Are you thinking of visiting the Greek Isles? Wondering where to stay in Kefalonia? In this blog we’ve put together a list of 12 of the best places to stay in Kefalonia, and why the different areas might meet your holiday requirements.
Lying in the Ionian Sea, Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands. It is also arguably the least touched by the increasing amount of tourism that is slowly taking over many of the smaller islands.
A holiday destination for everyone, its crystal clear waters are home to myriad colourful fish that twist and dart around the cliffs and coves, entertaining the many scuba divers.
For the beach lovers the coastline is an endless stretch of rugged cliffs, picturesque coves, pretty working harbours, and pristine sand and pebble beaches lined with palm trees. For a backdrop, pine forests and cypress trees hug the mountainous hillsides.
Although hard hit by the 1953 earthquake that devastated much of its historic architecture, the island still has plenty to keep the history buffs happy.
For the nature and countryside lovers looking to stay in Kefalonia, the interior is full of lush local vegetation, vineyards, and olive groves, while the mountainous terrain is dotted with forests of pine and oak. You might even find groups of long-horned sheep or goats wandering around the hillsides.
With beguiling traditional villages, and modern busy towns, you can split your stay in Kefalonia between quiet, laid-back beach days, and more active days spent hiking, exploring, and souvenir hunting, before enjoying a relaxing meal in one of the many local or international restaurants you’ll find in the resorts, towns, and villages around the island.
Where to Stay in Kefalonia: 12 Best Areas
1. Argostoli, capital town of Kefalonia
Argostoli lost most of its ancient Venetian architecture when it was badly hit by the earthquake. Nonetheless, in a short space of time the area rose from the ashes, to become a busy, attractive, modern Greek town, while managing to retain much of its traditional Greek charm.
You can stroll the wide, palm tree lined waterfront promenade, to its busy fishing port. If you’re a morning person, and enjoy an early morning constitutional, you can watch the boats off-loading the previous night’s catch, and admire the cruise ships anchored in the bay.
The harbour and bay area is also home to a large number of loggerhead turtles, who have made a habit of waiting for fish scraps as the boats unload their catch.
The two nearest beaches are Kalamia Beach, and Gradakia Beach, both just a couple of minutes walk. Or you can explore further afield on one of the many organised coach or boat trips.
At the rear of the seafront you’ll find the local pedestrianised ‘Plateia Valianou’ retail precinct, with many traditional shops intermingled with upmarket stores. This area is more than just a modern shopping centre.
With its large square it is a main social hub, where many of the locals and visitors stop for brunch, or to enjoy an evening dining and socialising.
During the summer months you will be able to enjoy traditional Greek music, with local musicians singing and playing guitars and mandolins as they stroll through the square, and narrow streets.
The town itself has everything you might need during your stay in Kefalonia including ATMs, supermarkets, pharmacies, clothes shops, and car-hire offices. You will also find bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a light brunch or full evening meal, dining al-fresco in the warm twilight air.
In the evenings, as well as the usual bars and restaurants, you can enjoy lively trendy cocktail bars, and find live music bars open till the early hours.
Attractions around town include the De Bosset Bridge, the Saint Theodoroi Lighthouse, and Katavothres – for great views when you want to stop for some refreshment.
If beautiful Argostoli sounds like the place you want to stay in Kefalonia, there is a good selection of all levels of accommodation available, from both private lets and tour operators.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN ARGOSTOLI
2. Lassi, a tourist hotspot where to stay in Kefalonia for all ages
Just 3km from Argostoli, and 6km from the airport, Lassi is one of the oldest, and most popular resorts where to stay in Kefalonia. For over 20 years it has been a favourite place to stay in Kefalonia for singles, couples, and families of all ages.
Centrally positioned on the west coast, it is also ideally situated for those who enjoy time away from the beach, and want to explore the surrounding areas.
Although long standing and very popular, Lassi, (and most of Kefalonia), hasn’t given in to mass tourism like many resorts in the Mediterranean.
With no main village area to speak of, some say a lot of the Greek atmosphere is lost in Lassi, but in reality a glance around the resort, the sunshine, and the rugged, mountainous backdrop, tells a different story.
Most of the low rise hotels and apartment blocks fill the area amongst the cypress trees to the rear of the beaches, and there are shops, mini-markets, ATMs and vehicle hire offices for your everyday needs.
More bars and eateries stretch the one kilometre length of beach alongside the quiet coast road. Whatever your culinary preferences, you will find something to suit, including fast food and traditional Greek street food.
