Situated in the midst of the brilliant turquoise Ionian Sea and marked by gorgeous beaches, picturesque villages, and magnificent scenery, Kefalonia is a Greek island that is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination. Kefalonia is also home to miles of forests lush with foliage and wildlife, an interesting collection of historic palaces, temples, and Roman baths, and several museums that are ideal for exploring. While the island has plenty of history and culture to offer, it provides plenty of opportunities to simply have fun, such as watersports and nightclubs where live music is the norm.
If you are not familiar with the island, it is definitely time to consider visiting. Here are five reasons you should visit Kefalonia.
The island boasts a wide selection of uncrowded, pristine beaches
Kefalonia is home to more than 30 beautiful beaches, many of which have been awarded a Blue Flag by the Foundation for Environmental Education for their cleanliness. Thanks to the large number of beaches to choose from, it is very easy to find one that perfectly fits your needs and mood.
For example, Myrtos Beach, considered by many to be the most beautiful beach in the Ionian Islands, features fine golden sand, turquoise waters, and views of majestic cliffs. Beach chairs are available for rent, which makes it ideal when you want to spend a day lounging uninterrupted in the sun. On the other hand, Makris Gialos and Platis Gialos are both watersports mecca, giving tourists a place to rent banana boats, canoes, jet skis, pedal boats, and standup paddle boards. If you enjoy exploring, Foki Beach, which happens to be a hot spot for seals, is situated next to plenty of coves and caves you can check out. You can find a short guide to Kefalonia’s wide array of beaches here.
Kefalonia offers a variety of amazing, locally owned restaurants to choose from
No vacation is complete without enjoying at least a few delicious meals. Kefalonia is famous for its organic olive oil, so you can expect it to play a huge role in any dining experience. In addition, fresh out of the water seafood, in-house, handcrafted feta cheese, homegrown produce, and homemade bread and jams are found on many of the island’s top restaurants’ menus. Wine produced in local vineyards, such as Robola, Muscat, and Mavrodafn, are also frequently available.
There are plenty of Greek and Mediterranean in Kefalonia, as well as a number of options serving international cuisine, including Chinese, Italian, and Indian. Both casual spots on the beach and elegant dining establishments can be found on the island. To give you an idea of the variety of restaurants, taverns, and bars on the island, visit this Dining Guide for Kefalonia.
The island boasts more than 7,000 acres of forests to explore
In addition to the multiple beaches on the island and all the opportunities for watersports they have to offer, Kefalonia is home to Mount Ainos National Park, which spans across more than 7,400 acres and includes the tallest mountain on the island, Ainos Mountain. The forest is filled with rare plant and tree species, such as black pine and dark green Greek fir trees, thyme, and various protected species of wildflowers, as well as multiple little caves to explore.
There are several hiking trails in the forest, which provide an ideal spot to run into the wide array of wildlife that lives in the forest, such as foxes, hedgehogs, weasels, rabbits, goats, wild horses, and more than 100 species of birds, including buzzards, eagles, falcons, and black woodpeckers. You can take the trails to the top of Ainos Mountain, where the spectacular view includes the beaches and glimpses of nearby islands. You also have the option of driving to the top of the mountain, which is often covered in snow during the winter months.
Kefalonia’s architecture can take you back to ancient times
There is no shortage of well-preserved ancient sites on the island, including the Roma Villa on the outskirts of Skala. Believed to have been built during the 2nd century, six rooms of the villa remain. Four of the rooms are covered in a unique mosaic tiles that are said to tell the story of Fthonos, the Greek God of Jealousy and Envy.
In Fiskardo, a Roman cemetery, containing 27 tombs dating back to the 2nd century is open to visitors and includes an array of ancient artifacts, such as jewelry, pottery, coins, and glass vases. Another ancient cemetery worth visiting is the Mazarakata Mycenaean Cemetery, where 17 chamber tombs carved in natural bedrock and filled with beautifully colored glass can be viewed.
If you prefer castles, the Castle of Saint George is a must see. Built in the 12th century, the castles external walls, as well as observation posts and parts of a bridge, still stand. Assos Castle is also on the island. Built in the 16th century, it was also used as a prison farm. Today, you can see the remains of the prison yard and the army barracks inhabited by the Germans during World War II.
Another site worth seeing the Cyclopean Wall of ancient Krani. Constructed from huge rocks, the wall is thought to have been built during the 7th century BC by the one-eyed giant of Greek mythology, Cyclops.
Kefalonia is easy to reach and appeals to all ages
Not only does Kefalonia offer daily air service to and from several of the UK’s largest airports, but unlike some tourist destinations, Kefalonia has something for everyone, including singles, young couples, families with kids of all ages, and even the elderly. For example, Kefalonia has a lively nightlife, including lounge bars and clubs that frequently host live events and special guest DJs that is perfect for singles who want to party after a long day at the beach. On the other hand, Kefalonia offers a number of activities that will appeal to families, including boat tours, a visit to the waterpark in Lixouri, and just hanging out on the beach making sandcastles.
If you have are searching for a tropical vacation spot that offers plenty of things to see and do, Kefalonia is a great option.