“Spectacular countryside, fabulous beaches and laid-back towns are yours for the taking on Captain Corelli’s isle.”
The biggest of the Greek Ionian Islands, Kefalonia shot to fame in the Hollywood blockbuster, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Take one look at the place and you’ll see why its scenery was deserving of the big screen. Tree-studded hills stand guard over sprawling vineyards, and honey-hued sands give way to turquoise waters.
Skala leads the way as far as holiday resorts are concerned. Its long beach is backed by pines, and its nightlife is the liveliest on the island, with hip bars and music clubs setting the tone. Lourdas is also popular. Life here revolves around the sleepy main square, and the village is fringed by two miles of sand-and-pebble beach. Then there’s Lassi, which people flock from far and wide to see the spectacular sunsets.
Wherever you choose to stay, the island’s main attractions are within day-tripping distance. Don’t miss Myrtos Bay, a spectacular chalk-white beach which Captain Corelli’s directors couldn’t resist slotting into the movie. And pay a visit to the Drogorati Caves – these age-old chambers are dripping with stalactites.
Much of Kefalonia was devastated in 1953 by a huge earthquake. However in the rebuilding it has managed to retain a true sense of Greek life that has been lost on many other islands. It is also one of the sunniest Greek islands making the coast and its plethora of tiny fishing villages particularly enjoyable. Here you can witness the day-to-day activities of authentic Greece. As you head inland Kefalonia sweeps up into the dramatic mountain scenery that draws so many people here. Monasteries dot the pine-clad, craggy hills that lead to the impressive Mount Aenos which dominates the south of the island. In the north spectacular cliffs are the defining characteristic of a stunning coastline.
Find the cheapest late deals to Kefalonia leaving in the next six weeks.
Looking for holidays in Greece? Our Greece holiday destinations include Corfu, Crete, Halkidiki, Kefalonia, Kos, Lefkas, Meganissi, Parga, Paxos, Rhodes, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos, Skopelos, Thassos and Zante.
In a battle of Greek beaches, Kefalonia would come off well. Really well, in fact. That’s because the island’s edged by some of the most seductive sands on the planet. Topping the bill is the mighty Myrtos. Think white sands and turquoise waters hugged by jagged cliffs. Don’t let the stomach-churning trip down to shore put you off - Hollywood location scouts cast it in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and it regularly tops best beach polls so you know you’re in for something special. Often referred to as a Myrtos relative, Petani seems to have pinched a few ideas from the island’s flagship beach. Not only has it nabbed a curved coastline and mountain backdrop, it’s accessorised with sparkling waters and ice-white sand, too. You’ll find it near Lixouri, which is a boat ride across from island capital, Argostoli. But don’t think all Kefalonia’s beaches are trying to muscle in on the Myrtos magic. Some stand firmly independent with their own style. Of all the stretches, those to the south draw the most people. Around Argostoli and Lassi you’ll find Platys Gialos and Makris Gialos, both of which virtuously flap the Blue Flag. They’re a big hit with sun-worshippers so get there early to clinch a decent spot. Further south there’s a great beach near the seaside hamlet of Katelio. It’s not far from Skala whose long ribbon of sand’s backed by a little pine forest that smells every bit as good as it looks. There are plenty of sunbeds to go round here, and restaurants and snack bars stack up behind the sands so you’re only footsteps from a bite to eat. Swing round to the east, meanwhile, and things get a little more pebbly. Poros, Sami and Agia Efimia are all worthy of your tanning time but the star attraction in these parts is Antisamos. It’s a gorgeous spot backed by bright green hills – yet another island slice to wind up on the big screen back in 2001. If you’re up in the north near Fiskardo, however, the two beaches to check out are Emblisi and Foki. They’re small, inviting and pretty as a postcard.
If your spending habits resemble those of Victoria Beckham, you might want to don your over-sized sunglasses elsewhere. You probably don’t need us to tell you this isn’t the shopping capital of the world. That said, there are some great buys to be had if you’re more of a root-and-rummage kind of shopper. The main place to fritter euros is Argostoli. Head for the market first – it’ll have you living like a local in no time. Stalls groan under the weight of honey, olive oil and, of course, the famous Robola wine. And if you’re a fan of fresh seafood, you’ll be in your element. Fishermen pull in their nets and flip their catch straight onto stalls. Prawns, crabs, scallops, bream – it’s all waiting to be weighed out and wrapped up for your evening meal. Markets aside, Argostoli keeps up this more traditional-style shopping scene. Start off in the main square and meander down the pedestrianised street, Lithostroto. Places to look out for include The Gallery, where you can choose a piece of Kefalonia to take home with you. English artist Peter Hemming captures the island’s landscape on canvas and his work fills the walls here. Weave your way to the seafront and you’ll come to a great jewellers, GG Garbis, which designed the jewellery for Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. It sells some really contemporary pieces – all fine stones and precious metals. While you’re wandering along the harbour, follow the scent of fresh bread to the famous Spathis Bakery. Here, loaves are baked using wood ovens and they taste divine. There are waist-expanding cakes, croissants and biscuits to tempt you, too, so expect to come away a few euros lighter and a pound or two heavier. Away from Argostoli, lots of other towns have their own set of shops. You’ll find plenty of art and pottery in Skala. Lassi’s got a sprinkling of places where you can pick up knick-knacks. And Fiskardo’s got a couple of designer clothes shops and some high-end gift stores. Maybe Posh could fill her Gucci boots here after all…