For those of you that haven’t heard of the Greek island of Kefalonia, it is the largest of the Ionian Islands and offers visitors pristine beaches without the crowds that you would expect when visiting a Greek island. It’s also located in the heart of an earthquake zone, where dozens of tremors occur each year. However, don’t let that discourage you from visiting one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever visited.

Unlike other Greek islands, Kefalonia isn’t known for its ancient ruins. Unfortunately, most of its historic villages and building were destroyed in the massive 7.3 earthquake that hit the island in 1953. But what the island lacks in the ancient ruins it makes up for in picturesque beaches, mountain landscapes, underground caves, dense forests and an unparalleled natural beauty.

Kefalonia Greece

Getting there:

Kefalonia has a small airport which is not far from the island’s capital of Argostoli. There are daily flights in the summer months, and when you arrive at the airport there will be cabs waiting for you, or you can always rent a car. As mentioned above, this is the largest of the Ionian Islands, so if you can, we’d highly suggest renting a car as it is an excellent way to explore the island. Visitors can also take a ferry from Italy if they include both countries during their vacation.

What to do and see in Kefalonia

1. Myrtos Beach:

The most famous, and arguably the most beautiful beach on the island is Myrtos. Located below the cliffs of Kefalonia, Myrtos boasts a white pebble beach that pops through the deep blue water. It’s about 30km north of Argostoli and the ride can get pretty windy through the mountains, but if you can keep your eyes open during the drive you’re in for some incredible views.

Myrtos Beach Kefalonia

Myrtos Beach Kefalonia

Myrtos Beach Kefalonia

2. Makris Gialos:

A bit more touristy than other beaches on the island, Makris Gialos is the spot visitors head to if they want to get their water sport fix on or just spend the day sunbathing with a drink in hand. Located in the town of Lassi (look for the Costa, Costa sign), visitors can rent paddle boards, sea kayaks and ride inflatable rafts. If you’d rather just sit back and relax all day, Makris Gialos offers cabana’s, beach chairs and a well-stocked beach bar.

Makris Gialos

3. Melissani Cave:

When you enter Melissani Cave it becomes apparent as to why it is also called Cave of the Nymphs. At the roof of the cave, there is a round opening that lets the sunlight in which reflects off the water giving a bluish tint to the entire cave. The water in the cave is a mixture of fresh and saltwater. Visitors can experience the beauty of Melissani by jumping on a small boat that goes through the cave. It can get very crowded as tour buses will visit Melissani Cave, so try to go when early in the morning or later in the afternoon.

Melissani Cave Kefalonia

Melissani Cave Kefalonia

4. Castle of Saint George:

The Castle of Saint George dates back to the 12th century and was widely influenced by the Venetians in the 16th century who ruled Kefalonia for nearly 300 years. The majority of the castle was destroyed in the 1953 earthquake, but there are still small portions of the castle that still stand. It also offers a beautiful view of the island as it sits on the top of a hill. For those looking to dine with a view of the castle then we’d highly suggest eating at il Borgo.

5. Drogarati Cave:

About a 40-minute drive from Argostoli, the Drogarati Cave has become a favorite sightseeing spot as it showcases a range of natural stalactites and stalagmites. Within the cave, stalactites create an icicle-shaped formation hanging from the ceiling while the stalagmites are an upward-growing mound of mineral deposits formed by water dripping onto the floor of the cave. Speleologists estimate that the cave is over 150 million years old.

Drogarati Cave Kefalonia

6. Fiskardo:

One of the few villages that didn’t get destroyed in the 1953 earthquake, Fiskardo is a picturesque harbor town located on the Northern tip of Kefalonia. It’s filled with cute cafes, ceramic shops, and quirky souvenir shops. It also gives visitors a glimpse into what Kefalonia looked like before the earthquake. Depending on where you stay, it can be a pretty far drive, so we’d suggest booking a few nights at one of the many villas that surround the town.

