Cast adrift from mainland Greece, Kefalonia is fringed by some of the best beaches in the Ionian archipelago. Sheer cliffs plunge to sun-bleached coves, kissed by waters in unfathomable shades of blue. If you time your visit right, you can be rewarded with wonderfully empty beaches. But even in the summer months, it’s near impossible not to be able to claim a towel-sized patch of sand. Here are the 10 best beaches in Kefalonia for a sun-soaked villa holiday.
Best for secluded swims: Emplisi Beach
At the northern tip of Kefalonia, the rocky unspoiled coastline wrapping around Fiskardo is dotted with near-deserted beaches. One of the best is Emplisi, a small arc of bone-white shingle. This tranquil hideout is flanked by limestone that turns the water impossibly blue – a dreamy swimming and snorkelling spot.
Best for off-grid relaxation: Kimilia Beach
If you want the beauty of Emplisi, but you want somewhere to yourself, continue up the coast to Kimilia. This isn’t the easiest to reach: either a half-hour uphill clamber through an uneven oak wood or a 10-minute boat journey around the bay. But that’s the point – you’re unlikely to bump into another soul. With pale aquamarine waters and silvery sands, Kimilia tops the list of best beaches in Kefalonia.
Best for Instagram: Myrtos Beach
This crescent of blonde sand may be one of the most Instagrammed – yet it still retains its unspoilt charm. That’s not to say it’s free from crowds; go early to nab a sun lounger. Sheltered by plunging cliffs and lapped by impossibly turquoise waters, you quickly see why it’s one of the most photographed beaches in Greece.
Best for crowd-dodging: Platia Ammos Beach
This pristine beach with white powdery sands would be flocked with visitors if it weren’t so far off the beaten track. Seven miles from Lixouri, Platia Ammos can only be reached by boat. It used to accessible via 280 rock steps carved into the cliffside, but they were damaged by the 2014 earthquake. There are no restaurants or bars, nor sunbeds or umbrellas, but that’s all part of its charm. It’s simply one of the best beaches in Kefalonia to unplug and relax.
Best for scenic surrounds: Antisamos Beach
The cool, calm waters of Antisamos are an astonishing shade of turquoise, and beg to be dived into on a sultry Greek summer’s day. This is one of the best places to visit in Kefalonia if you love sea swimming. Forest-cloaked hills tumble down to the bay, concealing the small pebble beach at the foot. It’s close to Sami, where much of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was filmed.
Best for food: Spartià Beach
This gleaming bay, dotted with rocky enclaves and natural pools, is an idyllic place to snorkel. Concealed by a wall of cragged limestone, a crescent of golden sand trails off to a wooden jetty, where the haul of local fishermen appears in taverns that day. Feast on fresh seafood at the cliffside Waterway, among the best restaurants in Kefalonia.
Best for road-trippers: Horgota beach
Another location from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Horgota is a pine-fringed gem that’s a bit of a slog to reach – but it’ worth the effort. Accessed by a long, incredibly scenic road overlooking the sea, this pebbly crescent is as secluded as it is stunning. Driving to Horgota is one of our favourite things to do in Kefalonia.
Best for families: Avithos Beach
With balmy shallows and a wide swathe of reddish-gold sand, Avithos is a good choice for children. Close to the village of Svoronata and a short drive from Argostoli, the beach is easy to reach and has all-day snack bars to satisfy hungry bellies. Forested mountains dip to the sand, which faces out over the tiny church-crowned islet of Dias.
Best for spa fans: Xi Beach
Xi hugs the southern coast of the Paliki peninsula, with striking rust sands that burn red at sunset. It also has a secret up its sleeve: the clay from the surrounding cliffs turns into a natural mud mask when mixed with water – nourishing for sun-scorched skin. Rub it over your body, then rinse off when it hardens.
Best for dramatic beauty: Petani Beach
Another Paliki big-hitter, Petani is a white sand-and-shingle beach with crystal-clear shallows. A smattering of sun loungers and parasols line the shore, backed onto by a couple of taverns. The local monasteries and villages are also some of the prettiest places to visit in Kefalonia.
Map of the best beaches in Kefalonia: