Cradled in the gentle embrace of the Ionian Sea, Kefalonia – one of its most magnificent children – stands largely untouched by the unrelenting waves of tourism that tend to flood its smaller island siblings.
Enchanting in its natural splendor, Kefalonia invites you to immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea that caress its expansive shoreline. Picture this: jagged cliffs meeting the sea, intimate coves whispering tales of old, untouched beaches as pristine as a child’s innocence, and charming harbors, all tied together in an exquisite seaside symphony.
As if painted by an inspired artist’s brush, Kefalonia’s inland unfolds into a lavish tapestry of lush greenery, vineyards, olive groves, and mountainsides dressed in forests of pine and oak. Sheep and goats saunter around hillside, lending the landscape an idyllic charm.
A trip to Kefalonia can be whatever you want it to be – from tranquil strolls through traditional villages and along golden beaches, to days packed with thrilling hikes and feasts at international or local restaurants, there’s a slice of paradise here for everyone.
From traditional hamlets echoing with history, to bustling modern settlements and sun-kissed resorts, Kefalonia promises a smorgasbord of options to rest your head. Choosing where to stay might be the toughest decision you’ll make, but don’t fret. This guide to the best locations for accommodations in Kefalonia will be your compass, guiding you through the sea of options.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret – I decided to set up camp in Argostoli, specifically at the Byron Hotel (⭐ 8.8). It was a diamond in the rough that I stumbled upon – an affordable jewel with sparkling reviews. The room was a haven of comfort and tranquility, spotlessly clean and meticulously maintained. Fully equipped and boasting speedy, stable WiFi (which was a godsend, considering I had to tackle some work on my laptop), it was nothing short of an urban oasis. The hospitality of the owner was the cherry on top, and finding parking was as easy as catching a summer breeze.
So, pack your bags, buckle up and get ready for the Kefalonia adventure, where every turn is a new discovery.
1. Argostoli, the best area to stay in Kefalonia for first time
Argostoli is the beating heart of Kefalonia, a phoenix risen from the ashes of the devastating 1953 earthquake. Her Venetian architecture largely fell victim to this natural disaster, yet she’s been lovingly restored, adopting the guise of a contemporary Greek city without surrendering her inherent traditional charm.
The beauty of Argostoli lies in her possibilities – as abundant as the olives on a Kefalonian tree. Start your journey meandering along her coastal road, an avenue that’s every bit as elegant as a couture runway with its stately palm trees, concluding at the small harbor. Here, as the sun casts a golden glow, fishing boats return home, offloading their daily haul, much to the delight of the ever-patient caretta-caretta turtles waiting for their share of fish scraps.
Just a stone’s throw away from the city center, you’ll discover the sandy secrets of Kalamia and Gradakia beaches, both within walking distance, offering an easy escape from city life. For more adventurous souls seeking more secluded spots, I’d recommend renting a car or even a boat.
Veering off the coastal path, the pedestrianized street behind reveals Valianou Square, the city’s beating heart. It’s an eclectic blend of local vendors hawking traditional wares and high-end boutiques that would give a Parisian fashion street a run for its money. Both locals and visitors flock to the square, creating a vibrant tableau of laughter, chatter, and clinking coffee cups against a backdrop of breakfast meetings and dinner dates.
Allow me to whisper a little secret in your ear: venture northward to find the unassuming ‘Palia Plaka‘ taverna. It stole my heart so utterly, that I succumbed to its culinary charms not once, but twice during my last day on the island.
Argostoli boasts a crown of must-visit jewels: the iconic De Bosset Bridge, the mesmerizing Agioi Theodoroi lighthouse, and the bewildering sinkholes known as Katavothres, each a testament to Kefalonia’s unique charm.
As twilight cloaks the city, Argostoli swaps her daytime attire for a sequin-studded evening gown. She offers everything from avant-garde cocktail bars to lively music joints that keep the rhythm flowing until the wee hours.
As for lodgings, there’s a platter of choices ranging from cozy B&Bs to luxury hotels, ensuring a snug nest for every wandering bird. I’ve had my share of overnight experiences, and Argostoli never disappoints.
Best Hotels in Argostoli
Allow me to introduce you to Lassi, a tourism magnet nestled on the west coast of Kefalonia. Just a heartbeat away from Argostoli (3km) and a short 6km drive from the airport, Lassi has been wooing travelers for decades, spanning generations and life stages – from solo wanderers to starry-eyed couples and bustling families.