Fiskardo Kefalonia

Fiskardo Kefalonia

Beautiful old building in Fiskardo

7. Argostoli:

The capital of Kefalonia, Argostoli is where all the action can be found. During the summer months, large cruise ships dock here so their guests can wander around the town for a few hours and get a small taste of Kefalonia. Tip: Try to avoid visiting Argostoli when the cruise ships dock as it gets much more crowded. Argostoli is filled with restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, boutiques and is where you can find larger supermarkets, pharmacies, and banks. The main shopping area is along a cobbled promenade, which is a perfect place to spend an afternoon.

Our Favorites:

  • Bakery Spathis: Delicious Greek pastries especially the cheese pies.
  • Polo Cafe: Good coffee and even better wifi.
  • Ladokolla: The best Gyros and Souvlaki!

Ladokolla Kefalonia

At night tourists and locals will sit and drink in the main square at one of the many restaurants. Although prices can be a bit more expensive than other parts of the island, this is the spot to be and be seen!

Popular Bars: 

If you’re an early riser and love fresh fish, you should make your way to the Argostoli harbor between 6:30am-8:00 am. The local fishermen park their boats along the harbor so people can purchase what they caught that morning!

Argostoli Harbour Kefalonia

8. Lighthouse of Saint Theodoroi:

Located on a peninsula just down the road from the main square of Argostoli, the Lighthouse of Saint Theodoroi is a beautiful structure which still works today. It was destroyed in the 1953 earthquake and rebuilt with its original design in 1960. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the beautiful views of the island.

Lighthouse of Saint Theodoroi Kefalonia

9. Wineries:

Kefalonia is known for producing Robola, a white wine, which gets it’s defining characters by being grown in the rocky soil of the island. It’s the largest export of the island, and many wineries offer tastings during the day.

Robola Cooperative Kefalonia

  • Gentilini Winery: The family who runs this winery is absolutely wonderful and have made every tasting we’ve done a memorable experience. We’ve done both the Gentilini tasting (€3) and the VIP tour and tasting (€5), but they also offer a free tasting. They produce Robola, however our favorite is their rosé! (In fact, we just tried Googling to see if we can buy it in New Jersey). We’d suggest doing the tasting with owners niece, Nora. She is the best!

Gentilini Winery Kefalonia

Gentilini Winery Kefalonia

Gentilini Winery Kefalonia

10. Sailing around the Island:

Known for its mountainous landscapes, hidden beaches, and clear waters, Kefalonia is the perfect island to sail around. There are multiple companies on the island that offer day charters or multiple days (if you’re feeling really baller). We took a day charter for eight people starting at Fiskardo around the island and stopped at Ithaca for lunch. During our boat trip, our captain also took us to small swimming coves and a cliff jumping spot! The total cost of the day charter was around €600.

If you book a charter from Fiskardo, we’d suggest spending the night afterward (if you’re coming from the southern part of the island). We had to drive back after our boat trip and the 2-hour ride back to Argostoli was a little too much for us.

Kefalonia Greece

Kefalonia Greece

Kefalonia Greece

Kefalonia Greece

11. Sea Turtle Watching:

The island of Kefalonia is one of the main nesting sights for Loggerhead sea turtles which takes place along Mounda beach. We’d suggest leaving the sea turtles alone at the beach and making your way to the Argostoli harbor to these beautiful reptiles swim throughout the harbor. We woke up early one morning to buy some fresh fish from the fishermen and saw a bunch of sea turtles making their way to the harbor. The Katelios Group monitors the population of Loggerhead sea turtles in Kefalonia and those looking to get more involved can volunteer with them.

Loggerhead sea turtles Kefalonia

Loggerhead sea turtle!

A quick disclaimer: This post may be a bit biased as Justine’s father’s side of the family is from the island of Kefalonia. But let’s be honest… now that we told you that you’re probably wondering if she’s actually a descendant of the Greek Gods. And the answer is, of course, yes! 🙂