Kefalonia island lies south of Corfu off the west coast of Greece among the Ionian islands.
Kefalonia has been a favourite holiday island for years, and there can be several charter flights daily during the summer season.
The airport offers domestic flights to Athens and Thessaloniki but the vast majority of traffic in the summer is charter flights from Europe, most of which arrive on Monday and Friday.
Kefalonia is also a busy port of call for ferries, notably from Italy, that call in at the port of Argostoli on the way to mainland Patras. Some holidaymakers opt for a cut-price flight to Italy followed by a fast ferry across to Kefalonia.
Kefalonia roads are good but this is a large island for driving with steep hillsides and narrow, winding roads.
Kefalonia Airport (EFL) is seven kilometres south of the port capital at Argostoli. It can struggle to cope with visitor numbers of around 400,000 each year and rising.
As well as the summer charters to Kefalonia there are daily domestic flights to Athens all year round.
The airport has only one terminal and holiday visitors can sometimes face delays despite seven check-in desks and the two baggage belts.
There is an ATM but no left luggage facility, no bank and only essential shopping. Two tavernas are located just outside the airport gates and there is parking for only 110 cars.
It is nine kilometres to the main beach resort at Lassi, another five kilometres to Argostoli and no regular bus services. The airport is about 45 kilometres from the holiday centre at Skala and to the alternative east coast port of Sami.
Plenty of taxis to meet arriving flights but can quickly disappear at busy times, so it is advisable to book in advance. Some hotels offer private minibus transfers.
Kefalonia enjoys a great many ferry links thanks to several good ports on all sides of the island at Argostoli, Pessada, Sami, Poros and Fiskardo although there are no direct ferries to the Athens' port of Piraeus. The main ferry port is at Argostoli and the popularity of the island with the Italians bring several ferry connections to Italy. Italy – Greece sailings usually call at Corfu from Brindisi, Bari, Acona and Venice then sail on to Igoumenitsa and Patras on the Greek mainland, where there are connections to Kefalonia.
Ventouris Ferries has a once weekly sailing from Bari, on the Italian coast, to Sami on Kefalonia with a crossing time of more than 18 hours.
There are some ferries to other Ionian islands and the Greek mainland. Kefalonian Lines runs a daily service to Ithaka from the east coast ports of Sami (a 25-minute crossing) and Poros (45 minutes).
Kefalonian Lines also runs services from Poros to Killini on the mainland with around 24 sailings weekly and a journey time of 90 minutes.
Ferries from Sami to Ithaka and Astakos on the mainland, are also operated by Ionian Pelagos Lines.
Daily ferries also sail between Argostoli and Killini, on the Peloponnese coast. The hourly ferry from Argostoli operated by Koinopraxia Taxiarchis is also the quickest and best way to get across the bay to Lixouri and the Pali peninsula.
Routes from Argostoli to the mainland port of Kilini call in at the east coast port of Poros on the way and are operated by Kefalonia Lines with a journey time of just over two hours.
The small port of Sami on the east coast has ferry connections to Patras on the Greek mainland that operate throughout the summer season and the trip takes two to three hours.
In the north of the island, the small port resort of Fiskardo has ferry links to Vassiliki on the island of Lefkas and Frikes on Ithaka. The car ferry service runs daily throughout the summer. Tickets are available from Samba Tours.
Summer season ferries also leave the port of Pessada on the south-west coast for Agios Nikolaos on neighbouring Zante. This service also now operated by Ionian Pelagos.
Tour trips to the offshore island of Ithaka are plentiful. For details on Ithaka check out the Ithaca page.
The largest and most mountainous of the Ionian islands, distances to Kefalonia resorts are relatively long and buses so patchy that car hire is a must for sightseeing. Roads are good but driving along precipitous mountain passes can be a hair-raising experience.
Car and moped hire is not cheap, although smaller outfits expect customers to haggle. For free maps and useful advice on car and motorbike hire visit the GNTO office at the Argostoli.
Bus services run from Argostoli to Lassi but other inter-resort buses are desultory. The Argostoli – Lassi service is hourly from 9 am to 6.30 pm. Two buses a day leave Argostili for Fiskardo in the north and four times daily for ports at Sami and Poros, in the east, with a couple of buses every day between Sami and Fiskardo, via Agia Efimia.
The beach resorts of Skala and Katelios get a couple of buses daily from Argostoli and there is also a Katelios, Skala, Poros service three times daily.
Check the KTEL website for services and times. Timetables are posted on the bus stops but buses can stop at villages not on the advertised route and times may vary.
The taxi centre is at Argostoli near the central square. Rates are given by the meter but drivers will offer a standard rate for popular island destinations. As usual, always agree on the price before getting in the taxi. There is also a radio taxi service on 028545.
There is plenty of holiday accommodation of all types on the island of Kefalonia, particularly along the celebrated south-west coast.
The area around Lassi has the most varied options, from all-inclusive luxury hotels to modest rooms for cheap rent. Argostoli has at least four large hotels and plenty of studio and apartments in the side streets.
Beach resorts at Lourdas and Skala in the south-east rival Lassi for holiday accommodation with plenty of newly built hotels and self-catering apartments. The port at Sami has less to offer but its handy for the harbour with holiday hotels and apartments mostly on the edge of the town.
Apartments and rooms are available on the Pali peninsula around Lixouri and Xi beach while accommodation in Fiskardo in the far north is confined mostly to smart hotels and luxury villas.
There are a couple of campsites on Kefalonia. In the west is camping at Katovathres, near Argostoli and, in the east, is a beach campsite at Karavomilos near the underground lake of Melissani.
Kefalonia also called Kefalinia, Cephalonia and other variations is the largest of the Ionian chain of islands that run down the west coast Greece.
About a third of the 45,000 population lives in the capital port town of Argostoli and another third across the bay in Lixouri.
Sitting in an earthquake zone, Kefalonia has dozens of minor tremors each year. In 1953, a massive earthquake destroyed much of the island and only the northern village of Fiskardo escaped serious damage.
The airport is near Argostoli and there are ports at Argostoli, Lixouri, Sami, Poros and Fiskardo Most tourists stay around the tourist strips at Lassi, Skala and Lourdas.
Climate of Kefalonia
The Ionian islands have mild but very wet winters, accounting for the green forests and lush, fertile plains.
Spring brings temperatures of 15°C to 18°C with occasional rain, followed by long, hot summers with little rainfall when July temperatures can climb above 30°C. The sea stays warm right through to November.
Winter temperatures may drop to lows of 9°C but usually hover around the 13°C with abundant rainfall, typical of the Ionian islands.
|Size||907 sq km|
|Season||Apr – Oct|
|Time (GMT)||+2 hrs|
|Coast Guard||Dial 191|