Lassi is a charming paradox, like an aging Hollywood star, maintaining its allure while successfully dodging the trappings of mass tourism, even after more than 20 years in the limelight. Some may argue that Lassi has traded in its Greek heritage for a more cosmopolitan vibe, but I invite you to look closer, beneath the surface, where the quintessence of Greece lives on.
The beach, an expansive canvas of golden sand and azure waters, is well catered for with sunbeds, umbrellas, bars, and restaurants. For the water babies among you, the abundance of water sports is a dream come true. If you lean more towards the serene side, nearby beaches like Kalamia, Gradakia, and Turkopodaro offer tranquil corners for some peaceful sun-soaking, all just a leisurely walk away.
Parallel to the beach, you’ll find a thriving avenue brimming with lively bars and enticing restaurants, a gastronomic landscape that stretches as wide as your palate dares. This bustling neighborhood provides everything from mini-markets and ATMs to car rental services, ensuring a smooth, fuss-free holiday.
Lassi effortlessly caters to all tastes – whether you fancy a chilled-out evening with a cocktail in hand or prefer to lose yourself in rhythmic beats at an energetic music bar.
Best Hotels in Lassi
Kefalonia’s beloved resort town, Lixouri, sits comfortably a 35km drive from Argostoli. Lixouri is a survivor, having rebuilt itself in vibrant colors and contemporary Greek style after the massive 1953 earthquake.
The town is nestled around a lively port. This is your gateway to Argostoli and other islands. Take a ferry, and you’ll be in Argostoli in 25 minutes – a handy shortcut compared to a 45-minute drive!
A short distance from Lixouri, you’ll find an array of beautiful beaches like Lepeda, Xi, and Megas Lakkos. Venture a bit further, and you’ll discover the hidden gems of Petanoi, Platia Ammos, and Atheras.
The main pedestrian street of Lixouri is brimming with inviting tavernas, bars, and restaurants. For a real taste of the local vibe, head to Petritsi Square. Here, you’ll find lively bars, delectable dining spots, and unique shops, buzzing at all hours.
In terms of lodging, Lixouri has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a cost-effective hotel or a high-end villa, you’ll find it here. So, consider Lixouri for your next holiday – it’s a place of simplicity, charm, and endless exploration.
Best Hotels in Lixouri
4. Assos, best area to stay in Kefalonia for couples
Welcome to Assos, a haven for lovers, and a magnet for those seeking to unwind on the emerald isle of Kefalonia. This idyllic seaside village, 35km northwest of the capital, offers tranquility and charm in spades.
Like many places on this beautiful island, Assos has had to rise from the ashes. Devastated by an earthquake, it was lovingly restored to its former glory with a helping hand from the French relief services. In a poignant tribute, a plaque in Paris’s central square acknowledges the French workers who contributed to this Herculean effort.
Dominating the landscape is a majestic Venetian castle from the 15th century, open to visitors. While the climb to the top at 150 meters may be a bit of a pant, trust me, the breathtaking vista will instantly erase any memory of your exertions.
The village beach is an oasis of comfort, equipped with sun loungers and umbrellas. A few seaside tavernas and a shop cater to your every whim. And not too far away, you’ll find the iconic Myrtos beach, Kefalonia’s most famous stretch of sand.
When night falls, Assos slips into a calm rhythm but offers a good selection of eateries and bars for the nocturnal traveler. Accommodation options here are a little more limited, so I’d recommend securing your bookings in advance.
In summary, Assos is a captivating little corner of Kefalonia, offering a relaxed and romantic setting for the ultimate Greek holiday. Perfect for those evenings when you just want to hold hands with your loved one, watching the sun disappear into the Ionian Sea.
Best Hotels in Assos
5. Fiskardo, best village to stay in Kefalonia for luxury travelers
Fiskardo is Kefalonia’s answer to the French Riviera. Nestled on the island’s northernmost tip, this picturesque village was one of the few places that largely escaped the earthquake’s wrath, preserving its Venetian buildings, a living testament to the passage of time.
Fiskardo, one of the island’s prettiest fishing villages, has a natural harbour that’s a magnet for private yachts. Walking along the waterfront is an experience to cherish. On one end, you’re greeted by the mouth-watering aroma of seafood sizzling at the tavernas; on the other, you can’t help but marvel at the graceful luxury vessels bobbing gently at their moorings.
Sea lovers, I urge you to seek out Zavalata beach, tucked away next to the harbour. It’s a pristine hideaway without sunbeds or umbrellas, just a few cypress trees offering cool shade. If you fancy a change of scene, check out Emblisi beach with its quaint beach bar, or Foki beach just 1.5 km away, offering a rustic taverna and sans any touristy trappings.
