Settled in the East of the Mediterranean, off of the coast of mainland Greece, you will find the stunning Island of Kefalonia. As there are fewer tourists, you will be met with a more local feeling when you arrive. Kefalonia has some stunning views, caves, mountains, amazing nature and beautiful blue waters to satisfy you during your stay. The perfect location to relax, eat souvlaki and take in the relaxed Greek atmosphere.
Kefalonia is often one of the less well-known Greek Islands but it should definitely not be forgotten. It is a stunning Island with the perfect Mediterranean climate which attracts many sea turtles every year. If you have always dreamed about seeing sea turtles, then this is the place for you. The turtles are so easy to find, you don't even have to go out into the water! The Island also has a sea turtle conservation project where you can sometimes visit and watch sea turtle hatchlings make their way to the sea. Making this a great European summer destination for everyone. Keep reading to find out more about what the Island has to offer!
Imagine yourself wandering around cute cobbled streets surrounded by pastel-coloured buildings, delicate flowers lining the streets, with the sun shining down on you. This is what you'll find in Kefalonia.
The guide below compiles all of the essential information needed to make Kefalonia your next travel destination. If that doesn't convince you then just take a look at the pictures included, if they can't inspire you to visit then I don't know what will!
The Ultimate Guide to Kefalonia, Greece:
Best Time to Visit?
As the Island is in the Mediterranean, it has similar weather to the rest of Greece. The summer months provide lovely warm weather with bright sunshine and only a few days of rain. The best time to visit is between June and August, although these are also the hottest months of the year. For some slightly cooler weather visit in May or September to still soak up the warm summer sun!
Where to Visit?
There are lots to do on the Island and it is quite easy to visit other areas from where you are staying for the day. As the Island is small you can easily see the whole Island during your trip so the recommendations below can be suitable no matter your location on the Island.
1. Visit the Sea Turtles
The best place to see sea turtles is in the Argostoli harbour. From experience, the best viewing platforms are along the De Bosset Bridge, although you might have to be patient! If you are lucky the turtles will come right towards the edge so you can get some amazing photos. This is a great experience when in Kefalonia and is one you won't forget.
If you would like to find out more about sea turtles then make sure you head onto the beaches around Argostoli and Lixouri (Lepeda, Megas Lakkos and Vatsa beaches) around sunrise or around Argostoli harbour in the morning. These are the times that you'll most likely find volunteers from Wildlife Sense doing their surveys to help protect the sea turtles of Kefalonia. Wildlife Sense is a sea turtle conservation project, dedicated to increasing the number of sea turtles in the ocean.
When visiting between August and September, make sure to follow Wildlife Sense on their social media pages to find out when and where they are completing inventories. Inventories are where volunteers will dig into sea turtle nests and remove any hatchlings which are still inside. You can then watch the baby sea turtles crawl to the sea! This is a must if you are visiting Kefalonia. Wildlife Sense will post the location and time of the inventories if any are happening but these will always be done in the evening.
Also, to help protect the turtles, make sure to fill in any holes or mounds you create on the beach to prevent hatchlings from becoming stuck, take your litter home with you and use red lights if you are on the beach after dark! The red lights are necessary as sea turtles use the light from the moon to make their way to the ocean at night, however other lights from phone torches or buildings nearby can disorientate them.
What do you picture when someone mentions Greece? Adorable streets lined with vibrant flowers and greenery? Stunning pastel buildings against a bright blue sky? Well, Argostoli has all of this. I've visited Argostoli several times and each time I find a new area to explore. The main town is lined with souvenir shops and restaurants whereas, the outskirts are filled with winding streets to experience the local vibe. Leaving the town you will find yourself on the waterfront with beautiful views of the surrounding hills which will take your breath away. For an early morning stroll, walk towards De Bosset Bridge. You will pass palm trees, and local markets and have the chance to see sea turtles up close in the water. For a fun activity, keep walking past the bridge and you will come across some Pedalos to explore the beautiful scenery from the water. There's nothing more relaxing than admiring the pastel buildings stacked on top of each other in one direction with rolling hills behind you.
3. Saint Theodore Lighthouse / Sinkholes of Argostoli
Jutting out from the tip of Argostoli, you will find the Saint Theodore Lighthouse. It's not the typical tall, red and white lighthouse you picture though. Instead, it's short and white! Built in 1829, it is a true historical landmark which must be visited. The white rocks and lighthouse are quite the contrast to the blue water just in front of it, making it the perfect photo opportunity!
