Things to do in Kefalonia, Greece
Kefalonia is one of the hidden gems of Greece, with a diverse landscape, vibrant villages, and a tranquil atmosphere unlike any other in the country. In contrast to the iconic white houses you find in places like Santorini or Milos, Kefalonia is adorned with beautiful Mediterranean-style houses, adding to its distinct charm.
From navigating the jaw-dropping cliff roads with panoramic views to lounging on one of the countless beaches (some of which can only be accessed by boat), there’s so much to discover. The locals are incredibly welcoming, and although it’s slowly growing in popularity, Kefalonia remains somewhat of a secret paradise still.
1. Asos Village
Asos (or Assos) is a picturesque village that lies nestled in the lush, towering hills on the northern peninsula of Kefalonia, Greece. As you approach the village, colorful streets unfold before you, perched along the waters full of fishing boats and lush palms.
Explore the lively town and walk along the charming quay lined with cute tavernas and cafes, only pausing to indulge in a delicious frappe. Continue on, and you’ll eventually meet the village’s tranquil pebbled beach.
Above the bay across from town stands a Venetian castle (the town began under Venetian rule in 1593 when it was the administrative capital of northern Cephalonia). Because of this, you’ll find various ruins from this time perched between the town’s colorful houses. Though it’s a bit of a climb, you’ll be rewarded with stunning vistas over the beautiful village of Asos below.
Assos is one of the best things to do in Kefalonia, as it’s one of the most colorful villages in Greece. However, due to its size, parking is minimal. If you’re traveling by car, try to arrive as early as possible and park along the road (which is often shared with free-roaming goats!). Here’s the location.
2. Myrtos Beach – Top Thing to do in Kefalonia
About 15 minutes from Assos lies the most beautiful viewpoint of the island. Perched 320 meters high, it offers breathtaking views over the entire island of Kefalonia. It’s similar to the renowned Zakynthos shipwreck beach viewpoint on the neighboring island, where you’re treated to a great vantage point.
From here, explore the nearby sea cave, watch the azure blue waters and white pebbles of Myrtos Beach, or soak up the warm Mediterranean sun. Myrtos Beach is one of the best things to do in Kefalonia, Greece (You’ll also find our sticker here!).
Known for its crystal-clear water and beautiful scenery, the Melissani Lake Cave is one of the most popular things to do in Kefalonia. Embark on a boat trip with a knowledgeable guide to navigate through the cave’s waters, admiring the many stalactites.
A short walk through a tunnel leads you to the main highlight: a lake with an open ceiling, where natural light beams through onto the crystal-clear water. Here, hop on a boat for a 10-15 minute adventure and witness how the light rays shimmer onto the cave walls.
Entrance to the blue underground lake costs 10 EUR (10.70 USD) and includes the boat ride and admission to the captivating Drogarati Cave. If you’re just visiting the Melissani Cave, a single ticket costs 8 EUR (8.55 USD).
The best time to visit the cave is between 11 AM and 2 PM when the sunshine pierces the water from above. However, keep in mind that this is also the busiest time to visit, and you might have to wait in line.
4. Ghost Town
After an earthquake in 1953 shook the island, many people fled the beautiful towns of Kefalonia. Though some people did return, a few villages remain abandoned. These ghost towns now stand frozen in time as a testament to the island’s history and resilience. Perhaps one of the most interesting experiences is to roam through one of these villages and take in the quiet atmosphere.
Old Vlachata is one of the ghost towns in Kefalonia, previously inhabited by over 800 people. From the facades of buildings, streets, wells, old stone ovens, and many tools and objects left behind by settlers, there’s a lot to see on a quick visit. Witness the silent passage of time within the remains of the village as it’s slowly being reclaimed by nature, with trees and greenery interwoven amidst the crumbling structures.
How to get to Old Vlachata
To get to the town of Vlachata, you can hike, bike, or drive the 5-kilometer journey from Sami-Karavomylos. The village also lies close to other island highlights, like the Melissani Cave, making Vlachata an interesting thing to do in Kefalonia.
5. Mt. Ainos National Park
Mount Ainos reigns as the tallest mountain in Kefalonia, reaching an impressive height of 1.628 meters. This grand mountain is part of the National Park, with a picturesque landscape full of pines and fir trees. However, what really makes Mount Ainos unique is that it’s the only national park on the island — spanning over 3000 hectares.
Between the lusciousness, many hiking trails take you through the park and past breathtaking viewpoints where you can admire the landscape from above. If you have the time, hike the popular Megas Soros trail, which takes you all the way to the summit of Mt. Ainos (4.5 hours). Up here, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views over the hills, limestone outcrops, and shimmering Ionian Sea.
