Our choice for this year summer vacation was island of Kefalonia – the biggest Ionian island. Kefalonia is the island of beautiful beaches, including Myrtos beach – one of the most beautiful in the world, with marvelous landscapes, lovely places, kind hosts, in short – you can´t find the flaw in it.

Why Kefalonia?

Because the tourism on Kefalonia is just about thirty years old. Nature is intact, most of the beaches are in their original shape, the island is big enough so you won’t get bored, it is the great destination for honey moon too, single vacation, and also for family vacation with small or bigger children.

When it is the best time for holiday on Kefalonia?

In the july is quite warm and significantly livelier, as on the beaches and on the streets. In the September, weather can be changeable. Based on my experience, 30% of my staying there in the September, weather was not suitable for swimming.

Fiscardo Kefalonia
Fiscardo Kefalonia

According to the weather, these are my recommendations:

  • If you don’t like the crowd and strong sun, then July and august are not for you
  • Families with small children , better September, children won’t be that nervous because of the low summer temperature, you will have more space on the beach
  • For us who do not mind the sun, do not like rain while we are on the seaside, love to feel summer throng because we are still feeling young, and want dynamic environment, the right time is from July 20th to August 20th
  • For seniors, the best is the end of the September and October, they say, then there is the less swimming, but more enjoying and no hurry.

Where is the best accommodation on this big island?

Island has 250 km long shore, so you need time to come on the other side. As we are on the vacation and we do not want to spend all they in the car, it is very important to choose the most optimal location for accommodation. My recommendations are little towns Lassi, Skala and Fiskardo – in which we stayed.

Lassi and Skala are on the very coast and have their long sandy beaches, and few romantic bays. Lassi is a small place, everything you need is located in one street: taverns, stores, souvenir shops and cafes. In the most restaurants you can enjoy in amazing greek dance, and that is our recommendation, and the best atmosphere is during one of those evenings, and also fantastic cuisine, great service is offered by “Zorba’s restaurant. You will feel like you are at home.

Everything seems like it is at the reach of your hand, and yet big and wide. They are well connected with the rest of the island, so you could easily come to Fiskard, Sami and Lixoury, and to the continental part of the island, from both towns. Quality of accommodation is good and there is something for every budget.

How did we get to the island? If the distance of 1500 km doesn’t seem big to you, you can, as we were, come to Kefalonia by car. The trip to Kefalonia (and back) can be as much satisfaction, as staying in island. If you calculate the price of a plane ticket, airport taxes, money for the rent a car on Kefalonia (and it is necessary to take a little ride around the island at least 2-3 days), and you will see that, if you come by car, you will have few hundreds of euros extra in you budget.

We came from the Italy early in the morning – or at night (about 3 am), without any problem, thanks to the great roads, including new highway section across Macedonia, and after 11 am, we were close to the Thesaloniki.

Prices of toll

In the Macedonia it costs (in one way) 3e, you can pay it in euros on the pay toll; at  the entrance of Greece it is 3e for recording your vehicle, on the one more place it is 2e -toward the Athens, and you need to pay using undersea tunnel in Prevesa, and the crossing over the new bridge across the Peloponnesian channel (10,5e). That’s it.

From the highway toward the Athens, you should turn to west, where you are come to the beautiful new highway section. The road passes partly through the plain, and with other part through the mountain – so you will see the numbers of tunnels, modernly equipped, with a various traffic lights, ventilation and so.
Road leads further to Prevesa, that is located at the entrance of Andakikos bay. Under the entrance in the bay, undersea tunnel is located, which is considerable short cut. Soon you are coming to Lefkada, island that is connected to the mainland by drawbridge, so you don’t bother with a ferry. You are entering directly in the namesake city, Lefkada.

Passing through Lefkada

Lefkada is pleasant place, and, at the first sight, the whole island seems like ideal place for rest (next year). If you miss a ferry, it is not problem to find lodging at Lefkada and continue your trip the next day. As for the ferry, so you could arrive to Kefalonia, the most suitable is to go from Lefkada, from the Vasiliki, the the southernmost place on island. Another link is from Nidri, with a bit longer sailing because a ferry first drops at Ithaca. Price for car (plus 4 of us) was 40e.

Fiskardo – Greek Saint-Trope

So, here we are finally on Kefalonia. We have landed in Fiskardo, the northernmost tip of the island. Some call it the Greek “Saint-Tropez”, because of its fashionable spirit, numerous yachts and fabulous restaurants.

