The Greek island of Kefalonia is located in western Greece and is easy to visit from Zakynthos. Our trip started in the capital, Zante. We boarded the ferry from Agios Nicolaos and travelled to Pessada, Kefalonia, to start our second complete round trip. Here are some practical tips for anyone who wants to travel around Kefalonia.
The hotel in Kefalonia
After a crossing of approximately 1 1/2 hours, we arrived at Kefalonia and checked in at the Hotel Karavados. This hotel is not located directly at the seafront, but the rooms, restaurant terrace and pool all have spectacular views of the bay and all the way to Zakynthos. The hotel organizes a weekly BBQ for its guests. On the recommendation of hotel manager Peter Zefirtos, we ordered the pepper sauce filet (beef filet with cream sauce, brandy and whole peppers) for only € 15,00. The meal price includes a special dessert called “Galaktompoureka”. It similar to our Dutch tompouce but it’s creamier. It is a must try!!! Peter can also give you tips for discovering some of the less touristic features Kefalonia. Many are not in the guidebooks!
The virtues of Greek hospitality
Only 350 meters down a narrow steep road from the hotel takes you to Agios Thomas beach. We had limited cash in our pockets and hadn’t seen an ATM yet on the island. We visited a tavern on the left side of the beach and inquired with the owner, Alex, if he would accept our credit card for lunch. He told us that cards were unfortunately not accepted as this was Greece and credit card equipment was rare. But rather than turn us away, Alex encouraged us to “sit down wherever you want and order whatever you like.” Assuming he did not understand me correctly, I said again clearly that I had no euros. That’s my problem, not yours he said. He insisted that we order whatever we wanted and bring him the money back once we located a cash machine. We would still find him in this place for the next 15 years, he said. Not believing our good fortune and feeling more than a little guilty, we enjoyed a fantastic lunch and Alex’s warm hospitality. Without paying, we waived goodbye.
Hospitality is really written in capital letters here. When we found a cash machine and got some euros during our 5-day Kefalonia sojourn, Alex was surprised that we were back already. After updating him on our travels and settling our bill, Alex gave us some nice cool drinks out of his refrigerator for us to take on our way. They were, of course, free of charge!
The Sami region
From Passada the next day we traveled north to east to the village of Karavomilis. This is the location of the Mellisani cave with its spectacular underground lake. This is a well-known tourist attraction locally and can attract crowds at times. But it is definitely worth a visit for its unique beauty.
The roof of the cave has partially collapsed and has created an opening of 200 square meters above the underground lake. Unobstructed beautiful sunlight bathes the cave and lake. The light makes the water such a bright blue/green that it seems as if the boats float on air above the lake’s bottom. Stalactites from 16,000 to 20,000 years old complete the spectacular views.
It is best to visit the cave around noon for the most beautiful color shades. The sun at noon at its highest and is perpendicular to the cave’s opening. For a fee of 7 euros per person you walk through a tunnel to the lake and you will be taken in a rowing boat through the cave. What fun!
The Town of Sami has the third largest population of Kefalonia. At Sami you will find the beautiful Antisamos beach with Acron Antisamos Beach Bar & Restaurant beach club.
The beach club has been open since 1 June 2017. It has lovely beach beds and sofas, but it also provides especially great music. The beach beds with umbrella and parking are free here, if you are patronizing the restaurant. The beach also has the “blue water flag”, signifying that it is very clean.
Many yachts throw their anchor in here every afternoon. The Ionian Sea is very popular for sailing as it is usually calm compared to many other Mediterranean areas. On this beach the film “Captain Correlli’s Mandolin” was made in 2001. The film featured the famous actors Penélope Cruz, Nicolas Cage and Christian Bale.
Capital city of Argostoli
The lively capital of Kefalonia is Argostoli, a southwestern island of 12.000 inhabitants. The City has a cozy harbor and seaside boulevard, attractive shopping streets, a beautiful old castle and scenic walkway to the other side of the bay. The 900 meters long Drapanos bridge, dating from 1813, is at the entrance to the city. At 9:00 each day, fishermen sell their freshly caught fish in the port and throw the remains of the fish into the sea. This attracts the “Loggerhead” turtles for some fine dining to the delight of spectators on the quay.
The main square of Argostoli is Platia Vallianou. It has many attractive cafés and restaurants, where you will find Greek, Italian and international cuisines. The square is traffic free in the evening, so you can enjoy a nice walk after dinner. Another nice square is Platia Kabanas; this is the Argostoli’s oldest square with a tower that you can climb for a scenic view of the entire city.
We think the most beautiful beach of Kefalonia is Myrtos. This beach should not be missed when visiting Kefalonia! The ride to the beach is spectacular as you process along a narrow and steep road with views are nothing short of phenomenal! Once in the mountains, after every turn, you get an ever wider and more beautiful view of the immense white beach and the bay with its bright, clear blue water. During our visit, there was a nice breeze, but also meters-high waves! It was spectacular to swim in, although you needed to be alert for strong flows and undercurrents!
Important tip: There are no beach tents, restaurants, sunbeds or umbrellas at Myrtos Beach. There is only a single sanitary building and it can be very busy during the main season.
Other attractions in Kefalonia:
- Skala Beach, open from the 2nd week in May until the 1st week of October (2 beds with umbrella incurs charge of 6 euros)
- Fiskardo, according to many, the most beautiful village of Kefalonia
- Ruins of Assos
What are your favorite places in Kefalonia?
Want to read more about the Greek islands? Then read our Zante City Guide (Capital of Zakynthos).