Hopefully you were inspired by my travel guide of Zakynthos Island to discover and explore the Ionian Islands of Greece!
They are truly just as beautiful as the cyclades islands on the other side! If anything, I feel that these islands in particular were more relaxed, less touristy and more authentically Greek!
Kefalonia is the largest Ionian island and is very popular in Greece due to it picturesque villages and stunning exotic beaches.
It is the perfect Greek island for a holiday catering to both families and couples, where even in tourist high season, due to the size of the island, it still maintains its laid back and relaxing lifestyle.
So, when is the best time to visit Kefalonia?
We went to Kefalonia Island on our 3-week Greece honeymoon back in September 2016. Upon arrival onto the island we happened to meet a fellow Sydney-sider who was born on Kefalonia and comes back to visit every few years for a few months at a time.
According to him, September and October were the best times to visit Kefalonia Island, as through the Summer months from June-August, is it scorching hot (which let’s be honest, not a great feeling to be hot and sweaty and travelling around!) and a lot more tourists are on the island. He told us that we had chosen the perfect time to travel to Kefalonia, as the weather was just perfect and there were less and less tourists visiting the island.
How do I get to Kefalonia Island?
There are a few options for travellers to travel to Kefalonia Island including:
- Fly: We flew from Argostoli Airport back to Athens with Olympic Air. Beware that flights between Athens and the Ionian Islands can be quite pricey unless you are lucky enough to score a cheap deal. Also be aware that there are not many flights going back to Athens; with Olympic Air in particular there were only two flights going back to Athens on that day, one flight late-morning and also an evening flight.
- Ferry: We were travelling from Zakynthos Island, so we caught the ferry from Zante to Kyllini (mainland Greece) which took approximately one hour; for one person the ticket price was approximately 9 euros. We then caught another ferry from Kyllini to Poros (Kefalonia) with Kefalonian Lines which took approximately one hour and fifteen minutes; this ferry ticket cost approximately 10 euros. For all ferries you can purchase tickets from the ticket office on the day of departure, just make sure you check online for what times the ferry leaves and allow enough time to get to the port with your luggage and purchase tickets. If you find you are short on time, I highly recommend booking your ferry tickets in advance.
- Drive: Alternatively, you may choose to hire a car from Athens and drive to Kyllini yourselves to then get the ferry. If you do have the time to spare on your trip (a 3.5 hour drive!), and the extra expenses such as petrol and car-ferry ticket and you do want to take in more of mainland Greece, then feel free to go for it! Many of the locals who do live on the Western side of the island will drive to Kyllini and then get on the ferry with their car to Kefalonia Island, which for them is more convenient. WE found that it was a lot easier to pick up your hire car when you get on the island.
Things to be aware of when deciding how you are getting to Kefalonia Island:
In planning for our honeymoon, we had to do quite a lot of research into how we were getting to the island first off, and then how we were going to get from one side of the island to the other.
In the end, how you get there and travel around is whatever works best for you and your schedule. This is what we did, so I hope it helps you!
- Ferries from Kyllini with Kefalonian Lines (main ferry company) will only stop at Sami or Poros, which are towns both located on the Eastern side of the island. For us we wanted to get as close to Argostoli, which is the main city on Kefalonia Island, located on the Western side.
- To get to Argostoli we took a ferry from Kyllini (mainland Greece) to Poros, and then caught the public bus to Argostoli’s main bus station, then got on an airport bus to get to Argostoli Airport, where we then picked up our hire car. We weren’t too organised with our hire car and booked it last minute, so we were unable to pick up the car from Poros port. Most car hire companies you can choose the address or location you want to pick up your hire car from. In our case, we had a bit of a longer journey!
- The journey from Poros to Argostoli on the public bus takes approximately one hour and you can buy your bus tickets once you get on the bus (make sure you have some cash on you). The public bus that you get from Poros was actually on the ferry we were on, so don’t worry about missing your bus, because it will be right there when you get off!
- Be aware the public bus to Argostoli from Poros and vice versa will only run three buses per day during weekdays (Mon-Fri) and only two buses per day on the weekend (Sat-Sun). Please look online and check the timetables!
- In light of all of this information I have just given you, make sure you do your research ahead of time and allow plenty of time to travel to various ports with your luggage and enough time to buy your tickets and then walk to the ferry.
Where should I stay?
