Kefalonia (Kefallinia or Cephallonia) is an idyllic Greek island in the Ionian Sea. Known for its diverse beauty and breathtaking beaches, visiting here feels like living in paradise. It’s the largest islet in the area, marked by towering mountain peaks, cerulean waters, and historic towns.
It’s famous both for its wine and laid-back, friendly feel. With so much to see and do here, you’ll want to read up on all the best spots for any itinerary with this list of the best things to do in Kefalonia, Greece.
Where is Kefalonia?
Before we dig into the best things to do in Kefalonia, let’s pinpoint the location! Kefalonia is a large Ionian Island and a popular destination for summer tourists to Greece. It’s close to other islands like Zakynthos, Lefkada, and Ithaca.
Like the other Ionian Islands Kefalonia is blessed with lush forests, dizzying mountains, and dramatic cliff drops that lead straight into the wonderful blue sea.
The main airport, Kefalonia International Airport is located near Argostoli and Lassi, and is a small island airport. There are flights to Italy, Athens, the UK, and plenty of destinations around Europe.
Best Things to do in Kefalonia
1. Mount Aenos
Mount Aenos is the tallest mountain on the whole island at over 5,000 feet high. There’s a national park around it that offers a few different hikes on circular trails all with different levels of difficulty.
The sweeping panoramas from the top stretch over the island uninterrupted as far as the eye can see and are well worth any climb. Black pine and Greek fir forests cover the side.
The summit is called Mega Soros and it’s easily the most popular viewpoint to enjoy here. We love to pack a picnic and spend the day here soaking up all the scenery and sunshine.
2. Antisamos Beach
One of Kefalonia’s biggest draws is its collection of pristine shores to explore. Antisamos Beach is certainly a favorite cove on the island, and one of the best beaches in Greece. It’s surrounded by high forested hills and instead of sand, it’s covered in small white pebbles.
The water here is crystal clear, making it the perfect candidate for some snorkeling. It’s famous for appearing in the acclaimed film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
There are a few bars where you can grab a drink and a bite as well as a couple of loungers to rent for ultimate comfort while sunbathing.
3. Melissani Cave
Melissani Cave may be the island’s greatest natural wonder and one of the best things to do in Kefalonia. Here you’ll find a striking azure lake underneath tall cavern walls. There’s an opening at the top where the sun can shine onto the sparkling surface.
You can take a guided boat tour to get up close to the many geological marvels inside like stalactites. It’s best to go at midday for the perfect photo ops, and it’s hard not to want to snap a million pics here. It can get busy with other tourists but it’s well worth a short wait or full boat to experience this magnificent gem.
4. Makris Gialos Beach
Makris Gialos beach is most known for its luxurious comfort, cleanliness, and organization. While it lacks some of the rugged beauty of other Kefalonia beaches, it makes up for it with convenient amenities.
It has a tourist resort kind of vibe and is easily accessible. You’ll be able to enjoy delicious food and drinks delivered right to your sun lounger from any of the refined beach bars on the golden sandy shore here.
There’s also a wide range of water sports that you can try out on the crystal-clear seas such as kayaking. The calm and warm waves make it ideal for swimming as well.
5. Agios Georgios Castle
Set just Southeast of Argostoli, is the spectacular estate known as Agios Georgios Castle. These romantic ruins were founded by the Byzantines way back in the 12th century. Much of the remaining architecture is from when it was a Venetian stronghold in the 16th century.
It was even the capital of Kefalonia until the mid-1700s. You can explore ancient citadels and Medieval churches all while enjoying stunning vistas of both the distant mountains and vast ocean.
6. Drogarati Cave
Wondering what to do in Kefalonia and looking for something a little different? The Drogarati Cave was first discovered in the early 1700s after an earthquake made it visible for the first time. It’s known for the strange rock formations you can find deep down within the cavern, such as both stalactites and stalagmites, which are formed over the course of millions of years.
The Chamber of Exaltation is the claim to fame of this natural marvel both for its sheer size and its impressive acoustics. It’s also a great way to escape the Greek heat and cool down a little, especially in the summer months.
7. Petani Beach
Petani is an undisturbed slice of paradise along the west coast of the island. It offers a more rugged and real beach experience, complete with transparent turquoise waters and a pebbly shore. It’s also encircled by dramatic limestone cliffs, giving it a remote and secluded setting.
Check how choppy the surf is before jumping in, the waves can get super big here. Though on a calm day, it’s ideal for a refreshing dip. There are a few sun decks and umbrellas to relax under here, as well as parking spaces and restroom facilities.
8. Myrtos Beach
Another scenic stretch of coastline in Kefalonia is Myrtos Beach. Heading here is easily one of the best things to do in Kefalonia. It may look familiar since it’s one of the most photographed spots in all of Greece, though pictures can’t fully capture the striking beauty of this beach.
