Kefalonia, Greece is an adventurer’s dream. This island, located in the Ionian Sea off the western coast of the Greek mainland, is full of rugged landscapes, hills, and sandy beaches you can only get to by walking or hiking. Leave your car behind and head off by foot to explore Kefalonia’s cliffs made of limestone and its slender, twisty roads that take you to hidden coves with pure white sand and sparkling waters.
Let’s take a closer look at Kefalonia and everything that awaits you there.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Kefalonia, Greece?
If you’re looking for sun, heat, and swimming, the best time to visit Kefalonia is between June and August. You should be able to enjoy warm water at the beach from June to October, though, so the more introverted travelers may prefer to visit closer to the beginning of autumn, when most of the summer crowds have left.
Our Favorite Things to Do in Kefalonia, Greece
One of the largest towns on the island, Argostoli, is full of great restaurants and shops, but that’s not the main draw here. The Argostoli Harbor is absolutely lovely, and makes for a great place to walk around and do some sightseeing. Animal lovers will also be excited to learn that it’s not uncommon to see a turtle swimming by in the water here, making it an even more idyllic location.
Go to the Beach
We admit it: we are beach bums. We love a good beach, and Kefalonia has many (many, many) of those to choose from. Myrtos Beach has some of the bluest water around, and Petani Beach is worth the eight harrowing, hairpin turns it takes to get there in your vehicle because it is surrounded by enormous, imposing limestone cliffs which, with the help of the white sand, give the illusion that the water is glowing when it touches the shore. If you prefer fancier, more luxurious beaches where you can be waited on hand and foot, you can also visit Makris Gialos Beach, which also has areas designated for playing games and participating in water sports.
Visit Fiscardo Harbour
We already mentioned the Argostoli Harbor, but that’s not the only harbor worth a look here. Fiscardo Harbor is a whole other experience in and of itself, with old-fashioned gaslights, cafes, bakeries, taverns, and art shops lining its roads. The water is still, clear, and calm, and you can spend hours here among the colorful houses and boats watching the sailors and fishermen prepare their boats.
Some of the Best Attractions in Kefalonia, Greece
The below three picks are some of the best attractions in Greece, so be sure to visit them:
Melissani Cave is not just an underground cavern — it is an underground lake. You can take an all-too-brief boat ride out onto the glittering, emerald water and gaze up at the stalactites coming down from the ceiling around the two round holes that let in the sunlight and illuminate everything, giving the whole experience a truly magical feeling. As if that weren’t enticing enough, this cave is also known as the “Cave of the Nymphs” in Greek mythology, and is said to be where a nymph named Melissani drowned after she discovered that her love was not reciprocated by the god Pan. To ramp up the feeling of being in a fairy tale, be sure to be on the water around noon, when the sun is right overhead.
Drogorati Cave is a more typical cave, fulled with both stalagmites and stalactites, some of which were unfortunately damaged when the Greeks used them to practice their weapons aim during World War 2. It takes quite a while to get down into the main cavern, but when you do, the view is definitely worth it. This cave’s history, while not as mythological as Melissani’s, is also very interesting. While it is clearly millions of years old, it was not discovered until the 18th century, when an earthquake made the entrance visible from the surface of the Earth.
If you are familiar with Homer’s The Odyssey, you will have heard of Ithaca. It is the birthplace of the story’s hero, Odysseus, and it lives up to this honor. Looking across the sea from the mainland of Kefalonia, you may think that Ithaca is impossible to reach, as it is marked by sheer, towering slopes that look as if they could never be climbed. But if adventure beats in your heart just as it did in that of Odysseus, you can take a ferry to the island and hike to the two monasteries you will find there, Kathara and Pernarakia, both of which will give you a spectacular view of Ithaca and the Ionian Islands that surround it.
Other Sights Worth a Visit in Kefalonia, Greece
If you have some extra time between one hike and another, you can also visit De Bosset Bridge. Named for Swiss engineer Charles de Bosset and built in the early 1800s to help facilitate travel from one village to another, this once-wood, now-stone bridge gives visitors a glimpse of an obelisk out on the water. It is a great place to stop and feed the loggerhead turtles as well.
Kefalonia’s rugged island landscape is surely not for the faint of heart, but if you are looking for an adventure in Greece, you will certainly find it here.