Kefalonia

Ionian Islands

Kefalonia is the largest of Greece's Ionian Islands and attractions include Myrtos Beach, the pretty village of Fiskardo, Drogarati Cave, and Melissani Cave.

Assos on Kefalonia: https://www.greece-travel-secrets.com/Kefalonia.htmlAssos

Although Corfu is the best known of the Ionian islands, and the administrative centre, Kefalonia is by far the largest at 781 sq km (302 sq miles). Within that area it contains a wide variety of landscapes and features, from picture-perfect beaches often used in Greek tourism advertising campaigns, to mountains and castles and remote monasteries. It really is an island where there is sure to be something to appeal to every visitor.

Fiskardo

Fiskardo, KefaloniaFiskardo

Sadly large parts of the island were badly affected by the shattering earthquake in 1953, including the capital Argostoli, and so not many old houses remain. The one town that did survive, on the far north corner of the island, was Fiskardo. This shows what a beautiful place the whole island would have been if not for the natural tragedy, as its 18th century mansions in bright colours all cluster round the harbour. They have turned Fiskardo into a fashionable resort, expensive by local standards, but it is a memorable place to stay, with a lively atmosphere and good restaurants.

Argostoli

Argostoli in KefaloniaArgostoli

To find out what life was like before the earthquake, and indeed during it and the immediate aftermath, visit the Historical and Folklore Museum in Argostoli. This is a superb museum by any standards, with emotional displays dealing with the quake, but also a large collection of furniture, costumes, historical documents, paintings and recreated rooms. The capital also has an Archaeological Museum with some good exhibits, and a room devoted to the Mycenean finds that have been made on the island.

Argostoli is a pleasant town with a busy port area, a good market nearby, fishermen selling their catch from their boats by the waterside, waterfront tavernas and a lovely view across the bay to tree-filled slopes on the far side of this strangely-shaped island. The bay is crossed on the Drapanos Bridge, a flimsy-looking structure that nevertheless survived the earthquake. It was built by the British in 1813 to make access to the island's second town, Sami, much easier.

Kefalonia's Caves

The Melissani Cave on Kefalonia in the Ionian Islands of GreeceThe Melissani Cave

Sami is on the west coast and the road to it passes the Drogarati Cave, a show cave where steep steps take you down to one huge chamber, so big and acoustically perfect that concerts are held inside it in the summer. It is definitely one of the better show caves in Greece, even if you feel you have seen more than your share of strangely shaped stalactites already.

Another cave to the north of Sami is very different. The Melissani Cave is an underground salt-water lake, though the roof of the cave has fallen in so it is illuminated by shafts of natural light. The name translates as the purple cave, but it is usually a wonderful deep blue, and boats take visitors out onto the water for a closer look at this haunting place, which used to be a sanctuary to the god Pan.

Kefalonia mountain landscapeKefalonia Away From The Beaches

Mt Ainos

There used to be a sanctuary to Aenios Zeus on top of Mt Ainos, which is the highest point on the island at 1630m. You can drive to the top but the latter part is a very rough road and many people leave their cars partway up and continue the journey on foot. The views from the top are naturally impressive, and the whole area is covered in the indigenous fir tree, the Abies cephalonica. The region is one of Greece’s National Parks and is also home to a species of wild horse, which you might be fortunate and see.

Door in Fiskardo on KefaloniaIn Fiskardo

Kastro

Northwest of the mountain is Kastro, the former capital of Kefalonia. Kastro normally means a castle, but in this case it is the name of the village which grew up around the mainly 16th century Venetian fortress of Agios Georgios, from whose walls there are also excellent views and the whole of the huge overgrown interior is worth exploring. 

Myrtos Beach

Myrtos Beach on KefaloniaMyrtos Beach

So too is the rest of the island, with the beach at Myrtos on the west coast one of the most beautiful beaches in the Ionians, if not the whole Mediterranean. There are many other gorgeous beaches, and while the tourism remains concentrated around Lassi and a few other south coast resorts, the rest of this large island rewards the more adventurous traveller. In fact Myrtos Beach made our list of Six of the Best Beaches in Greece.

How to Get to Kefalonia

Flights to Kefalonia

Kefalonia does have an airport and there are charter flights from many European destinations in the summer. There are also flights to Athens and (seasonally) to Thessaloniki with Aegean Airlines. Sky Express flies to Preveza (for Lefkas) and to Zakynthos.

Ferries to Kefalonia

There are ferries to Kefalonia from some of the other Ionian Islands (though not direct from Corfu), and from some of the mainland ports too. Note that Kefalonia has several ports, including Sami, Fiskardo and Pessada, so always check where your boat will be arriving or leaving from.

To get from Pessada to Fiskardo involves driving the entire length of the island, a trip of about an hour if driving direct, and much longer is using the bus as you have to go into Argostoli and change buses.