The beach front itself has plenty of sunbeds and parasols, bars, restaurants, and beach shacks that stretch along its length, and a good selection of water-sports are available.
If you fancy those quieter beach days during your holiday in Kefalonia, then the beaches of Kalamia, Gradakia and Tourkopodaro are all just a short walk around the coast.
If you enjoy hiking, Argostoli can be walked in around 30 minutes, or you can use public transport, taxis, or hire a vehicle. Quad bikes are very popular.
Lassi’s nightlife caters for most tastes, including fun cocktail bars and light entertainment bars open till late. For those looking for live music, dancing, and late-late bars in Kefalonia, the short trip into Argostoli is probably the better option.
If Lassi sounds like your place to stay in Kefalonia for your break, it has an excellent variety of accommodation, from self-catering studios to mid and high range hotels, and villas.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN LASSI
3. Lixouri, a popular resort where to stay in Kefalonia
Located 35 kilometres across the bay from Argostoli, Lixouri is the second largest town on the island.
Devastated by the earthquake, to a point where just two villas remained standing after the last tremors had subsided, it was totally rebuilt in typically modern Greek style, with colourful facades and red pantile roofs.
The town lays back from a busy, bustling harbour, where you can catch a ferry from Lixouri to Argostoli, or enjoy boat trips to the other islands.
If you fancy a change from Lixouri beach, a pleasant few minutes stroll along the wide promenade will get you to the beaches of Lepeda, Xi-beach, and Mega Lakos. While a little farther out, you will find the beaches of Petani, Platia Ammos, and Atheras.
Along the walkway you will find plenty of taverns, bars and eateries, where you can stop for lunch or some light refreshment.
In the town you can get everything you’ll need for your self-catering holiday in Kefalonia. Its large square, ‘Plateia Petritsi’, is surrounded by bars, restaurants, and shops; and is the social hub both day and night for locals and visitors.
Much of the centre of town has been pedestrianised, making it a great place for strolling arm-in-arm while exploring the shops and businesses for those quirky mementos of a holiday enjoyed.
Lixouri is a very busy, popular resort in the summer with visitors who want just a week or two in the sun. For those who like to get out and about, because it sits around the Paliki peninsular you have a 45 minute drive before you reach the main part of the island.
A better option would be to enjoy a relaxing 25 minute ferry crossing from Lixouri to Argostoli, and pick up a hire car from there.
As you would expect from a large holiday resort, Lixouri has an excellent range of all accommodations from budget to 5-star hotels and villas for your stay in Kefalonia.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN LIXOURI
4. Assos, a great romantic break for couples of all ages
Not a destination for the late night party people, Assos is a small, quiet, picturesque coastal village, popular with those who enjoy relaxing, away-from-it-all holidays in Kefalonia to recharge the batteries.
Its appealing character also makes it a popular choice for couples seeking that special-occasion stay in Kefalonia summer or winter. It’s the most beautiful and romantic village on the island
Situated on the north-west coast, around 35 kilometres from the island’s capital, Assos is another village that lost much of its Venetian architecture during the earthquake, although you would find it hard to believe.
With the help of the French relief services, the village was returned to its former glory. Situated near the sea front, the village square is named ‘Paris Square’, and has a plaque dedicated to the French workforce alongside its war memorial.
Curving around the small bay with its pebble beach, the village is built terrace style, with properties stepped back, away from the beach.
One of its main attractions is the large 15th century Venetian castle, which is open to the public. Although the walk to the castle is steep, rising around 150 metres, it is well worth the effort for the magnificent views across the village and bay, as well as the impressive castle.
The beach has sunbeds and parasols, with a couple of taverns and a beach shop available for all your beach day needs. A little south of Assos is Kefalonia’s most photographed beach, Myrtos, which can be reached from the road out of Assos.
The views from the top of the road are breath-taking, so be sure to take a couple of shots before driving down the narrow lane to the beach.
With a good selection of eateries and bars, evenings are quiet affairs spent on terraces chatting with the local staff and new made friends.
If Assos sounds like your best place to stay in Kefalonia, accommodation is varied but limited, so early booking is advised.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN KEFALONIA IN ASSOS
5. Fiskardo, Kefalonia’s very own French Riviera – sort of
Nestling on the northern tip of Kefalonia, Fiskardo (often spelt Fiscardo) is one of the very few villages unaffected by the earthquake, and most of its Venetian buildings still stand today.
