On my trip through Greece, my family’s next stop had us heading to Kefalonia. Kefalonia was a much larger island than I was used to in Spetses – a population of 35,000+, and being over 300 miles around. This change for us was drastic, but an experience I thrived for. I loved being thrown into different situations and viewing all the characteristics that differentiate the Greek islands. How some were larger, smaller, the kinds of beaches each had, shops, nightlife, etc. We had about six days on the island in the village of Sami, and each day was always filled with something new.
Kefalonia was an absolutely stunning island to experience. It was different than some I had visited in the past – having many more mountains than I was expecting, and being covered in luscious greenery. It was as if some mountains had trees starting from the bottom and one after the other growing, never ending the layers of green until finally reaching the very top – it was unforgettable.
The best part of Kefalonia, though, was the list of things to do and places to see. I had the most fun in Kefalonia on this trip because of all it had to offer. It’s conveniently located near many other islands so they’re easily accessible to visit by a quick boat ride. Kefalonia also holds historically beautiful stops to check off your bucket list, such as The Castle of Assos, as well as highly popular places like the Venetian Lighthouse and Drogarati Cave.
Here, is a mini guide to Kefalonia, Greece and how to enjoy your time the most there. And trust me, there is a way to fit this all into your trip in a short period of time!
1. Picking a place to stay.
Do some research before picking out a village/town in Kefalonia. Staying near Sami was our goal for the trip because we had some family friends staying there and it was a cute, small town with just enough for our group. Be prepared, we booked our place on the HomeAway app, which told us our room was IN Sami. Turns out, the place we chose to stay at was actually a 20 minute walk outside of Sami. With all other rooms booked that week, we ended up having to stay 20 minutes out. In the end, it all worked out with the help of our family friends. Do extra research and check multiple sources when finalizing a room, because the site you are using may not always be correct.
Timmy Mourikes Photography
2. No ATVS, rent a car – unless you have full confidence in your driving skills.
If you had read my Guide to Spetses, Greece, you can recall that the ATVs on the trip were a God sent – the most fun thing to do on that island. But in Kefalonia, it’s so large that there are a lot of cars and busy streets, unlike Spetses’ no car rule. I definitely wouldn’t recommend ATVs or Vespas for beginners, unless you have a lot of experience and trust yourself on the hectic roads of Kefalonia. I would play it safe and just rent a car.
3. Rocky/Pebble beaches.
Another island on the list for having rocky beaches! After Spetses, I officially love and prefer rock beaches over sand beaches – it’s so much easier and cleaner. Remember to bring your water shoes or some cheap sandals with you when walking to the shore because it is a bit painful – but worth it! If you prefer sand though, there were a few beaches in Kefalonia that were gorgeous and fun to change up from pebbles to sand; one of my favorites was Makris Gialos. This one is a very lively and busy beach so get there early to snag one of their colorful umbrellas.
Things To Do:
1. Melissani Cave.
A very popular attraction in Kefalonia and rightfully so. The caves were incredible, like being around a cocoon of rock, with just the sun coming through the opening overhead. One large pool lead into another; going from sun hitting the water perfectly, to darkness near the back of the cave. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get a rower who provides some great tunes along the way, setting the scene perfectly.
2. Antisamos beach.
By far my favorite beach we visited in Kefalonia and a popular one by visitors. It was right next to the town of Sami and the steep drive overlooked the entire water and gorgeous mountains of Kefalonia. The left side of the beach seemed extremely modern, with a full walk up bar and restaurant, stone path, lively music, wifi, and back row of bean bag chairs. But the right side was the lucky spot for free chairs on the grass following the restaurant!
And oh was the food amazing…
3. Agios Gerasimos Monastery.
Kefalonia is known for some of its historic sites as well: such as the Agios Gerasimos Monastery. The history dates back to 1503 with Saint Gerasimos being the protector of Kefalonia. Agios Gerasimos lived in a cave in Lassi, with the monastery built above it. The cave can be visited on your trip to the monastery, which consists of two rooms, one only being able to be accessed by crawling on your hands and knees. I won’t lie I was a little nervous to climb through the tight and narrow passage way down in the cave, but once doing it, I came out feeling accomplished, blessed and enlightened. It’s a must to have done at least once in your life. The monastery and landscape was unsurprisingly, beautifully built. My favorite part was seeing the gorgeous Platanos Tree Saint Gerasimos planted himself and was later buried under.
