Six Greek island escapes
Kefalonia is known for being quiet, but it’s not the only Greek island that’s hush-hush. Writer Katie Gatens reveals six other Greek islands that are definitely off the beaten track – and how to get to each one.
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Full of quiet nooks, hidden bays and rocky headlands, visit Kefalonia if you prefer wildflowers to wild nights out. It’s the largest island in the Ionian chain, on the western side of Greece – and it’s the sixth largest island in the country. But for its size – and despite being so very easy to reach from the UK and neighbouring Italy – the atmosphere is perfectly peaceful.
Kefalonia is the famous setting for Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – a book and film based on WWII events on the island. The film has given the island’s beautiful Myrtos Beach and popular Antisammos Beach near-celebrity status. The Melissani sea cave is another star attraction - and then there’s Sami, with its evocative Greek acropolis. With so much to do, the island is perfect for adventurous types – especially older families. Plus, the nightlife ends at a civilised time, so teens won’t be staying out at all hours.
But for all its attractions, everyone comes back from Kefalonia completely besotted with one thing: the colour of the water. It’s exceptional – even for Greece – a precious, almost milky turquoise, thanks to sediment washing off the white pebble beaches and into the sea. You’ll struggle to keep your mouth shut about this hidden treasure. British Airways operates seasonal flights to Kefalonia in the summer months, so book your flight and holiday package with us today.
We’ve got hotels and villas in every corner of Kefalonia, from sunny Skala to sleepy Fiscardo.
In the south of the island you’ll find White Rocks, a lovely, family-run hotel with a small private beach, and two blue flag beaches nearby. It’s charming – but it’s also convenient. You can drive here from the airport in less than ten minutes, and it has free parking on site.
In the south east, near the popular town of Skala, you’ll find Apostolata, a spacious four-star resort built onto the hillside. If the sweeping sea views aren’t distraction enough, the hotel has plenty of activities, a hard-working animation team, and evening entertainment.
It might be a little further away, but Emelisse Hotel on the atmospheric northern end of the island is definitely worth a look-in. It’s an all-suite property with an Elemis Spa and two pools to its name. Suites have king-sized beds and the pool bar screens al fresco film nights. For an adults-only holiday, book into Petani Bay on the western peninsula. With its romantic terraces and amazing infinity pool, it’s somewhere really special.
Take a great-value break in Kefalonia. We recommend Porto Scala, a lovely and inexpensive hotel with a charming set-up near both Poros and Skala. There’s a large pool, two picturesque pebble beaches out front, and generous buffet meals. Check out more of our three-star hotels below and find your perfect stay.
Enjoy the wonders of a four star stay in Kefalonia. Wake up to captivating sea views at the Kefalonia Bay Palace. Stay at your own luxury villa with a private pool and breathe in the fresh air and sea breeze. Experience a Hammam or unwind in the spa. Take a look through more of our moderately-priced four-star hotels below and create your perfect trip.
One of the few five-star hotels on the island, Apollonion Resort & Spa is a luxurious retreat that’s tucked away on the peninsula on the western end of Kefalonia. The area is known for Xi Beach, a long, sandy beach just five minutes’ walk from the hotel, but you can always just relax at the Apollonion’s own two pools and popular pool bar.
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Kefalonia is an affordable Greek island destination. Keep your dining and entertainment costs low by spending your days on the beach and enjoying simple local food. There are plenty of four-star hotels on the island for those on a mid-range budget, whilst the island’s small scattering of five-star hotels are on hand for those who really want to push the boat out.
Check out our budget, mid-range and luxury options to see where your money will take you. From where to stay, where to eat and what to do, we have a selection to delight every type of traveller.
Eating out in Kefalonia is all about taverna dining. Tuck into popular dishes of Greek salad, pitta and mezze platters with refreshing dips. Take a seat at the Katelois Grill House for authentic dishes, fresh seafood and friendly service – all at a great value.
Take a break on peaceful Katelios beach, basking in warm, shallow waters. All you need is sun cream, swimwear and a towel for your day of basking in sunshine or floating in the ocean.
Find your way to the idyllic, family-run Mikelatos restaurant in Skala. The eatery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Kindle your romance with an evening meal of moussaka, souvlaki or stifado by candlelight with a tasty wine, at a reasonable price.
