10 best things to do in Kefalonia, Greece

Although the largest of the Ionian islands, Kefalonia still remains a secret to many. From remote beaches to cultural celebrations, we reveal all…

Team Wanderlust
25 August 2022

1. Hike to a remote paradise

Fteri Beach (Shutterstock)

The best beaches are those hidden gems without the crowds, and Fteri Beach is certainly one of those. With no direct road, it’s not the easiest beach to access on the island, but that’s what makes it so special.

Arrive either by water taxi, or for more of adventure, walk the 40-minute mountain path which leads down to the secluded spot – just be careful of a few steep slopes. The extra effort pays off, as you will be rewarded with arguably Kefalonia’s most beautiful beach: a tranquil turquoise bay with white pebbles and cliffs which shine even brighter in the summer sunlight.

It’s only asked that you take care of this virgin beauty spot and leave it just as you found it – there are no amenities here so visitors must bring their own food, and take home any litter.

2. Visit the magical Melissani Lake and Cave

The sun shining through Melissani Cave and Lake (Shutterstock)

Located just two kilometres from Sami Village, Melissani Cave and Lake attracts many travellers for its fairytale scenery.

On the outside, lush forests layer the caves, but joining a boat tour and floating through an underground passageway is how to witness one of Greece’s most impressive geological phenomenons. After gliding under its ancient stalagmite-decorated roof, the cave opens up to the sky, allowing light to beam through the translucent waters of Melissani Lake. Get your cameras at the ready!

Excursions to visit Melissani Lake run throughout the day, with midday being the best time to marvel at its beauty.

3. Discover Kefalonia’s only National Park

View from Mount Ainos National Park (Shutterstock)

Mount Ainos is the only National Park of Kefalonia, covering more than 3,000 hectares of land and home to the highest peak in the Ionian Islands, Megas Soros.

Inside the protected area, you can spot endemic species, including the fir plant Abies Cephalonica which only grows at high altitudes. When exploring the southeast side of the mountain, don’t be surprised if you bump into the small semi-wild horses who roam freely here. There are also numerous hiking trails available for different abilities.

Mount Ainos is, of course, part of the UNESCO-listed Kefalonia and Ithaca Geopark. There are more than 50 Geosites located across the island(s), all of which are of historical, archaeological, cultural and biodiverse importance.

4. Visit Assos village and its historic castle

Assos village (Shutterstock)

Kefalonia is full of quaint settlements, but Assos has to be the most charming. This little village, with around 100 residents, perches on the end of a small peninsula.

Small roads and alleyways are dotted with colourful houses and blooming flowers, while the water’s edge has tavernas serving authentic Greek cuisine with a view to remember.

Watching over the village is a 16th century Venetian castle, with the only way to reach it via a long walk through olive groves.

Many stop off for a day trip in Assos: if staying overnight expect accommodation prices to be a little steeper.

5. Explore the old harbour town of Fiscardo

Fiscardo harbour (Shutterstock)

Fiscardo is another must-visit fishing village on Kefalonia’s northern tip. It’s a very lively location considering its size, with a harbour full of yachts and boats, and tavernas, bars and shops lining the water’s edge.

What makes Fiscardo unique is its Venetian architecture. Elsewhere on the island, most of these traditional homes were sadly destroyed due to the great earthquake in 1952. The beauty of these buildings in this picturesque location is what attracts a wealth of visitors every year.

6. Sip on unique Greek wine

Vineyard in Kefalonia (Shutterstock)

Wine is a big deal on the biggest Ionian Greek Island. Specifically, because it grows a particular white grape unique to Kefalonia – Robola. Producing a light citrusy wine, the fruit is treasured for its ability to grow in harsh farming conditions.

Not to be missed is Orealios Gaea Winery and Vineyard. Located in the heart of Kefalonia – or the Robola Zone – travellers can visit the winery, speak to the people behind the making of the wines and even sample a few.

Elsewhere, family-run Gentilini Winery on Kefalonia’s southeast coastline also runs wine tasting and tours of its vineyard.

Other wineries around the island include Sarris Winery in the picturesque southwest village of Avithos, Sclavos Winery and Haritatos Vineyard on the Paliki Peninsula and Petrakopoulos Wines in the small village of Thiramona.

7. Join the Sarista Festival

Village of Vlachata (Shutterstock)

The village of Vlachata is tucked away on a mountainside on the south coast of Kefalonia. With its three ancient churches, winding streets and age-sagging houses, the abandoned village is usually a quiet place.

But every year at the end of July, the Sarista Festival comes to town, transforming Vlachata into a bustling hub alive with dancing crowds, the sound of music and the smell of street food.

As well as performances from some of the biggest artists in Greece, the festival includes movie screenings, yoga classes, theatre workshops and more. It’s a real celebration of all things Greek, where the traditional and contemporary are celebrated side by side.

8. Tuck into seafood with a sea view

Porto Atheras has gorgeous views (Shutterstock)

Journey to the northwest of the island, near the village of Lixouri, and you’ll find Atheras beach, a secluded sliver of sand lapped by clear waters and surrounded by greenery.

As well as spectacular natural views, the beach is home to the marina of Porto Atheras where you can watch the small fishing boats trawl back and forth with their haul.

And where better to stop for lunch than at one of Athera’s traditional fish taverns, where you can enjoy the catch of the day, freshly caught that morning with views over the water it came from.

9. Spread out along the beach

Ai- Cheli beach (Shutterstock)

Located on the southwest of Kefalonia, is Ai- Cheli, a two-and-a-half-kilometre beach where there is space to spread out and find your own quiet spot.

Take a dip in the shallow, gin-clear waters or get the heart pumping with water activities such as kayaking.

Cool off in the shade of the surrounding wooded area or walk along the sand to see the towering rocks that bookend the beach, complete with a cave to explore.

10. Tour the island by bike

Cycle around the island (Alpha Cycling Holidays)

The various nature, offroad paths, changing climates and unique culture of Kefalonia make the island the ultimate cycling destination.

The Argostoli Highlight Tour is the ideal way to connect with the island. This beautiful, guided journey along the seaside and centre of Argostoli is truly the best way to explore the typical corners of the capital by bike. Cycling through the vibrant Lithostroto, crossing the historic De Bosset bridge, drinking a coffee at the cosy Platia Vallianou and visiting the Saint Theodore Lighthouse are just a few landmarks that will reveal some unforgettable stories.

Another option to take on is the peninsula of Paliki. The western side of the island is raw in all ways: from its vegetation, villages, tavernas, they remain unspoiled and wild. A spectacular road with fabulous views first leads around the bay. After a nice descent and passing a natural bid reserve, a serious climb starts that will lead to another breath-taking view: Petani Beach. Riding through olive yards and passing the Monastery of Kipoureon a 15 kilometer downhill will finish the ride to the second largest city, Lixouri. The ferry back to Argostoli is perfect for a small “cruise” while enjoying a refreshing ice cream.

Or go road biking to the highest peak of all Ionian islands, Mount Ainos. Snake roads starting at sea-level leading through a magnificent valley surrounded by hundred year old vineyards. The landscape slowly changes from tropical, to forest to a snowy barren plain. Since the start of the ascent the summit is visible. That makes this hors-category climb as tempting as it is unpredictable. The final 3 kilometres are of 10 percent gradient. Characterizing it as challenging would be an understatement.

Learn more with Alpha Cycling Holidays

For more information, go to visitkefaloniaisland.gr

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