Agios Gerasimos Monastery – Timmy Mourikes Photography
The Platanos Tree Saint Gerasimos planted himself.
4. Free wine tasting at Robola Winery.
After the Monastery, we drove over to Robola Winery for a free wine tasting. Kefalonia is known for their incredible wine. Being able to taste some of Robolas, and taking a bottle home after was a fresh and relaxing experience to the day. The winery and vineyards were surrounded by rich, green, rolling hills – such a site to see after a great taste of Kefalonias best wine.
5. Walk around Argostoli village for an afternoon.
Argostoli is a huge village in Kefalonia and a perfect spot for shopping and a long stroll. For the search to find the best knick knacks, beautiful handmade jewelry, clothing, and pottery, Argostoli was the place to be. I’m still surprised I walked out of there with only a full and satisfied stomach from a local restaurant we stopped at.
6. Have a drink at Manifiko.
This was such a cute place to sit outside and have a drink with friends after dinner. The bar is located in Sami and overall, all of the restaurants in Sami were beautiful, each having full seating outside by the water and live music on certain nights. Manifiko bar was a perfect one inside and out. Inside was cushioned booths, a small dance floor, and even board games to bring to the table; while outside was small, intimate seating and candle lit lanterns on the tables.
7. Sunset at Myrtos beach.
Another amazing experience, and one of my favorites was seeing the sunset at Myrtos beach. The ledge on the side of the road was a must spot for pulling over the car for pictures of a view looking down at the beach. Then being able to run across the sand to the shore, just catching the perfect colors spread across the horizon, was a truly amazing experience. The appreciation you have for a beautiful sunset changes when you see one in Greece. It goes from one you want to snap a photo of outside your kitchen window, to one you actually put your camera down for a moment to take it in – all while your toes hit to cool night water on the shores of Myrtos.
The spot to pull over for a higher view of Myrtos beach.
8. Zakynthos – Navagio beach.
Numbers eight and nine are the reason Kefalonia was the most fun filled part of the trip to Greece. It’s located really close to beautiful, nearby islands that you can visit with ease. The first one we chose to discover was Zakynthos to see the shipwreck on Navagio beach. Seeing Navagio has been on my bucket list, so pulling up from our boat to see the shipwreck hidden around the mountain on the white sand was incredible. I felt like I was hidden from the entire rest of the island in a shaded, private beach. Boats docked all along the shore line as people piled on to take pictures of the massive ship. Afterwards, the boat tour we took that day headed around to multiple, beautiful spots to dock, jump off the boat and swim in crystal clear waters, and of course, to enjoy a bite to eat at the port of Zakynthos.
Our consistently beautiful views on the ride over to Navagio beach.
The last day trip we took was to Ithaca. This stop has brought me to the first place on my list to visit again and see more of on my next trip to Greece! Ithaca was the sheer definition of what people picture when they think of small, gorgeous villages in Greece, but with even more life. The colors of the restaurants and houses could be seen from a mile away as we entered into the port; pinks, blues, greens – the entire rainbow basically covered the island. Buildings, tables, chairs, anything, through the entire streets of Ithaca was alive with color. It was absolutely mesmerizing. Afterwards we were able to circle the island, jump off our boat and swim in the water to the shores of boat access beaches only – talk about hidden treasures. We ended the day trip with an – as always – fantastic meal, a stroll around the main town and one more ride around the island.
And most importantly have fun discovering new and beautiful places with the people you are with!
The trip to Kefalonia was the sheer definition of fun. With each day packed with new places to see and discover, it was the farthest thing from an unadventurous vacation. Do your research and prep early for Kefalonia because you’re going to want to fit everything this island has to offer in your stay.