Kefalonia is the biggest and the most beautiful (at least to me) Ionian island. I’m absolutely in love with this place. In 1953 a heavy earthquake destroyed most of the buildings on the island and many residents left their homes and the island as well. That’s the reason why it’s a bit wild there, but it makes it even more fascinating!
Breathtaking sunsets, incredible beaches with crystal clear water and charming villages – you can find all of this on Kefalonia and I guarantee you, it will make you fall in love with it!
For starters – the place I liked the most, but it’s not that popular – Fteri beach.
You can reach it by boat or by foot (40 min hike through the forest). Of course, we chose option one. We weren’t very sure when and from where we could take a boat, because surprisingly there’s not much info on the net. The only thing I was able to find was a boat tour from Agia Kyriaki beach, but it was like a fishing cruise, so it wasn’t our thing. We decided to go to Zola – a village near by Agia Kyriaki and Vouti beach – there’s a small harbor and it turned out that couple of taxi boats leave for Fteri beach whenever there are enough people willing to go. The price was 15 euros per person and they write down the hour you wish to go back and they come to pick you up. Simple as that! Before you reach Fteri, you are going to pass by the Blue Lagoon and couple of small beautiful beaches but unfortunately due to falling rocks they are closed for visitors!
Then you see Fteri beach and it’s marvelous! You’ll find out that there are more beaches on the north side of Fteri and they are even better because there’s actually nobody! You can climb on the rocks and go to the other side or you can swim. It’s worth the efforts, trust me – white sheer cliffs surround the beach and the color of the water is insane!
When you go back to Zola, you can enjoy a nice dinner in the local tavern on the port. It’s very basic, but you can be sure that the food they will serve you will be fresh and delicious! There’s no menu, they tell you what they’ve got! The good view is a bonus!
Second best place is Petani beach! There’s something for everybody – umbrellas and sunbeds, couple of taverns, a bar, free parking lot on both sides of the beach and not so many people! If you are looking for a peaceful and quiet place, I recommend you to go to the north side of the beach – this part is separated by the main beach by rocks and there are like 20 people more or less. Also you can enjoy the sunset because it’s not visible from the other side of the beach (at least it wasn’t in the beginning of September). The best tavern that we visited on Kefalonia was also on Petani beach. The name is Erasmias Petani – the food was great and it’s cheap comparing to all the other places we’ve been to! There’s incredible view over the sea as well!
Myrtos beach is the most popular one on the island. It’s even considered as one of the best beaches in the world. Actually I didn’t like it that much but it’s a must see! There’s a view point up on the road between Asos and Myrtos – don’t miss it – the landscape is breathtaking and you can take amazing pictures too!
Another beach that deserves your attention is Vouti beach – it’s small and not that crowded compared to its bigger neighbor – Agia Kyriaki. There’s a tavern and couple of sunbeds and umbrellas. The water was very clear and warm which I liked a lot.
Pessada beach – on the south side of the island – nice sandy beach but keep in mind it’s very small and it gets crowded so if you decide to visit it, go early and stay as close as possible to the entrance – the sun will shine the longest there, because the rest of it goes under shadow around 3-4 pm. There are no bars on the beach but on the road close to the ferry port to Zakyntos, there’s a nice tavern with lovely view and nice food.
Melissani cave – a must see on the island! It’s also called the cave of the nymphs. There is an underground lake – it’s a mixture of sweet and salt water and its color is one of a kind! During the heavy earthquake that I mentioned earlier, the ceiling of the cave fell down and this allowed the sunlight to go inside which makes the place even more magnificent! We had some doubts if we want to go and visit it because there were a lot of negative comments across the internet about the place. Many people complaint that the ticket (7 euro) is way too expensive for 10 min boat ride on the lake, that you have to wait long time before you go in, but in the end we decided to go. And thank God we did, because the place is truly incredible! I really don’t understand how people can be disappointed with the experience! It’s true that the boat ride is short and the queue is big but when you go inside and see all the beauty, you know that it’s worth it! The best time to go is around noon, because the sunlight falls down vertically and this makes the colors unreal! We went there at 12 pm and we waited no more than half an hour!
Where to stay?
Kefalonia is a big island so it would be a smart decision if you spend couple of days in the northern part of the island and then to go south – this way you can save some time travelling and spend it on the beach instead.
I recommend you to stay at least two days in Asos – it’s a mixture of Italian and greek style and the final result is truly wonderful! The village is small, but it has a lot to offer – every corner is like a postcard. The facades of the buildings are colorful and there are huge pink bushes in bloom everywhere! There are two small beaches but we skipped them – they got a bit crowded during the day. There are only two restaurants in Asos and both of them have a nice view towards the bay and the food was good as well. No matter which one you choose you can’t go wrong!
You should take a walk to the Asos’ fortress for sure! The view is breathtaking! I suggest you to do it after 7 pm, because I think that going up there under the burning sun is not a pleasant experience plus you’ll enjoy an incredible sunset!
The house we stayed in was called Romanza studios and it has awesome view over the village! The hosts were really kind and in the morning there was homemade cake for breakfast! The rooms were clean and very well furnished.
The famous beach Myrtos is 20 min away by car and Fiskardo (the other village you should definitely visit) is 30 min away.
Fiskardo is another charming village but I advise you not to stay there because it’s far away from all the “must see” places. An afternoon there is more than enough. You should definitely visit Melina pastry shop and try the famous Banoffee pie – it’s truly delicious!
If you seek a calm and peaceful place to stay – try to book a room in some of the villas on Petani beach – we wanted to do so, but unfortunately everything was already booked…. If you have more luck than us, you’ll enjoy magnificent sunset every night and one of the best beaches on the island would be a minute away from your bed.
Since we couldn’t book a villa on Petani beach, we decided to go to Argostoli – the main city on the island. Honestly I didn’t like it much. The only good thing about Argostoli is the fact that in the mornings you can meet the famous Caretta Caretta turtles in the harbor, just watch out for fishermen’s boats – the turtles go around them in a search for food. The town itself is nothing special – you can go for a walk on the seaside alley, there are a lot of bars and restaurants – modern and traditional.
Our hotel was supposed to be a nice one but in the end we were a bit disappointed. Its name was The Alley Boutique and SPA hotel –the lobby and the breakfast area had impressive interior design, the breakfast was also nice, but our room wasn’t appropriate for the price that we paid, neither for a four star hotel… It was spacious but with small bathroom, which needed some renovations for sure! There were two huge balconies but one of them was completely empty and the other has only two small chairs on it! The wardrobe was broken and there was no dressing table. I can go on and on because there were lot more problems but you’ll get bored…
How to reach Kefalonia?
You’ll need a car to explore the island, so if you travel by plane, you should definitely rent one! If you travel by car like we did, you have to use a ferry to get to the island. We chose the one from Lefkada island (Nidri harbor). Book tickets in advance or you risk not to get on board at all.
The smell of jasmine is this one thing I’ll remember of Kefalonia. It was literary all around and it smelled heavenly…
I already make plans of going there again next year! I’m so in love with this island!