Words to describe Kefalonia: sunshine, mountains, colourful flowers, beaches, goats bells, delicious food, friendly people, beautiful scenery, the smell of olive trees, …
It’s so quiet in Greece right now…
Despite being in Kefalonia during the British half term holiday, everywhere was quiet… A very friendly Greek woman told me that everyone is scared to visit Greece lately (but “without tourists, we die,” she added). I can understand some reasons why, but don’t let the media put you off! It’s a beautiful place and great value for money…
Stuff to do in Kefalonia
You drive up the mountain on a smooth, easy road … the view all the way up is impressive and when you get to the top, it’s just sublime (despite the clouds on the day I went up)… at 1600 metres above sea level, you can see most of the island, plus out to Ithaca and Zakynthos. Often, when you summit a mountain, the view is of other mountains and valleys. Here, you can see sea level, and therefore get a really good sense of how high up you are. A must.
Voted one of the best beaches in the world, Mytros beach is best viewed from above; as you can see, a pretty awesome view, especially at sunset. The beach itself is a bit coarse (hurt my feet!) and the toilets weren’t too pleasant… but the sea water was warm and it does feel like a little cove of paradise.
The one spot in Kefalonia that wasn’t destroyed by the earthquake in 1953. A lovely little harbour town in the north, with colourful buildings, cute little gift shops, restaurants and bars. We were staying in the south of the island, but the journey was wonderful – good roads, lots of view points over hills and mountains, greenery, flowers, goats roaming about (their bell chimes are just lovely).
St. George’s Castle
Outstanding 360 degree views, this is a great place for a wander around. The castle was built in the early 16th century and the ruins are free to visit.
If you go here, ensure you visit the Kastro Cafe close to the entrance. Full of colourful flowers and plants, incredibly friendly owners and gorgeous food – we went twice; I recommend the greek salad with cheese pies, or the pitta bread with dips. They also do amazing greek yogurt. Great spot for lunch (they close at 6:30pm).
Beautiful at sunset…
Where to stay in Kefalonia
I don’t like big crowds, and I’d prefer to meet the locals than see lots of British people, however if you do, check out Skala or Lassi – the big resorts.
Svoronata is better if you like it quiet, like me… I booked Villa Xenia with James Villa holidays and let me tell you it was awesome. The photos don’t do it justice. Mountain views in one direction, view of the ocean in the other. Large private pool. Really recommend James Villa’s – great service, all round – and private villa’s don’t cost as much as most people expect.
Villa Xenia is in Svoronata, near Argostoli; which is full of restaurants and shops but not particularly busy (see note above about Greece being quiet), close to the airport and within easy reach of everywhere we wanted to visit above (Fiskardo being the furthest and less than 2 hours of sublime mountain drive).
Costs in Kefalonia
Everything seemed so cheap! The most expensive restaurant bill was €85 (about £66) – for four people, three courses, litre of red wine, and a few soft drinks – so about £16.50 each. And let me tell you now, the food might be cheap but it is bloody yummy…
Food in Kefalonia
Oh my, the food. We stocked up on Greek foods for the villa: tzatziki, hummus, taramaslata, flat breads, olives, salad, fruit – everything was really fresh.
Restaurants: we ate many, many good meals. I really recommend Irida’s in Fiskardo, Il Gabbiano and Zorba’s (go on a Friday night for a ‘Greek Night’ with live music, dancing, plate smashing – oodles of fun) … And most of all Kastro Cafe near St. George’s Castle (mentioned above). Wherever you go, there’s a good variety of foods, traditional Greek stuff like Moussaka, kebabs, cheese pies, tzatziki, etc. Greek pizza or pasta (with olives, feta cheese, tomato and onion) featured on most menus, and was delicious.
As you can tell, I was really impressed with Kefalonia… there’s plenty of sunshine for the days you want to chill by the pool, and many pretty places to visit when you want to explore. Highly recommend it.
Update, May 2018… just returned from a second trip to Kefalonia and it was even better than the first. Love, love, love this island. This time we stayed near Argostoli, again with James Villas. Can’t recommend this slice of Greek paradise enough.
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