Nature enthusiasts, lace up your walking shoes because Fiskardo is laced with trails begging to be explored. Or if you prefer, rent an electric bike or a car to roam the area.
Fiskardo is an enchanting destination for a serene, romantic getaway. Just remember, it comes with a bit of a price tag. Accommodation rates here are a touch steeper, but rest assured, it’s worth every penny for the memories you’ll create.
Foodie tip: At the world-famous Tassia Restaurant, apart from the lobster pasta, you can try Kefalonian delicacies such as meat pie, “riganada”, “tsigaridia” with squid, the zucchini balls, and more.
Best Hotels in Fiskardo
6. Agia Efimia
Agia Efimia is a vacation spot that appeals to every traveler. Perched on Kefalonia’s northeastern coast, this seaside village was completely ravaged by the earthquake but bounced back to life, thanks to French aid. Today, it stands proudly as a charming fishing village, its harbour a favourite docking spot for both boats and yachts alike. Even as tourism surges, the heartbeat of the village remains in its fishing and farming roots.
Agia Efimia, thankfully unspoiled by commercialism, is a one-stop-shop for your holiday needs. You’ll find ATMs, tavernas, restaurants, a hairdresser, a pharmacy, cosy cafes, and mini markets. Everything you need is within arm’s reach.
For those of you with an adventurous spirit, there’s a wealth of options. Enjoy the stunning pebble-studded beaches, hire a boat for an idyllic cruise or perhaps to explore Ithaca, Meganisi, and Skorpios. And if diving is your passion, you’re in for a treat. For lovers of the outdoors, visit the old Venetian fortress, the National Park, Mount Ainos, and the Monastery of the Themes.
As the sun sets, Agia Efimia transitions into a haven of calm, perfect for those seeking a relaxed evening. Friendly bars and restaurants serve a mix of local and international cuisine accompanied by local beverages.
And when it’s time to turn in for the night, accommodation options abound, from cozy studios and apartments to luxurious villas and hotels. Agia Efimia, I assure you, caters to all.
Best Hotels in Agia Efimia
7. Sami, best area to stay in Kefalonia as a local
Situated just 26 kilometers east of Argostoli, and sharing the same picturesque bay with Agia Efimia, Sami plays host to the island’s second largest port. From here, you can find daily departures to the Peloponnese, Ithaca, and other enchanting islands.
While Sami might not be the most sought-after destination, its strategic location makes it a perfect base for an island exploration, especially if your journey leads you to its harbor. Nearby, Karavomylos and Antisamos beaches await your visit, their pebble-laden shores easily reachable by foot.
The promenade of Sami is a bustling mix of seaside bars, seafood restaurants, and local shops. All your needs are catered to, with ATMs, supermarkets, pharmacies, and even a post office at your disposal. Wide and cobbled, the streets of Sami offer effortless parking.
Steeped in both beauty and history, Sami will enthrall you. From the underground lakes of Karavomylos and Melissani, the awe-inspiring cave at Drogarati, the 18th-century Monastery of Theotokos Agrilion, to the 3rd-century BC Roman Baths, there’s much to captivate your spirit.
A plethora of bars and restaurants offer nightly entertainment. You will also find an array of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from hotels to campsites – a haven for the backpackers among us. So, Sami might just be your perfect place to anchor while discovering the treasures of Kefalonia.
Best Hotels in Sami
8. Poros, best area to stay in Kefalonia for families
Behold Poros, a serene haven on Kefalonia’s southeastern coast, perfect for family getaways and romantic escapes. This charming seaside village sports a bustling harbour, a mere hour’s drive away from the beating heart of Argostoli and the nearby airport. Unassuming compared to some of its neighbouring resorts, Poros evokes a tranquillity that can be difficult to find.
The harbour itself is a delightful blend of old and new, accommodating everything from humble fishing boats and swanky yachts to large passenger ferries. A small pebbly beach unfurls alongside, decked with bars, eateries, and quaint shops for your convenience.
Be sure to carve out time for the Blue Flag beaches of Aragia and Ragia, their pristine condition matched only by their stunning beauty. Koutsoupia Beach, an untouched paradise, is a tantalising adventure, reachable only by boat.
In Poros, you’ll find everything you need right at your fingertips. But it’s the breathtaking sights that truly beckon. Venture into the imposing Drakaina Cave, immerse yourself in the sacred aura of the 8th-century Monastery of Hyperagias Theotokos Atros, or surrender to the majestic Poros Gorge‘s embrace.
