Kefalonia Destination Guide
Kefalonia has a authentic Greek feel to it and you will be sure to experience a more traditional stay if choosing Kefalonia over one of the other resort islands. Along with magnificent scenery and some excellent beaches with fine sand and turquoise, bleach-like waters, Kefalonia also boast unusual attractions such as picturesque villages, its National Park and the caves at Melisani and Drogoratti that attract thousands of holiday visitors each year.
Made famous by the hit movie Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Kefalonia is one of the most popular destinations of the Greek Islands and the biggest island of the group.
This Kefalonia destination guide gives a basic breakdown of the many things to to see and do in Kefalonia. A perfect way to see the Kefalonia tourist attractions is by taking a Kefalonia tour. Guided by locals our Kefalonia tours provide not only fun and adventure, but also a locals knowledge and trade sectrets.
Things to See & Do in Kefalonia
Follow the links to the right or scroll further down the page for details on some of the many interesting tourist attractions in Kefalonia:
The Argostoli-Lixouri ferry is an inexpensive ferry that is used by locals and tourists to travel between the new capital and the old capital of Kefalonia. The trip takes half an hour and is an enjoyable one. First timers always find it adventurous. Lixouri is a laidback place and there is not much to see or do out there. The fun lies in just experiencing the trip. Most visitors prefer to grab a bite at one of the tavernas, relax for a while and then go back on the returning ferry.
Assos is a small, out-of-the-way village with a very romantic setting imparted by one of the most beautiful locations of Kefalonia. The Assos peninsula is located on the west coast of Kefalonia and this little village nestles in the island's harbour which has an interesting horse shoe shape.
The coastal scenery of this region is made up of white rocks that make a dramatic impact which is enhanced by the cobalt sea. The hillsides are verdant with entire forests consisting of pine and cypress trees. The tiny village of Assos has about a hundred inhabitants. The most dominating feature of the village is the ruins of a 16th century castle of Venetian origin. Assos' inhabitants are very kind and hospitable. Traditional architecture, cute little taverns overlooking the bay and narrow alleys lend a special charm to the village.
Kefalonia's beaches are gorgeous and their cleanliness has been rewarded with blue flags.
Myrtos: Kefalonia is home to Myrtos, one of Greece's most popular beaches. Myrtos is a stunning beach with golden sands and has vertical rock cliffs overlooking it. The waters are a clear blue and look very enticing. Myrtos beach can rightly be labelled as the trademark of Kefalonia. This beach is easily the most beautiful one in the Ionian Island region.
Antisamos: Antisamos, located near the village Sami, just 22 km away from the island's capital is also a very beautiful beach.
Emblisi Beach, Fiskardo: Emblisi is situated close to Fiskardo, a fishing village. This small and pebbly beach is also very popular. It is advisable to carry a mat as sitting on the pebbles can be very uncomfortable indeed!
The other beaches worth mention are Ai Helis, Foki Beach Fiskardo, Skala Beach, Makris Gialos, Lourdas Beach, Petani Beach, Avithos and Pessada Beach.
An ancient castle 8 km south of Argostoli dates back to 394 AD. At the time Kefalonia was aligned with the Roman Empire and was ruled by Arcadios. The castle takes its name from the church of Saint George that used to be on top of the nearby hill. Pirates ravaged the island and plundered the villages and towns that they came across. Due to vulnerability to attacks a second castle was built, in 1584, in the rocky promontory of Assos. The location of this castle made it virtually impregnable.
There are two large monasteries on the island that are worth visiting. The first, known as Haghia Panagia, is situated in Markopoulo to the south east. The second one lies on the road that connects Argostoli and Michata. It has a very scenic locale on a small plain encircled by majestic mountains.
The second monastery boasts of a majestic tree lined avenue consisting of about 200 trees. The trees are lined from the NW to the SE and have a circle in the middle. This is the monastery of Agios Gerasimos, who was the patron saint of Kefalonia. The monastery contains the holy relics of St. Gerasimos. Prior to 1554, the monastery was dedicated to Theotokos. Later on, after 1560 a monk from Trikala Corinthias, named Gerasimos Notaras, turned the place into an important nunnery.
Fiskardo, also spelt Fiscardo, is a charming fishing village located on the northern coast of Kefalonia. This village is just 50 km from Argostoli, the island's capital. Olive groves, cypress trees and rugged hills make up most of the landscape here. The small harbour is a functional one and there are many cafes, restaurants and bars lining the harbour. Many a happy hour can be spent in these cafes and bars gazing at magnificent views across the water.
