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The largest and one of the most beautiful Ionian islands, Kefalonia is filled with dramatic scenery and Greek charms. Its famous for its delicious food, dazzling beaches and dramatic landscapes that include emerald mountains, while hosting a national park centered around olive, cypress and pine-covered Mount Ainos, a place where wild horses and deer roam. There are also impressive caves, including one that has an underground lake, along with a wide variety of outdoor adventures available.
Kefalonia At A Glance
Average Flight Time from the UK to Kefalonia 2 hours 45 minutes
Population of Kefalonia 35,000
What to See in Kefalonia Visit the Melissani & Drongarati Caves & Lakes, Admire spectacular Myrtos Beach, Experience the jetset destinations of Assos & Fiscardo, Hike Mount Aenos, Hire a car & explore one of the most dramatic landscapes in Europe
Towns or islands to visit near Kefalonia Zakynthos, Ithaki, Lefkada, Meganisi, Patras on the mainland
Things to do in Kefalonia
Corgialenios Historical and Cultural Museum
One of the finest museums in Greece, this institution showcases a vast collection that provides a comprehensive look at life on Kefalonia in historic times. Visitors can view traditional local costumes, photos of the island before the earthquakes, sacred relics, old lace and embroideries, historic furniture and household items like utensils and tools, maps and paintings, and more.
Agios Gerasimos Monastery
Saint Gerasimos is Kefalonia’s patron saint. In the 1500s, he lived here, founding the monastery that was constructed on the site of a previous monastery that had been dedicated to the Virgin Mary. His body was mummified and kept inside a glass case in this pink building, displayed occasionally at services. The courtyard holds a well and a plane tree that’s said to have been planted the saint himself. On his feast days of August 16 and October 20, his sarcophagus is carried over the ill to help heal them.
Hike Mount Aenos
Mount Aenos is the tallest mountain on the island at over 5,341 feet, covered with Greek fir and black pines, and inhabited by semi-wild ponies. It sits inside a national park and offers a variety of trails, including the popular four-mile Digaleto-Megas Soros trail. It begins just outside the village of Digaleto and brings hikers to the summit where there is a long ridge of bare rock providing a stunning view of the Ionians islands and the Peloponnese peninsula.
This cave houses a stunning underground lake that’s lit from above as the sun enters a hole in the rock. Visitors can take a short boat tour, paddling onto the lake with a guide to witness the stalactites and the light that streaks through the ceiling, illuminating the water. It’s an incredible sight to see, and a place steeped in Greek mythology as the Cave of the Nymphs, the spot nymph Melissani is said to have drowned herself after the god Pan rejected her affections. In 1962, plates and oil lamps that depicted Pan. For the best experience aim to arrive at midday, the time when the sun shines directly above the opening.
There are multiple boat tours to choose from, including glass-bottom boat and wooden gulets that will bring you across the crystal-clear aquamarine sea to discover unspoiled beaches and hidden coves for swimming as well as to the neighboring islands of Ithaki and Zante.
There are many fabulous beaches on Kefalonia, but Myrtos Beach is often ranked as the very best in the country. Nestled between two mountains at the north end of the island, it may look familiar as it’s often photographed. Its white sands are framed by water that glows in the ever-present sunshine due to marble sediment, creating mesmerizing shades of blue. Viewing it for the first time a dramatic experience as it comes into sight at the end of a steep, winding road.
Our Favorite Restaurants & Bars
Located in the southern Kefalonia village of Svoronata on a hillside near the Ionian Sea, Esperides, or the Orange Grove Restaurant, is set among hundreds of orange trees that were planted over a half-century ago. It features Mediterranean dishes that aim to bring the natural flavors of the environment in a harmonious way, from starters like homemade stuffed vine leaves served with yogurt sauce, salads and small plates to mains that include pork medallions cooked with cream, brandy and fresh-squeezed orange juice followed by orange cake made fresh each day.
This restaurant in Skala, owned and operated by the Mikelatos family for the past 30 years, is renowned for its delicious and innovative homemade dishes. It features Greek cuisine with a contemporary twist with beautiful presentations served in a wonderfully romantic atmosphere. Think melt-in-your-mouth stifado, a Greek stew dish, traditional meat pies, grilled octopus and steaks that are carved at the table, along with plenty of extra surprises, perhaps a complimentary fresh fruit platter or strawberry daiquiri sample.
Tucked among native cedar and cypress threes overlooking Eblisi beach in Fiscardo, Votsalo is an open kitchen restaurant that serves top quality Mediterranean cuisine with imaginative dishes that include only the freshest ingredients. Enjoy a more casual atmosphere during the day with lighter meals like club sandwiches and salads that becomes more sophisticated after dark for enjoying everything from pastas and fish to lamb chops, followed by a dessert like traditional orange pie or lemon cheesecake.
Ladokola stin Plagia
Set on the west coast of Kefalonia, about six miles from Lixouri, this wonderful taverna is owned by twin brothers and their parents who provide an incredibly warm welcome that make it feel as if you’re dining with family. In fact, you’ll be shown the dishes in the kitchen, and meet the entire family before you make your choice. While the menu changes daily with all of it fresh, expect to find everything from souvlaki to homemade meat pie, enjoyed with gorgeous panoramic views from the balcony, including stunning sunsets.
Located near Vatsa beach in Lixouri, Captain Nikolas enjoys a lovely setting with a beautiful flower-filled courtyard. One of the most genuine tavernas in Kefalonia, look forward to homemade dishes using local recipes, cooked up by the family’s grandmother, while mom and daughter help to ensure an unforgettable experience serving everything with a smile. They grow their own vegetables to use in meals focused around fresh fish and meats. You might try the Kokora Krasato, the Greek version of Coq au Vin, served with pasta and meatballs, though anything that’s cooked for you is sure to leave an impression.
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