Located in the heart of the Ionian Sea, Cephalonia or Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian islands. An idyllic paradise of sparkling blue waters, picturesque villages, verdant forest-clad mountains and exquisitely beautiful beaches, Kefalonia is a much-beloved destination that will move you with its incredible beauty. In addition to its scenic coastline, there’s a wealth of natural wonders, ancient monuments and legendary Mediterranean cuisines to be enjoyed. With dramatic landscapes and centuries-old history peeking from every corner on this island, you are going to be hard-pressed to pick out the destinations you want to visit! Read on to know the best things to do in Cephalonia, Greece, and fill your trip to this wonderland with memories of a lifetime.
1. Be amazed by the ruins of Acropolis of Ancient Sami
Walk up the hill of Lapitha Mountain on a scenic trail to reach the ruins of an ancient city. Said to date back to the Paleolithic times, the Acropolis of Ancient Sami was a flourishing fortified town with an independent status until it lost out to Romans in 188 B.C. Today, you can explore its remains and admire the scattered remnants of its remarkable structures. What is even more remarkable here are the views from the summit - enjoy unparalleled views of Sami Harbor, Agia Effimia and forested hills inland.
2. Marvel at the panoramic views from Assos Castle
One of the largest castles in Greece and the biggest of the two in Kelafonia, the Venetian Castle of Assos sits atop the Assos peninsula. Built-in the 16th century by the Venetians to protect the village of Assos, the castle had a massive wall, measuring 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) length as its outer periphery. As you walk up the stone path leading to the castle remains, you will see preserved portions of the wall as well as an arched entry gate. Inside, you’ll find a few ruins such as that of the small church of St. Mark and a house of the Venetian High Commissioner along with some more buildings. Not surprisingly, the views are breathtaking - you will be able to see down to the village of Assos, the Assos port as well as the nearby gorgeous bays.
One of the most spectacular sights in Kefalonia is the subterranean Drogarati Cave. This millennia-old cavern features striking rock formations that will leave you wonderstruck. Take a tour to visit this cave and walk around its cool interiors exploring the magnificent natural “Sala of Apotheosis” hall and experience its awe-inspiring acoustics.
Duration: 4 hours
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This customizable private tour is the perfect way for you to explore the highlights of the island at your own pace. There are many stunning destinations like the Monastery of Agios Gerasimos and Drogarati cave that can be covered, but the top one is surely Melissani Lake Cave. Take the short boat cruise to marvel at this cave that has a lake inside with the clearest water you will see. Go around the glassy-blue waters and see the cave’s two chambers - one where you can see the unforgettable sight of sun striking the clearwater and the other a subterranean cave with amazing formations of stalagmites and stalactites.
Duration: 5 hours
5. Enjoy gastronomical delights at Votsalo Restaurant & Cocktail Bar
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Votsalo Restaurant & Cocktail Bar is the main restaurant of the Emelisse Hotel. Counted among the best restaurants of Fiscardo, Votsalo offers an array of scrumptious Kefalonian and Mediterranean dishes made from high-quality local ingredients. The restaurant offers a fine-dining setting with magnificent views of the ocean and the bay that make the experience really special. So sit back and watch a sunset as you enjoy a gourmet experience. The signature dish here is the Tomahawk.
Votsalo Restaurant & Cocktail Bar
Address: Fiskardo, Kefalonia
Opening hours: Sun - Fri: 8am - 11:30pm; Sat: 8am - 11pm
This guided Kefalonian wine-tasting tour offers you the chance to get an inside look at how the region’s celebrated wines are made. Hosted by a knowledgeable and friendly guide, you will visit a selection of vineyards, speak to the winemakers and learn all about the regional wines. From the growing process to bottling, you will get to see it all. You will also get to taste the different kinds of wine! It goes without saying that the tour also includes glimpses of the island’s beautiful landscapes.
Duration: 4 hours
7. Enjoy the sunset with a drink at Logos Grand View
Although you have to brave a slightly steep climb up to this bar, the divine views of Argostoli Bay and the drinks are well worth the effort. Located on top of a hill, a short walk from the main road in Lass, this bar offers a relaxed setting amid which you can enjoy a meal and yummy cocktails. The bar also has an infinity pool with sunbeds on its grounds, which you can use for free. It is the perfect place to enjoy a laidback meal after a day of swimming and sightseeing!
Logos Grand View
Address: Argostoli, Kefalonia
Website: Logos Grand View
Opening hours: 9am - 3pm (daily)
8. Stop by the Lighthouse of Saint Theodoroi
An unmissable landmark of Argostoli, the capital of the island, Lighthouse of Saint Theodoroi is a circular structure with 20 columns topped by a dome. Standing on a man-made peninsula overlooking the sea, the lighthouse features a simple yet striking Doric architectural style. Originally built by the British in 1828 and named after a nearby church, the lighthouse was rebuilt after the 1953 earthquake destroyed it. Take an evening stroll to the site during sunset for incredible views or just enjoy a scenic walk to it from Lassi.
