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