Where to Stay
Being a relatively large island, where you choose to stay on Kefalonia is an important first step to planning your trip. There are several towns to choose from, each having their own pluses and minuses. We stayed in Argostoli, the island's capital and largest town. It isn't the most picturesque but centrally located. Unless you're looking to explore every corner of the island, you may prefer the smaller towns of Sami, to the east, Asos, to the north, or Lixouri, to the west. If you're looking to stay within walking distance of a beach, Skala, on the east side of the island, or resorts near Xi Beach, to the west, are excellent options.
In addition, most maps don't convey an island's topography and what at first may look like an easy 20 minute drive could turn out to be a nerve wracking expedition up and down narrow mountainside roads, which is no fun, particularly at night.
There are a number of activities unique to the island that are worth experiencing. A short drive from the town of Sami is the cave of Melissani. While the boat tour of the cave only lasts ten minutes and you'll likely wait in line for an hour, we found the experience to be well worth it. Note that noontime, when the sun shines directly above the cave's opening, is the best time to visit.
Kefalonia is home to some incredibly picturesque white pebble beaches. While Myrtos beach receives the most acclaim, we prefer Petani beach on the western coast. The water is pristine and there are two restaurants on site where one can enjoy lunch, an afternoon coffee, or dinner. The town of Lixouri is a short drive away, has a nice town center and a number of hotels to choose from.
Also a short drive from Lixouri is Xi beach. Its unique and appealing feature is that it sits on clay. Digging in the beach's shallow waters, you can gather a handful of wet clay and indulge in an impromptu mud bath.
Another plus is the abundant number of sun loungers available for rent. Note that prices will vary as you move along the beach. So, if price is an issue, be sure to shop around before you settle on a spot.
If you love "wild beaches", you'll want to visit the coastline near Agia Effimia. Unlike Xi, Myrtos, and Petani beach, which are "organized", the coastline road that runs from the town of Sami to Agia Effimia, is flanked by small rocky coves.
As you drive along the coastline looking for the perfect cove, don't despair if at first you find them all to be occupied by other swimmers. You can always return between the hours of 2pm and 6pm, when many Greeks enjoy a late lunch and afternoon nap. Another option is to keep an eye out for narrow gravel pathways leading from the road down to the water. These pathways sometimes lead to less visible and thus unoccupied coves. They will be more difficult to access and require some degree of agility. But the reward, as we learned, is a swim in your own private oasis.
Every island and region has certain foods that are proper to that area. During our stay in Kefalonia, two local foods that we enjoyed were Kefalonian meat pie and a local hard and salty Kefalonian cheese.
The island is also home to the Robola grape, a wonderful Greek white wine varietal. While our trip didn't allow for time to tour the local wineries, oenophiles should definitely consider a stop at the Gentilini Winery & Vineyard and other producers of Robola during their visit.
and hard salty Kefalonian cheese at Kyani Akti