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Kefalonia, Greek Island: a wonderful holiday destination

Updated on October 9, 2013
The picturesque Myrtos bay, Kefalonia
The picturesque Myrtos bay, Kefalonia | Source

The island of Kefalonia is situated in the Ionian Sea, to the west of mainland Greece, and is a popular tourist destination for both Greeks and other Europeans. The pretty fishing harbours, beautiful beaches and forested mountainous regions make it a diverse and interesting place to visit. It is fairly green as Greek islands go, with a good covering of pine trees in the mountains, and sweet scented wild herbs, olive groves and brightly coloured flowers wherever you look.

The best time to visit is probably late spring into early summer, April until early June, while the spring flowers are still at their best, and before it starts getting too hot. July and August are the hottest months, and also the busiest. September is also very pleasant, with the sea at its warmest.

Great food and drink are also a wonderful part of the holiday experience in Kefalonia, with a fantastic range of delicious Greek food on offer throughout the island.

Church, Fiskardo
Church, Fiskardo | Source

Facts about Kefalonia

  • Kefalonia is the largest of the seven Ionian islands, with an area of 266 square miles, and a population of around 32,000.
  • Mount Ainos is the highest mountain on the island reaching up to 5,335 ft. above sea level.
  • Much of the island was destroyed by a huge earthquake in 1953, so many of the buildings there now are new. Some of the older buildings were preserved at the northern end of the island, and deserted, damaged buildings can still be seen dotted around the island.
  • The island shot to fame in 2001 when the film Captain Corelli's Mandolin, starring Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz, was shot on location there. It is a historic and romantic drama, set on the island during its WWII occupation, and based on the classic book of the same name by Louis de Bernieres.

Harbourside shops at Fiskardo
Harbourside shops at Fiskardo | Source

Fiskardo

At the northern tip of the island is one of the prettiest villages on the island. Fiskardo has a lovely harbour which is used by many of the visiting yachts that sail around the islands. The harbourside is lined with pretty shops and restaurants, and the old village still contains many older pre-earthquake buildings, as this corner of the island was slightly less affected.

Lush vegetation alongside the sandy beach at Skala
Lush vegetation alongside the sandy beach at Skala | Source
Skala beach
Skala beach | Source

Skala

Skala is a well appointed town at the southern end of the island, best known for its long stretch of sandy beaches, and good restaurants, shops and facilities. It is an ideal base for a family or group holiday. The beach is perfect for sunbathing and swimming, offers water sports, boat trips, and there are also umbrella chairs for hire. It is an extensive beach, and so rarely feels overcrowded. The town has a lot of good restaurants, bars and small shops, plenty of accommodation ranging from apartments, hotels and private villas, and, although very geared up for tourists, there is still a nice peaceful, laid-back feel about the place.

Myrtos bay

Myrtos bay (pictured at the top) is the classic picture postcard beach, and must be the most photographed view on the island, with its white beach and beautiful turquoise water. As can be seen in the photo, there is a very long and winding road leading down the cliffside to the beach, with hair-raising hairpin bends - but the journey is worth the effort. The top of the beach is sandy, turning to white pebbles as you get near the water. It is advisable to wear reef shoes if planning to swim there as it is very stony underfoot, it shelves steeply and the waves can be quite fierce, making it difficult to get in and out of the water. There are some basic facilities on the beach, including a beach-bar and umbrella chairs for hire. The beach was used for some scenes in the film of Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

The white sandy beach of Myrtos bay.
The white sandy beach of Myrtos bay. | Source
Rare loggerhead turtle in Argostoli harbour
Rare loggerhead turtle in Argostoli harbour | Source

Argostoli

Argostoli is the main city on the island, and if you fly into Kefalonia, will be the first place that you see, as this is where the island's airport is situated. It is a busy town, and worth at least a day trip, even if you have come for a quiet getaway. Here you can find a bustling harbour, museums, good shops, restaurants and great outdoor markets selling fresh fruit, vegetables and fish. Local fishermen bring their catch into the harbour in the mornings, and sell freshly caught fish directly from their boats. Look out for the huge loggerhead turtles that follow the boats into the harbour in search of scraps. There are seven regular visitors that are about 30 years old, and are a great hit with the tourists. One of the nearby beaches is a breeding ground for this rare turtle.

Kefalonia

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    • HollieT profile image

      HollieT 

      4 years ago from Manchester, United Kingdom

      I've visited a few Greek Islands ( I love the Greek Islands) but Kefalonia was certainly my favourite. The images are lovely, thanks for reminding me just how beautiful the island is :)

    • profile image

      5 years ago

      Incredible Kefalonia. Why not enjoy a Kefalonia Villa Holiday in 2014. www.amarivilla.co.uk

    • By Lori profile image

      By Lori 

      5 years ago from USA

      Incredible ! My two top destinations would be the U.K. and Greece !

    • Imogen French profile imageAUTHOR

      Imogen French 

      6 years ago from Southwest England

      thanks Vellur, glad you enjoyed it. It really is a beautiful place, as are many of the Greek islands. Hope you manage to visit one day.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      WOW, Kefolonia sounds great. A beautiful place that I would love to visit someday. Fiskadaro and Myrtos Bay are my favorites. Voted up.

    • Imogen French profile imageAUTHOR

      Imogen French 

      6 years ago from Southwest England

      thank you one2, I love it there too.

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 

      6 years ago from Olney

      Excellent hub...it brings back memories of idylic days on the island. One of my favourite Greek islands. Epharisto!

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