Fiscardo Harbor
Fiscardo Harbor

Our destination was a hotel Kefalonia Palace, next to the famous “Xi” beach and 50 kilometers from Lixouri, the second largest city on the island. The road from Fiskardo to Lixouri is meandering on slopes of Kefalonia’s hills and mountains, with at least some of the places that are dragging you to stop and enjoy the landscape, beautiful colors of the sea and interesting places. These are primarily the city and fortress of Asos and the famous beach Myrtos.

Paradise beach on Kefalonia

Myrtos Beach

The greatest wealth of the island is the large number of beautiful beaches. Myrtos Beach is one of the 10 “most beautiful” beaches in the world. The sea is absolutely turquoise, beach is a combination of fine sand and white pebbles, two beach chairs and umbrella are 9 € per day (and that much they will charge if you arrive at 4 pm), no shade, except for a small mounting bar.

The worst is that there is no shelter for car, so if you do not have air conditioning, it is better to stay until 7-8 in the evening on the beach. One day when we have visited Myrtos in Divarata, 4 km above Myrtos there were some 35-36 degrees, while the on beach was (un)bearable 44 degrees. But the sea, swimming, juices, youth (?) – can bear everything.

Myrtos Beach Kefalonia
Myrtos Beach Kefalonia

Makris Gialos beach

Along the whole town of Lassi  a fantastic beach “Makris Gialos” stretches. Fine sand, with no lumps and the crystal clear blue sea. We stayed on the part of the beach that maintains Costa Costa bar, beautifully decorated area with blue and red chairs and sunshades, sun umbrella and canopy. Wherever you lie down, you will be comfortable. Of course, the beach is very large, and therefore you can wear your beach equipment (umbrellas, deck chairs, etc.). The water also has a place for everyone, no pushing, no splashing, absolutely everyone can enjoy and be maximum relaxed.

Makris Gialos Beach
Makris Gialos Beach

Petani Beach

Relatively close is Petani Beach, more gravelly, if you have more time you can stop there. One day can be reserved for the Paliki “peninsula”, too, the western part of Kefalonia, with lively landscapes, and not very picturesque places. It all depends on whether you have an available car, whether you like to explore, what beaches you like the most.

“Xi” Beach

It’s truth, of all the beaches we have visited in Kefalonia, “Xi” beach was the most for our taste at the end. Reddish small sand, light entering the sea, shallow for entertainment, for both children and adults, and the space environment of clay “rocks and cliffs,” all in the length of several kilometers. Although we have never heard official confirmation of the healing clay, a lot of visitors of Xi beach were smudging this, healing (?) clay. One can not say that because of that you feel like you are in a spa, it all seems more like a fun.

Xi Beach Kefalonia
Xi Beach Kefalonia

The sea was chilly for a few days, what is unusual for Greece, but after that, everything fell into a place. Wind usually stirs in the afternoon, but it was generally blowing from the coast towards the sea, so that the beach, which is slightly below the level of the surrounding land, was always in the shelter, and thus a very pleasant place for resting.

Lourdas Beach

Lourdas Beach is on the south coast of Kefalonia. It is located near the Skala, has a private atmosphere, and one part is arranged with deck chairs for rent. In the village behind the beach there are restaurants, bars and taverns with live music. The resort is interesting by itslef, traditional with a beautiful small market.

Attention to earthquakes

However, probably the only drawback is that it is an island located in turbulent zone - as they say, 50% of earthquakes of Europe  happens in Greece, and the Greek - 50% in the broader area of Kefalonia. During our stay we were able to assure ourselves in this information, and we were one night shook by almost 5 on the Richter scale. Our hosts at the hotel calmly in the morning let us know  that earthquakes are, of course, just an ordinary tourist attraction for new guests to Kefalonia and the hotel is designed to withstand even 9 degrees without consequences.

What do visit and see on the island?

The town Lixouri

Lixouri is a nice place for an evening out, especially if you are staying somewhere near the it. Pleasant harbor, deli, supermarkets, a couple of streets with small shops, a small amusement park for children, more or less everything you'd expect from some of similar cities in Greece. From Lixouri every half an hour (full season) goes the ferry to Argostoli, the capital of Kefalonia. The journey takes about 25 minutes and costs about € 7 (cars + the four of us). Of course, it's nice to get there in the evening and without a car, because Argostoli is not so big that you can´t stroll to most of its parts. Another option is to travel by car around the Gulf of Argostoli, which is about 35 km drive on not so perfect road.