It’s set between two towering mountainsides and the shimmering blue of the sea is mesmerizing. It’s about half a mile long and instead of sand, you’ll see marbled pebbles. There are sun loungers to rent and rest on. Be sure to stop at the viewpoint up top before heading down to the actual beach for jaw-dropping vistas.
Assos is likely the most charming little village on the island. It’s located on the hillsides of a natural harbor and surrounded by vibrant greenery. There are only about 100 inhabitants living in this tiny borough.
Pastel-colored houses line the waterfront, along with a smattering of cute bars, taverns, and cafes. The views from the top of the town are gorgeous and wandering the winding streets here is a lovely way to spend a day in Kefalonia.
10. Day Trip to Ithaca
Ithaca is another small island that’s only a short distance away from the coasts of Kefalonia. It’s easy to get an affordable ferry from Sami to take you up close to this sea surrounded treasure, making it the perfect day trip. Here there are two peninsulas connected only by an isthmus.
The main port, called Vathy, has smaller boats that you can rent to explore the cove-filled coastline. Onshore, you can hike to the top of several of the peaks here, such as Pernarakia or Kathara, and bask in breathtaking panoramas looking out over Kefalonia and beyond. Our favorite town in Ithaka is Kioni, and we highly recommend visiting as it’s one of the best things to do in Ithaca.
Ithaca is also legendary for being the mythical home of Odysseus as well. Talk about epic!
Speaking of Sami, this town is worth a visit whether you’re in need of a ferry or not. It’s located on the Eastern side of the island and is fairly large in size compared to some of the other villages in Kefalonia.
We love to wander the historic port here and enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the charming restaurants or taverns. The Venetian architecture along the scenic oceanfront is simply marvelous. You can even visit the acropolis set just behind Sami and learn more about the rich history of the region.
Argostoli is the biggest town in and the capital of Kefalonia. The harbor is always a bustling and picturesque scene, especially at sunrise when the fishing boats are all coming in with their fresh catch. The promenade is a beautiful way to enjoy a waterfront stroll at any time of day as well.
Sometimes you can even spot sea turtles in the waves here! Cine Anny is also in this city, an open-air cinema that’s so much fun to catch a flick at. The Argostoli Archeology Museum always makes for an educational and engaging experience as well. It’s such a great place to shop for locally made products too.
13. Fteri Beach
Fteri is one of the more wild and exotic beaches on this Greek island. It boasts all the trademark beauty of the Kefalonia shores: white pebbles, crystalline waters, lush greenery, and limestone peaks.
It’s one of the most undisturbed areas on the island, and as such is considered the most idyllic. Since there’s no actual road that can access it, you’ll need to walk the scenic mountain path to arrive or take a taxi boat from Agia Kyriaki. As a more remote beach, you’ll need to bring all your own supplies with you to this one too.
Also called Foki Beach, Fiscardo is a picture-perfect cove and a historic fishing village in Kefalonia. It’s a small bit of coastline with plenty of natural shade, which really comes in handy since the sun can get so strong.
It’s the northernmost port on the island and a delightful spot to watch the boats go in and out. The glassy waterfront is lined with bakeries, cafes, taverns, and art shops. It feels like a trip back in time with many of the original homes and independent stores from even before the infamous 1953 earthquake that almost leveled the entire island.
15. De Bosset Bridge
De Bosset, also known as Deprano, is the longest stone bridge that’s been built over the sea in the entire world! It’s well worth seeing and enjoying a relaxing stroll along as well.
It was first constructed in the early 1800s to make villages around the bay more accessible. Both sides boast spectacular views out over the sparkling lagoon waters. It’s an especially popular spot for sunset and there are often sea creatures like turtles that you can see as well so keep your eyes peeled.
16. Skala Beach
Skala is one of the longest sandy beaches located on the southern end of the island. It’s known for having clear blue waters out in front and dense green hills behind. Snorkeling here is a favorite pastime and there’s plenty of fish to find.
Many also head out on the open waters to explore hidden ocean caves on a boat tour from this shore. It’s full of beach bars and amazing eateries, so it’s easy to spend a whole day here.
17. Winery Tour
Kefalonia is famous for its wine and one of the best things to do in Kefalonia is go to a winery. You won’t want to leave this island without at least trying it. The tradition of crafting this grape-based drink is said to date all the way back to the Neolithic era.
Robalo is a white wine with notes of fruit and honey that’s coveted all around the world and made exclusively on this island. There are several vineyards where you can tour and taste this local nectar. Check out Orealios, Gentilini, Sclavos, or Haritatos wineries while here.
The Katavothres, or sinkholes, of Kefalonia, are a geological wonder that can’t ever be fully explained to this day! It’s a unique site unlike any other. It’s thought that they are a complicated series of underground caves and passageways beneath the island.
The warm ocean waters rush onto shore through the rocks and simply disappear. They end up in the majestic Melissani Lake before returning to back the sea. The power of the ocean here was once used as free electricity for mills and the giant wheel constructed to harness it can still be seen.
Karavomilos is an astonishing and enchanting body of water that is also extremely unique. It’s located in the west part of Sami and was originally just a little fishing village.