9. Relax at the serene Kounópetra Beach
Yet another gorgeous beach in Kefalonia, Kounópetra is a serene bay close to the small town of Lixouri. The narrow, long beach, though smaller than others, boasts clear turquoise waters with largely shallow waters making it ideal for children to enjoy the beach worry-free. The beach includes standard facilities like sunbed rentals and a tavern for refreshments.
10. Spend a day at the tranquil Eglina Beach
This horseshoe-shaped quiet beach is a hidden gem! Located around 6 km (3.7 mi) from Argostoli, near the village of Svoronata, Eglina Beach offers a clean sandy beach to walk and sunbathe, and clear waters to swim or snorkel in. You will find facilities like sunbeds/umbrella rentals, a store and also a bar serving drinks on the beach. However, reaching it can require you to have a car since it is tucked away behind the main roads.
11. Enjoy the wealth of beauty around Fiscardo Bay
Fiscardo Bay is a delightfully scenic place for you to enjoy splendid views of the open ocean and to explore the picturesque town of Fiscardo. It is also the perfect place to head if you are looking for boating adventures. Hire a boat from the port to see the mind-blowingly beautiful coastline in the surrounding area, featuring secluded beaches, prime spots to snorkel/swim and lovely coves. Alternatively, join a diving or kayaking group.
12. Explore the beautiful Kimilia Beach
Located around 3km (1.8 mi) from Fiscardo, this secluded small beach epitomizes Greece’s scenic wonders. A true hidden haven, you can sunbathe, swim and snorkel in the incredibly blue and crystal clear waters. Do remember to come prepared as there are no rental shops or taverns here! Just pure natural beauty! Reaching Kimilia Beach involves a short hike on a forest path from the parking lot. Up for some hiking? Then take the pathway through the surrounding cypress forest to reach yet another gorgeous beach found a short distance away; the Emblisi.
13. Pay your respects at the Sacred Monastery of Agios Gerasimos of Kefalonia
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
St. Gerasimos is the patron saint of Kefalonia, so this ancient monastery is a sacred pilgrimage site for the locals. The relics of St. Gerasimos are still present inside the church, preserved in a glass case above his tomb. While the church looks simple and modest on the outside, its interiors are regal and arresting with colorful frescos, icons, and golden embellishments.
Sacred Monastery of Agios Gerasimos of Kefalonia
Address: Omala Plain, Frangata, Greece
14. Stroll around the pretty Fiscardo Harbour
Looking something like straight out of a picture postcard, Fiscardo Harbour is a small port/harbor just off the village of Fiscardo on the northern side of Kefalonia. Quaint and scenic, the harbour offers a well-developed marina in addition to a beach with facilities for enjoying its superb waters. The village itself is charming with pastel-shaded houses and welcoming restaurants and boutiques. Around the village are densely forested mountains with olive trees and cypresses, adding a dramatic touch to the scene. Walk around the town and the beach and feast your eyes on this dreamy landscape.
15. Admire the architecture of Castle of Agios Georgios
Located around 7 km (4.3 mi) away from Argostoli, these impressive castle ruins showcase the magnificence of medieval architecture and construction. A wonderful bonus is the incredible 360-degree views of the countryside!. Thought to have been built initially by the Byzantine emperors around 12th century AD, the castle was later developed further by Venetians in the 16th century AD. The castle complex has a polygonal shape, as seen by its boundary walls. Walk around to explore the remnants of this monument like buildings, churches and cannons. Beware though, the castle is situated above the Peratata village on a hill, so it involves a bit of a hike.
Castle of Agios Georgios
Address: Livathou 281 00, Greece
Opening hours: (02 May - 31 Oct) Mon - Sun: 8am - 8pm; (01 Nov - 30 Apr) Mon - Sun: 8:30am - 3pm
16. Walk across the unique De Bosset Bridge
An iconic attraction in Argostoli is De Bosset Bridge, the world’s longest stone bridge over the sea. Measuring 690 meters (2,263 feet), this is a stone bridge built in 1813 that goes over the bay of Argostoli in Kefalonia. The now pedestrian-only bridge is a wonderful way to take in gorgeous views of Argostoli town, the lagoon and the ocean. As you take a serene walk down the bridge, you may catch sight of colorful fishes in the shallow waters and even loggerhead turtles. You will also pass by the striking monument, Kolona, a four-faced symmetrical obelisk that commemorates British stay in the region.
De Bosset Bridge (Drapano Bridge)
Address: Epar.Od. Argostoliou - Pessadon, 281 00, Greece
17. Look out for Loggerhead sea turtles on Argostoli Harbour
The Loggerhead turtle is the only turtle that nests in Greece. Found plenty around Argostoli, you can easily get a glimpse of these endangered animals when you walk around the harbor. These turtles usually can be seen around fishing boats that come into the harbour with their morning catch. Another popular place to spot them is the Koutavos Lagoon, close to De Bosset Bridge.
