wine.

Explorers: Go for a hike in the hills near Katelios, or island-hop to Lefkas, Meganissi and Paanikolis. There’s a wealth of stunning scenery to explore here.

Fast facts for Kefalonia

Language: The language spoken in Kefalonia is Greek.

Currency: The currency used is the Euro (€).

Local time: Kefalonia is 2 hours ahead of GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Kefalonia International Airport, with transfers of up to 2 hours to the main resorts.

Flight time from UK: The flight time to Kefalonia is 3.5 hours.

Tourist information: Visit the Kefalonia tourist board website.

Visa and health: Before your holiday, check the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advice for Kefalonia visa and health recommendations.

 

Holiday destinations in Kefalonia:

Getting around Kefalonia

By car: It’s the best way to explore the island’s 237km-long coastline, so why not hire a car? That way you’ll have the freedom to explore at your own pace.  

By motor-cruiser: Head out to sea on one of these small motor boats. It’ll get you to some of the island’s secret spots and untouched beaches.

By boat: From Vatsa Bay on Kefalonia’s southern tip, you can take a traditional fishing trip to see what you can catch - or you could book the daily boat safari from Lixouri harbour.

Events in Kefalonia

15 August: Did you know that 15 August is Greece’s biggest religious holiday? Kefalonians gather in tavernas and squares across the island to eat, drink and dance. Head to Markopoulo to see the ‘sacred’ baby snakes that appear around the village church every year.

Wine Festival: Pencil in the third weekend of August to celebrate the island’s famous Robola wine. It gets its own festival, which is held in the village of Fragata, and attracts thousands of visitors every year. How does free Robola, local delicacies and live music sound? 

International Music Festival: Head to the island capital of Argostoli for the International Music Festival, held across many venues at the end of August.

Kefalonia safety and security

Do I need a passport?

You do - and you'll need to make sure it meets the current rules for travel to the EU, including validity beyond your holiday dates. Requirements have changed since Brexit so might not be the same as when you last travelled and you might need to apply to renew your passport. Remember to make sure your kids have valid passports too!

You can check all passport requirements for Kefalonia in the Greece section of the FCDO website.

Do I need a visa?

British citizens do not need a visa to enter Kefalonia on holiday. You can check the full details with the Greek Embassy in the UK.

For more Kefalonia visa information and other entry requirements, visit the UK government travel advice website.

Should I get travel health insurance?

Whether you're having a one-off holiday to Kefalonia or are planning lots of adventures this year, we always recommend you have comprehensive travel and health insurance. If you’re injured or become ill on your travels, you’ll be covered for the cost of emergency medical treatment and possibly your return back to the UK if you need to come home early, or after an extended hospital stay. Without insurance, you'll be hit with the bill.

Make sure you read through your policy documents properly before your trip, to check what is (and what isn’t) covered. Especially if you're planning any activities, from abseiling to ziplining, so you can make sure you're looked after.

Kefalonia weather

Temperature: 9-30°C

Summer is the best time to make the most of Kefalonia’s stunning beaches. Temperatures regularly hit 30°C in July and August, when the sea is also at its warmest. Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is the busiest time of year, and for good reason!

In autumn, the island starts to cool down slightly (and the crowds start to disappear), but the sea is still warm enough to swim in throughout October. Kefalonia’s lush, green scenery is all thanks to plenty of rain in winter, but temperatures very rarely drop below 9°C even during this season.

If you're keen on hiking or caving, book your holiday for spring. You'll be spoilt with a dry, mild climate and an average of eight hours of sunshine a day.

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