Just down the road, you will also find the Sinkholes of Argostoli. A beautiful paved area with open areas on either side, leading down to pools of water from the sea. If you are making your way out to the Lighthouse then take a stop here for some food and drink from the restaurant and admire the views of Kefalonia!
4. Melissani Cave Lake
Personally, this is my favourite tourist attraction on the Island of Kefalonia. Imagine yourself being transported around a lake with crystal clear water, whilst being bathed in sunshine from the blue sky above. That's what you'll find at Melissani Lake! The lake is situated just outside of Sami, surrounded by green foliage and forest. The cave is truly stunning with 4 layers, the turquoise water, cave sides, vibrant green trees at the top and the bright blue Greek sky. It is a surreal feeling, rowing around inside the cave but it is a great experience!
Once you have visited Melisanni Cave you can make your way toward Drogarati cave. This cave was found 300 years ago and is filled with stalactites, stalagmites and limestone!
There are also many elegant towns to visit from Lixouri, Fiskardo and Skala which all have beautiful white sand beaches. The most famous beach in Kefalonia is Myrtos Beach! My favourites include Megas Lakkos and Lassi which are well worth a visit for a beach day. When wanting to escape the warm beaches you can take a visit to Mount Ainos National Park. Here you will be greeted with the immense size of Mount Ainos, standing at over 1,600 metres tall!
As Kefalonia is in Greece, you are able to visit for up to 90 days without a visa for tourism, as it is part of the Schengen Visa area. If you wish to stay longer then you must apply for a National / Long Stay visa which costs 180 euros and lasts for up to 365 days.
Where to Stay?
The best places to stay on the Island are hotels or resorts. For a more local feel, stay in Lixouri or Argostoli whereas Skala is perfect for a beach resort break.
How to Get Around the Island?
The easiest way to explore the island is by car. This gives you the freedom to visit the places you want to explore without being restricted to transportation which can be unreliable or confusing on the Island. You can either hire a car or use a personal taxi to explore, your accommodation can help you organise either of these.
Another transportation method is to use the buses available which go between the main cities including Argostoli, Sami, Fiskardo and Skala a few times a day. As the Island is small, these journeys do not take long at all which makes it easy to visit places on a day trip. Google Maps is a useful tool in working out the bus timetables and where to get the bus from, especially as websites sometimes do not get updated regularly. The best online bus timetable and routes to look at can be found here: https://ktelkefalonias.gr/. Each location has its own bus station so it is reasonably easy to find out where to catch the buses from. The cost is quite cheap too which makes it a great way to get around the Island.
The last transportation method on the Island is a ferry which is needed to travel between Argostoli and Lixouri. The ferries are very easy to use as you head to the ferry port where you can find the daily timetable. However, the ferries do run throughout the day from early morning to late evening, departing every 30/40 minutes. Once the ferry arrives you can board and head up to the top deck (you will have some stunning views of the pastel buildings and Island from here), someone will then come round to collect your money and give you a ticket. The ticket costs less than 3 euros each way which makes it a cheap and easy transport method to visit another town. The journey takes around 20/25 minutes, so sit back, relax and take in the views (try to spot Saint Theodore Lighthouse!).
How to Get to Kefalonia
Two transport methods can be used to get to Kefalonia: plane or boat. From the UK you can fly direct from London or Manchester with several airlines like TUI, British Airways or Ryanair. There are also direct flights from other airport hubs in Europe or you can have a layover in Athens. Both options take less than a day of travel from Europe with a direct flight from London Heathrow taking under 4 hours. The airport in Kefalonia is also really small so it is easy to navigate through. Flights can be between £150 and £450 from London for a round trip, depending on the time of year, dates and the departing airport. Instead of flying to Kefalonia, there is also the option to take a bus from Athens Kifisou Bus Station which costs 40 euros one way, including the ferry ticket to reach the Island. This option takes slightly longer as the bus journey takes 6-7 hours but may be cheaper than flying.
The other arrival method is by ferry from Italy or the mainland of Greece. The ferry from Italy can be boarded in either Brindisi or Bari and they arrive at Sami Port. These journeys average between 15 and 19 hours of travel.
I hope that this guide has inspired you to travel to Kefalonia! Hopefully, this has covered any questions you have about travelling to and around the Island.