There are of course plenty of places to stay on Kefalonia Island, and depending on your itinerary you might decide to stay on a few different locations on the island.
On our honeymoon, we decided that we wanted to base ourselves in one location on the island, and explore the island with our hire car. Although Kefalonia island is the largest of the Ionians, to drive from the southern end (Skala) of the island to the northern end (Fiskardo) of the island only takes approximately two hours.
We based ourselves in one of the most popular towns on the island, Argostoli. We booked an Airbnb apartment for the week, which had an incredible view.
You can find the Airbnb we stayed at here: https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/5847750?s=oURm0wpK
Argostoli is a pretty central town to the entire island, and we drove each day to a different part of the island which would only take an hour an a half at most! Argostoli itself is a beautiful town and I highly recommend spending a whole day here exploring. There are plenty of cool restaurants, cafes and incredible bakeries Argostoli, and also in the nearby town of Lassi, if you are feeling like something different!
What is the best way to get around the island?
The best way to get around on Kefalonia Island is to hire a car and drive!
I highly recommend booking your hire car in advance as it IS the best way to get around and explore the island. We spent four full days driving around Kefalonia Island and we only filled up with petrol once, when we were returning the car to the airport.
Unfortunately the public transport system on Kefalonia island is too infrequent for travellers to use, which is why hiring a car is so popular on the island.
So, what is there to see and do on Kefalonia Island?
We covered most of the island in just four days, and we felt that was plenty of time to sightsee, eat, drink and also relax, without feeling like everything was crammed in! As I said above, you can cover one end of the island to the other in about two hours.
Four days exploring Kefalonia Island was very similar to our travels on Zakynthos Island; plenty of stunning coastal drives, frequent trips to the bakery, beach hopping, Greek cuisine eating, photo taking and just general relaxing!
Here is a detailed itinerary of our four days on Kefalonia Island:
Since we were super excited to be on Kefalonia Island, we packed in quite a lot of driving and sightseeing on our first day!
Our first stop, approximately 50 minutes from Argostoli was Petani Beach!
We drove down to the beach itself, and soon realised that it was very crowded with people, there was no room for parking and the road was very narrow! We soon turned around and focused on the spectacular views from above!
One of the main reasons travellers visit Kefalonia Island is to see the famous Myrtos Beach! On our driving road trip of Kefalonia Island, Myrtos beach was only a further 45 minute drive from Petani Beach.
Myrtos Beach has been featured in multiple travel magazines amongst some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece and beaches around the world. Just like Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach) in Zakynthos, Myrtos beach is also one of the most popular photographed beaches in Greece.
When you are driving to Myrtos beach is it essential that you pull over (and there is plenty of space to do so) to the viewing point where you can see Myrtos beach from above and take some photos! The view of the beach, surrounded by impressive white rocky cliffs makes it a truly spectacular sight.
After taking some photos from above, why not stop for a swim and relax on the beach? Be aware that the beach doesn’t have much sand, it’s mainly a pebble beach, but nonetheless still beautiful to visit.
One thing we couldn’t shake when visiting the beaches on Kefalonia Island was the amount of bees surrounding the beaches! We were freaking out that we might get stung by one! So just be aware they like to hang around!
If you drive an hour from Myrtos Beach you will arrive at the tiny, beautiful and colourful town of Assos! Assos is a small and charming town on Kefalonia Island with only 100 residents! What I loved about Assos was the colourful houses by the water and the peaceful atmosphere.
Around a 30-minute drive from Assos is the seaside town of Fiscardo, located on the northern tip of Kefalonia Island. It is the beautiful harbour and peaceful surroundings in Fiscardo that attract both traditional boats and luxurious yachts during the Summer months to this seaside town.
If you want a great pitstop for lunch, there are many restaurants and cafes to choose from and a stroll along the harbour is a must!
On day 2 we opted to stay relatively close for a leisurely day around town and a relaxing afternoon at the beach!
Try the pastries at Spathis Bakery
One of the places we frequented for breakfast, lunch, brunch, afternoon tea, and pretty much any time of day was Spathis Bakery in Argostoli. The moment you walk in, your tastebuds are tempted for all kinds of pastries and sweet treats to satisfy those cravings! With so many food choices, it is literally impossible to choose on just one visit, so I have decided you must go multiple times to sample as many things off the menu as possible!