Local restaurants and laid-back bars offer quiet charm for your evening escapades. While the range of accommodations might not be extensive, you’ll find a treasure trove of options, including cosy studios, spacious apartments, luxe villas, and comfortable hotels.
Best Hotels in Poros
Skala is a bustling holiday hotspot at the southern tip of Kefalonia, about 35 kilometres from the island’s capital, Argostoli. With its stunning sandy beaches and robust tourism infrastructure, Skala stands as a jewel of a destination, enticing travellers from Greece, England, and across Europe.
Imagine a day spent on a beach that’s organized to the tee, decked with loungers and umbrellas, dotted with bars and restaurants, and lined with shops. Here, you can plunge into an array of water sports, or simply bask in the warm Greek sun. But beyond the beach, Skala offers everything you might need for a comfortable and memorable stay.
The nightlife here is as diverse as it is vibrant, with local hotels curating an exciting roster of events for their guests’ evening entertainment. The area is peppered with inviting bars and traditional tavernas, where you can sample a selection of cocktails and experience local cuisine, setting the perfect scene for nocturnal adventurers. So, if you’re looking for a destination that seamlessly blends relaxation and activity, Skala might be your ideal spot in Kefalonia.
Best Hotels in Skala
10. Katelios, perfect stay for older travelers
Uncover the tranquil charm of Katelios, a popular haven for more mature travellers, nestled just 6 kilometres west of Skala. A delightful duality defines this spot; Ano Katelios, a slice of traditional Greek island living, and Kato Katelios, a cosy coastal settlement, give you the best of both worlds.
Picture strolling along a pristine beach before settling down at a taverna to enjoy hearty dishes cooked with age-old recipes. As dusk falls, the village hums with the mellow buzz of nightlife, with a selection of laid-back bars and restaurants. While Katelios offers tranquillity, it’s a mere 15-minute drive to Skala where you’ll find more extensive amenities.
For nature enthusiasts, Katelios is nothing short of paradise. Engage in picturesque walks, or venture into nearby villages like Chionata, Mavrata, Markopoulo, and Razakli. An unforgettable spectacle awaits at Kaminia Beach, where you can watch Caretta-Caretta turtles slowly emerge from the ocean.
Comfortable accommodations, from bed & breakfasts to hotels, are plenty in Katelios, promising a serene and relaxing stay away from the bustling crowds. Indeed, Katelios stands as a testament to the gentler, quieter side of Kefalonian life, where the pace slows down and the beauty of simplicity takes centre stage.
Best Hotels in Katelios
Step into the world of Lourdas (or Lourdata), a delightful family-friendly hideaway tucked away on one of Kefalonia’s largest bays along the western coast, a leisurely 15 km journey from Argostoli. Here, a sandy-pebbled beach beckons, fully equipped with all the tourist comforts you could dream of, including a variety of watersports for the more adventurous.
Behind the beach, a line-up of tavernas and bars patiently await, promising delicious local delicacies and refreshing drinks. The village square is the beating heart of Lourdas, home to all the shops, bars, and tavernas you’ll need during your stay. Make sure to include the Monastery of Sissia on your must-visit list; it’s the closest attraction and well worth a detour.
Accommodation choices are abundant, spanning from cosy apartments and luxury villas, most offering a delightful breakfast to kick-start your day, to hotels of various types to suit any preference. In Lourdas, you’ll discover a haven for family vacations, a perfect spot to bask in the delights of the sea, nature, and tranquillity, while creating cherished memories with your loved ones.
Best Hotels in Lourdas
This picturesque village resides on the western coast of Kefalonia, conveniently located just a 10 km hop from Argostoli and the airport. What makes Svoronata stand out is its near-level terrain, a delightful trait that makes it an excellent choice for those with mobility issues or disabilities.
Embracing a rustic charm, Svoronata is majorly a pastoral haven adorned with olive groves, vineyards, orange orchards, and a rich undergrowth of shrubs and cypresses. The tranquil beauty of this place is heightened by the harmonious mingling of Venetian ruins, low-rise hotels and apartments along its coastline.
Numerous beaches, including Ai-Heli, Avithos, Ammes, Platys Gialos, and Makris Gialos, are all within a comfortable distance. Some are even a leisurely stroll away, making Svoronata an ideal base for sun-worshippers. While the tourist facilities are basic, they are well-equipped to cater to your everyday needs.
Staying in Svoronata ensures a tranquil and restful experience, with various accommodation options at your disposal, ranging from breakfast-inclusive studios or apartments to luxury villas or hotels.