Kefalonia’s fine shingle stretches, bleached white in the sun and lapped by pale teal waters, tend to steal the show – but there’s more than just beaches in Kefalonia. Underground lakes, stalactite-framed caves, terraced vineyards: this Greek beauty is as dramatic as it is diverse. Here are the top 10 things to do on your Kefalonia holiday.
Indulge in wine tasting
It may be the bone-white beaches that first catch your eye in Kefalonia, but if you head inland you’ll discover a patchwork of vineyards responsible for some of the finest wines in Greece. Vineyard tours and wine tastings are two of the finest things to do in Kefalonia; a couple of good options are Gentilini Winery and the 19th-century Haritatos Estate in Lixouri.
Visit the Monastery of Agios Gerasimos
The Monastery of Agios Gerasimos is one of the most tranquil places to visit in Kefalonia. In the middle of the island, the peaceful haven is perched atop the Omala plateau, overshadowed only by Mount Ainos. Originally dating back to 1560, the restored building pays homage to Kefalonia’s patron saint, Gerasimos, who was believed to have cured many people with mental illnesses. Today it’s a pilgrimage site. You can see the saint’s tomb and his cavern quarters beneath the monastery.
Head off-grid with an outdoor adventure
If you’d rather escape the tourist trail, sign up for an intrepid adventure with Outdoor Kefalonia. Kayak among coves only accessible by sea, or duck into remote caves where the endangered monk seal may bob up beside you. Alternatively join a 4WD safari to hurtle past dramatic landscapes and everyday scenes, from mountain goats sheltering beneath olive trees to the swathe of dark firs blanketing Mount Ainos.
Row into Melissani Cave
Once worshipped by the Ancient Greeks, this 130ft-wide underground lake near Sami was only rediscovered in 1951 by palaeontologist Giannis Petrochilos. Rowing boats duck into the teal-coloured splash via an underground tunnel, ducking beneath stalactites and around moss-covered corners. Visit at midday when the sun puts a natural spotlight on the pool – one of the most extraordinary places to visit in Kefalonia.
Dive beneath the surface
Kefalonia is one of the top diving destinations in Greece, thanks to a rocky coastline and clear waters. Some of the best centres are Aquatic World and Fiskardo Divers, which offer both courses and tours. Popular dives include the Temple Cave in Fiskardo and the Blue Canyon in Lassi.
Hike Mount Ainos
The vertiginous Mount Ainos, or ‘Black Mountain’, climbs to a 5341ft summit – the highest viewpoint in the Ionian archipelago. Wild horses and deer roam beneath the cover of the dark Abies cephalonica firs, after which the island is named. Protected under national park status, the forest is carpeted in wild flowers, while hawks and woodpeckers can sometimes be spotted among the trees.
Gawp at the ancient acropolis of Sami
The ancient acropolis of Sami can be reached on foot by well-marked trails, which also connect a clutch of Roman remains. After the scenic walk, wander around the scattered remains of the crumbling citadel, which has evidence of fortifications dating back to the Classical and Hellenistic era (5th–2nd century BC).
Immerse yourself in mythical Ithaca
Ithaca, cast adrift in the Ionian Sea, is steeped in Greek mythology. This tiny speck is the fabled home of Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s epic Odyssey. Kefalonia Excursions offers a boat trip to Ithaca that takes in hidden beaches, inland waterways and isolated harbours. Have a look at our self-catered villas in Ithaca!
Take to the water
Hop aboard a boat for a serene way to explore Kefalonia. The Ionian Sea shimmers before you like a diamond-studded blanket, while coves bite into the coastline and slender inlets disappear through sheer limestone gorges. Pick a glass-bottomed vessel to see colourful fish dart beneath your feet or sign up for a village-to-village journey for a taste of local life; try Ionian Discoveries or Kefaloniá Cruises.
Now you know what’s good in Kefalonia, why not check out our collection of luxury villas in Kefalonia? Don’t hesitate to contact our lovely concierge team if you need a helping hand with your booking!