From Pessada there are daily ferries in summer going south to Zakynthos. From Sami on the east coast ferries go to Patras on the Peloponnese and to the island of Ithaca.

From Fiskardo there are ferries to Ithaca and north to Lefkas. As with everywhere else in Greece, ferry timetables and ports do change, with more sailings in summer than in winter, so always double-check your information and plans.

Ferries in Greece

Ferries in Greece has an excellent and very thorough website where, in addition to checking ferry schedules and times, you can also book tickets and get lots of useful information about travelling by ferry in Greece.

Kefalonia in the Ionian Islands of GreeceKefalonia

Where to Stay on Kefalonia




Some other Ionians pages

  • Zakynthos, Zante, in the Ionian Islands of Greece

    Travel advice and information on Zakynthos (Zante) in the Greek Ionian islands, with information on ferries and flights and the best things to do..

  • Zakynthos Winemaker

    Antonis Maroudas is a Zakynthos winemaker who lives on the 'wine road' and is one of the people who make Zakynthos.

  • Walking on Paxos

    Walking on Paxos is the best way to discover this tiny island south of Corfu in the Ionian Islands, with its wooded hills and terraces of olive trees.

  • Photos of Zakynthos

    Greece Travel Secrets publishes a page of photos of Zakynthos in the Ionian Islands of Greece to perhaps inspire you to visit.

  • Paxos

    Travel advice and information on Paxos near Corfu in the Ionian islands, information on ferries and flights, what to do in Gaios, Lakka and Longos or Loggos.

  • Life as a Waiter on Zakynthos

    Life as a waiter on Zakynthos tells what it was like for travel writer Mike Gerrard to work in a Greek restaurant, the Mantalena in Alykanas.

  • Lefkas

    Travel information about Lefkas in the Ionian Islands in Greece, including ferries and flights and the best things to do beaches, sailing, windsurfing.

  • Kythira, or Kithira or Kithera, in the Ionian islands of Greece

    Travel information about Kythira in the Ionian Islands in Greece, including ferries and flights to Kythira and the best things to do

  • Ithaca, or Ithaki or Ithaka, in the Ionian Islands of Greece

    Travel advice on Ithaca (Ithaka or Ithaki) in the Greek Ionian islands, with information on ferries and flights and the best things to do.

  • The Ionian Islands of Greece

    The Greek Ionian Islands are Corfu, Paxos, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Lefkas, Ithaca and Kythira, and some smaller islands too.

  • Best Things to do on Kefalonia

    The Best Things to do on Kefalonia include visit Fiskardo and Assos, see Myrtos Beach, enjoy the capital, Argostoli, and visit the Drogorati and Melissani Cave.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. The Greek Holiday Calendar 2022

    Will there be a holiday or national celebration taking place during your trip to Greece? Find out here.

    Read More

  2. Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards: 4 Greek Destinations Named

    Three Greek islands and a city proved among the world’s most popular destinations with the users of the famous travel platform.

    Read More

  3. The Summer of My Greek Taverna

    The Summer of My Greek Taverna by Tom Stone is a memoir of his time on the Greek island of Patmos in the Dodecanese, running a restaurant.

    Read More

  4. Tasteful Stays: 8 Athens Design Hotels for Foodies

    Athens is on the rise as a gastronomy destination, and connoisseurs know that it’s not just about tavernas anymore. Here are eight fine places to check into if you’re a foodie.

    Read More

  5. Arcadia: Amid the Sweet Aromas of the Moschofilero Grape

    The rich and fertile lands of Arcadia in the heart of the Peloponnese, where the vines of the Mantineia PDO flourish, are a feast for the senses.

    Read More

  6. 60 Guest Houses in Greece for the Perfect Winter Getaway (Map Included!)

    From Thrace to the Peloponnese, our comprehensive list of guest houses for that perfect winter escape caters to all tastes and budgets.

    Read More

  7. The Times Changes Side in Parthenon Marbles Debate

    London newspaper speaks up in favor of the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures at the Acropolis Museum.

    Read More

  8. Greece Among Top Choices of US Travelers Over 50 for Holidays in 2022

    Greece is among the top 10 international destinations that US travelers over 50 want to visit in 2022, according to a survey recently released by online travel magazine TravelAwaits.

    Read More

  9. Corfu to Reveal Secrets of Old Town Through New AR Tourism Guide

    Internet users will soon have the opportunity to explore the historic monuments and hidden gems of the old town of Corfu through a new augmented reality (AR) tourism guide. A UNESCO world heritage sit…

    Read More

  10. Greece PM: Italy Museum Sets Example for Parthenon Marbles’ Return

    The time has come for the Parthenon Marbles to return to Greece, their natural home, said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday, during a special ceremony at the Acropolis Museum, where he welc…

    Read More