Kefalonia Holidays – Mellow with the mandolin wind
Brought to international attention by Louis de Bernieres' novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and the ensuing Hollywood film, Kefalonia is a beautiful laid-back place with a number of stunning beaches. Being the largest Ionian island, it also offers a good deal of variety and has the region’s highest peak, Mount Enos, as well as a genuine working capital in Argostoli.
Perfect for family holidays, with its southern beaches such as at Skala and those near Lassi shelving gradually into the sea and thus being safe for kids, Kefalonia also offers a wide range of watersports, fine mountain walks, excellent restaurants and a smattering of culture.
When to go to Kefalonia
You can visit Kefalonia any time, even during the mildish winters, but you will find very few places open between late October and mid-April, apart from in Argostoli. Try to avoid the peak summer season of late July to late August, when both prices and temperatures soar. Easter is an atmospheric time of colourful processions and in the early summer spring flowers adorn the mountains and meadows, while the sea remains warm through September till at least mid-October.
The weather in Kefalonia
Kefalonia enjoys a standard sunny Mediterranean climate, meaning that daytime temperatures can reach 35ºC in July and August and 30ºC anytime from April to October. Fortunately, the hottest months are tempered by the brisk Maestro winds. Night time temperatures are in the 15–25ºC range during the summer and rarely fall below 8ºC, even in midwinter.
The Ionian Islands see more precipitation than most of the Greek Islands, especially during the winter months, though occasional showers can occur even in high summer. Still, with up to 13 hours average daily sunshine, you can rely on getting a tan.
Getting the best deal to Kefalonia
Despite the Captain Corelli boom, tourism still doesn’t entirely dominate Kefalonia, so you can find good deals on accommodation even at relatively short notice, except during the peak season of late July to late August. Most package holidays are based in Lassi or Skala, while villas and apartments can be rented all over the island, the most upmarket being around Fiskardo.
The best flight deals to Kefalonia are to be had outside the UK school holidays but in winter you have to go via Athens. Look for our current best deals and last-minute offers. If you are looking to book early, take advantage of our low deposit scheme.
Airport and transport need to know
Kefalonia airport (EFL) has no bus service so you will have to get a taxi into Argostoli (€12/£9.50), from where the reliable if infrequent island bus service connects to all the major resorts. A taxi for up to four people direct from the airport costs around €40 (£32) to Skala and €50 (£40) to Fiskardo. Lassi is only about a €10 (£8) taxi ride from the airport and also has far more frequent bus connections to Argostoli.
Renting a car is a good idea if you want to see much of the island. You can reserve a vehicle at Kefalonia airport online with one of the multi-national rental agencies from around €25 (£20), depending on the time of year. In low season especially, you can get better deals from local agencies such as CBR (www.cbr-rentacar.com).
From April to October, Kefalonia has direct scheduled flights with easyJet from Gatwick and charters from Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester and Newcastle, as well as London airports. Scheduled flights via Athens operate all year.
The best beaches on Kefalonia
Kefalonia has the best selection of beaches of all the Ionian Islands. The most visually stunning ones are to be found on the west coast, where long stretches of mostly pebble and shingle strands nestle below steep cliffs, while milky turquoise waters blend into the deeper azure offshore. Those to the south and east are less spectacular but offer gentler swimming.
The two outstanding beaches on the west side are Petani, on the far side of the Lixouri (or Palliki) Peninsula, which has a couple of tavernas and some accommodation, and the oft-photographed Myrtos further north. The latter has several seasonal canteens but no rooms at beach level.
Of the south coast beaches, which are more suitable for children as they are sandier and shallower, the best are at Skala, also a busy package resort, Lourdata, which has a range of places to stay and eat, and Trapezaki, where there is only one taverna and much more chance of getting away from the crowds.
The pick of the eastern strands are at the port town of Sami, one of the largest settlements outside Argostoli, and nearby Andisamos, a splendid horseshoe bay where much of the Corelli film was shot.
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