Black Forest on Enosom

Kefalonia island is mostly mountainous, with the highest peak of Enos even 1628 m high. The highest peak can be reached by car, including the 12 km long gravel section. The view is spectacular and worth the effort. At the top of Kefalonia is so called. "Black Forest", a rarity of Greece and Europe, Kefalonia pine habitat, which until recently could only be found on this island. In these forests, they say, you can still find wild horses! Also mentioned and wild goats with gold and silver teeth for grazing rich with minerals, then unusual, harmless snakes with a pattern in the shape of a cross.

Geological phenomena

In addition to natural, Kefalonia is rich in geological phenomena - sea water that sinks near Argostoli, mixed with groundwater and rainwater, and then rises about 15 km away near the town of Sami. Not far from Sami, you can visit the underground lake Melisani where will local boatmen ride (for a few €) for about ten minutes, then cave Drogarati, beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, and there is a small lake in Karavomilos, near the sea, combined with wonderful tavern with live Greek music. Besides the natural beauty around Sami you can visit the famous Antisami pebble beach, famous for having filmed that movie "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" with Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz. No big deal, but just so you know.

Monastery of St. Gerasimos

Monastery of St. Gerasimos is the most beautiful and the most famous on the island, although there are a lot of older people, for example. near the town of Poros, the main port in the east of the island, where the monastery of Our Lady of Atros, probably from the thirteenth century. However, monastery is the top position where pilgrims arrive from whole Greece, St. Gerasim, known as wonderworker and the patron saint of Kefalonia, lived in the sixteenth century; became a monk as very young.

Fortress of St. George

Visiting the monastery can be part of the trip in which you will visit the fortress of St. George, leaning on a cute little town, with a few small restaurants with stunning views to the south coast of Kefalonia and Argostoli and Lixouri. Fortress has a remarkable position and you have the feeling that you see it where ever you go around the island.

Robola Winery

Right next to the monastery of St. Gerasimos local winery "Robola" is located, where we had a presentation and tasting of wines made from the most famous types of grapes on the island - Robo. Smooth, sweet, dry, red, white. The owner of the winery is a very amiable Englishman, a pensioner, who took us through the winery and offered us to taste a dozen different wines, of which we bought three, of course, cheaper than anywhere else on the island. Online Robola is also packaged in a glass bottle shape of Kefalonia, the price is about 9 € and looks very attractive - as a possible gift.

Ice cream in Argostoli

Argostoli is the capital of Kefalonia, since 1757. Beautiful "palms" in the harbor, on a wide, decorated with mosaics coast is one of the hallmarks of this small town, but there is also a number of examples of modern architecture, there is a Drapano bridge, which connects Argostoli to the opposite shore of the bay, there is a large central square. Otherwise, if you come to the main square, and love ice cream, you can visit the famous pastry shop, which they say has the best ice cream after Sicily. We have not tried the Sicilian, but this ice cream is perfect! No sign of water ice and similar ingredients that can be found in other ice creams. The scoops were huge, much higher price !! If you take your scoops and eat them "on foot", a scoop was € 1.8, and if you sit down and enjoy the comfortable armchairs pastry shops, this is a negligible 2.8 € per scoop. Price is a real trifle! But that is some  good ice cream!

A trip to Ithaca

In the Lassi there is a great travel agency "Panem", which we recommend if you want to go to some of the organized excursions. They have a very good organization, relaxing option, not strenuous and exhausting. The first trip that we decided to go was the tour boat "Romance" to Ithaca that includes sailing to a small, beautiful town of Kioni where we stayed for 45 minutes, a short walk and sipping coffee in one of the cafes, just enough time, and you can see everything, take a picture, quite enough, considering it's a small, little place.

Ithaca Greece

We are climbing on the boat and continue to the major city Vathy, pause here was longer, but it was more interesting. Here you can see the monument of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, and not far from there the big anchor. You may want to visit the archaeological museum, if you evaluate that  you have enough time. Everything is close, there is absolutely no reason to hurry. So much for this trip, great experience.

Surrounding of Skala is full of intimate beaches that are often haven of popular Caretta-Caretta turtles, known attractions of the island.

 

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