The island of Kefalonia Greece (also spelled Cephalonia) is amazingly scenic, and it’s still not as crowded as other Greek islands like Zakynthos or Santorini.
You can visit Kefalonia on a day trip from Zakynthos and see some of the top sights in one full day, but in my opinion it’s better to stay at least a few days on the island and spend more time sightseeing.
The most famous thing to see in Kefalonia island is the Melissani lake and cave, but the island also has loads of good beaches with soft white pebbles and turquoise water.
This travel blog will explain some of the best things to do in Kefalonia Greece, how to get there, where to stay, and the best transport options and tour packages. I’ve also included a handy Kefalonia island map for trip planning!
Best Kefalonia Tours
First of all, if you only have a short stay in Kefalonia, such as a few days or less, then a day tour can be a great way to see the island.
We recommend GetYourGuide for Kefalonia tours! They have high rated private tours that go to a bunch of the best sights like Melissani Cave, Antisamos Beach, and Myrtos Viewpoint.
If you’re a solo traveler on a budget, they also have shared tours by bus. These tours usually include free hotel pickup and drop-off from most of the popular areas in Kefalonia.
We’ve used this company for lots of day tours and activities around the world, and they’re great! Highly recommended.
Book Now: Kefalonia Greece Private Tour / Bus Tour
Where Is Kefalonia Island?
Kefalonia (also spelled Cephalonia) is an island located in the Ionian Sea, west of mainland Greece.
There are a total of seven Ionian Islands in Greece, and the distance from Athens to Kefalonia is only about 260 kilometers (160 miles) in a straight line.
How To Get To Kefalonia Greece
Kefalonia island can be reached by flight or ferry.
Flying to Kefalonia is the easiest, fastest, and most expensive (but recommended) way to get there. The Kefalonia airport (EFL) is served by daily nonstop flights from Athens, as well as some international cities like Amsterdam, London, and Munich.
The flight time to Kefalonia from Athens is 1 hour, and it costs anywhere from 50 to 100 Euros for a one way ticket with Aegean/Olympic Air or Sky Express.
The best airline to use is Aegean (or its subsidiary Olympic Air) instead of Sky Express if you have a choice, but any of them are fine. Free checked baggage is usually included in the ticket prices.
Shop Now: Kefalonia flights at Skyscanner
Taking the ferry to Kefalonia from Athens is cheaper than flying, but it’s slower and a bit more complicated.
You first have to take a 4 hour bus ride from Athens to Kyllini (which costs 25 Euros), and then hop on the ferry there. The boat ride from Kyllini to Kefalonia takes around 1.5 hours and costs about 14 Euros.
There are also ferries running from nearby islands like Zakynthos and Ithaca, so if you’re interested in doing some island hopping in Greece and you want to see more than just Kefalonia, you can mix up the itinerary a bit.
For example, you can fly into Kefalonia for a few days, take the ferry to Zakynthos, and then fly from Zakynthos back to Athens. Or do the same thing in the opposite direction. That’s what we did, and it worked out great!
Transport: How To Get Around On Kefalonia
Kefalonia is a pretty good sized island (almost twice as big as Zakynthos), and driving from one side to the other can take hours. If you want to do the island justice, then you’ll need transport.
The main way to get around on Kefalonia island is by renting a car. There are many companies offering car rentals on the island, but we recommend DiscoverCars! For short distance trips near town, there’s no Uber but you can hire a taxi.
Driving in Kefalonia is a little stressful, but not too hard, and most of the roads are in good condition. We found it to be a bit easier than Zakynthos. It’s a more mountainous island, so you’ll occasionally have steep roads, but these are well paved.
A few remote roads in Cephalonia may still be gravel with occasional potholes, but even those roads are quickly improving as the island becomes more accessible and popular with travelers.
The main difficulty is driving in Argostoli town, where there’s more traffic and the roads are narrow, with lots of cars parked on both sides. Drive slowly in town and stay alert. Once you get out of town, the roads are smooth sailing for the most part.
Greeks drive on the right side of the road, similar to the US and Canada. The locals like to drive fast, and they frequently ignore speed limits and pass on double yellow lines. Just be aware of this, and move over to let them pass.
Since the law was changed in 2021, foreign tourists from Australia, Canada, UK and the United States do not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Greece anymore.
The actual text of the new law (in Greek language) can be found in Law 4850, art. 25, par. η, page 10697, and it’s also been confirmed by the U.S. Embassy in Greece.
With that said, it still doesn’t hurt to have an IDP for Kefalonia in case there’s confusion from the authorities or your local car rental company. Many people in Greece still seem to be unaware of this change.
