A Unique UNESCO Global Geopark
George Papadellis | SG Head
Sophia Parastatidou | SG Team
Melissani Cave in Kefalonia Greece | Photo: 148392269 © Anton Petrus | Dreamstime.com
In the beautiful and wild Ionian Sea, Kefalonia (also known as Cephalonia, Kefallinia or Kephallenia) is the 6th largest of the other famous Ionian islands. Except for its impressive geological history and structure, Kefalonia is also known for the unique natural landscape, the exotic crystal-water beaches, the extraordinary Kefalonia caves and the delightful fishers’ villages. If you are a nature lover, Kefalonia is your place to visit!
To begin with, as a visitor, you must know everything about the enchanting capital, Argostoli. Argostoli is famous for its fun nightlife and the local Robola wine made from the grape variety Robola which grows on Kefalonia island. At the same time, Argostoli provides cultural and historical monuments from the 19th century, influenced by the British aesthetic. For a more extended and structured cultural experience, one can visit the Corgialenios Historical and Cultural Museum and the notable Corgialenios Library.
Assos Village in Kefalonia Shiny Greece | Photo: 206798163 © Daliu80 | Dreamstime.com
Second on the list comes the second biggest town of Kefalonia, Lixouri, which was damaged by the earthquake of the summer of 1953 and rebuilt based on its primary architectural structure. It is the perfect place for people who enjoy peaceful vacay experiences, with cultural options such as the Iakovatio Library, the Christian parchments of the 10th, the 14th, and the 15th century, and the Kipouria Monastery.
Third, the unique village Fiscardo, the hometown of the Greek poet Nikos Kavvadias. Its magnificence is held by its old-fashioned and medieval architecture, which should be on your trip plan! Fourth is the picturesque village Assos, natural and straightforward, with a vast variety of pine trees and cypresses! The key benefit of this village is that Kefalonia Myrtos beach, the most beautiful beach in Kefalonia, is close! Last, Kouroumelata, located in the southwest Balkan area, is a different, more modern, and neo-classical alternative option that could give your trip a different essence!
Fteri Beach in Kefalonia Shiny Greece | Photo: 122680966 © Shunga_Shanga | Dreamstime.com
There are must-see attractions one should explore before leaving Kefalonia. First and foremost, the Cave Lake of Melissani is considered the most impressive sight on Kefalonia island by many tourists! Its stunning natural landscape and the final formation after the collapse of the roof of the cave created a unique result, in which one can be inside the cave and see the sky at the same time! Especially when the sun hits the waters from the rooftop’s hole, the waters picture a magical piece of art! And if you take a boat, you will experience a music trip with the boatman’s singing Italianate cantata that feels like heaven!
The second most impressive attraction is Mt. Ainos National Park. It is enormous in length (3000 hectares) and height (1628 m) and contains rare species of fir, Abies Cephalonica, and miniature wild horses, Equus caballus, inside its fantastic forest. Also, it provides the opportunity for several hiking paths, such as the Environmental Centre of Ainos – Chionistra trail, the Vlachata - Environmental Centre of Ainos trail, and the Epano Eza - Melissi trail, each lasting approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, the Digaleto - Megas Soros trail, and the Kissos - Petasi - (Nyfi) - Megas Soros - Kissos trail, which is 6,595m long and lasts approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes. Megas Soros is the highest peak of Mount Ainos, and it used to be the ancient sanctuary of Zeus Aeneas, named after the old animal sacrifices to Zeus!
Fiscardo Village in Kefalonia Greece | Photo: 237975014 © Jojjik | Dreamstime.com
It is crucial to talk about the seven exotic Kefalonia best beaches! The first one is the most popular, Kefalonia Myrtos beach, located 30 km from Argostoli and perfect for photo shootings because of the picturesque natural landscape! Crystal blue waters, sparkling white sand, and towering hills seem to be a fire, photogenic combo for travel bloggers! Second is the breathtaking, well-organized beach close to Sami port called Antisamos, the beach where the famous movie “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” was filmed! Third, the wonderful beach of the village Skala, with the same name, which gets very crowdy on summer days, but which provides some private spots too! Fourth, close to the Sissia Monastery in Lourdata Village, Lourdas beach, waiting for swimmers to enjoy its unique and magical turquoise waters and several sea activities! The fifth option provides sea activities and spa treatment, the Xi beach, very worth visiting! Sixth, the Petani beach is a place you need to see and photoshoot! And last, don’t forget to visit Makris Gialos beach, the closest beach to the capital town of Argostoli, perfectly combining relaxation with fun!