As one of the island’s prettiest fishing villages, with its natural harbour it has become the must visit destination for all the private and charter boats and yachts in the Ionian Sea – or at least – for many visitors it seems that way.
Along its pretty waterfront, working fishing boats at one end bob gently on the calm waters, while at the other end, luxury motorboats and private and chartered sailboats are moored close together, their owners, skippers, and crews partying in the bars and eateries along the front.
Scenic Fiskardo has undoubtedly moved up the social ladder, and is expensive compared to many holiday resorts in Kefalonia. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for that perfect relaxing holiday, and don’t mind pushing the boat out, it is a fabulous place where to stay in Kefalonia.
For the beach lovers, Zavalata beach is just at the end of the harbour. No sunbeds or parasols, but the cypress trees give some respite from the sun. Pretty Emblisi beach is a kilometre along the coast, shade care of olive trees, and it has a small beach bar.
Foki beach is around 1.5 km away, and easily walkable. It has a small tavern, but no beds or sun shades. Again, plenty of cypress trees on the edge of the beach for shade.
If you like to do your own thing, you can hire boats and kayaks, book organised boat trips, and try your hand at scuba diving.
If you prefer to explore the interior, there is a good selection of walking and hiking trails and e-bike tours. You can also hire a car and explore further afield.
In the evenings, if you’re on a romantic break in Kefalonia, grab a table early along the harbour to watch the sun go down. With the light from the bars, restaurants, and yachts reflecting off the water’s surface, it provides an ambiance of total tranquillity.
If Fiskardo sounds like your place to stay in Kefalonia, there is a good selection of apartments, villas, and hotels available, but be prepared to pay a premium.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN FISKARDO
6. Agia Efimia, a holiday destination for all
Two-thirds up the north-eastern coast of Kefalonia, Agia Efimia is another coastal village totally decimated by the ’53 earthquake, and rebuilt with French assistance.
The result is an attractive, typically Ionian fishing village, complete with a harbour that has made it popular for cruising motor boats and large yachts to stop over for some shore time.
Although tourism has become a big part of the village’s income, its 450 residents still rely heavily on agriculture and fishing. Small Greek farms can be found around the countryside, and the fishing fleet is watched as they land the night’s catch in the early mornings.
On the surface, the village feels refreshingly un-commercialised, yet visitors and the boating fraternity are well served by village facilities which include tavernas, restaurants, a post office, ATMs, hair stylist, pharmacy, cafes, mini-markets and bakeries offering all the provisions needed for your self-catering week in Kefalonia, or for numerous days at sea.
Along the village coastline are four pretty little pebble beaches along with numerous small coves to be explored if you hire a boat. A dive school is located on the quayside, and organised cruises are available to the islands of Ithaca, Meganissi, and Skopios.
Going inland, various organised tours or safaris are available including to the ruins of an old Venetian fortress, the National Park, Mount Ainos, the Monastery of Themata, and Myrtos beach.
Evenings are quiet relaxing affairs spent in the friendly bars and restaurants dotted around the village and along the quayside.
Choose from an array of local and international dishes, then settle with a pint of local beer or glass of local wine, and learn a little of the history of Agia Efimia from the friendly bar staff and restaurant owners.
If Agia Efimia sounds like the place to be for your stay in Kefalonia, the village has a good selection of accommodation from studios to apartments, villas, and a few hotels.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN AGIA EFIMIA
7. Sami, a good base where to stay in Kefalonia for exploring the island
Around 26km east of Argostoli, and sharing the same large bay with Agia Efimia, Sami is the second largest port in Kefalonia, and has daily ferry sailings to Patra and Ithaca, and a weekly sailing to Italy.
It is also another popular stopover for yachts and boats wanting to provision up, and enjoy a little time ashore.
Although not as popular as many coastal villages, it is well situated for those who want to explore the island via trips, tours, or hire cars.
The two closest beaches are Karavomilos, and Antisamos, both pebble beaches and walkable along the front.
The waterfront has plenty of bars, seafood restaurants, and shops to be explored as does the town, including supermarkets, ATMs, pharmacies, post office, police and fire stations, and the coastguard.
Unlike many Greek coastal resorts, the streets are paved and reasonably wide around town, and if you’re driving, parking shouldn’t prove a problem.
Places of interest locally include the underground lakes at Karavomylos and Melissani, the cave at Drogarati, the Agrilia Monastery built in the 18th century, and the Roman Baths which have been dated back to the 3rd century BC.