If you don’t feel like driving in Kefalonia, it’s also possible to see the island with a private tour or bus tour.
Where To Stay In Kefalonia
Best Things To Do In Kefalonia Greece
• Melissani Cave Lake
Melissani is a spectacular underground lake and cave in Kefalonia with an open ceiling that lights up its stunning blue water.
You can go into this cave and take a short paddleboat tour around the lake, and it’s easily one of the best things to do in Kefalonia! If you visit Melissani cave at the right time of day, the ceiling lets in just enough light to make the water color go crazy, turning a transparent bright blue.
I would almost say this is a bucket list item that every world traveler needs to see, although the boat ride is a bit short and the lake is really dependent on the right lighting in order to look its best.
Because of its beauty, Melissani has become one of the most popular places to visit in Kefalonia, so you’ll usually have to queue to see it. During the high season months, the line can take anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes.
Mid-day is the best time to see the cave because that’s when the sun is highest in the sky, lighting up the colors of the lake. Unfortunately, that’s also the busiest time to visit, so be prepared to wait.
Even though the boat ride is short (about 10 minutes), it’s loaded with good photo opportunities! If you’re lucky, you can sometimes see eels swimming around in the lake too. It’s a great little adventure.
Read More: Melissani Cave Lake
Book Now: Melissani Lake Private Tour / Half-Day Tour / Bus Tour
• Antisamos Beach
Antisamos is a beautiful beach with clear water and soft waves, and it’s surrounded by green hills on all sides. The water at this beach is clear as glass and great for swimming.
It used to be a quiet, hidden beach, but nowadays it’s quite commercial and busy. There’s easy access on a paved road from the harbor town of Sami, and the beach has restaurants with lots of umbrellas, bathrooms, and parking.
Because of the proximity to Sami, this beach is easy to combine with a visit to the nearby Melissani Lake and Drogarati Cave.
Overall, it’s a great beach to bring the family for swimming and relaxing!
• Myrtos Beach
Myrtos is one of the most spectacular locations in Kefalonia Greece, with a snow white pebble beach surrounded by steep cliffs on both sides, and a viewpoint where you can look down at the beach from above.
Make sure you stop at the roadside viewpoint (located here) before going down to the beach. It has some of the best scenery in Kefalonia, and you don’t have to pay or do any hiking to see it!
This spot has amazing views of the Kefalonia coastline and the steep road leading down to the beach. Parking is limited, but there’s usually space since cars continually come and go.
Myrtos Beach is accessed by a steep paved road that can be a little unnerving at times, especially since you have to share it with other cars going back up the hill.
In the high season, it’s best to come here early for parking because Myrtos is very popular. However, the beach is more than 700 meters long so it never feels too crowded at all. Waves can be rough here, so it’s probably not a great spot for kids to swim.
The bright pebbles and cliffs at Myrtos Beach are almost blindingly white, with colorful turquoise water. It’s probably Kefalonia’s most beautiful beach!
• Assos Village
Assos is a little seaside village on a peninsula in northern Kefalonia. A visit to this spot is definitely one of the best things to do in Kefalonia Greece!
It’s a quaint and colorful town that’s great for pictures, and we would’ve loved to stay longer. There’s a nice little protected beach where you can go for a swim, and plenty of shops and restaurants by the coast.
Shade trees and benches by the water make it a great place to sit and relax.
Assos once served as the administrative capital of northern Cephalonia under Venetian rule, starting in 1593.
If you have extra time, climb the hill to the Venetian Castle of Assos for a great view of the town from the opposite side. You can reach the castle ruins in about 30-40 minutes from the car park, and it’s free to visit.
Parking at Assos is limited and can fill up in the high season months, so you’ll want to arrive early if possible.
Where To Stay In Assos: Romanza Studios
• Fiskardo Village
Fiskardo is a historic harbor town on the northern tip of Kefalonia island, with a ferry that runs to the nearby Greek islands of Ithaca and Lefkada.
Even if you don’t plan on using the ferry, Fiskardo is a great place to visit to walk around the harbor and enjoy the seaside views. We had a great lunch of Greek gyros in Fiskardo and bought some souvenirs.
I have to say the town of Fiskardo was more crowded than Assos and not quite as photogenic. It’s still worth a visit, but if you have to choose only one of these towns to see then I would pick Assos for sure.
Where To Stay: Fiscardo Studios
• Fteri Beach
Fteri is a secluded beach that’s reachable by boat (‘water taxi‘) from the town of Zola.