Drogarati Cave is an impressive natural wonder and one of the best things to do in Kefalonia, Greece. It’s often combined with the other cave on the island, Melissani Lake, known as one of the most captivating underground treasures.
Rich in geological history, the Drogarati Cave has an interesting backstory. It was discovered in the 18th century after an earthquake opened up the entrance. These days, to enter the cave, you’ll descend a short flight of stairs, which will lead you to a beautiful chamber full of stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is nicely illuminated, allowing you to fully take in the colorful sights.
Visiting the Drogarati Cave
A visit to the Drogarati cave typically takes no more than 10 minutes but is really worth a visit! It’s also a welcome escape from the hot summer sun with a cool temperature of 18 degrees.
Entrance to the cave costs 5 EUR (5.35 USD) or 10 EUR (10.70 USD) for a combined ticket with Melissani Cave.
Tip: Keep in mind that the cave can be slippery due to water drops, so be careful as you walk.
7. Argostoli City
Welcome to Argostoli, the bustling capital and largest town of Kefalonia. Located on one of the western peninsulas of the island and connected by a pedestrian bridge that spans the water, it offers a vibrant atmosphere that perfectly blends the charm of a town with the conveniences of a city.
Stroll along the lovely boulevard and square, stop at the different restaurants, bars, and shops, and visit the Archeological Museum. The picturesque harbor makes a beautiful setting, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot turtles lazily swimming in the bay.
Argostoli serves as the island’s beating heart, making it a great base for day trips to nearby highlights and beaches.
8. Go Beach-Hopping
Stunning turquoise waters, soft yellow sand, and sky-high rocky cliffs are what you can expect from the beaches in Kefalonia, Greece. Nothing tops soaking up the warm summer sun while you laze on your beach towel and listen to the gentle waves of the Ionian Sea. Some of our favorites are:
- Kako Lagadi Beach (Asprogerakas) – a tiny bay with crystal clear waters and light pebbles, best visited early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
- Fteri Beach – turquoise waters, dramatic coastline, and unique scenery make Fteri Beach one of the best things to do in Kefalonia. To get there, you’ll either have to arrange a boat, join a cruise, or hike one of the two trails that start in Atheras village and Zola.
- Antisamos Beach – best for swimming and sunbathing. This east coast beach is famous as the location of the Hollywood movie ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’.
- Makris Gialos Beach – a beautiful golden bay surrounded by rock formations and pine trees, located close to the island’s capital city Argostoli. There are sunbeds, umbrellas, and a beach bar here.
- Emplisi Beach – partially covered by trees, Emplisi Beach lies in the north of Kefalonia. It’s an excellent spot for snorkeling or SUP surfing.
- Pessada Beach – home to shallow and clear water, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. It’s a wild and rugged area with no amenities, which adds to its private charm. There’s a tiny parking area (just for a few cars), so get here early.
- Skala Beach – a long sandy beach situated in the small fishing village of Skala on the southern point of Kefalonia. Just above the beach, you’ll find plenty of restaurants, cafes, and mini-markets.
Fiskardo is undoubtedly one of the most charming and picturesque villages in Kefalonia, Greece. Surrounded by beautiful bays of crystal-clear water on the island’s northern tip, this maritime town offers many things to do.
Soak up the quaint atmosphere as you wander through the town, admiring the vibrant colors of the flowers and shutters on the houses. Or, rent a bike and tour along the unpaved roads, watching as the locals tend to their boats in the port.
Nearby you’ll find the Venetian Lighthouse and Emplisi and Foki Beach, where you get to bask in the beautiful waters. From here, embark on one of the many hiking trails, or head out onto the Ionian Sea with a SUP or boat to discover hidden gems in the area.
Alternatively, history lovers will enjoy the Roman Cemetery, revealing an interesting glimpse into the past with numerous sites dating back to the first Christian Era (2nd century A.D.!).
The village is also home to many charming tavernas, cafes, bakeries, and boutiques, making it the perfect place to delve into delicious Greek cuisine (a must-try cafe for breakfast is Melina). A trip to Fiskardo is one of the best things to do in Kefalonia.
10. Visit a Winery
Besides olive oil and honey, Greece is famously known for its delicious wine production. Kefalonia, in particular, boasts a unique grape variety called Robola, which is exclusively grown in this area, thriving on Kefalonia’s steep and rocky slopes.
Beautiful wineries across the island showcase the quality and character of this delicious product, like the renowned Orealios Gaea Winery and Haritatos Estate. The winemaking here is done with minimal interaction, letting nature run its course.