For the evenings there are numerous bars and restaurants to suit all tastes, with many open after midnight.
If you want to spend some time in Sami during your stay in Kefalonia, there is a good selection of all types of self-catering accommodation, hotels, and an attractive campsite for backpackers on the edge of town.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN KEFALONIA IN SAMI
8. Poros, a less busy resort for families and couples
Sitting on the south-eastern coast of Kefalonia, Poros is a pretty coastal village with a busy working port.
Around an hour’s drive from Argostoli and the airport, in recent times it has seen visitor numbers drop in favour of resorts like Skala and Lassi. Although many who have visited Poros before, may consider that a bonus.
The port area is divided into the old and the new, with fishing boats, visiting private motor boats and yachts, charter boats to other islands, and large ferries with routes to and from Kefalonia to mainland Greece.
There is a small pebble/shingle beach close to the port with bars, restaurants, and shops for you to rest and browse.
The two blue flag beaches of Aragia and Ragia are close by, and often less busy, with others, such as Koutsoupia beach, only accessible by hiring a boat.
At the rear of Poros, you will find plenty of walking and hiking trails to explore the lush, green, Mediterranean vegetation in the valleys, changing to pine and cypress forests as the altitude increases up Mount Atros.
The village and port area is well equipped for visitors, with the usual tavernas, restaurants, ATMs, shops, supermarkets, and car-hire offices.
Points of interest include the imposing Drakena Cave, the Atros monastery dating back to 800 AD, and the magnificent gorge of Vohyna.
Evenings tend to be quiet relaxed affairs, with a plentiful choice of restaurants and local eateries. Likewise, tavernas are pleasantly relaxed establishments, where you are more likely to hear the hum of quiet conversation, rather than booming music or karaoke.
The bars along the quayside are probably a little louder, but don’t expect live music or late night drinking into the early hours.
If a traditional Greek working port appeals for your stay in Kefalonia, Poros has limited but varied accommodation options, including studios, apartments, villas, and a variety of hotels.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN POROS
9. Skala, a busy package holiday resort
Nestling on the bottom southern corner of the island, around 35km from Argostoli and 12km south of Poros, Skala is the Greek version of a Mediterranean sun and sand package holiday in Kefalonia.
Nonetheless, with one of the prettiest sandy beaches in Kefalonia, and its excellent tourist infrastructure, it continues to draw visitors of all ages in increasing numbers from mainland Greece, the UK, and across Europe.
With the original Skala having been destroyed by the earthquake, (the remains can still be seen today), new Skala was designed and rebuilt to cater for the increasing numbers of holidaymakers arriving from abroad.
Its long, wide, shingle and sand beach has all the requisite sunbeds and parasols, with bars, restaurants, and shops spread along the front, while along the beach you will find a good selection of all types of water-sports.
Skala town has everything you need for your break, from plenty of tavernas and restaurants, to all sorts of shops, mini-markets, ATMs, and car-hire offices. In fact everything you would expect in a popular package holiday destination.
Local attractions are a bit thin on the ground, in part due to the earthquake, but there is an old Roman villa just up from the beach which has an attractive preserved mosaic floor, and is open to the public.
If you fancy a short drive into the countryside you can visit Mount Ainos, or a little further out you will find the Castle of St George. If you want to explore further afield there is public transport, taxis, organised trips, or the self-drive option.
Many tourists choose to visit the island because of the varied nightlife in Kefalonia, and Skala is a good case in point. Many of the hotels put on evening entertainment for their guests, so night-times around the resort are often a little quieter than day times, especially in the early evenings.
If you fancy dining out al fresco you can choose from fish restaurants, traditional Greek restaurants, international restaurants, and fast food outlets, with menus to suit all tastes.
Local bars and tavernas also cater for all tastes, from little terrace bars overlooking the beach, to lively cocktail bars, and bars popular with younger visitors, although don’t expect all night drinking.
Very much a package holiday destination, Skala has a good selection of tour operator and privately owned accommodation for your stay in Kefalonia.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN SKALA
10. Katelios, popular place to stay in Kefalonia with older couples and mature singles
Although Katelios is just 6km west of Skala, the two couldn’t be further apart character wise. Katelios is actually divided into two.
The traditional Greek village of Ano Katelios, which is situated slightly inland and where the majority of local residents live, and Kato Katelios, the pretty coastal village, and more popular with tourists.
For many, the typical Greek ambience of the village, its beach, its friendly tavernas, and excellent local cuisine, are all they need for a holiday in Kefalonia away from the stress-building daily grind of commuting to and from work.