Castle of St George
If you are looking for beautiful views, I highly recommend you make a short visit to the Venetian Castle of St George, situated above the town of Peratata about a 30 minute drive from Argostoli. It is FREE entry to wander the grounds of the castle to see the ruins, so if you’re looking for something FREE to do around the area, this would be it!
Makris Gialos Beach
Of all the beaches we visited on Kefalonia Island, Makris Gialos Beach was one of our favourites! It had real sand (we were getting sick of pebbles!) perfect for relaxing and gorgeous crystal blue water perfect for swimming! This beach is about a seven minute drive from the town of Argostoli, so it was perfect for us when we were craving that beach day!
This photo of Makris Gialos beach was taken on our GoPro!
Try some American cuisine at Mel’s
We absolutely love Greek cuisine and had been eating it quite a lot on our honeymoon, and sometimes you just need a little change! We searched on Trip Advisor and low and behold we found a cool American diner restaurant by the name of Mel’s in the town of Lassi, about a five minute drive from Argostoli.
They have the best smoothies and we thoroughly enjoyed eating our burgers, with our little cat friend to keep us company! If you’re looking for something a bit different, try a meal at Mel’s.
One of the most popular tourist attractions on Kefalonia Island is the natural phenomenon which is Melissani Cave. Melissani cave is located just outside the town of Sami, on the eastern side of Kefalonia Island. It took us around 45 minutes to drive to Melissani Cave from Argostoli town.
When you arrive at Melissani Cave there is plenty of parking if you’re driving, and then you walk to cave where you pay 7 euros per person for entry. You walk down some stairs and then a long ramp to the bottom of the cave, where you will be taken on a 15 minute boat ride through the cave. As you can see from my photos, the visit was totally worth it!
Melissani Cave is an underground rocky cave with crystal clear water around 20-30 metres deep, surrounded by trees and forest. What makes Melissani Cave so magical and enchanting is when the sun shines over the cave during the middle of the day; the sun hits the crystal clear water and creates the illusion of the cave being filled with blue light.
If you’re driving from Melissani Cave, Antisamos beach is only a fifteen minute drive away. Antisamos Beach is one of the largest beaches on Kefalonia Island, making it very popular for swimming, sunbathing and water activities such as kayaking and paddle boarding.
Drive and explore some more of that gorgeous coastline!
Driving around the island you are guaranteed to see gorgeous coastline views just like this!
Our last day was spent exploring Argostoli, the capital of Kefalonia Island.
Make sure on your Kefalonia Island itinerary that you include a day to explore and enjoy the capital of Kefalonia Island, Argostoli. As you saw earlier, we had a gorgeous view from above of the town from our Airbnb apartment, and the town is just as gorgeous from the waterfront as well.
If you are looking for a great place to shop, then head on over to the paved street of Lithostroto where you will find plenty of clothes and jewellery shops and of course traditional and authentic Greek souvenirs to take home at the tourist shops.
Have lunch or dinner at Ladokolla
If you are looking for somewhere to eat, there is no shortage of places to do that! There are plenty of cafes and restaurants on the waterfront for fine dining, but if you’re looking for some delicious and mighty tasty Greek cuisine away from the crowds, make sure you go to Ladokolla, rated by Trip Advisor as the number one restaurant in Argostoli. We ate here more than once and absolutely LOVED the food, and the prices were well within our budget!
Stroll along De Bosset Bridge
De Bosset Bridge is one of the main attractions and sights to see in Argostoli Town. It is the largest stone bridge on a sea water body and was constructed in 1813 by a Swiss engineer by the name of Charles Philippe De Bosset.
Taking a stroll along this bridge is one of the best ways to see the beauty of Argostoli, and let’s be honest, it’s quite a romantic stroll.
Lighthouse of Saint Theodoroi
While we were randomly searching on Trip Advisor of alternative things to see in Argostoli, we were pointed to the Lighthouse of Saint Theodoroi, about a 15 minute drive from town. We decided to come here at sunset and what a beautiful sight it was!
So, when are you going to Kefalonia Island?
Hopefully this post has without a doubt convinced you that the Ionian Islands is where it’s at in Greece! The Ionian Islands have so much to offer travellers in terms of scenic beauty, relaxation, amazing food and great people.
Have you been to Kefalonia Island before?
What was your favourite place to visit while you were there?