The neighbouring islands of Lefkas and Ithaka can be seen from here. Colourful fishing boats belonging to the local folk can be seen lined up along the quayside. During summer visiting yachts take up quite a bit of space in the harbour. Early visitors can buy fresh fish from the local fishermen. During peak season you can see some of the most luxurious yachts lined up here. Fiskardo's tranquility attracts many rich tourists.
Fiscardo, one among 365 villages, has the unique distinction of not having suffered any damage during the massive earthquake of 1953.
This is yet another option for those who love outdoor activities. On horseback you can wander through olive groves and the verdant countryside. For a change of scene turn beachwards and ride along the beach, feasting your eyes on the spectacular coastline.
Multi-hued stalagmites and stalactites filling cool cavernous spaces impart an ethereal feel to the caves in Kefalonia.
The Cave of Melissani: These caves have always been the site for religious ceremonies. The caves are breathtakingly beautiful and are enclosed spaces, making them an ideal venue for rites associated with the divine.
Drogarati Cave: Speleologists estimate the Drograti caves to be around 150 million years old. The caves have survived earthquakes with minimal damage. There are still many polychrome stalactites dangling from the roof. This looks spectacular in the large underground chamber, situated 37 m below the surface. Water filtering through the soil and rocks slowly solidifies, forming these structures. The red hue comes from the rock's iron content and the white deposits are from limestone and chalk.
The Archaeological Museum, located in the capital Kefalonia, contains a lot of information about the island's ancient history. Massive earthquakes hit the island in 1953, and the old museum suffered a lot of damage due to the earthquake. The museum was renovated in 1960. Today the museum attracts a lot of visitors.
There are finds from prehistoric times and Roman times housed in the museum. The Mycenean period is easily the best represented period with plenty of exhibits relating to it. The displays range from ancient ceramics with geometrical designs, precious beads, tools from the Paleolithic age, bronze swords, gold coins and official seals among other stuff. Georgios Kavadias is credited with having discovered several of the early finds displayed in the museum.
Leisurely walks are one the best ways of enjoying all of Kefalonia's natural beauty. Kefalonia is a favourite destination for hiking and walking enthusiasts. There are ancient paths and tracks crisscrossing the island. These are fun to follow. While on these trails you get a wonderful glimpse of Kefalonia's flora and if you are quiet enough, the wildlife too. You also learn a lot about the history of the island while on these treks.
Another popular way of getting around the island is by cycling. There is an extensive network of tracks, quiet roads and a few back roads that give you an exhaustive tour of the island. Cycling enthusiasts will find Kefalonia's terrain wonderful for some very scenic cycling trips. Unspoilt landscapes, rugged mountains, deserted beaches - it just cannot get more perfect than this!
Monk Seals: The Mediterranean monk seal lives only in the Mediterranean. It cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Descriptions of vast herds of monk seal have found mention even in Homer's Odyssey. However, their numbers have now diminished and only around 400-500 of these seals are now living.
Loggerhead Turtle: The Loggerhead turtle nest in Greece, making it the only turtle species to do so. Its reddish brown shell and large head make it easily identifiable. The Loggerhead turtle can grow to a length of one metre and its weight can cross a whopping 100 kilograms. These turtles lay eggs during the night. They lay over 100 eggs in each nest, making up to four nests in a season.
Horses of Mount Ainos: A few herds of wild horses can be found running wild near the monastery of Zoodochos Pighi. This monastery is just above the village of Arginia. Near here is the only spring on Mount Ainos. These horses have been around for almost a century in this area which is around 1300 to 1500 m above sea level.
Mount Ainos Fir Trees: Greek Fir or Abies cephalonica is the common conifer found locally. The scientific name carries the Cephalonia stamp as it was in Kefalonia that this variety was first identified. This tree is one of the most dominant ones in the forests in this area. The absence of hybridisation has ensured that the pure strain has been maintained till now. Kefalonia's national parks house magnificent dark pine forests where golden eagles, osprey, wild ponies, and other protected species are found aplenty. Similarly a rich marine wildlife also thrives on Kefalonia's shores. These include rare monk seals, loggerhead turtles and dolphins.
An interesting variety of goats can be found near the mountains at Agia Dynami. These goats have silver teeth! The silver is due to minerals staining the animals' teeth. Going near the animals to confirm this fact is not possible, so one has to be satisfied with the information!