Explore the distinctive flavor of Kefalonia’s Robola wines by joining a tour – perfect for wine enthusiasts!
11. Monastery of Agios Gerasimos
Nestled next to the Orealios Gaea Winery, under the majestic Mount Ainos, lies the monastery of Agios Gerasimos in Kefalonia. This sacred pilgrimage site is dedicated to the island’s patron saint, St. Gerasimos, who lived during the 16th century. With its radiant frescoes, a courtyard full of plane trees, and gleaming silver reliquary, the pinkish building makes a must-visit on the island.
Inside, you’ll find a trap door that leads to a cave. This is believed to be the hermitage where Gerasimos lived before the monastery’s construction. The saint’s body remains on the location, preserved inside the neighboring church. Both buildings are free to visit.
12. Castle of Agios Georgios
Perched high atop a hill stands the Castle of Agios Georgios in all its grandeur and history. The impressive remains of this great fortress lie only 15 minutes outside the capital Argostoli, making it the perfect location to visit on a day trip out of town. As you explore the romantic Byzantine ruins surrounded by the beautiful Mount Ainos and the Ionian Sea, immerse yourself in the fascinating legacies of this ancient stronghold.
Nowadays, the captivating old walls lay intertwined with overgrown greenery, offering a little glimpse into the island’s rich history.
Tip: After your visit, we recommend heading to Il Borgo Restaurant for a delicious lunch.
The Best Restaurants and Cafes in Kefalonia
Kefalonia boasts a wide variety of traditional dishes that, just like the Robola wine, are unique to the Greek island. Whether it’s the famous appetizer Riganada, Strapatsada (scrambled eggs) for breakfast, or Ladokouloura cookies (made with olive oil) – there’s a lot to try. Some of our favorite food spots on the island are:
- Alexandros Restaurant Grill
- Il Borgo Restaurant
- 3 Wise Monkeys
- Makis Restaurant
- Melina (Breakfast & Lunch)
Tip: In Greece, you always get dessert, whether it’s a drink or a proper Greek yogurt treat!
Where to Stay
With so many beautiful locations on the island, there’s no wrong area you can stay in. Especially if you’re traveling through Kefalonia by car, it’s easy to get to all the island’s highlights. However, we recommend basing yourself in Argostoli or North in Assos or Fiskardo. From here, you can make easy day trips, and you’re also close to the airport. We stayed a few days at this hotel in Argostoli.
If you’re traveling the island with multiple people, it’s a lot of fun to rent a villa together. We stayed with a friend in late April at this villa, and it was the best place ever!
If a resort holiday is more your thing, then it’s best to stay in the south/southeast near Skala. Here you’ll find more beach clubs and restaurants, but you’re further away from all the things to do in Kefalonia.
How Many Days in Kefalonia?
To see most of the beautiful Kefalonia, Greece, we recommend staying at least 4 days on the island. Start in Argostoli and visit the surrounding sites like the wineries, monastery, and castle.
From there, make your way to the stunning Myrtos beach and the bustling town of Assos. After soaking up the tranquil atmosphere, head over to the quaint fisherman’s town of Fiskardo. Here, explore the caves, Antisamos Beach, and Old Vlachata (if you’ve got the time).
How to Visit Kefalonia, Greece
As the island is slowly becoming a more popular travel destination in Greece, there’s now an international airport with connections to other destinations in Europe and daily flights from Athens.
The best way to get around the stunning island is either by rental car or motorbike, as buses aren’t common. With your own transportation, it only takes 1.5 hours to get from one side of the island to the other. There are a few motorbike rentals on the island.
Though far less crowded than the neighboring island Zakynthos, it can get very busy on the road during the peak months (July – August). You’ll find some narrow roads, especially around the mountains, but there are also some great highways. We highly recommend renting a car or driver to get around Kefalonia, Greece.
How Much Does Kefalonia Cost?
Compared to popular Greek destinations like Santorini or Mykonos, Kefalonia offers a much more affordable experience. While prices depend on the season, accommodation, food, and activities remain quite reasonable.
Best Time to Travel
The best time to travel to Kefalonia, Greece, is outside the main travel season (July – August). During these summer months, there is a high volume of traffic. Because of this, visiting in May- June or September is much better. The weather is warm, the island is green, and there are fewer vehicles and people on the island.
Outside the peak months, the island gets really quiet as not many people live here (most only visit in the summer). If you’re visiting during the low season, April – May or October, it’s best to call a restaurant beforehand to see if it’s open.