Today, the lake is made up of 99% fresh water, despite being entirely fed by the katavothres. Within local lore, it is shrouded in legend and mystery which makes it all the more alluring if you ask us. You can also see so many species of ducks living here!
20. Xi Beach
Xi Beach is named for its distinctive X shape. Its red-colored sand also helps it to stand out and it’s one of the most popular coves on the island for locals and visitors alike. The waters are more shallow so often families with younger children will go since it’s easier for them to swim.
White clay cliffs are all around this scenic shoreline. It’s even traditional to rub the clay on your body and then rinse it in the sea. It’s said to be good for your skin and feels like such a fun DIY spa experience.
Best Restaurants in Kefalonia
- Captain Nikolas (Paliki): One of the best things to do in Kefalonia is eating at a Traditional Greek Taverna. Captain Nikolas is one of the best-reviewed restaurants on the island and for good reason!
- Olive Lounge Bar & Restaurant: Amazing view paired with tantalizing food. Some of the best you will find on Kefalonia – reservations recommended.
- Esperides Restaurant: Beautiful environment with a great wine list!
Best Things to do in Kefalonia
How to Get Around Kefalonia
The best way to get around Kefalonia is with a rental car. The island is pretty large and if you want to get to all these Kefalonia attractions it is best to have a car. We typically rent a car on every Greek island we visit.
Experience driving in Greece is helpful, as I can almost guarantee the roads on the Ionian Islands are nothing like driving back where you are from. Roads are winding and often dilapidated. You can see our tips for renting a car in Greece here.
How Many Days Should You Spend on Kefalonia?
Three days would give you a good grip on the island and let you enjoy a few of the best things to do in Kefalonia, but surely not everything.
I would recommend at least five days on the island so you aren’t running ragged around the island trying to do as much as possible. That gives you enough time to relax while still taking in all the beauty of the island!
Is Kefalonia Safe?
As with most Greek Islands, Kefalonia is very safe. The Greeks are some of the most hospitable people in the world, and there is very little crime on the islands.
Rest assured knowing you will have a safe experience in Kefalonia. Of course, always take normal precautions when traveling.
Is Kefalonia Worth Visiting?
Many declare Kefalonia as the most beautiful Greek island. While this certainly subjective, there is no double that Kefalonia is stunning and absolutely worth visiting. You certain won’t regret adding Kefalonia to your Ionian itinerary.
When is the Best Time to Visit Kefalonia?
The best time to visit Kefalonia and the Greek Islands, in general, is in May and September when the weather is sunny and mild, but summer tourism is not at its peak. June, July, and August are the busiest months on the Ionian Islands and are when you will find higher prices and plenty of people.
My favorite time to visit Greece is always September. Come October things will start to be winding down for the season and by November many restaurants and businesses will close until April when it is high season again.
How to Get Around the Greek Islands
Kefalonia International Airport is the best way to access the island. It is well connected to many major destinations around Europe, like Vienna and Berlin.
It’s also possible to connect Kefalonia via ferry to the other Ionian Islands like Corfu, Zakynthos, and Ithaki. There is also a semi-regular service to Bari (Italy). We recommend checking schedules on Ferry Hopper.
Greek Travel Planning Resources
- ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank You’ in Greek: “Yasou” and “Efharisto”
- Currency: Euro – (EUR) – €
- Visa: Schengen visa. Which is 90 days in the European Union out of 180. Many nationalities are granted this on arrival for free. Check with your embassy to see if that is you.
- Weather: The weather in Greece is a Mediterranean climate. This means winters are mild and rainy, while summers are warm and dry with plenty of sunshine throughout the year.
- What to Pack: Warm weather clothes and a swimsuit, don’t forget a good pair of clothes to go and a jacket for cool nights. Read about what to wear in Greece.
- Budget: If you’re in the initial stages of planning, check out our awesome post that breaks down how much a trip to Greece costs.
- Rent a Car: We suggest most visitors consider renting a car for the best trip possible. Try Discover Cars to compare quotes from different rental agencies. Check Price Here!
- Protect Your Trip: Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance! We always carry travel insurance to protect us from injury, theft, or a canceled trip. We use HeyMondo for our insurance needs.
- Tours in Greece: Check out our list of the best tours you can enjoy in Greece!
- Travel Adapter: Make sure you find a good adapter to keep your personal electronics charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land. Purchase one here.
READ MORE GREECE TRAVEL TIPS
I hope you enjoyed this guide on things to do in Kefalonia! Hopefully, you found it useful. Here are a few relevant articles for more travel around Greece!
- Best Beaches on Corfu
- The Best Things to do in Paros
- The Best Things to do in Naxos
- The Best Things to do in Crete
- The Best Things to do in Santorini
- The Best Things to do in Rhodes
- The Best Things to do in Mykonos
- The Best Things to do on Hydra
- 20 Greece Travel Tips to Know Before You Go
- How Much Does A Trip to Greece Cost?