…and the tonic that we needed. I couldn’t think of a more beautiful and charmed place in the world to visit for our first trip outside the UK in two years…. Within thirty minutes of landing we were swimming in the clear blue, Ionian waters, it was a breath of fresh air, a relief, and a very real feeling of gratitude…. Kefalonia almost brought us back to life, thawed us out and allowed us to breathe out the past 18 months… Blissful days driving around the island soaking up the many beautiful crystal bays, Moussaka, very hot sun, beach hopping, more Moussaka, spectacular landscapes, sunsets, warm honeyed feta, floating in the warm sea….& time, time to breath it all in, the excitement, the scent, the warmth of a Summer holiday, to bottle it all up to keep for as long as possible.
We did visit Kefalonia in 2001, albeit a very different trip, booked via Teletext, remember scrolling through them to find the best deal? Which usually ended up being the most unsociable flight time from an airport miles away and you had no idea what the place look like. I think we actually ended up in a garage with a bed, pretty dire, but what wasn’t dire were the people, the landscape and incredible beaches…. so twenty years (gulp) later we knew we were heading to a good thing.
Kefalonia is part of the Ionian Islands, West of the mainland. Full of glorious beaches, with rugged landscapes, beautiful valleys and limestone cliffs. It is a place you can drop and flop or if you prefer you can explore the island. To do this you will without question will need a car…so you can drive, flop and drop. We managed to see quite a lot of the island but didn’t get to the very top, so yes, I hear you, we will just have to go back and do the rest. We were there mid-August, which although was peak time never felt at all overcrowded or too busy which was calming in these times. We were able to find some off the beaten track bays which were quiet and also some of the very known beaches of Kefalonia, all very different but as special as each other.
A few of my favourite Kefalonian beaches:
- Myrtos Beach has been on the wish list for a good few years now. Famous for its starring role in the film Captain Correlli’s Mandolin, it didn’t disappoint. World famous as being one of the most dramatic and beautiful beaches in Greece, it is a mile and a half long, white pebbles and the bluest of water, it was almost surreal….too unbelievable to be real….pretty dazzling!
- Pessada beach, was our first stop off on our trip, within 15 minutes from leaving the airport we were splashing about the clear blue waters on this underdeveloped beach. We parked up on the road and clambered down to the beach, the small bay is tucked away but to me these beaches are the best. five minutes down the road from here was the perfect Taverna/beach bar where the ice coffees and Tzatziki commenced as we looked over the water….thinking well we are not in England anymore Toto!
- Kako Laggadi is a tiny little cove, a spectacularly breathtaking find and not for the faint-hearted as it was a pretty steep climb down through the rocks , a broken pair of flip flops later we made it. I recommend putting your trainers on at least! A pebbly beach but with the clearest water, caves to swim in and out of, rocks to dry off of in the heat of the sun and natural shade by the rocks when required. Private, relaxing and beautifully calm waters…..my favourite of the trip.
- Anti Samos is a beautiful, little bay, just a few minutes drive away from the very popular Samos beach, we did do the windy drive over the cliffs to visit and, yes, the water is a beautiful blue, and the views out to sea were incredible, but it was way too busy and commercialised for us, basically if there is a beach club I am not interested. Anti Samos however was tucked away, quiet and much more authentic. We picked up an ice coffee from a coffee truck and chilled on the beach, replacing the base grooves of the previous beach with peace and quiet and just the sound of the waves.
- Assos, was one of my most favourite places. A pretty little village of pink and yellow houses, pink and white blooms, little cobbled alleyways taking you down to the water, a small little bay dotted with Tavernas overlooking the water, all situated around this old Venetian town. We ordered Greek salad and calamari and sat and watched the little boats, extravagant boats, fisherman’s boats come and go before cooling off with a dip in the calm waters…
- Fteri Beach, was the most breathtakingly clear blue sea I have been lucky enough to swim in, only accessible by boat, you can hire your own but they were all booked out for us (another reason to return) so we just jumped on a water taxi from Agia Kiriaki, for 15 Euro each. We stayed for a couple of hours, but you can stay for the whole day, just let them know when you would like picking up. Take snacks and most definitely an umbrella, it got very hot as there is no shade and enjoy….The Maldives has nothing on this beach.
- Vouti Beach, is just around the corner from Agia Kiraki. Another beautifully quiet bay, looking over the limestone and dramatic Kefalonia cliffs with a sweet little Taverna at the top of the hill too and a refreshing outdoor shower to wash off the beach.
- We visited Avithos Beach a couple of times and again at sunset. A very long, beautiful sandy beach, there is a beach bar but we walked at least 15 minutes away from this and were basically on our own, not a soul to be seen, just us, the clear green water and lots of fish….heaven.
We very quickly fell into a rhythm of slow mornings with a dip in the pool with before jumping in the car to find the beach or Chora or both, for the day. Books in hand, married with a Greek Ice Coffee, sometime snoozing and swimming on just one beach all day, and some days jumping back in the car driving through the valleys, the dry rugged landscapes, olive groves and vineyards, (and sometimes getting pretty lost on the tracks that the rental car company need not know about it got a bit dicey haha) to another before returning salty, sandy and sun kissed to wash the day off for a late dinner and a karaffe of wine, under the stars and the beautiful pink moon which graced our presence over our trip.
…we stayed for just 7 days for lots of different reasons, however within an hour of landing I felt I could have stayed for so much longer. I fall in love with the Greek Islands every time I get to visit and this time I fell hard, heavy and very quickly once again …my long distance love ….an affair with each port, with each island ….but magic Kefalonia you are most definitely up there as one of my most joyful, thankful and palpable of affairs and one to remember for a very long time…. I would fill out as many passenger locater forms and take as many tests in a heartbeat to visit again!
Thank you for Reading x