18. Take a tour of Kefalonian & Ithaca Microbrewery
Kefalonian Beer is the craft beer produced by the first brewery to be set up on the island of Kefalonia, currently supplied to the island only. Located in the Karavomylos area, Kefalonian & Ithaca Microbrewery is run by three passionate owners and makes its beer using ingredients that are 100% Greek in origin. Visit the brewery and you will receive an enthusiastic tour of the facilities, guided by one of the owners. Check out the brewing room, bottling and labeling area, and then taste its beers. The brewery currently offers two kinds of beer - a light bright lager called Premium Lager 5% and a stronger ale, the Red Beer 5.8%. You can find these beers in local cafes and restaurants.
Address: Karavomilos, Samis - Agias Efimias Road, Kefalonia
Website: Kefalonian Beer
Opening hours 24 hours (daily)
Not only will this cruise give you a chance to observe loggerhead turtles in Laganas Bay, but you will also get to see beautiful natural attractions like Keri Caves and the Turtle Island. Lasting for around five hours, on the cruise, you will observe loggerhead turtles in their natural environs, followed by cruising along the coastline taking in the wondrous sights of the Ionian Sea. See why Marathonisi has been nicknamed ‘Turtle Island’ and get a closer view of the striking rock formations of Keri Caves. A stop for swimming in the blue waters near Keri Caves is also included on the tour.
Duration: 5 hours
Visit one of Greece’s most extraordinary beaches on this two-hour guided tour. Myrtos Beach’s clean and clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches will leave you mesmerized. Spend some time swimming or simply indulge in a sunbathing session as you feast your eyes on the spectacular views of hilly mountains around you and blue oceans before. As the beach is rather rocky, do remember to wear appropriate shoes.
Duration: 5 hours
On this half-day tour, you will get a glimpse of the age-old processes followed in Kefalonia for making traditional produce, honey, wine and olive oil. A local guide will escort you to the premises of a few local producers where you will learn and observe how these items are made. Many of these businesses have been in operation for generations! The tour will not only give you a close look at Kefalonia’s rich culture but also give you a chance to taste authentically made honey, olive oil and wine. Additionally, after the tour, you will learn how to cook a traditional Kefalonia food with the help of a professional chef.
Duration: 5 hour
Spend a delightful day swimming at sandy virgin beaches and then witness a glorious sunset while on a boat. On this tour, you will first be taken to White Rocks Beach, which can be reached only via a boat, for sunbathing or swimming. Next is Xi Beach in Lixouri, where you can swim and experience natural therapy spa - the beach’s grey clay is said to have cleansing properties. The tour wraps up with a peaceful cruise as the sun sets on the horizon.
Duration: 5 hours
Explore the oft-overlooked part of Kefalonia’s beautiful coastline on this cruise. The custom cruise starts off at Poros/Skala and then goes through the southeast coast along Kefalonia, reaching the delightful town of Fiscardo. In between, you’ll stop depending on weather and preference at Sami, Karavomylos or the stunning Melissani’s Lake Cave. Then, at Fiscardo Village, enjoy its captivating charm of flagstoned alleys and authentic Venetian-style buildings. The tour includes a swim stop so you can have fun in the water too.
Duration: 5 hours
Experience the magical appeal of Fiscardo village on foot and see it wonderfully lit up. Walk around the village’s small alleys and explore its charming restaurants, stores and bars tucked away behind the waterfront. You will also walk along the edge of the water to take in the beautiful ocean, as well as the view of the lit-up village from here.
Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes
Get to see the highlights of the island of Zakynthos, on this nearly full-day tour, while seated on a luxury jeep. The first stop is a viewpoint just above Zante Town, Bochali View Point, which guarantees the most stunning photos of your vacation. The tour also includes stops at two super cool beaches - Xigia Beach, where you can experience a natural spa, and Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach). The highlight of the tour is, of course, the cruise to see Blue Caves in Agios Nikolaos. Go deep inside this network of caves that has the bluest and clearest of waters for an unforgettable cruise.
Duration: 5 to 7 hours
How better to experience the marvelous world underneath the blue waters of Kefalonia than to go on a scuba diving tour? Take this full-day tour that combines scuba diving with a 4WD tour, that will take you through delightful scenic landscapes. Even if you are a complete novice at scuba diving, you will be able to join the certified safe Scuba Diving PADI program where experienced instructors will guide you underwater. After your scuba diving session, you will explore Lefkada. Your guide will take you on a 4x4 wheeler to key spots across museums, villages, historical sites and beaches.
Appreciate the incomparable Cephalonia
The bewitching beauty of Cephalonia and its warm, welcoming culture often make people return again and again. The plethora of things to do in Cephalonia, Greece, makes it overwhelming for a first-time visitor. Rather than trying to take it all, plan out your vacation by choosing what kind of experiences you prefer. This will help you pick out tours and destinations easily and make your vacation a memorable one.
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