The best places to visit on Kefalonia

Kefalonia, with its green, pine-covered slopes and Mount Ainos majestically towering over the surrounding azure blue waters, is the biggest island of the Ionian Sea.
Does its name ring a bell? Very possible! The island of Kefalonia was the setting for the 2001 movie “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, in which Nicolas Cage played an Italian captain during WWII. The choice for Cage to play an Italian captain might be debatable, but the movie certainly did a lot for the tourism industry of Kefalonia: a lot of people want to go and see this quiet, serene and stunning place for themselves!

I visited the island a few times during my sailing trip around the Ionian islands and found some of the best things to do on Kefalonia:

things to do in Kefalonia

The first place I visited was Fiskardo, the only village that survived the 1953 Ionian earthquake and managed to preserve its traditional 19th century pastel-coloured houses. It isn’t always easy to spot them though, the waterfront has been transformed into one long line of tavernas and cafés, ready to serve the yachties who flock here in summer. The tavernas offer the kind of dining experience most people desire when they make plans to visit the Greek Islands, though instead of gazing at the sea you are more likely to be watching someone showering on the back of his chartered sailboat…

Fortunately the characteristic back alleys have been able to keep some of their charm and at night, when the yachties are tucked away into their beds, the place turns back into the serenity it has always known. Despite it being overly busy during the summer months, it is still worth a visit!

things to do in Kefalonia

Most people don’t stray far from the coast when they visit Fiskardo and you can kind of see why. It’s hot, the sea is warm, there’s a taverna right there…but there are some great walking trails around Fiskardo, leading to some lesser known places. A local organisation has set up walking trails, or you can follow some of them in a very handy Sunflower guidebook dedicated to Kefalonia.
Leaving the village behind, I set off for a walk along the old Venetian lighthouse, past a ruined Christian basilica while taking in the views. Pretty soon the first beach is in sight: Emblissi Beach. It is very tempting to have a swim, but if you are looking for an even more remote place, continue walking uphill through the forest until you reach Kymilia Beach.

There are several walks around Fiskardo that I could definitely recommend if you want to venture inland: how about reaching the “Queen’s throne”, said to be dating back to the “The Golden Age of Greece” or walking through the almost completely ruined village of Psilithrias, once the biggest and most important village in the area? Today Psilithrias is a picturesque ruin, with overgrown gardens and dilapidated houses, but a new wind seems to be blowing as some of the houses are being renovated and turned into Airbnb accommodation. Whether that’s a good thing or not, I’ll leave that up to you to decide…

Whatever you do, make sure not to miss out on one of the best places to visit on Kefalonia: Assos! Assos is basically a small isthmus in a sheltered bay beneath the ramparts of an imposing 16th century Venetian castle! Sounds good right? Well, it LOOKS even better! There’s almost no place for yachties to moor, which makes it a lot quieter than Fiskardo. There are only a few tavernas in Assos and early morning is the best time for a wander around its nearly deserted streets! Make sure you walk up to the castle, not only for its historical background, but also for the amazing views it offers over the village and the bay!

things to do in Kefalonia Assos

things to do in Kefalonia Assos 

Have you been to Kefalonia? Or any other Greek island? What is your favourite?

20 Replies to “The best places to visit on Kefalonia”

  1. Maaike - Travellous World

    The images in the photos radiate such a sense of tranquility. I hadn’t heard of this movie, and also not of this island, but I’m definitely going to put it up on my list. I’ve been meaning to see more of Greece besides Crete and Rhodes, and this seems like a good option.

    • Els Post author

      I saw the movie after I visited the island 🙂 It’s a perfect spot and a lot less crowded than Crete or Rhodes (well, I imagine so, I’ve never been to Crete or Rhodes, but know that they would be much more popular than Kefalonia 🙂

  2. Milosz Zak

    I think we all forget how active seismologically the entire region really is. We think we’ll find lots of original structures, but it’s difficult to have those expectations when the region lies at the confluence of several major, and widely studied fault lines.

  3. chrysoula

    I live in Greece but I ahven’t been to Kefalonia yet. So many islands to discover. I love your photos. Did you go to any beaches? Kefalonia has beautiful beaches as well and great food.

  4. Ashley and Alex

    Ah it looks so beautiful! I absolutely love the Greek islands but I haven’t been to Kefalonia yet. Would love to explore this island and all of them 🙂 The goal one day is to own property in Greece so let’s just call this research!

  5. Bailey K.

    The villages look so quaint and beautiful! I love the deep blue color of that water; I could stare at it all day long. I’ve never seen the movie or read the book, but I’d LOVE to go to Kefalonia!

  6. Paul (@luxury__travel)

    We visited Kefalonia at around the time Captain Corelli’s Mandolin came out. It probably wasn’t the best time to go as visitor numbers were no doubt at their peak, but it was still a lovely island to visit and didn’t feel in any way inundated by tourists, despite us being in a very touristy area (Lassi).

  7. Jameela Deen

    Never heard of the place before i stumbled on your post but i totally get why people would stop there: it is picture perfect! Wow would be a good word to describe the views of the colourful little houses and the boats resting ashore. Thanks for putting some sun in my day 🙂

  8. Chris

    I enjoyed Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, but I had no idea it was filmed here. Maybe I will have to join the tourists who have decided to come to Kefalonia to see it in real life.

    I really like the idea of the quieter areas, is there a main season for the yachts or is it year round?


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