Make a move to Skala beach and hit up the Dolphin Ski Club for water sport fun. Make waves water skiing, speed off on a jet-ski, enjoy a boat trip or fly high with a parasailing experience. Chill out on a paddle board and glide over crystal-clear waters.
Soak up every ounce of opulence at the Apollonion Resort & Spa. Set in a tranquil landscape with pristine pools, this resort features luxurious wining and dining, an outdoor cinema and a balmy spa.Book a stay
You’ll be captivated by both the views and food at restaurant Captain Nicholas, a small taverna in Lixuori, near the Appolonian resort. Enjoy a flavourful menu in an atmospheric setting overlooking Vasta Bay. Guests sit dipping warm bread into oil and vinegar, before diving into some traditional Greek dishes.
Giddy up and go on an unforgettable horse-riding excursion with Kefalos Riding Club. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the island, as you hack along beaches and across enchanting hillsides. Meet your noble steed and take the ride of a lifetime.
Shaped rather like a jigsaw puzzle piece, Kefalonia is full of bays and beaches. Its terrain ranges from the sociable southern towns to the quieter northern coast, where many of the island’s villas sit in sun-baked solitude. Here’s a run-down of the island’s most famous towns:
Take a break on the south east shores of Skala, Kefalonia. This area has everything on your doorstep – a choice of bars and restaurants, golden beaches and cobalt seas. For an unforgettable evening, venture to Potamaki Beach for a night-time turtle watch.
Close to the capital of Argostoli, Lassi, Kefalonia, is a popular destination. Enjoy some of the island’s best beaches here. Although some Greek authenticity is missing, you can still find little pockets of Greek culture tucked away in this electric town, which is stuffed full of eateries and shops.
Assos is quite possibly the most beautiful village on the island. It sits on a narrow strip of land between two shining bodies of water, tucked away on the western coast. A huge fortress sits above the town, affording spectacular views, and you’re in reach of Myrtos beach and Fiscardo.
A small-town port on the north coast, Sami, Kefalonia, is a great place for boat trips. Discover the magic of the nearby Cave of Drongorat and Cave of Melissani. Along the shores from Sami, you can dive into perfect snorkelling waters. Walk along the harbour edge at night to see the twinkling lights.
Enjoy the laid-back lifestyle and jaw-dropping scenery at Katelios, Kefalonia. Bask on pretty beaches, where you can often spot Caretta turtles. If you want a livelier night or two, it’s just a short journey from this charming village to the energetic Skala.
Visit the authentic Greek port town of Poros, Kefalonia. Spend relaxing afternoons in this quieter resort area. There are shingle beaches, so rent a lounger or bring a couple of extra towels for comfort. Venture to the nearby Antisammos beach, and in the evening, dine in elegant tavernas and watch the sky catch fire at sunset.
Tucked away on the northernmost shore, the authentic fishing village of Fiscardo has a little harbour where sailboats swing on their anchors and fish restaurants spill out onto the waterfront. It’s become popular with the yachtie crowd, and so you’ll find boutiques, fancy restaurants and a few glamorous visitors. If you haven’t got your own yacht to moor, you can enjoy the lovely drive up to the town through the Kefalonia countryside instead.
Explore characterful coastal villages, intriguing caves, ancient ruins and laid-back beaches on your next summer holiday. Make the most out of Kefalonia with these top five recommendations.
• Visit the small harbour town of Assos
• Make a trip to the Ancient Acropolis in Sami
• Explore Melissani and Drogarati caves
• Spend a day at Myrtos and Antisamos beach
• Enjoy waterfront walks and taverna dining in Fiscardo
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Multi-city holidays from Kefalonia
Our multi-centre holidays are a great way to fit more destinations into one trip. Stay for a week in Kefalonia, then enjoy a mini break on another island of your choice. There are plenty of other Greek islands nearby to visit, both in the Ionian chain and beyond. Little Ithaca is so close to Kefalonia you can be there in 40 minutes by ferry. For a few days of partying, hop over to nearby Zante. Head north from Kefalonia and you can add a few nights on the charming island of Lefkada before flying out of Preveza. Or make straight for the verdant shores of nearby Corfu.Customise your trip
Zakynthos, the southernmostIonian island is Insta-famousfor Navagio Beach.