We recommend some hotel & room options to ensure that the whole accommodation experience won’t be disappointing. Such are the Apollonion Asterias Resort and Spa, the Mouikis Hotel Kefalonia, the Sunset Paradise Resorts, the Kefalonia Grand Hotel, the Aggelos Hotel Kefalonia, the Kefalonia Bay Palace, the Astra Village Hotel & Suites, the Oscars Studios & Apartments, the Almyra Hotel, the Barbara Studios & Apartments, the Athina Hotel, the Princess Hotel, the Canale Hotel & Suites and the Electra Kefalonia Hotel & Spa. All hotels have special seasonal offers to be affordable for everyone to enjoy!
Another critical thing to talk about is Kefalonia’s gastronomy! There are many options for food or drinks, and by the time to sit in a traditional tavern or Kefalonia restaurant, you need to know what the best is to choose! Recipes that Kefalonia is famous for are firstly pies: the fish pie, which is filled with salted cod and a garlic sauce, the meat pie, which is filled with pork, goat and beef meat; the artichoke pie, which is filled with artichoke hearts, and the cheese pie, which is filled with local cheese. Then, it would help if you kept in mind the well-known “Strapatsada”, the scrambled eggs cooked with tomatoes. Last, for dessert, the caramelized almonds “Mandoles”, the “Secret pie” made from must, semolina and almonds, and the “Pastokydono” made with quince puree. Don’t forget to combine your lunch or dinner with the local dry white wine that fits all traditional dishes! Before leaving Kefalonia, you should visit local food stores to buy some local products, such as Kefalonia’s yellow cheese, feta cheese, olive oil, honey, and also meats like hear, rooster hare, rabbit, beef, goat and lamb.
Karavomylos City in Kefalonia Greece | Photo: 195647857 © Daliu80 | Dreamstime.com
Some relevant recommendations to guarantee that the gastronomical experiences will be unforgettable must be presented. For traditional recipes, you should visit the Ol, I’ve Lounge, Ladokolla Stin Plagia, Alati All Day Bar & Restaurant, Anemos, Avli and Captain Nicolas. For ethnic cuisine, good options may be the Sepia Sushi restaurant, the Gefiri Italian Restaurant, and the Galera European Restaurant.
Last but not least, one of the essential pieces of information one needs to know is the best time to visit Kefalonia, which depends on Kefalonia weather and climate conditions. For those who seek sunny summer experiences, the average temperature is 31 degrees Celsius in July and August, along with some gentle sea breezes, dryness, and little rains. Another less hot option is in the Spring, with more rain and average temperatures of 24.7 degrees Celsius, optimum for exploring! Of course, in the autumn and winter periods, Kefalonia presents a different kind of beauty, with more quiet and calmer atmosphere. On winter days, the average temperature is around 13-15 degrees Celsius, and some snow can appear on the top of the Kefalonia island’s mountains! Undoubtedly, every period has a unique beauty, and it depends on the visitor’s taste to choose the right one!
Closing, Kefalonia’s nightlife is unbelievable, and every visitor must pick the right spots to have a drink… or more! Even if it is not wild, the nightlife in Kefalonia is worth every minute when you are in the right places, like Eden Bar (famous for its perfect cocktails), Akri Seaside Bar (famous for its unique atmosphere), Logos Grand View Cocktail/ Pool Bar (perfect for relaxation), Captain’s Bar (with the most kind and friendly staff), and Aquarius Bar (for the ’80s, vintage lovers).
Kefalonia is a must-see option for lovers of summer vacations, Greek islands, and authentic travel experiences! It combines many vacation types that fit several tastes and preferences, like entertaining, educational, cultural, historical, natural, and traditional activities! As one of the six largest islands in the Ionian Sea, and as one with the most spectacular natural landscapes, Kefalonia seems to be your next dream place to visit!