Kefalonia is one of the most naturally beautiful destinations of the Greek Islands. A hidden gem often overlooked due to Mykonos and Santorini, Kefalonia is just as luxurious and well worth a visit. Its top attractions are rugged coastlines, majestic caves, mountain landscapes, and picturesque beaches.
No matter how long you’re visiting, here are five bucket list things to do in Kefalonia.
1) Myrtos Beach
There’s a chance you’ve seen this gorgeous beach on Instagram or TikTok without realising it. Myrtos Beach is dubbed as the best beach in all of Greece and is a perfect hideaway at the end of the winding road.
Golden sand and crystal clear blue seas, it’s the top attraction in Kefalonia. Lying between two cliff sides, Kalon Oros and Agia Dynati, the mountains hug the beach and create a stunning dramatic coastline.
There are sea caves nearby to explore, and the small town of Divarata just before Myrtos has traditional Greek cafes and tavernas to grab a bite to eat.
2) Mount Aenos
Mount Aenos sits inside a national park and is the highest mountain in Kefalonia, with its peak at 1628 metres, covered in black pines and Greek fir forest trees.
If you’re into trekking, there are five hiking trails signposted from A to B, with two of them taking hikers up to the highest summit – Megas Soros. The most popular trail is the Digaleto – Megas Soros, a 6.5km hike that starts in Digaleto and takes roughly 4 1/2 hours to summit.
From the mountain peaks, breathtaking views allow travellers to spot the other Ionian Islands in the distance and the Peloponnese peninsula.
3) Melissani Cave
Pictures don’t do this lake justice. The Melissani Cave is a beautiful underground lake, haloed by a hollow in the rocks which allows the sun to shine through and illuminate the water. It’s only a short visit of 10 to 15 minutes as the boat rests inside the lake, but the local guide will tell tales of folklore.
Greek Mythology states that Melissani was the cave of Nymphs, where nymph Melissani drowned when rejected by the Greek god Pan, creating the hole above the lake for the sun to meet the water.
The best time to visit is midday, as the sun is directly above the opening.
4) Assos Village
A natural harbour, Assos Village is located on a strip of land between the Assos Peninsula and Errisos Peninsula, with towering hills and all the Greek charm. Surrounded by greenery, trees, hills and water, visitors will feel a world away whilst exploring this idyllic village
There is a small quay on the harbour which moors local fishing boats, as cafes and tavernas line the shore right up to the small pebble beach. There’s also a Venetian castle in Assos Bay, reached by a steep stone path where travellers can explore the ruins of the house of the Venetian High Commissioner.
5) Agios Gerasimos Monastery
Those into Greek ruins will not want to miss a visit to the Agios Gerasimos Monastery. St Gerasimos is the patron saint of Kefalonia, whose mummified body is kept in the church and displayed on certain holy/celebratory days.
The courtyard holds a tree and well, claimed to have been planted by the St during the founding of the monastery in the 16th century. The walls of the church depict bible scenes, saints, prophets and apostles, highlighting key figures of Greek history.
At the rear of the church, there’s a trap door that leads to a cave where it’s believed Gerasimos lived as the monastery was built.
For other bucket list activities, why not island-hop?
From the town of Sami on Kefalonia, travellers can take the car ferry for a short crossing to the island of Ithaca. On arrival, visitors will be let off at the main port of Vathy, where you can hire a motorboat and venture on your exploration of coves across the island’s coastline.
Hikers can also set off on a trek up to Pernarakia and Kathara Monasteries, which boast panoramic views of Ithaca and the Ionian islands.
Kefalonia travel tips
There are no bus transfers from Kefalonia airport, so prearranging car hire or taxis is a must. Whether you drive yourself or take a taxi, you’ll need to explore Kefalonia via car due to the distance and windy roads. You can even hire a moped if you wanted!
Picking the place you want to stay in Kefalonia depends on the type of accommodation you’re looking for, as rates vary from town to town, and whether you want to stay in a hotel or a private villa.
Fiskardo Bay is a popular choice due to its landscape, variety of restaurants, night light, and great views. Villas are located outside of the main town, but if you’re looking to be central then book accommodation in Fiskardo town. Sami is also another popular destination for travellers to stay, but it is touristy so if this isn’t your thing then this wouldn’t be the place for you.
The best time to visit Kefalonia
As with the other Ionia islands, Kefalonia’s hottest months are from June to August, with temperatures rising above 30 degrees Celsius. You’ll want to visit during these times if you’re chasing the sun, but the island can be enjoyed in other seasons soon.
If you arrive during the early or late seasons aka ‘shoulder season’, the water is still pretty warm with temperatures ranging between 18 degrees celsius and 22 degrees Celsius. The best shoulder season months to visit Kefalonia are May and October, as accommodation prices are usually cheaper, there are fewer tourists and the weather is still warm enough for outdoor exploration.
The winter months see fewer tourists and accommodation is the cheapest, but the weather gets much cooler and can be subject to rainy days, so this time of year is usually only when islanders and their families gather together for the festive season in December.