Although most of what you need on a day-to-day basis can be found in the village, Skala is just 15 minutes away by car, and great for a change of scenery or a few hours retail therapy.
For hikers and nature lovers staying in Katelios, there are beautiful scenic country walks which will get you to traditional Greek villages such as Hionata, Mavrata, Markopoulo and Ratzakli, where you can stop for a little light refreshment or souvenir hunting.
When exploring the beaches along the coast, be sure not to miss Kaminia beach, where Caretta turtles can often be seen dragging themselves out of the water.
Night times in Katelios, you have a choice of laid back relaxing hours spent in a local restaurant enjoying the various courses of the evening meal, all washed down with a bottle or three of the very palatable local wines.
Or stroll through to the quiet bars along the beachfront, where a few pints of the local ale with friends and family is the perfect way to round off the perfect day.
If Katelios sounds like your place to be for a relaxing stay in Kefalonia, it has a good selection of self-catering accommodation and hotels to suit all pockets.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN KEFALONIA IN KATELIOS
11. Lourdas (Lourdata), a family friendly destination
On the west coast of the island, in one of Kefalonia’s largest bays, lays Lourdas, just 15km south of the capital Argostoli, and a 30 minute drive from the airport.
The 1.5km sand and shingle beach, plus the other beaches that stretch around the bay, attract large numbers of residents and visitors throughout the summer season. Plenty of sunbeds and parasols are available on the beach as is a variety of water-sports.
The unmade road at the rear of the beach, as well as being used as the beach car park; has bars, tavernas, and beach shacks dotted along its length.
Behind the road, the volcanic hillsides have thick, olive green vegetation turning to pine and cypress groves, as the hillsides climb upward toward Mount Aenos.
At the top of the beach is the main Skala coast road, and the village and most of the accommodation are to the rear and along the road.
Around the pleasant village square, there are adequate numbers of shops, bars, and tavernas to supply all your needs during your stay. From here, on a clear day, you can look across the water to the island of Zakynthos.
The nearest attraction is the Monastery of Sissia, but there are plenty of organised tours available, and public transport to and from the capital is reasonably frequent if you don’t want to hire a car.
For your stay in Kefalonia, Lourdas has an adequate selection of self-catering apartments and villas, and a good choice of hotels at all levels.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN LOURDATAS
12. Svoronata, where to stay in Kefalonia for quiet holidays
Because of the nature of the Greek Isles, if you have disability problems, getting around outside your hotel or apartment complex can often be a difficult and frustrating experience. If you have family members in this situation, looking for suitable holidays for the disabled in Kefalonia, Svoronata might just fit the bill.
Nestling on the west coast of the island, around 10km from Argostoli and the airport, Svoronata is a pretty, picturesque village with one big plus. Compared to many of the resorts around the island, it is relatively flat.
A primarily agricultural area, the surrounding countryside is full of olive groves, orange groves, and vineyards. Interspersed with areas of lush Mediterranean vegetation, flowering shrubs, and groves of cypress trees.
Sitting a kilometre inland, the resort was untouched by the ’53 earthquake, and the traditional village buildings and infrastructure still stand.
Over the years low-rise apartment blocks and hotels have been built around the village area, and along the beachfront, but ruins of its original Venetian architecture remain, and quiet Svoronata continues to retain much of its old-world charm.
Beach wise, Svoronata is blessed with the pretty sandy beaches of Ai-Helis, Avithos, Ammes, Platis Gialos and Makris Gialos, all within easy walking distance or a short car ride.
Tourist facilities in the village are basic but adequate, with just a few mini-marts for your daily needs and a few bars and tavernas dotted around the area.
For those times away from the beach, on the Svoronata to Avithos road there is a karting track open during the evening only.
The church of Svoronata is one of the largest in Kefalonia, and a popular attraction, as is the small chapel and its golden temple in the neighbouring village of Ntomata.
You could also ask for directions to the old windmill. It is said to be a favourite place of the English poet Lord Byron, when he was looking for inspiration.
Although many visitors to Svoronata choose to use it as a base for exploring more of the island by hire car, it is an excellent choice for those wanting to just relax, work on their suntan, and enjoy the laid-back, friendly Greek way of life.
If you think Svoronata will meet your needs for your stay in Kefalonia, it has a good selection of all types of accommodation from self-catering studios and apartments, to mid-range and high-end hotels and villas.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN SVORONATA