The boat ride is easy and comfy, and takes less than 10 minutes each way. You can stay at the beach for hours if you like, and the boat captain will give you a WhatsApp number to call when you’re ready to go back to Zola.
I had my doubts about this setup at first, but it worked really smoothly for us. You don’t have to book anything in advance, and during the high season there are plenty of boats coming and going.
Fteri is a beautiful beach and very photogenic, with a turquoise water color that almost looks unreal. The beach was empty when we arrived, although it started to fill up with people by the time we left.
The waves at Fteri are calm so it’s great for swimming, although water shoes help for walking on the hard white pebbles. If you want, you can pay extra to explore some of the other nearby beaches and sea caves by boat.
If you’re on a budget, you can also reach Fteri by hiking for about 30-45 minutes on a trail, but the path is rough and unmarked so most people use the water taxi instead.
Prices for the water taxis are pretty reasonable, and if you’re a solo traveler you don’t have to rent your own boat, you can join a boat with other people to save costs. Overall, it’s a very fun experience!
• Petani Beach
Petani Beach might be tied with Fteri as the most beautiful beach on the island of Kefalonia Greece. This one is located on the western peninsula of the island.
This is an easy access beach with all the facilities: restaurants and bars, showers, and lots of umbrellas. Like the other top beaches in Kefalonia, it can get very busy during the peak season, so it’s a good idea to show up early.
The water at this beach is crystal clear and it’s surrounded by limestone mountains. It’s very nice!
Best Kefalonia Photo Spot
I would have to say the best photo spot in Kefalonia is probably the Melissani cave and lake. It was my favorite of the many places we saw in Kefalonia Greece.
The viewpoint above Myrtos Beach is also amazing, and Assos village is highly photogenic at any time of day. Kefalonia is a great place for photographers.
For drone pilots, it’s possible to take amazing photos on Kefalonia island. The locals in Greece aren’t strict about drones here, and there are lots of quiet places to fly without disturbing anyone. If in doubt, just ask before you fly.
Best Beaches In Kefalonia Greece
The island of Cephalonia is loaded with great beaches. It has a much better selection of beaches than nearby Zakynthos island.
If you’re mainly just looking for the popular beaches with easy access and beachfront accommodation, check out the beaches on the southern coast of the island, such as Kalamia, Xi, Makris Gialos, Skala, and Ragia Beach.
For the really scenic beaches, check out Antisamos, Myrtos, Fteri, and Petani Beach. All of these have colorful turquoise water, white pebble shores, and dramatic limestone mountains.
Kefalonia Island Map
Here’s a Kefalonia island map you can use to plan your trip in Greece.
You can click the icons on this map to get more info and directions for each point of interest, but keep in mind some of the locations may be approximate.
What To Bring
Here are some packing suggestions for your trip to Kefalonia Greece.
Most of the items below can probably be found on the island in a pinch, but the quality of stuff you buy on the street won’t be guaranteed (personally, I’m not about to use a junky knockoff bag from a street vendor to protect my expensive camera gear).
It’s best to buy vetted products online!
- Waterproof Bag: Essential for keeping your electronics safe on the boats. I brought a 30 liter bag and was able to fit my drone, tablet, camera, phone, and a bunch of other stuff inside. Everything was kept dry, even when I took the bag swimming a few times!
- Waterproof Phone Pouch: Same as above, but these are for your phone only. Great if you don’t have other electronics and just need something small to protect your phone.
- Snorkeling Gear: Good for exploring the clear waters around Kefalonia, and sometimes you can even see turtles. Snorkels and masks can be borrowed or rented from the boat companies too, but if you plan to do multiple tours it’s better to bring your own gear.
- Water Shoes: Save your feet some grief and wear water shoes! Many of the beaches in Kefalonia have pebbles instead of sand, so water shoes will feel better for getting in and out of the water.
Other Kefalonia Tips
- Credit Cards: You can pay by credit card for most hotels, restaurants, and other things in Kefalonia, but it’s still a good idea to carry cash (in Euros). Some smaller restaurants only take cash, or the card machines may go down. If you show up at a harbor and want to book a boat tour on the spot, then they’ll ask you to pay in cash.
- ATM: There are ATMs within reach of every corner of the island. We usually pulled 200 Euros at a time, and never had any issues. One thing to note is that the ATMs will offer you their own conversion rate (which is a really bad rate), or you can continue in Euros. Make sure you choose Euros without their silly conversion rate. This is a well known scam at ATMs in Greece, but it’s easily avoided if you know what you’re doing.
