The very picturesque and relaxed Greek Island of Kefalonia offers visitors good beaches, great food, lots of choices for day trips (if you rent a car) and beautiful views – mountain, valley and sea, as far as the eye can see. It’s less touristy than many of the Greek Islands, yet tourism is the main economic driver for Kefalonia. It’s the biggest of the Ionian islands so no matter where we went, it never felt packed.
We based ourselves in Skala, about 1 hour 15 mins drive from airport.Take care when hiring a car, particularly from Hertz – click here for our horror story. Local car hire company CBR seemed a popular choice with many visitors, and ultimately where our second car was hired from.
The only reason we chose Skala to base ourselves is because we found a great villa, well two villas next door to each other that could sleep 10 in total with sea views, sea access via a little wooden platform at the bottom of a cliff and private pools (one per villa).
Other agreeable towns to consider next time we visit – and I reckon there’ll be a next time, we love it there – would be Sami, Assos and Fiskardo.
While we were in Kefalonia, Katie’s (mother in law) cousin Bob came to visit us. Bob lives in New Jersey now and spent most of his adult life living in Manhattan. As it turns out, 80-year-old Bob (who looks more like 65), has a girl friend who lives on the island next to Kefalonia. So Bob and his lovely lady Angela came to us in Kefalonia. It was great to meet another member of the family and spend the day together.
One day was spent visiting Myrtos Beach, listed as one of the top ten beaches in the world, about 1.5 hours drive from Skala. Now being Australian, I reckon that’s a big call. But once we came around a corner and clapped eyes on the bright azure sea flanked by high cliffs and fringed with pure white rocks, it took our breath away.
The only other place in the world I’ve seen water that colour was at Lake Louise in Canada. Myrtos Beach was simply stunning.
We found a parking spot, got changed in the tiny sweat box change rooms and headed to the beach. There’s no sand, just rocks. There were warning signs stating that there were rough conditions in windy weather. There was a breeze, and a wave that broke quite close to shore.
Despite the stunning beauty of Myrtos Beach, swimming in sea meant hobbling on rocks until deep enough to swim. It’s quite hard to look glamorous when you can’t walk properly! The one smallish wave that broke close to shore was really powerful. I copped it, and so did Leo and Marnie when we tried to get out of the water. Getting pumbled by a wave on a beach made of small rocks ain’t no fun. Poor Leo had scrapes on his wrist and arm, I had a small scrape and cut on my shin and foot, and Marnie came away relatively unscathed. Still, it was worth the trip just to see Myrtos Beach.
Fiskardo isn’t too far from Myrtos Beach and we visited there on a separate day trip. The town is really pretty with colourful low-level buildings around the harbour, cafes, bars, souvenir shops, designer boutiques and the like. We walked around, had a lovely lunch, and drove back via Sami. I’m told another pretty beach is Antisami, that we didn’t go there.
The roads in Kefalonia are okay if you stick to main roads. We found that Apple maps directed us via main roads, whereas Google maps would take us the quickest way, often along goat tracks which were extremely precarious. In some ways, driving those horrible, dangerous narrow windy roads over the mountains from the airport to our villa the day we arrived meant that every car journey thereafter seemed like a walk in the park.
Top marks to Zorba who drove like a true Greek and handled the car and the goat tracks with confidence, even if he almost gave me and my parents a heart attacked about 4,750 times. I don’t reckon I would’ve drive along those roads.
Our Villa: Villa Brio
Villa Brio about 1.6km outside of Skala was lovely – the pool area and views to the ocean were definite highlights. The beds weren’t terrific quality and the kitchen wasn’t as well appointed as our villa in Cyprus. We had wifi, washing machine, small lounge with a television and importantly a coffee machine. It was comfortable, in a good location and we loved how peaceful and beautiful it was. The weather in Kefalonia in early July was just perfect at around 32 or 33 degrees every day. At night it cooled down and we all slept well and I never had to use air conditioning.