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7 Reasons Why Kefalonia is the Greatest Ionian Island

The Ionian Islands in Greece are ‘where the blue really begins.’ Stunning coasts, white sandy beaches, cobalt waters and a rich cultural experience. This is what a visit to one of the largest Ionian Islands or Cephalonia offers. The island has been named after the first Palaeolithic era king of the area.

Kefalonia is an island of towering cliffs, rugged mountains and golden beaches. For those of you looking to experience Greek history and culture, the island also features several Byzantine monasteries and historical, archaeological and nautical museums. What’s more, this is the island which produces the world famous Robola vintages.

The magical vibe of Kefalonia is only accentuated by its thick forests of pine and olive trees, tranquil blue caves, underwater lakes and the decidedly cosmopolitan feel of its Venetian inspired towns. The best part is that this island never feels too crowded even in peak tourist season due to its size and myriad of beaches, restaurants and landmarks.

Over 12000 years of history and influence from both the East and the West have combined to lend Kefalonia a rich culture and unique colour which remains unspoiled by mass tourism. You can even plan a day trip to the nearby island of Ithaca, the famed home of Homer’s Odysseus.

While there are many reasons to visit this magical Mediterranean island, here are the top 7 reasons why Kefalonia is the greatest Ionian Island.

Some of the Best Beaches in Greece

Photo CC by girl_onthe_les

Kefalonia is home to some of the best beaches in Greece, with a unique coastline of rugged scenery, deep blue and crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea. From the white seemingly endless shoreline of Skala, to the almost therapeutic sands of Xi, Kefalonia has a number of beaches.

If your interest lies towards white pebbled beaches, then visit the northern beaches of Antisamos and Myrtos which are a dreamy and unspoiled paradise for tourists. Myrtos is also considered to be the most beautiful beach from all the Ionian Islands. It is located north of the island’s largest town Agostolli and is surrounded by majestic cliffs and clear cobalt blue waters.

Settle down for a day on the beach and witness beautiful sunsets which can make you forget all about your worries back home and make your Greek holiday truly memorable.

Rich History, Culture and Myth

Photo CC  by Roly-sisaphus

As the only one of the Ionian Island’s to have been under the Turkish Ottoman rule, Kefalonia has a rich culture and history starting from as early as the Palaeolithic era to the Venetian period. From 1500 onwards, the island came under Venetian rule which shows in its narrow, but colourful streets and stunning architecture.

Kefalonia also plays an important part in Greek mythology–the island has been linked with the Greek hero Cephalus who helped Amphitryon, son of the king of Tiryns in Argolis in a war against the Teleboans and the Taphians. According to mythology, as a result of his bravery Cephalus was awarded the island which later came to be known as Cephalonia or Kefalonia.

In addition to being the birthplace of Homer’s Odysseus according to some accounts, Lake Melissani on the island is said to have been named after a nymph who committed suicide due to her unreciprocated love for the God Pan.

If you want to fully explore the rich history of Kefalonia, then be sure to head to the History and Folklore Museum in Korgialenion. This museum helps preserve the unique culture and art of the island and is therefore an ideal place to observe local culture including clothes, differences between gentry and the everyday life of Kefalonians.

Cosmopolitan feel Combined with Old World, Venetian Charm

Assos, Kefalonia (Greece)

Photo CC by robinhamman

Due to the long Venetian period, the island towns of Kefalonia have a mixed Greek and Italian feel to them. Many towns such as Fiscardo and Agostolli also have a cosmopolitan vibe for those looking for an exciting nightlife.

You can find charming local architecture and colour in every nook and cranny of these towns combined with first class accommodation such as private holiday villas and all other amenities required by modern travellers.

If you want to visit smaller villages then Poros is an excellent option. With a port, few bars and tavernas, and breath-taking views, this village offers a unique experience of what island living actually feels like.

Some of the Best Villas

Photo by R.Zwart

Kefalonia is a striking contrast of deep blue seas, long sandy shorelines and emerald green mountains. Wherever you turn on this island, you are guaranteed to find breath taking views. So why not make your holiday a truly memorable experience and rent a private holiday villa?