- Cell Service: Phone reception is strong across most of Kefalonia island, although you may lose service in some places while driving around because the island is fairly mountainous.
- WiFi: Internet quality in Kefalonia is not the greatest, but it’s improving, especially in the main town areas. Don’t expect WiFi speeds on par with Athens (or other European countries), but it’s generally good enough for emails, browsing, and maybe a little bit of streaming.
- Language: The local language in Kefalonia is Greek, of course, but almost everyone speaks and understands enough English for conversation. Lots of UK tourists visit the Ionian islands, so the locals are accustomed to speaking English with travelers.
- Mosquitoes: We never saw any mosquitoes in Kefalonia, and the island isn’t known to be home to the West Nile Virus, so it’s not really a significant concern here.
- Water: The tap water in Kefalonia is supposed to be safe to drink, but it doesn’t taste good. It’s better to drink bottled water, which is cheap and can be found at any mini market. You can use the tap water for cooking or brushing your teeth.
Is Kefalonia Safe?
Yes, Kefalonia is a very safe place to visit!
Greece has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world. Just take normal precautions and you shouldn’t have any issues with crime.
Kefalonia island is not so touristy that you might feel resented, and the locals were very friendly in our experience.
Is Kefalonia Worth It?
Yes, I think Kefalonia is worth it. We really enjoyed our time spent on the island, and some of the sights like Melissani Lake and Myrtos Beach are spectacular.
If you’re looking for an island with amazing scenery, beaches, and not too many people, Cephalonia is a great option!
How Long To Stay In Kefalonia Greece
Three or four days is enough time to see the highlights of Kefalonia, although a week or two would be more relaxed.
There are many nice beaches and hidden spots in Kefalonia island, and it’s less expensive than Zakynthos, so you could definitely stay longer if you want! We only stayed 4 days, and we felt like we needed more time.
If you only have one day in Kefalonia (i.e. on a day trip from Zakynthos or something), then make sure you go to the Melissani cave. It’s one of the single best sights in Cephalonia Greece!
Kefalonia Greece Itinerary
Here’s what a sample 4-day itinerary for Cephalonia island could look like:
- Day 1: Central/East Kefalonia. Drive over to Sami to see the amazing Melissani Lake and Drogarati Cave, then relax at Antisamos Beach before continuing the road trip over to the east coast of Kefalonia, stopping at some of the more hidden beaches like Ragia, Limenia, Kako Lagadi, and Skala Beach.
- Day 2: North Kefalonia. Head to the north end of Kefalonia, stopping at Myrtos Viewpoint and the seaside town of Assos along the way. Drive all the way to the far northern tip of Kefalonia island and visit the harbor town of Fiskardo, where you can grab lunch. Visit the nearby Foki Beach and then start the drive back to south Kefalonia. Stop at Myrtos Beach on the way back!
- Day 3: West Kefalonia. Start the day by visiting some spectacular beaches at Zola. Take the short water taxi over to Fteri Beach, and then afterwards see Vouti and/or Kiriaki Beach. Drive around Kefalonia’s western peninsula, seeing some amazing spots like Petani Beach and Xi Beach.
- Day 4: South Kefalonia. Take a slow day exploring sights in Argostoli, including the De Bosset Bridge, Fanari Lighthouse, and Kalamia Beach. End the day at the Castle of Agios Georgios, and get an early dinner at Kastro Cafe, one of the best restaurants in Kefalonia!
I hope this sample itinerary gives you some ideas for your own trip to Cephalonia. As always, feel free to ask any questions if you have them.
Best Time To Visit Kefalonia Greece
The best time to visit Kefalonia island depends on what you’re looking for, but generally the nicest weather is from early May to late October. All of these months are mostly warm and sunny. The shoulder months in spring and autumn can be nice if you’re wanting good weather without the crowds.
The hottest months in Greece are July and August, and Kefalonia during this time has temperatures of up to 82 °F (27 °C) during the day time, and lows of 67 °F (19 °C). This can be great for swimming in a pool or lounging at the beach, although these two months can also be a bit more busy with tourists.
Winter in Kefalonia is fairly mild, but it’s wetter, cooler, and more overcast, and there may be some snowfall, especially on the Ainos mountains. High temperatures are around 53 °F (11 °C), and lows are around 43 °F (6 °C). Not as many boats and tours are running at this time, but you may get a good deal on hotels and things.
Regardless of when you decide to visit Cephalonia, you’re sure to have a memorable trip!
More Greece Travel Guides
Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed this travel guide for the best things to do in Kefalonia Greece.
We have more travel guides for the Greek islands coming soon, so don’t forget to check back later!