Holiday villas in Kefalonia are some of the best accommodations in Greece. You can find a villa in one of the main towns such as Agostolli or choose to live in a beach front villa for the complete experience. Simply search online at villa providers such as and you’ll be sure to find a place to rent in the destination you desire.

Fully equipped with all the amenities that you’ll need, private villas offer stunning 360 degree views, complete privacy, daily housekeeping, etc. Beachfront villas offer views of long sandy beaches and the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean right from your bedroom.

Kefalonia villas are also a better option for your holiday stay over impersonal and noisy resorts or hotels. Moreover, renting a villa means that you can have the entire space to yourself, which is especially important if you are a family or a couple on honeymoon. With wide open floor plans, AC, Wi-Fi, a fully equipped kitchen, private swimming pools and gardens, villas have so much more to offer to tourists than hotels.

What’s more, villas in Kefalonia can also be a cheaper option than hotels and resorts as they are rented on a weekly basis as opposed to on daily rates. If you are travelling with friends, you can split the costs to save more for other expenses such as wine tours, hiking, snorkelling, etc.

Stunning Scenery and Myriad of Activities

Photo CC by SarahTz

As one of the largest islands, there are numerous activities in Kefalonia – so much so that a stay of less than a week could mean that you miss out on some truly amazing experiences. From horse riding, cave climbing, paragliding, jeep safari, sea kayaking, swimming, snorkelling, wine tasting and endless hiking, the island offers endless opportunities for your entertainment.

You can choose to visit Mt. Ainos which is the highest peak of the Ionian Sea, measuring at 1628 m. It is also the only declared national park on a Greek island. From the mountain, you can see spectacular sights, panoramic view of the sea and amazing sunsets or sunrise. The lush greenery on the mountain is also home to some rare birds and flora and fauna. You can spend the day exploring the Drogarati Cave with its unspoiled lake.

Other rare geological phenomena and unique attractions include eerily beautiful caves and underground lakes, the Melissani Lake and the Karavomilos Lake. For a more cosmopolitan experience, you can choose to visit the picturesque village of Fiskardo or embark on different wine tasting and winery tours for the world famous Kefalonian wines.

Numerous Archaeological Sites

Photo CC  by Dimitris Graffin

Owing to its long history, the island of Kefalonia is home to many archaeological sites ranging from the Palaeolithic era to the Venetian period. Many findings from the island date back to 40,000 BP while the archaeological museum in Argostoli contain numerous fascinating artefacts from the Mycenaean dating back to approximately 1500–1100 B.C.

Other religious and archaeological sites include the Assos and Saint George’s fortresses, the Drepano Bridge, Roman tombs and villas, Byzantine monasteries, etc. The island offers the unique opportunity to walk through Greek mythology and experience the long history of war, siege and revolution.

However, don’t miss out on one of the most important discoveries on the island of the past 20 years – that of the Mycenaean tholos tomb situated near Tzanata. Amid a lovely setting of oaks, cypresses and olive trees, this Mycenaean tomb of kings and high-ranking officials has been traced back to 1300 B.C. It is also the largest tholos tomb found to date in north-western Greece which suggests the island as the site of an important Mycenaean town.

Delicious Cuisine


Kefalonia is famous for its delicious cuisine, quality olive oil and olives, variety of cheese including traditionally made feta cheese, honey and local Greek sweets such as pastokydono and mandolas.

Try one of the many tavernas to taste a variety of local dishes such as the traditional cod or meat pie and other dishes such as aliada, tsigaridia, riganada and sofigado accompanied by cool, delicious Robola wine and a great view.

Whether you are travelling alone or with friends or family, Kefalonia is the perfect holiday destination for you. Choose to give yourself a luxury or romantic break on this island or experience adventure like never before with numerous water based and land sports.

Be sure to book a holiday villa well in advance for an unbeatable experience on one of the bluest islands in Greece.


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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

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